Literacy

Trouble for RIF

Changes in the way the federal government plans to allocate money to increase and improve literacy pose a severe threat to one of the country’s best-known nonprofit groups, Reading Is Fundamental.

Known commonly as RIF, the organization, which provides free books to needy children and has been promoted in memorable public service announcements by celebrities like Carol Burnett and Shaquille O’Neal, stands to lose all of its federal financing, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its annual revenues.

“We are looking at having to completely reinvent ourselves,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive of RIF, which has received an annual grant from the Department of Education for 34 years.

Story from the New York Times.

The iPad and the Toddler

In the video embedded above (via MediaBistro), a two-and-a-half year old girl gets her first experience with an iPad. The video gives us a glimpse of how the next generation of readers will read--reminding publishers that this generation will take interactivity for granted.

Here's more from Telstar Logistics' YouTube account: "A fascinating UI experiment. My daughter likes playing with my iPhone, but this was her very first encounter with an iPad. As you'll see, she took right to it... although she too wonders why it doesn't have a camera!"

What do you think? Anybody else sharing their iPads with kids? (Via Kim Werker)

Turning Green With Literacy

NY Times OP-Ed by Thomas Cahill on something else to celebrate every March 17th;

"Why should we celebrate the Irish? No doubt, several reasons could be proffered. But for me one answer stands out. Long, long ago the Irish pulled off a remarkable feat: They saved the books of the Western world and left them as gifts for all humanity."

Web Illiteracy: How Much Is Your Fault?

Web Illiteracy: How Much Is Your Fault?
These are ways of writing which bring about undesired consequences, and yet bloggers and other members of the technological elite use them all the time. Is this part of the new illiteracy? The funny thing about the patterns in these misunderstandings is that they predate the Web. Newspapers receive misdirected mail for celebrities. Scientists receive email from people who want help registering a patent. ...The Internet simply makes this kind of confusion more obvious to the rest of us.

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic




"It's been a long, hard road," says Michael Jernigan, USMC (Ret.) Severely wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, Jernigan is rebuilding his life by attending Georgetown University with the help of audio textbooks from RFB&D. This video has been awarded a 2008 Platinum Award by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. Jernigan was also recently featured in the acclaimed HBO documentary "Alive Day," hosted by James Gandolfini.

Boys prefer to read simpler books, survey suggests

Boys prefer to read simpler books, survey suggests
Boys choose to read less challenging books than girls and this gets more pronounced as they get older, according to a UK-wide survey of reading habits.

The study of 100,000 five to 16-year-olds found for most age groups the difficulty of books chosen by girls was "far ahead" of those chosen by boys.

Separated by Distance, But Reading Together with Readeo

Shelf Awareness children's editor Jennifer M. Brown is working with Readeo's CEO and founder Coby Neuenschwander to launch the new service, which promotes shared reading over the Internet.

Readeo (try it for free) allows two people who are separated geographically (such as a grandparent and grandchild or a military parent and his or her child) to share books together in real time while connected in a BookChat (in which they can see each other via a video connection). On the screen, they see the same digitized picture book and turn the pages together.

Readeo is launching with well-known titles from four publishing partners: Blue Apple Books, Candlewick Press, Chronicle Books, and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. In her role as editor on the site, Brown works with Readeo's publishing partners to select the titles she believes best enhance the read-aloud experience.

Behind the Wheel of a Bookmobile

From Book Patrol: It started innocently enough. Over dinner a friend mentioned that he saw a used bookmobile for sale on Craigslist and wished he could by it. That was all the impetus Tom Corwin needed.

He was soon off to suburban Chicago to buy the decommissioned bookmobile. He paid $7500 for it.

Corwin has already garnered the support of the National Book Foundation, the Association of American Publishers and the American Library Association for the project and has signed a deal with Whitewater Films in Los Angeles for the documentary which will be titled "Behind the Wheel of the Bookmobile." The film will also include information on the history of bookmobiles.

Authors that have already signed up in support include Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Junot Diaz, Tom Robbins and Scott Turow, with many of them to take a turn at the wheel...here they are.

Follow the tour on the website and on Twitter.

Library Signals Hope for Tamil Minority in Sri Lanka

Decades of civil strife have left their mark on Jaffna, the heartland of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. Bombed-out buildings are a reminder of the fierce battles waged over the historic city.

The most potent symbol of the struggle, and the uneasy peace since fighting ended last May, is Jaffna’s public library, which was torched in 1981 by an anti-Tamil mob. Nearly 100,000 books and manuscripts, including irreplaceable palm-leaf Tamil texts, went up in smoke. It was an act of cultural vandalism that fed the Tamil resistance movement.

Eventually the library was rebuilt by Sri Lanka’s government and reopened in 2003. It has plenty of new books in Tamil and English on its wooden shelves. But restoring the spirit of the library presents a far greater challenge, says the chief librarian, S. Thanabaalasinham.

C.S. Monitor has the full story.

Stitching for Literacy

I've spent a good part of the last day at the first annual Bookmark Collector's Virtual Convention BMCVC, where one of the presenters was Jen Funk Weber, who has created a program called Needle and ThREAD, Stitching for Literacy.
shown here
-a two-sided bookmark based on the old chicken/frog joke-

From her website: "In an effort to promote both literacy and needlework, Funk & Weber Designs is designing bookmarks. A minimum of 10% of profits from sales of Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy bookmark patterns will be donated to libraries, schools, and/or literacy programs." Sounds like a wonderful program to be shared in libraries.

Check out her Bookmark Challenge Kit.

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