Literacy

September 8 is International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Celebrate International Literacy Day by joining IRA on either September 7 or September 8 for webinars on Building Support for Effective Reading Instruction featuring IRA President Patricia Edwards, Richard Carson (Rotary Representative to the OAS) and Instructor Judy Backlund (IRA member and Rotary Club President). The webinar will be held twice, so choose the time that works best for you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Tuesday webinar...or

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Wednesday webinar.

Other live events, fact sheets, celebration ideas and award certificates can be found at the IRA Website.

Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

Many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious academic misdeed.

Excerpt:

“This generation has always existed in a world where media and intellectual property don’t have the same gravity,” said Ms. Brookover, who at 31 is older than most undergraduates. “When you’re sitting at your computer, it’s the same machine you’ve downloaded music with, possibly illegally, the same machine you streamed videos for free that showed on HBO last night.”

Ms. Brookover, who works at the campus library, has pondered the differences between researching in the stacks and online. “Because you’re not walking into a library, you’re not physically holding the article, which takes you closer to ‘this doesn’t belong to me,’ ” she said. Online, “everything can belong to you really easily.”

Full story in the NYT

So-Called 'Digital Natives' Not Media Savvy, New Study Shows

During the study, one of the researchers asked a study participant, "What is this website?" The student answered, "Oh, I don't know. The first thing that came up."

That exchange sums up the overall results from this study: many students trusted in rankings above all else. In fact, a quarter of the students, when assigned information-seeking tasks, said they chose a website because - and only because - it was the first search result.

Full article at ReadWriteWeb

Readers Are Abandoning Print, Yet Don’t Trust the Web

A new report finds that even as people abandon print publications, they distrust the information they read online.

Full piece at the NYT Bits Blog

Novel Approach: Reading Courses as an Alternative to Prison

And now...the other side of the coin. How enforced reading can help rehabilitate former and would-be offenders as reported by the Guardian UK. The program, Changing Lives Through Literature, is described here.

When Mitchell Rouse was convicted of two drug offences in Houston, the former x-ray technician who faced a 60-year prison sentence – reduced to 30 years if he pleaded guilty – was instead put on probation and sentenced to read.

"I was doing it because it was a condition of my probation and it would reduce my community hours," Rouse recalls. The 42-year-old had turned to meth as a way of coping with the stress of his job at a hospital where he frequently worked an 80-hour week. Fearing for his life, Mitchell's wife turned him into the authorities. "If she hadn't, I would be dead or destitute by now," he says. -- Read More

The Medium Is the Medium

Opinion piece by David Brooks

Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years.

Then the researchers, led by Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee, looked at those students’ test scores. They found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher reading scores than other students. These students were less affected by the “summer slide” — the decline that especially afflicts lower-income students during the vacation months. In fact, just having those 12 books seemed to have as much positive effect as attending summer school.

Full piece

Unaccelerated Reading

Recent news articles focusing on the "slow reading" concept suggest that more deliberative and methodical textual reading creates deeper engagement and understanding of information. This raises a number of questions about digitial reading styles, and the wisdom of engaging children with literacy skills based on a consumption and reward model:

http://library.blogs.delaware.gov/2010/06/20/unaccelerated-reading/

To access the subscription content, readers may use the guest login and password twitteruser3/tweet

The End of Braille?

Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million legally blind Americans now read Braille, down from around half in the 1950s. Reporter Rachel Aviv wrote about the dying language earlier this year in The New York Times Magazine.

Read transcript or listen to full story here. (You can also download a MP3 of story)

Does poetry matter?

There is a blog entry at the Paper Cuts book blog titled Does Poetry Matter? The blog post reminded me of the poet in this "Tom the Dancing Bug" comic.

Laura Numeroff (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...) Talks About Her First Library Card

In “Readers Reflect” author Numeroff reflects on receiving her first library card (photo of the author below).

I remember getting my first library card, not believing that there were so many books to choose from that I could bring home , read tall of them, bring them back and then takc out more again! Unfortunately, this was in the 60s and the library I went to only let you take out six at a time! I very quickly became a voracious. Some of my favorites were anything by Beverly Cleary, Lois Lenski, and, Marguerite Henry. But, the two books that made the biggest impact were STUART LITTLE, and, ELOISE!

The stories excited me so much that I tried to write my own book. The first one was about a horse called Trixie who went shopping in Macy’s. When I was 9, I KNEW I was going to be a children’s book writer, but didn’t think about paying rent! After I graduated from Pratt Insitute in Brooklyn, NY, I went to San Francisco for two weeks and stayed for seven years! In that time, I registered with a temp agency, got MediCal, got fired from a myriad of part time jobs, and, managed to write and illustrate nine books. I got $500,oo for my first advance!

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