Swaziland Govt Blows the Dust Off the Covers in Libraries

Anonymous Patron writes " Has This Report on the Swazi government's efforts to increase literacy. They just announced new measures to revive school and public libraries, with improved training for teachers and librarians. The education ministry estimates that 70 percent of Swazis are literate, but the degree of literacy is under debate. The high number of secondary school students who failed English in recent exams was attributed to poor reading skills: three-quarters of students failing Standard 5 exams could not pass the English test."


Dolly's book-a-month program for kids expands in Tennessee - Thursday, 02/10/05

Anonymous Patron writes "Imagination Library, a national literacy program that provides free books to kids, was started nearly a decade ago by country music star Dolly Parton as a way to provide 60 children's books —at the pace of one a month — for every newborn in her native Sevier County.
The Tennessean has this article,
Dolly's book-a-month program for kids expands in Tennessee - Thursday, 02/10/05, as well as Program Details, and A Startup checklist Are they leaving libraries out in the cold?"


New York State Library's Statewide Summer Reading Program License Plates

Anonymous Patron writes "New York State Library's Statewide Summer Reading Program has 2 new license plates to benefit the Summer Reading Program. They decided to pass on the @ Your Library them and went with "Love Your Library" and "Read-Learn-Explore"
Sadly, LISNews logos were also overlooked."


Booktrust to expand 'Books for Babies' scheme

The Guardian Reports on Booktrust, the charity responsible for a raft of national reading programmes and literary prizes, including the National Children's Book Week, the Children's Laureate, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Nestle Smarties Book Prize, today outlined its intention to expand its Bookstart 'Books for Babies' scheme over the coming year.


The Classics and the Working Class

Rob Lopresti writes "Everyone knows that uneducated bluecollar workers have no use for Shakespeare, the Iliad, or poetry. But is everyone right? Jonathan Rose argues, with plenty of evidence, that miners, mill workers, and servants have always had a fondness for such stuff. The most fascinating part of the article is the patronizing words of Marxists and the like who decided that the classics were bad for the workers. Full Story"


Impact of Computer Use on Reading Achievement of 15-year-olds? Depends!

The Canadian Department of Human Resources and Skills Development recently issued a report called Impact of Computer Use on Reading Achievement of 15-year-olds. The study seemed to find that using computers at home helped reading, but using computers in libraries might hurt:

"Multivariate analysis indicated that over and above family and individual characteristics,
only a few ICT variables obtained significant correlations with PISA reading scores. Home computer access was positively related with reading skills, but on the other hand, using computers often in libraries was negatively related. However, since 88% of 15-year olds had computers at home, the number of students relying exclusively on access in libraries is likely to be small."


Schools to blame for children who hate books

Anonymous Patron writes "This is London has one with a catchy title: Schools to blame for children who hate books They say The "unacceptable" failure of many schools to teach children to read properly is laid bare today in a damning report from education watchdog Ofsted.

Other reports on the study from The BBC and
The Ofsted report recommends that head teachers need to take a stronger lead on reading lessons, and teachers should have higher expectations of their children. They should also have firmer strategies to identify children's learning difficulties."


Quiz: Spelling is not child's play

Bob writes "I thought I was a fairly good speller, but evidently not. But who's checking the BBC:

Quiz: Spelling is not child's play. BBC One's Hard Spell, in which children compete to see whose spelling is best, may have reminded many people of their school days.



Hamlet' Too Hard? Try a Comic Book

The Christian Science Monitor brings us a story on another approach to get kids to read...the comic book.

Getting reluctant adolescents to read - anything - can be a boon to their discovery of the joy of reading, says Marilyn Reynolds, author of "I Won't Read and You Can't Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers." But other experts, such as Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University, says ""Once kids know how to read, there is no good reason to continue to use dumbed-down materials."

Proponents of the "let them read anything" theory suggest that reading comics and graphic novels is in fact reading , something that these kids might not otherwise do, and that it could be a bridge to more complex material.


TX License Plate Libraries Promotion

JET writes "You can show your support of Texas public libraries wherever you drive!

Show your support of public libraries by purchasing the Texas Reads specialty license plate. The proceeds of the sale of this plate fund grants for reading programs in Texas public libraries.

Illiteracy is still a major problem in Texas. Texas libraries, along with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is fighting illiteracy through outreach, tutoring, ESL and GED courses, and other programs that reach the entire community. Help our libraries do even more to improve literacy and to spread the joy of reading among Texans. When you buy a Texas Reads license plate, $22 of the $30 fee goes into the Texas Reads account. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission then makes grants available to public libraries for the purpose of implementing reading programs.

Just like regular or other specialty license plates for cars or light trucks, the Texas Reads plates are purchased from each county's tax assessor-collector. Expect your new plates to arrive at the county tax office in about two weeks. It's easy!

Public libraries are invited to apply for a Texas Reads grant. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission will award $15,000 this year."

Daniel adds: "Sounds innovative, but I hope it augments funding instead of displacing funding. Now if people would just read traffic signs."

L.A. Addresses Low Literacy in a Multicultural County sends a "link to this Los Angeles Times article which talks about how half the working age residents of Los Angeles struggle with basic reading and writing

Some two million residents are unable to read a map, which puts them at the lowest end of the literacy scale. Another 1.5 million are unable to write a letter to complain to their local utility about a billing error.

Sometimes LISNews contributor Michael McGrorty responded with a letter to the editor (registration required) giving props to libraries.


Jail/Library Partnerships Keeps Inmate Moms in Touch

This Washington Post story tells about "Read Me a Story," a project between the Arlington library and the county jail which helps inmate moms keep in better touch with their children by recording stories for them. Several community organizations and a grant help keep the program going.

Often, recording is stopped midway when the mother becomes emotional. "I cried on my second tape," Thomas said. She said her younger son started potty training when she began her jail sentence. The second book she taped for him was about potty training.

As I Live And Read

Fang-Face writes "There's an interesting piece entitled
As I Live And Read, by Michael Dirda, of the Washington Post, in which he looks at the state of reading and literature. In the U.S., but I imagine that it holds for every technologized culture. A longish plaint about the abysmal quality of what passes for "literature" in this day and age. Well worth the read, although it has the standard complaints about the impact of the internet."


America's most literate cities: The Reports Continue

The "America's Most Literate Cities," continue to work their way through the local press around the country. Cities like Memphis, Cincinati, Columbus and Rochester, all did well, The Mad City and Minneapolis are happy.

and at least Tucson is better than Phoenix, but El Paso Ranked Last. El Pasoans explain their rank in the reading study with some good reasons. The language, economic and social barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Many cities with large populations of immigrants and non-native English speakers ranked in the bottom quarter of America's Most Literate Cities study. Eighteen of the bottom 20 cities were in California, Arizona, Florida and Texas."If you look at the top 20 cities, there's no real pattern," Miller said, but he said that the bottom 20 cities are clearly more minority -- and that education levels, native languages and economic conditions in those cities probably play bigger roles.The Study also ranked Public Libraries, putting Akron at #1, followed by Kansas City, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and my old home, Columbus.


El Paso (TX) Least Literate City

For the second year in a row, El Paso (TX) ended up near the bottom of a list ranking literarcy in 79 of the largest cities in the US. Twenty-two variables including education, newspaper circulation rates; library resources; magazine and journal publishers; and other public documents. While Mayor Joe Wardy questioned the accuracy of the study, given El Paso's border status, he acknowleged that the city need to work on literarcy.

Carol Brey-Casiano, director of the El Paso Public Library and President of the American Library Association also commented:

"As a community, we have to make the commitment that we're going to continue to support libraries," Brey-Casiano said. "We're probably one of the number one tools you have in your tool kit to address these literacy issues."

More from the El Paso Times.


America's Most Literate Cities study

It's that time of year again, time to Rank America's Most Literate Cities. Minnesota's largest city and the Tex-Mex border town are at opposite ends of the spectrum in the study, which examines the extent to which residents of the nation's 79 largest cities behave in literate ways -- such as buying newspapers and books or borrowing library materials.

Indianapolis falls in the top half, ranking 27th overall; Fort Wayne placed 45th.

The country's largest cities appear well into the bottom half of the rankings: New York is 49, Chicago, 58, and Los Angeles, 68. Coverage all over the place.

Most literate cities
1. Minneapolis
2. Seattle
3. Pittsburgh
4. Madison, Wis.
5. Cincinnati
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Denver
8. Boston
9. Portland, Ore.
10. San Francisco


Literary 'crisis' a matter of quality, not quantity

The real literacy crisis has less to do with the number of people reading than with the narrowing range of books that Americans actually read. According to the report, all of ``one in six people reads 12 or more books in a year.'' Half the population never looks at any fiction, poetry or plays. This is, obviously, just pathetic. And what the NEA report fails to say is that most of those people have chosen the very same 12 books, starting with ``The Da Vinci Code,'' followed by a) the latest movie tie-in, and b) whatever Oprah Winfrey has recommended lately.

Read this interesting opinion at The Register-Guard.

100 Most Often Mispelled Words In English

JB writes " you happen to catch the misspelling of MISSPELLED in the title? It is one of the words on the list.LIBRARY makes the cut, too. (Do you cringe as I do when people say LIBERRY?)"Dr. Language has provided a one-stop cure for all your spelling ills. Here are the 100 words most often misspelled ('misspell' is one of them). Each word has a mnemonic pill with it and, if you swallow it, it will help you to remember how to spell the word. Master the orthography of the words on this page and reduce the time you spend searching dictionaries by 50%.""


Detroit parents are paid to teach their kids to read

The Detroit Free Press reports on an experimental program designed to improve reading readiness in disadvantaged inner-city preschoolers. Parents are paid in cash for their involvement, to the tune of $10 per hour.


One City, One Book and voting.

Omaha, Nebraska is starting a One City, One Book program called, Omaha Reads. The library nominating committee narrowed public nominations down to six finalists. The people of Omaha are being asked to vote for the final selection via a ballot that was in the newspaper or on the website. Has anyone heard of another city that actually had people vote for the final book in one of these programs?



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