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From The New York Times:
Patricia Ann Kettles did not read her first book until she was 10. She knows what it is to struggle with the very act of reading, trying to make sense of words on a page long past an age when other children can polish off a thick Harry Potter or Twilight novel as quickly as a wedge of cake.
Now 40, at the library on Staten Island where she presides and where patrons know her fondly as “Miss Patty,” she talked recently about what it was like to be illiterate while others around her were devouring entire worlds.
“The family’s name for me is Patty Ann, and for the longest time when I wrote the name ‘Patricia,’ I thought I was writing ‘Patty Ann’ because I had memorized it,” she said. “I didn’t realize I was not writing my right name.”
Forced to repeat first grade and twice made to switch schools, she was so lost that she was in fourth grade before she conquered an entire book. “That was ‘Dear Mr. Henshaw,’ by Beverly Cleary,” Ms. Kettles said. “I remember, because I was so proud.”
Today she is the manager of the Port Richmond Library, which operates out of a stately brick edifice that Andrew Carnegie’s largess built a century ago on “one of the finest residence streets on Staten Island,” as the area was described in The Staten Islander of March 1905. There is a theater in the basement bestowed upon the library 74 years ago by the Work Projects Administration.
Who could refuse? Workman Publishing, via Early Word is offering a FREE COPY of a new book by Chip Kidd, GO, an introduction to graphic design for kids, but also a wonderful primer for adults. Be one of the first 50 librarians or instructors to respond!
Yes and no, according to your perspective.
City Limits, a NYC blog reports that earlier this summer, the Department of Education requested a variance from the state, asking official permission to offer fewer librarians in schools. While the DOE says it recognizes librarians' value, in the face of fiscal challenges and technological changes the department is looking for alternative ways to provide students with library services. In place of hiring certified librarians, schools could train teachers to offer the same services, bring in parent volunteers or have librarians circulate between schools.
Meanwhile, elementary schools are exempt from the regulation altogether. Some elementary school libraries are staffed by teachers or librarians without certification. Some even go without.
And from the librarians' POV: "The idea that a shelf full of a books somehow replaces a librarian is wrong," says Christian Zabriskie, Executive Director of Urban Librarians Unite, a professional group that supports librarianship in urban settings. "If I'm exploring things about, say, my sexuality, drug issues, health issues, I can't grab those books in front of my peers," he adds. Zabriskie's own middle school librarian had a significant impact on his life by supporting him when he was being bullied and teaching him how to stand up for others.
Via Gawker a librarian who is sick to death of the same kid always having read the greatest number of books at the summer reading program.
Nine-year old Tyler Weaver calls himself “the king of the reading club” at Hudson Falls Public Library. But now it seems Hudson Falls (NY) Public Library Director Marie Gandron wants to end his five-year reign and have him dethroned. Tyler won the six-week-long “Dig into Reading” event by completing 63 books from June 24 to Aug. 3, averaging more than 10 a week.
He has consistently been the top reader since kindergarten, devouring a total of 373 books over the five contests, according to his mother, Katie.
“It feels great,” said Tyler, an intermediate scholar student at Hudson Falls School. “I think that was actually a record-breaking streak.”
Everyone is so proud of him. Everybody, it seems, but Gandron, who was surprised to learn Katie (his mom) notified a Post-Star reporter about her son being a longtime winner. During a phone call Tuesday to Gandron, the library director said Tyler “hogs” the contest every year and he should “step aside.” “Other kids quit because they can’t keep up,” Gandron said.
Gandron further told the reporter she planned to change the rules of the contest so that instead of giving prizes to the children who read the most books, she would draw names out of a hat and declare winners that way. She said she can’t now because Katie has come forward to the newspaper.
Gandron said she has an “attitude” about the contest because several years ago a little girl came in claiming she had read more than 200 books. Her mother backed her up, but it was discovered the girl was lying.
The great green room and the purple crayon are here; so are the wild things and the poky puppy, Charlotte’s web and Alice’s wonderland, the very hungry caterpillar and the stinky cheese man. It is a reunion of creatures, characters and creations, gathered from memories of childhood and parenthood, and celebrated in “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter,” a remarkably rich new exhibition at the New York Public Library.
David Javsicas, a popular seventh-grade reading teacher known for urging students to act out dialogue in the books they read in class, sometimes feels wistful for the days when he taught math.
A quiz, he recalls, could quickly determine which concepts students had not yet learned. Then, “you teach the kids how to do it, and within a week or two you can usually fix it,” he said.
Helping students to puzzle through different narrative perspectives or subtext or character motivation, though, can be much more challenging. “It could take months to see if what I’m teaching is effective,” he said.
Educators, policy makers and business leaders often fret about the state of math education, particularly in comparison with other countries. But reading comprehension may be a larger stumbling block.
Interesting story from Rutgers University about an academic librarian who is pursuing a study of what happens to children in popular YouTube videos after their fifteen minutes/seconds of fame have ended.
Child-centric viral videos are turning young stars into internet sensations, but a Rutgers–Camden researcher warns against exploiting the children by cashing in on the fame.
“We just don’t know what kinds of affect this internet fame will have on these children in the future,” says Katie Elson Anderson, a librarian at the Paul Robeson Library on the Rutgers–Camden campus.
Anderson has examined the implications of the YouTube videos for her essay, “Configuring Childhood on the Web,” which is featured as a chapter in the book Portrayals of Children in Popular Culture: Fleeting Images (Lexington Books, 2012).
“Viral videos starring children have become a real phenomenon,” Anderson says. “David After Dentist,” the video in which a father taped his young son dealing with the effects of anesthesia, has been viewed more than 117 million times. “Charlie Bit My Finger,” in which a baby boy bites his big brother, has been seen more than 511 million times.
“I think the early videos — the ones with Charlie and David, for example — were organic,” Anderson says. “People didn’t really know that these videos could become viral. They just posted videos for family. Now, it seems that people are posting videos because they are seeing the fame that can result from it. There’s actually money to be made.”
After a successful pilot program, McDonald's has pledged to distribute 15 million books in England over the next two years. In its Happy Meals. Instead of toys.
As a book blog, of course, we're all for this kind of thing. Give books away! Equate them with toys! Maybe even convince kids that books are toys!
But will the kids buy it?
Their parents might. The Guardian reports, "Alistair Macrow, McDonald's vice president, said that feedback about its book giveaway pilot had been 'overwhelmingly positive,' and that 9 out of 10 parents wanted to see more book promotions from the fast-food chain." Officials hope to make a positive contribution to promoting literacy in the country.