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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.
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:
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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)
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!
Rose Zertuche-Treviño, a librarian who devoted her career to helping improve the lives of children, died on April 30 in Houston, TX. She was 58 reports SLJ.
Treviño spent her last seven years as the youth services coordinator for the Houston Public Library, a system that serves one of the biggest Spanish-speaking populations in the country. She retired in October 2009 and moved back to San Antonio, where she was born and raised.
“How fitting that Rose died on April 30th, El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day),” says her friend and colleague Oralia Garza de Cortes, a Latino children's literature consultant. “She loved her work and devoted her life to making sure all children had access to great literature and particularly to programs where children could enjoy and connect to the literature.”
The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Treviño grew up poor. Her father worked in a cotton field as a child and went on to hold two jobs to support his family, while his wife worked four jobs. Treviño’s first language was Spanish and only learned to speak English when she entered kindergarten. It was also that year that her mother first took her to a public library—and the five-year-old decided on her career path. “Not everyone figures out what they want to be at such a young age,” says her son Steven Treviño, 33. “And she got to do more than she thought she would ever do.”
Operation Teen Book Drop: getting 10,000 books into the hands of native American teens. Nationwide, librarians, over 100 YA authors, YA lit lovers, and teens will drop YA books in their own communities on April 15th, 2010, to raise awareness for Operation TBD 2010 and Support Teen Literature Day. They will participate further by purchasing books from the TBD Powell's Wish Lists during National Library Week.
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.
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)
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."