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Reading isn't taught by the book in N.Y.

A Washington Post Story, via The Detroit News, says the reading wars are heating up again, fueled by a scramble for $6 billion in federal money.
The reading methods practiced in P.S. 172 have won the enthusiastic approval of the chancellor of the New York City school system, Joel Klein, who embraced them last year as a model.

But they have been denounced as “unscientific� by reading experts for the Bush administration, who advocate a much greater emphasis on phonics, the repetitive sound drills viewed by some educators as the key to early reading progress.

The dispute has become a test case for the implementation of President Bush’s ambitious Reading First initiative, which aims to help every child in the country become a successful reader.

Without the federal government’s seal of approval, New York’s reading program is ineligible for federal subsidies.

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Informal learning

nbruce writes:

While tracking down something else, I came across an interesting article in the Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, Vol. 40, no.3, and it is on-line at Virginia Polytech. It is on “informal learning� and wasn’t exactly what I expected to find. The study involved analyzing the advice experienced teachers would give first year teachers--i.e., what they had more or less learned from experience, not training.

The simulation work exercise asked participants to imagine that they have won the lottery and are leaving their current position. They have decided to write a memo to their successor containing their best piece of advice on how to survive in the job: what they know now that they wish someone had told them as they began their work in this position. Subjects worked individually and then in a group to place the advice into categories: instrumental, emotional, and political.

Because of the statistical tables and the literature review, this article is a cut above the “how I did it good� articles that we all find so helpful, but which journals don’t want to publish. Although written about and for trade and industrial education teachers, I think it would be useful for anyone in teaching, and in education in general. The political advice in the article is standard, but priceless for a first year person in any field, including librarianship. I wish I’d had something similar years ago in the library field--and perhaps there is something out there about informal learning and librarians. I haven’t searched the LIS literature on this topic.

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More books equal better brains

Studies show that FCAT scores up at schools with good libraries.

Good media centers mean better scores on the FCAT, according to a recent study. And yet media specialists are often overworked and inadequately compensated. With either claim, is this really the case? Read the full story and come to your own conclusions. Share them with all of us!

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Library literacy programs have positive influence

Librarians have long believed they provide more to their youngest patrons than a good time and an engaging story. Now they have more data to prove it.

A study of two dozen library literacy efforts released yesterday at the Public Library Association's conference in Seattle concluded that such programs motivate parents to spend more time reading to babies and preschoolers and helping them learn about letters, words and books.

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One million books for kids

slashgirl writes 'Ontario's North is being flooded with more books than Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman ever dreamed of, as Ontarians' donations to native children approaches one million tomes.' Article is here.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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