Dolly Parton Takes Her Imagination Library Program to the U.K.

Bromley Central Library staffer Ian Dodds has been personally picked by the one and only Dolly Parton as one of four children's literature selectors for the UK division of her Imagination Library.

The Bromley Times reports: Mr. Dodds said the star spoke very movingly to the audience in the O2 Arena in South-Easton London about her father, telling them he was the most intelligent man she knew but that he had never learnt to read.

He said: "She told us she decided when she had money that's what she wanted to do with it, make reading accessible for all. I am very passionate about that and have spent my whole career promoting the joys of reading. "I'm not sure people are aware of just how much she has done for literacy in the USA but her scheme is in 40 States and that's quite amazing" said Dodds.

Reading Sets You Free

Karen Schneider on why we’re passionate about “kids” learning & reading:

Reading — deeply, truly reading — is a wonderfully subversive act, one that undermines everything we are told about learning in this society. The world tells us that learning happens in boxes approved by government (school) and business (the commercial world). We are plopped in chairs for twelve or sixteen years and told how to think, and during that time and for the rest of our lives we are bathed in messages designed to shape our thoughts and actions.

Are You a Productive Reader?

Are You a Productive Reader? Here's a good list of tips about reading productively:

Pay attention to structure.
Google it.
Use an index card as your bookmark.
Accept defeat.


Teachers 'not reading children's books'

Research into teachers' reading habits by the Centre for Literacy and Primary Education (CLPE) has found that many do not regularly read children's literature, and tend to choose books from a narrow band of authors.

The research was undertaken as part of the Power of Reading programme, which was launched by the CLPE in 2005 to increase children's and teachers' enjoyment of reading. The schools questioned for the research were among 300 that have been involved in the Power of Reading project.

From 'Love Kitten' to child literacy

At age 19, Yohannes Gebregeorgis borrowed a soft-cover romance novel entitled "Love Kitten" that changed his life forever. Born in rural Ethiopia to an illiterate cattle merchant who insisted upon his son's education, Gebregeorgis had seen a few books in school. But it was the experience of having a book of his own that sparked a lifelong commitment.

Today, at 56, Gebregeorgis is establishing libraries and literacy programs to connect Ethiopian children with books.

Retired from Maytag, He Learned to Read at 61

It's never too late.

This article from the Southern Illinoisian tells the inspiring story of Jerry Mezo who learned to read at age 61.

Mezo was one of ten honored in Springfield a Spotlight on Achievement award from Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and David Bennett, executive director of the Illinois Press Association.

The door to literacy opened late for Herrin resident Mezo; crossing that threshold, the impossible suddenly became so very possible. "When you can't read, you have to depend on everybody else. I was lucky to have gotten on at Maytag when I did because if I had to try to get a job like that now, I wouldn't make it. I couldn't fill out an application, couldn't take the tests. I was always afraid I would get caught," Mezo said. "But now that I can read, I've finally got some independence. I've got confidence that I never had. My life is a lot better. I don't have to hide anymore."


Hawaii Library Reinforces Time To Read With Your Children

Even in this island paradise, it's important to make time for reading...and turn off the TV sometimes.

More than 250 parents and children crowded into Kualapu’u Elementary School’s cafeteria to participate in the final session of the Read Aloud Program (RAP) on Thursday. Jed Gaines, founder of Read Aloud America in Hawaii, hosted the event. This is RAP’s second year on Molokai; the program consisted of six sessions and has helped to improve the quality of family life in the community.

Claudette Ka’ahanui regularly attended RAP and said her children have started reading much more. “It’s unbelievable what this program has done for my kids,” she said.

Ka’ahanui said RAP has encouraged her to read to her children. “I never did,” she said, adding she often found herself too busy with work. “This has really brought me to realize that I need to make time. You have to fit it into your schedule, whether you’re working or not. It’s only to benefit the kids,” she said.

Another parent, Amethyst Tuisamatatele, brings seven of her children to RAP sessions. Tuisamatatele said she hardly went to the library, but because of RAP, she now pays a visit at least once a week. She said a big change in her family is the recent restriction of the television, which has resulted in her children finding more productive activities to participate in.

Community libraries enhancing democracy in Malawi

“Nice believe that by introducing citizens to the basic rules and institutional features of a democratic political system, through democratic managed community libraries, helps in building the people’s trust in the system.

“The community must democratically elect people who will oversee the library, and then they should come with a constitution which will regulate the operation of the library. If all these seemingly small things are properly followed, democracy becomes institutionalised at the grassroots,” says Chikafutwa.

Digital Transition Looms, but Do Americans Have a Right to TV?

Digital Transition Looms, but Do Americans Have a Right to TV?

The huge information campaign and an incentive program are casting American taxpayers up to $1.5 billion. And it's illuminating to put the government's $1.5 billion allocation in perspective. Consider: The proposed 2009 federal budget for adult basic and literacy education is $574.6 million. The Rural Development program has approved 85 loans totaling $1.68 billion since 2002 to help fund broadband infrastructure rollout in underserved areas. Is nationwide availability of speedy Wikipedia queries as important as delivering Ryan Seacrest digitally to your living room?

See Also: IMLS Budgets [PDF]

Messaging shorthand seeps into formal usage

OMG! WTH r kidz riting 2day?

Are you finding students utilizing text-message shorthand to express themselves in classwork and other communications? It's a trend so it seems.

While students are more likely to forgo text-messaging slang and acronyms in school assignments, they often will forget to maintain a level of academic formality when communicating with their teachers via e-mail, dropping punctuation and using acronyms.

“You’d think they would think ‘Oh, I’m writing my English teacher,’ but they use acronyms and forget punctuation and capitalization,” but that's not the case. Many teachers will forgive the informality in e-mails, because it’s a practice they themselves have grown accustomed to.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington recently expressed concern about what he called the “slow destruction of the basic unit of human thought, the sentence.” Mr. Billington said he fears the disjointed prose of text messaging and chat-room discourse has damaged young Americans’ ability to write clearly. Chattanooga Free Times has the scoop.

Bush's Report Card on Reading...Inefficient At Best

President Bush’s $1 billion a year initiative to teach reading to low-income children has not helped improve their reading comprehension, according to a Department of Education report released on Thursday and reported in today's NY Times.

The program, known as Reading First drew on some of Mr. Bush’s educational experiences as Texas governor (?!), and at his insistence Congress included it in the federal No Child Left Behind legislation that passed by bipartisan majorities in 2001. It has been a subject of dispute almost ever since, however, with the Bush administration and some state officials characterizing the program as beneficial for young students, and Congressional Democrats and federal investigators criticizing conflict of interest among its top advisers.


The rise of Literature?

Here's the argument: contemporary mainstream fiction is very different from the storytelling of the deep past because of a demand side shift. Women consume most fiction today, and their tastes differ, on average, from those of men. How do they differ? To be short about it men are into plot, while women are into character. This means that modern literary fiction emphasizes psychological complexity, subtly and finesse. In contrast, male-oriented action adventure or science fiction exhibits a tendency toward flat monochromatic characters and a reliance on interesting events and twists.

An A-level in Harry Potter: Experts fear ‘dumbing down’ as book becomes set text

Good News For Harry Fans: Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone is being offered as a 'set text' by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), the UK's largest exam board, which is responsible for nearly half of the country's exams. But horrified education experts fear Harry will rob the A-level of credibility.

Writing, Technology and Teens

From a new report from The Pew & The Internet American Life Project: Writing, Technology and Teens: Teens write a lot, but they do not think of their emails, instant and text messages as writing. This disconnect matters because teens believe good writing is an essential skill for success and that more writing instruction at school would help them.

Information alert

A recent survey shows many students from the so-called 'Google generation' lack the basic skills needed for online research, Wendy Wallace Says Many libaries have assumedyoung students have learned to use the internet for research simply by virtue of their age. But while many are proficient with Facebook and Wikipedia, they may not be information- literate. Many lack the skills to differentiate between authoritative information and amateur blogging.

Men - in general - are not ones for the books

"If I had to make a huge, sweeping, overgeneralized statement, guys probably read less - and less fiction - than women," says Jeff Garigliano, a senior editor at Portfolio magazine and the author of Dogface, a "guy" book about a punishing summer camp for kids who've been bad.

The reason men read less, Garigliano says, is that they think they should have outgrown the notion of make-believe, so they can't find as much enjoyment in fiction. When they do read, they tend to go for nonfiction and biographies. Just the facts, sir.

Where does the divide begin? And when?

Bush Mother & Daughter Discuss their New Book...Tune In Tomorrow on Today

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show, First Lady Laura Bush will act as guest host during the 9 am hour, participating in several segments, offering a tour of the Bush Family ranch in Crawford, Tex.,--and, with her daughter Jenna, discussing their new children's book, Read All About It! (HarperCollins, $17.99). Wonder if the shows ratings will go up...or down?


Clarion University Students Spread the Joy of Reading

From the University newsletter, a story about Clarion students in a new program working with literacy students on reading skills.

Volunteers from Education 414: Literacy Training, taught by Dr. Kathleen Murphy, assistant professor of education, are paired with Literacy Council clients through an arrangement with the Clarion University Center for Teaching Excellence. Murphy is in her second semester of working with the project instituted by Dr. Brian Maguire, associate professor of education.

The agreement calls for 30 Clarion University students to participate, 15 each semester. They receive three college credits for a 50-hour commitment. The Literacy Council matches them with an adult learner, who they will work with over a 15-week period, providing tutoring either at the Clarion University’s Carlson Library or the Clarion Free Library and even some at the Clarion County jail. The Literacy Council provides books and supplies.

“This helps the college students in their teacher training through this service learning option,” said Tucker. “They get experience before they do their student teaching. On the other hand, it gives the non-traditional adult a way to get an education in a personalized situation, not in a normal classroom setting.”


For the orthographically irked and grammatically grouchy amoung us . . .

From an article posted at (no partisan politics involved in this one): <blockquote><a href="">America, Corrected: Typo Vigilantes Check Spelling Coast to Coast</a> <p>For centuries, travelers have crossed America to explore it, conquer it, settle it, exploit it and study it. Now, a small but righteous crew are traversing America in order to edit it.

A Habit that Must not Die

The habit of reading to gain knowledge is dying fast but some librarians are determined to save it, News Watch Nigeria takes a look at the state of reading in Nigeria. On the reading habit of the average Nigerian student, Nwosu said many students are generally concerned how to pass their exams, rather than seek to acquire knowledge over a period of time. "Exam, the issue of how to pass it, is the pre-occupation of many students these days. But the truth is that you do not only need to read to pass, you also need to expand your view and broaden your knowledge base," he said.


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