Literacy

Want to Be a Great Leader? Start Reading

The indispensible Lifehacker on one aspect of what makes a leader great.

"Note how many business titans are or have been avid readers. According to The New York Times, Steve Jobs had an "inexhaustible interest" in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman called poets "the original systems thinkers," quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson. In Passion & Purpose, David Gergen notes that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books each week."

Some Books Are More Equal Than Others

For enlightening summer reading, students should read nonfiction.

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Surprising Tips That Help Kids Learn to Read

“Print knowledge” is an awareness of the mechanics of the reading process, like the fact that English is read from left to right and that written words map on to spoken ones. Adults often take this knowledge for granted, but research demonstrates that children benefit when these aspects of print are explicitly pointed out. In a study published in the May-June issue of the journal Child Development, for example, Ohio State professor Shayne Piasta and her coauthors report that when preschool teachers drew students’ attention to print while reading to them, the children’s skills in reading, spelling and comprehension improved. These positive results were long-lasting, too, still showing up a full two years later.

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Why does James Patterson care about our kids’ reading habits?

Why does James Patterson care about our kids’ reading habits?
At this point, rowdy adolescents clutch their free copies of Patterson’s young adult novel Maximum Ride and listen intently as he gives a prescription for success in writing, or, beyond that, life.

"You have to have a dream; you have to have passion. And I strongly recommend you have a back-up dream. You have to have focus. Outline, baby. Before you write anything, outline."

He tells them to write down the coolest story they know. The sentences might not be any good, but the important thing is to get the story down – polishing can come later.

At World Book Night, D.C. literacy advocates greeted with delight and skepticism

By Lonnae O'Neal Parker and David Montgomery, Published: April 23. The Washington Post
The odds of being handed a free book out of the blue were much higher Monday night than any other night of the year, thanks to the legions of volunteers and booksellers celebrating World Book Night. The event, which began last year in England and added the United States and Ireland this year, aims to spread the love of books by giving away 500,000 free paperbacks to those who might not otherwise have access or resources, or to those who just look like they could use a good read.

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Read So Hard Libraries Try To Find Me

From YouTube: [Thanks Anna!]

Teach the Books, Touch the Heart

Opinion piece in the NYT

FRANZ KAFKA wrote that “a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us.” I once shared this quotation with a class of seventh graders, and it didn’t seem to require any explanation.

We’d just finished John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” When we read the end together out loud in class, my toughest boy, a star basketball player, wept a little, and so did I. “Are you crying?” one girl asked, as she crept out of her chair to get a closer look. “I am,” I told her, “and the funny thing is I’ve read it many times.”

But they understood. When George shoots Lennie, the tragedy is that we realize it was always going to happen. In my 14 years of teaching in a New York City public middle school, I’ve taught kids with incarcerated parents, abusive parents, neglectful parents; kids who are parents themselves; kids who are homeless or who live in crowded apartments in violent neighborhoods; kids who grew up in developing countries. They understand, more than I ever will, the novel’s terrible logic — the giving way of dreams to fate.

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How We Will Read: Clay Shirky

How We Will Read: Clay Shirky
“Social reading,” the way I’ve always interpreted the phrase, is reading that recognizes that you’re not just a consumer, you’re a user. You’re going to do something with this, and that something is going to involve a group of other people. Read a book. The very next thing you’re going to do, if it was at all interesting, is talk to someone about it. Book groups and discussion lists are social reading. Because so much of our media in the 20th century was delivered in real-time, with very little subsequent ability to share, save, shift, store, we separated the consumption from the reproduction and use of media. We don’t actually think of ourselves as users of media, when in fact we are.

Bringing Up an E-Reader

NYT article on kids and reading.

Excerpt: But is it better than a book? It may take a generation to ever know for sure, and even 10 or 20 years from now it will be debated as the effects of television or video games are still discussed today.

Julianna’s teacher, Kourtney Denning, sees e-books as essential. “Old books don’t really cut it anymore,” she said. “We have to transform our learning as we know it.”

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Story time to go: Libraries try to reach kids who aren’t being read to at home

“Early literacy has gotten increasing attention, which is really important because it points out the role public libraries play in helping children get ready for success in school,” said Mary Fellows, president of the Association of Library Service to Children. “Public libraries in many communities are the only game in town for these children.”

But the move comes as libraries budgets are being slashed, and the programs — deemed by some librarians as the most important work they can do, especially in disadvantaged communities — are limited.

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