Schools to blame for children who hate books

Anonymous Patron writes "This is London has one with a catchy title: Schools to blame for children who hate books They say The "unacceptable" failure of many schools to teach children to read properly is laid bare today in a damning report from education watchdog Ofsted.

Other reports on the study from The BBC and
The Ofsted report recommends that head teachers need to take a stronger lead on reading lessons, and teachers should have higher expectations of their children. They should also have firmer strategies to identify children's learning difficulties."


Quiz: Spelling is not child's play

Bob writes "I thought I was a fairly good speller, but evidently not. But who's checking the BBC:

Quiz: Spelling is not child's play. BBC One's Hard Spell, in which children compete to see whose spelling is best, may have reminded many people of their school days.



Hamlet' Too Hard? Try a Comic Book

The Christian Science Monitor brings us a story on another approach to get kids to read...the comic book.

Getting reluctant adolescents to read - anything - can be a boon to their discovery of the joy of reading, says Marilyn Reynolds, author of "I Won't Read and You Can't Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers." But other experts, such as Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University, says ""Once kids know how to read, there is no good reason to continue to use dumbed-down materials."

Proponents of the "let them read anything" theory suggest that reading comics and graphic novels is in fact reading , something that these kids might not otherwise do, and that it could be a bridge to more complex material.


TX License Plate Libraries Promotion

JET writes "You can show your support of Texas public libraries wherever you drive!

Show your support of public libraries by purchasing the Texas Reads specialty license plate. The proceeds of the sale of this plate fund grants for reading programs in Texas public libraries.

Illiteracy is still a major problem in Texas. Texas libraries, along with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is fighting illiteracy through outreach, tutoring, ESL and GED courses, and other programs that reach the entire community. Help our libraries do even more to improve literacy and to spread the joy of reading among Texans. When you buy a Texas Reads license plate, $22 of the $30 fee goes into the Texas Reads account. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission then makes grants available to public libraries for the purpose of implementing reading programs.

Just like regular or other specialty license plates for cars or light trucks, the Texas Reads plates are purchased from each county's tax assessor-collector. Expect your new plates to arrive at the county tax office in about two weeks. It's easy!

Public libraries are invited to apply for a Texas Reads grant. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission will award $15,000 this year."

Daniel adds: "Sounds innovative, but I hope it augments funding instead of displacing funding. Now if people would just read traffic signs."

L.A. Addresses Low Literacy in a Multicultural County sends a "link to this Los Angeles Times article which talks about how half the working age residents of Los Angeles struggle with basic reading and writing

Some two million residents are unable to read a map, which puts them at the lowest end of the literacy scale. Another 1.5 million are unable to write a letter to complain to their local utility about a billing error.

Sometimes LISNews contributor Michael McGrorty responded with a letter to the editor (registration required) giving props to libraries.


Jail/Library Partnerships Keeps Inmate Moms in Touch

This Washington Post story tells about "Read Me a Story," a project between the Arlington library and the county jail which helps inmate moms keep in better touch with their children by recording stories for them. Several community organizations and a grant help keep the program going.

Often, recording is stopped midway when the mother becomes emotional. "I cried on my second tape," Thomas said. She said her younger son started potty training when she began her jail sentence. The second book she taped for him was about potty training.

As I Live And Read

Fang-Face writes "There's an interesting piece entitled
As I Live And Read, by Michael Dirda, of the Washington Post, in which he looks at the state of reading and literature. In the U.S., but I imagine that it holds for every technologized culture. A longish plaint about the abysmal quality of what passes for "literature" in this day and age. Well worth the read, although it has the standard complaints about the impact of the internet."


America's most literate cities: The Reports Continue

The "America's Most Literate Cities," continue to work their way through the local press around the country. Cities like Memphis, Cincinati, Columbus and Rochester, all did well, The Mad City and Minneapolis are happy.

and at least Tucson is better than Phoenix, but El Paso Ranked Last. El Pasoans explain their rank in the reading study with some good reasons. The language, economic and social barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Many cities with large populations of immigrants and non-native English speakers ranked in the bottom quarter of America's Most Literate Cities study. Eighteen of the bottom 20 cities were in California, Arizona, Florida and Texas."If you look at the top 20 cities, there's no real pattern," Miller said, but he said that the bottom 20 cities are clearly more minority -- and that education levels, native languages and economic conditions in those cities probably play bigger roles.The Study also ranked Public Libraries, putting Akron at #1, followed by Kansas City, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and my old home, Columbus.


El Paso (TX) Least Literate City

For the second year in a row, El Paso (TX) ended up near the bottom of a list ranking literarcy in 79 of the largest cities in the US. Twenty-two variables including education, newspaper circulation rates; library resources; magazine and journal publishers; and other public documents. While Mayor Joe Wardy questioned the accuracy of the study, given El Paso's border status, he acknowleged that the city need to work on literarcy.

Carol Brey-Casiano, director of the El Paso Public Library and President of the American Library Association also commented:

"As a community, we have to make the commitment that we're going to continue to support libraries," Brey-Casiano said. "We're probably one of the number one tools you have in your tool kit to address these literacy issues."

More from the El Paso Times.


America's Most Literate Cities study

It's that time of year again, time to Rank America's Most Literate Cities. Minnesota's largest city and the Tex-Mex border town are at opposite ends of the spectrum in the study, which examines the extent to which residents of the nation's 79 largest cities behave in literate ways -- such as buying newspapers and books or borrowing library materials.

Indianapolis falls in the top half, ranking 27th overall; Fort Wayne placed 45th.

The country's largest cities appear well into the bottom half of the rankings: New York is 49, Chicago, 58, and Los Angeles, 68. Coverage all over the place.

Most literate cities
1. Minneapolis
2. Seattle
3. Pittsburgh
4. Madison, Wis.
5. Cincinnati
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Denver
8. Boston
9. Portland, Ore.
10. San Francisco



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