Literacy

Dialect Society Reveals Top Words of 2003

At their recent meeting in Boston, the American Dialect Society named "metrosexual" "manscaping" and "flexitarian" as the newest words in the American lexicon. Story from the Seattle Times

According to the article, gay culture had a prominent impact on our verbiage last year. TV's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" spawned "zhuzh," which means to fluff up or primp. Hip-hop brought us the suffix "izzle" as in "televizzle" and "wait a minizzle." "Bling bling," as in flashy jewelry, has been clipped to "bling." Note to spell-checkers everywhere: better add these words to your lexicon!

Britons know Darth Vader Better than the Bard

From BBC news comes responses to a poll showing Britons knowlege and/or ignorance of popular culture and classic literature, including Wordsworth and Shakespeare. When asked to complete the line "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your..." from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, some people said swords or money rather than ears, but 71% knew that "the power of the dark side" was spoken by Darth Vader.

The Australian $35m plan to improve literacy

The ResourceShelf Dude, Gary D. Price, sent along an Interesting One out of Australia where Labor leader Mark Latham has promised every new-born child in Australia three free books in a $35 million pledge to improve childhood learning.

More parenting classes, adult-literacy education and screening for hearing and sight problems for all children at birth would also feature under a Labor federal government, he told the ALP national conference yesterday.

"This is a program that looks to the future, and invests in the future of young Australians," Mr Latham said.

Male reading mentors help close the literacy gender gap

This story from the Canada.com network reports on father-son book clubs and mentoring/intervention projects that bring average Joes into the classroom to read aloud and lead discussions. Assessment of boys who have participated in these programs indicate that male reading mentors can be an important factor in closing the growing literacy gap between boys and girls. Heather Richmond, a literacy expert at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, says that boys need men to confirm the "guy rules of engagement" with a book.

New Papers Hope Free and Brief Will Attract Younger Readers

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Dena Lanier hands out amNew York, a free condensed daily newspaper that made its debut on Friday. New York is the latest market where publishers are trying out a product that is intended to attract readers aged 21 to 34.

NYTimes Has The Story"

They say target audience is readers aged 21 to 34 - a generation that spends far less time reading newspapers than its parents do.

The challenge of reaching that elusive group was evident in the effort Mr. Johnson was making: he had to meet the gaze of perhaps 20 passers-by before he successfully pressed the paper into the hands of one of them, and many of those hands appeared far older than his employer might have liked.

Literacy the focus of Jamaica's Adult Learners Week

Mock Turtle writes "With Adult Learners Week 2003, Jamaica seeks to draw attention to the nation's 20.1 percent illiteracy rate, highlighting the fact that many adults who cannot read are too embarrassed to attend literacy classes. Adult Learners Week, a project of the Jamaican Council for Adult Education (JaCAE), features a variety of events to promote the view that provision of learning opportunities should be a matter of public policy. Read more about it at The Jamaica Observer."

Another mammal for literacy

Mock Turtle writes "Here's another example of (ahem) harnessing the power of animals to encourage kids to read: The Black Stallion Literacy Project, the brainchild of Mark Miller, owner of the Arabian Nights dinner/performance attraction in Kissimmee, FL, and Tim Farley, son of the the late Walter Farley (author of the Black Stallion books). First- and fourth-graders receive free books and special visits with the Arabian Nights horses. Last year, the Black Stallion Literacy Project reached 35,000 children across the United States, about half of whom were from Central Florida. A traveling troupe of horses and performers takes the program on the road outside of Central Florida. The Orlando Sentinel profiles the Black Stallion Literacy Project."

Tools for teaching media and information literacy

Mock Turtle writes "To celebrate International Literacy Day (which was September 8) and the beginning of the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012), Canada's Media Awareness Network web site currently features practical Internet and media literacy resources that public and school libraries can use in their programming. The site includes interactive tools such as "Jo Cool or Jo Fool," in which students tour a set of mock web sites and test their surfing savvy."

The BBC News StyleGuide

David Dillard writes "The BBC News StyleGuide[pdf]. An excellent overview of the BBC News StyleGuide may be found in this
document
written by Melvin Block.
The book has an English accent, but it provides pointers that can also
benefit newspeople on this side of the ocean. After all, or before all,
the Brits helped create our language. -- Read More

Decline in reading hurts publishers

Peter Murray writes "The United States (of course) isn't the only country facing a decline in reading with competition from other media. The Hindu Business Line has an article with the title 'Satellite TV, piracy hit publishing cos' about how a publisher is working with librarians to address the issue."

They say decline in reading habits, spiralling cost of production, piracy, proliferation of cheap quality books and onslaught of satellite TV channels have been cutting ground from under publishing industry's feet

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