Literacy

Health Reporting and Its Sources

Impartial sources are hard to find

Medical journals have been called "an extension of the marketing arm of pharmaceutical companies", because industry funding can affect a study’s results and/or the way those results are presented in the paper. When a paper with favourable results manages to pass through peer-review and get published in a major journal it is "worth thousands of pages of advertising." That is, first, because people who aren’t that affected by commercials (say, your doctor) take trials published by a major journal much more seriously [9]. If the media pick up the paper as well, the pharmaceutical company can enjoy further advertising, this time straight to the general public.

Pleasure Reading Leads to Professional Careers, Study Says

Teens who read for pleasure are more likely to have professional careers as adults, says a study conducted by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Full article

Verifying information

Information literacy. If you worked for a television station that was running a story about Seal Team 6 and you wanted their logo where would you go? The Internet of course. Simple task, it would seem, but here is a story about a station that got it wrong. One point is that verification is an important part of information retrieval. Answer was on the Internet but they did not find it. At least not at first.

Report Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can't Read

Report: Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can’t Read
According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are ”functionally illiterate.” The alarming new statistics were released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund on Wednesday.

'Literacy' sucks

In sum, there are multiple literacies out there, but they can be organized in a way that makes sense. In fact, I think they should be organized better. I'll admit that the organizational structure I tossed up there is a work in progress and may be completely, utterly idiotic. But, it's a start. Feel free to criticize, compliment, or call me a moron, but at least let me know what you think. I'm always open to suggestions for improvement.

Brain’s Reading Center Isn’t Picky About Vision

The part of the brain thought to be responsible for processing visual text may not require vision at all, researchers report in the journal Current Biology.

This region, known as the visual word form area, processes words when people with normal vision read, but researchers found that it is also activated when the blind read using Braille.

Full article

Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff has second thoughts about our digital practices

The kids I celebrated in my early books as “digital natives,” capable of seeing through all efforts of big media and marketing, have actually proven less able to discern the integrity of the sources they read and the intentions of the programs they use than we struggling adults are. If they don’t know what the programs they’re using are even for, they don’t stand a chance at using them effectively. They’re less likely to become power users than the used. It is our job as educators to change all this. We’re our students’ best chance of becoming media—or new media—literate. Yet our digital practices betray our own unconscious approach toward these media. We employ technologies in our lives and our curriculums by force of habit or fear of being left behind.

I regularly visit one-to-one laptop schools where neither the students nor the educators have any real sense of purpose about the highly technologized program they’ve implemented. They bring a very powerful new medium into the classroom and make it central without having reckoned with the medium’s biases.

Full article at School Library Journal

Bus Of Books To Hit The Streets

In an effort to get more people to read, the books are hitting the streets by the busload. And best of all, it’s free.

“The books are free. No charge. These are all brand new books. Never been opened,” Penny Boykins of Metro Community College said.

From nonfiction to science fiction and everything in between, 10,000 books will be handed out for free. Organizers said it’s all an effort to promote literacy made possible by a handful of local organizations.

Full story

Nothing at the library?

I currently work at a small liberal arts college in the Midwestern USA where librarians are "embedded" in introductory courses and oversee the information literacy curriculum. Last week one of my colleagues informed me about a response from one of her students that I just have to pass along. The student's comment was that she couldn't find anything at the library about the Industrial Revolution , her other topic was .... wait for it .... Martin Luther and the Reformation. As Joe Friday is often quoted as uttering "Just the facts, ma'am"....

Catalog keyword search hits

  • Industrial Revolution = 142
  • "Martin Luther" = 204
  • "Martin Luther" AND Reformation = 21

Ok, I know that out-of-the-box library catalogs aren't as "innovative", user friendly (or forgiving) as Amazon, Google, and the like, but the difference between what the student claimed and what the "facts" illustrate is too wide a chasm to cross.

Comments like this make me think that we should have a library lock-in, perhaps overnight, and not let the student out until they find something. Heck, it might even become a succesful reality show. It wouldn't be as goofy as Silent Library but it might still be a goodie. Afterall, there could be worse fates.

One Reader's Experience With 'The Big Read' (One City One Book)

The book arrived from the publisher without any fanfare, wrapped in plain cardboard and sent through the U.S. mail. Record-Bee reports.

With no more effort than it took to tear open the perforated strip that sealed the package closed, the small church library that I oversaw was now part of a "common read." What an exciting moment!

My first experience with a common read was just a few years earlier, during an effort to encourage all of California to read John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." My husband and I read aloud to each other from my copy that had been given to me by the Calistoga Junior/Senior High School librarian.

It was intriguing, as we read to each other, to know that across the state of California, other people were reading the same book and that, moreover, public events were promoting "The Grapes of Wrath." One of those events was organized locally through the efforts of Harold Riley.

My experience taking part in a common read had been very enjoyable so when the organization that oversees our local church selected a common read, I knew that I wanted to make the book available to the members of my church: to give them a chance to have that much more in common with people in other communities, in congregations around the world. Read more.

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