Reading is For...and To...The Dogs

What do you get when you bring children, dogs and books together? You get happy, confident children who love reading books.

The Beaverton Valley Times paints this cozy picture for its readers: If you've spent much time in the Beaverton Library in recent years, you may have noticed children huddled comfortably in small-sized chairs reading aloud to fluffy dogs resting nicely on the floor.

Eager to sit at the feet of these youngest of readers, the lucky dogs completed a rigorous screening and training with their handlers (owners) in order to earn this privilege. The kids doing the reading need only to sign up and choose a text they are able to read independently, and make sure they show up on time to read to the dogs. This program was coordinated by children's librarian Ginny Watt.

Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on

About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

And if you've got a problem, don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby). "People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they're not really sure what they are for," said Angus Stevenson, editor of the Shorter OED, the sixth edition of which was published this week.


How judging a book by its girlie cover is putting boys off reading

How judging a book by its 'girlie' cover is putting boys off reading: Attempts by parents and teachers to persuade boys to read more are being undermined by publishers whose insistence on using lurid "Barbie" pink covers on books is turning away young male readers in their droves.


The Nation's Report Card is Out, Please Sign & Return it to Washington DC

National Assessment of Educational Progress results, or what is known as "the Nation's Report Card" came out today, and the results were...mixed. Math scores were up, but reading scores were marginally better, and worse in some grade categories.

Of "No Child Left Behind" and the results of the NAEP finding, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who as chairman of the Senate education committee helped the Bush Administration pass the law in 2001, called the results "encouraging," but said they would have been better "if President Bush had invested in school reform instead of investing in a failed war in Iraq."

The American Federation of Teachers congratulated its members for the improvements in math and in fourth-grade reading, but noted that "many scores were rising faster before No Child Left Behind was enacted." Fair Test, a nationwide anti-testing group, made a similar argument. The New York Times reports.

Coming to a School Near You? Meet Billie Book

I might be tempted to run if this guy came to my school, but...

Meet the large and light green Billie Book, a.k.a. Bob Miller (wonder why he's not Bobby Book?)who recently visited Hayes Elementary School in Marion, Ohio. He's one of several characters offered by Millrow Educational Characters of Columbus; his job was to encourage kindergartners and first- through third-graders to visit the school library and develop a joy of reading.

Writing your First Scholarly Article: A Guide for Budding Authors in Librarianship

A Guide for Budding Authors in Librarianship, by Scott Nicholson, Assistant Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies

This series of questions and answers is designed to help you take the first steps toward the successful production of a scholarly article in librarianship. You may find yourself in a library position that requires writing or you may have just decided that you are ready to share your findings, experiences, and knowledge with the current and future generations of librarians. While following the guidelines listed here will not guarantee that you will be successful, these steps will take you closer to discovering the thrill of seeing your name in print and making a difference in the field.


Why Women Read More Than Men

Story on NPR: A couple of years ago, British author Ian McEwan conducted an admittedly unscientific experiment. He and his son waded into the lunch-time crowds at a London park and began handing out free books. Within a few minutes, they had given away 30 novels.

Nearly all of the takers were women, who were "eager and grateful" for the freebies while the men "frowned in suspicion, or distaste." The inevitable conclusion, wrote McEwan in The Guardian newspaper: "When women stop reading, the novel will be dead." Article continued here.


Librarians Respond To AP Poll Findings That Americans Don't Read Enough Books

One out of every four adult Americans did not read a book last year, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press and Ipsos.

Pennsylvania librarians respond: "I was disgusted by that" said Jeanne Williamson, library director at the Milton Public Library. The article really upset me."

Peggy Stockdale of New Columbia said "I think they're missing out on a great joy. You're never bored if you read. You can go places where you otherwise can't, and you learn."

Melanie Weber, head of adult services at the Public Library for Union County in Lewisburg, said not only is reading for enjoyment or in-depth informational purposes but it's also a great model for young people. Adults who read have kids who read. Story from Standard-Journal,.


$1 Million Given to Literacy Group

Random House, Inc., announced Monday that it was donating $1 million to First Book, a nonprofit organization that has given millions of books to needy children since its founding in 1992.

"As publishing professionals who spend our days surrounded by and immersed in books, it is difficult to imagine a world without them," Random House chairman Peter Olson said in a statement.

Are Books Becoming Obsolete?

Over at The Huffington Post Carol Hoenig says there are many reasons why people don't read as they once did. The major reason is that there is a feast for the eyes without the need for settling down and focusing on the written word.


Computers Are a Path to the New Literacy for Poor

A century ago it was saws and sewing machines, now it's computers, but teaching low-income people to improve their lot through technology is a constant at Erie Neighborhood House on Chicago's Near West Side.

With 60 computers online, and classes running nights and Saturdays, the long-established social service agency is on the front line fighting to close the digital divide that separates poor and minority families from the middle class.

GAMING is a big part of the process. Gaming teaches how to evaluate information," said Jenny Levine, Internet specialist for the American Library Association. "It teaches how to handle large sets of data, filter results, navigate information. You take in a lot of real-time information, process it and strategize. These are the same skills that businesses need."

Many games are commercial entertainment products, said Levine, but some are produced specifically to enhance information skills.

"At Arizona State University, librarians created a game where the campus is under quarantine with a virus, and you have 30 minutes to get the information you need to save your friend's life," said Levine.
While librarians are comfortable learning by reading text, said Levine, they recognize that most young people learn more through experiences than they do by reading. Chicago Trib has the story.

It's Not Whether You Win or Lose, but How You Play the Game: The Role of Virtual Worlds in Education

An Annotated Bibliography by Sharon Stoerger It's Not Whether You Win or Lose, but How You Play the Game: The Role of Virtual Worlds in Education: The articles that are summarized in this bibliography examine a wide variety of topics including immersion, creation (versus memorization), and game innovation, as well as Csikszentmihalyi's (e.g., 1993) concept of flow. Many of the authors take a constructivist rather than an instructivist approach to the topic and draw from the work of scholars, such as Piaget and Vygotsky. One theme that is repeated throughout many of these articles is the lack of empirical research and the reliance on anecdotal evidence that suggests conceptual learning. While the focus of the articles included in this collection is primarily on the positive aspects of educational gaming, references to concerns, such as violence, bias against girls, and game addiction are included, as well. In general, this annotated bibliography is an attempt to pull together and examine a corpus of the available literature on the topic of virtual worlds in educational settings. It is by no means an exhaustive list of resources; rather, it includes some of the more commonly cited sources related to the use of this type of technology for the purpose of teaching and learning.

Some Indian Police at a loss without books

News Out Of India: While the city police is flooded with complaints of cybercrimes and economic offences, cops are finding it hard to cope.
The reason is that the city police have little knowledge about the advancements in technology and the methods being used by the hackers because most of them do not even have access to computers.
To compound the problems books in the library of the city police are outdated as well as inadequate and no step has yet been taken to educate them about white collar crimes, by supplying them with the latest books or setting up a modern digital library with online facilities.

Authors Share the Books that Got Them Hooked on Reading

From First Book, via Publishers Weekly here's a listing of authors favorite children's books--the books that got them hooked on reading.

Many of us remember the one book that we wanted to read over and over again; the book that really stirred our imaginations and left us wanting just one more chapter before bedtime, said First Book president, Kyle Zimmer. "The fact that there are millions of children in our own country that will grow up without these kinds of memories because they have no access to books is devastating. We are delighted that so many people shared their stories in order to help us shine the spotlight on this critical issue." The list includes a famous girl detective, a couple from Dr. Suess and the inimitable Harry Potter (must be a youthful author).

Has Harry Helped Young People Read? Yes and No

Here's a refrain from an earlier article, with a different spokesperson for The National Endowment for the Arts. Exploring the Harry Potter phenomenon, the NEA finds "that Rowling's wizardry hasn't changed youth reading habits much."

"Even in the era of Harry Potter, the research shows that the numbers of youth reading for pleasure still decrease considerably as they grow older," reports Inside Bay Area.

"Regardless of the Harry Potter phenomenon, these declines do exist," said Sunil Iyengar, director of research and analysis for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C.

The Harry Potter Effect

According to Heidi Benson of the San Francisco Chronicle, "Despite what has been dubbed the "Harry Potter Effect" -- which credits J.K. Rowling's blockbuster book series with turning Game Boy addicts into lifelong readers -- reading is in serious decline among teens nationwide, according to a forthcoming federal study."

"What we need is a Harry Potter every week," said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who oversaw the study.

The endowment's report on children's reading rates, the first of its kind, compiles results from more than 24 government agencies, including the Department of Education, the Census Bureau and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Word-of-the-Day: Anecdotage

Guest Wordsmith Fred Shapiro is a librarian and lecturer at the Yale Law School. He writes:

"My recently published book, The Yale Book of Quotations (Yale University Press), is intended to supplant Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as the most authoritative quotation dictionary. It is the first major quotation book to emphasize modern sources, including popular culture, children's literature, sports, computers, politics, and law.

The Yale Book of Quotations is also the first quotation book of any sort to use state-of-the-art research methods to comprehensively collect famous quotations and to trace quotations to their accurate origins. The Yale Book of Quotations includes hundreds of very famous and popular quotations omitted from other quotation dictionaries, and corrects the standard accounts of how many important quotations originated."

anecdotage (an-ik-DO-tij) noun

1. The telling of anecdotes.

2. Anecdotes collectively.

[From Greek anekdota (things unpublished), from an- (not) + ekdidonai (to publish). Originally applied by the Greek historian Procopius to his unpublished memoirs of the Emperor Justinian and his consort Theodora.]

(ed-beware this one)

3. Old age characterized by excessive telling of anecdotes.

[Humorous blend of anecdote and dotage, from dote (to be foolish).]

"When a man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to retire."
Benjamin Disraeli; Lothair; 1870; quoted in The Yale Book of Quotations.

'More reading' than in 1970s

People in the UK seem to have been reading more over the past quarter of a century, a study suggests. They analysed thousands of time-use diaries compiled for official census agencies in five countries in 1975 and again at the turn of the millennium.

One theory is books are ideal to fill gaps in people's schedules - and with busier lives there are more gaps.


School Principal Spends the Day Up On the Roof

Children (and teachers?)sometimes have a hard time thinking of their school principal as a regular human being, so you can imagine the joy incurred when Candy McCarthy, Principal of Washington Middle School in Salinas, CA spent the day on the school roof as a reward for her students surpassing a spending level at the school book fair. Salinas Californian (home of Steinbeck and the public library reprieved from closure a couple of years ago) has the story and photo of a grinning McCarthy.

"Burst" culture

madcow writes "Cory Doctorow's wonderful BoingBoing has a link to Warren Ellis take on "Burst" culture, ie microchunks of culture, data, information, short attention span, what was I just typing? oh yeah. Bursts.

"* I love print. I love magazines that commit and pay for long articles and long fiction. The web rewards neither approach. It's a packeted medium, a surf medium. Short bursts are the way to go. The web isn't a replacement medium — it's *another* medium. "

Ellis' take.
"* Bursts aren't contentless, nor do they denote the end of Attention Span. If attention span was dead, JK Rowling wouldn't be selling paperbacks thick enough to choke a pig, and Neal Stephenson wouldn't be making a living off books the size of the first bedsit I lived in.""



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