Dolly Parton's Book Program Goes Statewide in TN

Entertainer Dolly Parton has succeeded where many legislators and politicos have not. Tennessee has finally granted sufficient funding for a state-wide program entitled the "Imagination Library", which will guarantee that every child in the state will receive one book a month from birth to age five, which has proven to be the most critical time for children to develop an interest in books.

Here's the story from the Tennessean.


Non-Fiction Reading Improves Test Scores

According to reading educators, students can improve their SOL (Standards of Learning) scores by increasing their non-fiction reading.
Story here from the The Virginian Pilot

Douglas Reeves, founder of the Center for Performance Assessment, a national education organization, believes nonfiction reading and writing drives improvement on tests,
and laments an "overexposure" to fiction, that presumably leaves students "ill-equipped to absorb facts."


Reading to Kids: Pointers from Mem Fox

In her capacity as an international reading advocate, beloved Australian children's author Mem Fox shares a few thoughts on how children develop a love of reading.

As the second most literate country (next to Finland), Australia can boast about the number of children reading for pleasure (68%) and the significant number of boys that enjoy reading. Fox discounts the new government regulations that will allow extra reading credits for children that don't pass required tests in primary school as a cart-before-the-horse remedy; instead, she insists that reading aloud from birth to age three is what is most critical in developing a love of books.


Reading isn't taught by the book in N.Y.

A Washington Post Story, via The Detroit News, says the reading wars are heating up again, fueled by a scramble for $6 billion in federal money.
The reading methods practiced in P.S. 172 have won the enthusiastic approval of the chancellor of the New York City school system, Joel Klein, who embraced them last year as a model.

But they have been denounced as “unscientific� by reading experts for the Bush administration, who advocate a much greater emphasis on phonics, the repetitive sound drills viewed by some educators as the key to early reading progress.

The dispute has become a test case for the implementation of President Bush’s ambitious Reading First initiative, which aims to help every child in the country become a successful reader.

Without the federal government’s seal of approval, New York’s reading program is ineligible for federal subsidies.


Informal learning

nbruce writes:

While tracking down something else, I came across an interesting article in the Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, Vol. 40, no.3, and it is on-line at Virginia Polytech. It is on “informal learning� and wasn’t exactly what I expected to find. The study involved analyzing the advice experienced teachers would give first year teachers--i.e., what they had more or less learned from experience, not training.

The simulation work exercise asked participants to imagine that they have won the lottery and are leaving their current position. They have decided to write a memo to their successor containing their best piece of advice on how to survive in the job: what they know now that they wish someone had told them as they began their work in this position. Subjects worked individually and then in a group to place the advice into categories: instrumental, emotional, and political.

Because of the statistical tables and the literature review, this article is a cut above the “how I did it good� articles that we all find so helpful, but which journals don’t want to publish. Although written about and for trade and industrial education teachers, I think it would be useful for anyone in teaching, and in education in general. The political advice in the article is standard, but priceless for a first year person in any field, including librarianship. I wish I’d had something similar years ago in the library field--and perhaps there is something out there about informal learning and librarians. I haven’t searched the LIS literature on this topic.


More books equal better brains

Studies show that FCAT scores up at schools with good libraries.

Good media centers mean better scores on the FCAT, according to a recent study. And yet media specialists are often overworked and inadequately compensated. With either claim, is this really the case? Read the full story and come to your own conclusions. Share them with all of us!


Library literacy programs have positive influence

Librarians have long believed they provide more to their youngest patrons than a good time and an engaging story. Now they have more data to prove it.

A study of two dozen library literacy efforts released yesterday at the Public Library Association's conference in Seattle concluded that such programs motivate parents to spend more time reading to babies and preschoolers and helping them learn about letters, words and books.


One million books for kids

slashgirl writes 'Ontario's North is being flooded with more books than Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman ever dreamed of, as Ontarians' donations to native children approaches one million tomes.' Article is here.


Dialect Society Reveals Top Words of 2003

At their recent meeting in Boston, the American Dialect Society named "metrosexual" "manscaping" and "flexitarian" as the newest words in the American lexicon. Story from the Seattle Times

According to the article, gay culture had a prominent impact on our verbiage last year. TV's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" spawned "zhuzh," which means to fluff up or primp. Hip-hop brought us the suffix "izzle" as in "televizzle" and "wait a minizzle." "Bling bling," as in flashy jewelry, has been clipped to "bling." Note to spell-checkers everywhere: better add these words to your lexicon!


Britons know Darth Vader Better than the Bard

From BBC news comes responses to a poll showing Britons knowlege and/or ignorance of popular culture and classic literature, including Wordsworth and Shakespeare. When asked to complete the line "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your..." from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, some people said swords or money rather than ears, but 71% knew that "the power of the dark side" was spoken by Darth Vader.


The Australian $35m plan to improve literacy

The ResourceShelf Dude, Gary D. Price, sent along an Interesting One out of Australia where Labor leader Mark Latham has promised every new-born child in Australia three free books in a $35 million pledge to improve childhood learning.

More parenting classes, adult-literacy education and screening for hearing and sight problems for all children at birth would also feature under a Labor federal government, he told the ALP national conference yesterday.

"This is a program that looks to the future, and invests in the future of young Australians," Mr Latham said.


Male reading mentors help close the literacy gender gap

This story from the network reports on father-son book clubs and mentoring/intervention projects that bring average Joes into the classroom to read aloud and lead discussions. Assessment of boys who have participated in these programs indicate that male reading mentors can be an important factor in closing the growing literacy gap between boys and girls. Heather Richmond, a literacy expert at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, says that boys need men to confirm the "guy rules of engagement" with a book.


New Papers Hope Free and Brief Will Attract Younger Readers

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Dena Lanier hands out amNew York, a free condensed daily newspaper that made its debut on Friday. New York is the latest market where publishers are trying out a product that is intended to attract readers aged 21 to 34.

NYTimes Has The Story"

They say target audience is readers aged 21 to 34 - a generation that spends far less time reading newspapers than its parents do.

The challenge of reaching that elusive group was evident in the effort Mr. Johnson was making: he had to meet the gaze of perhaps 20 passers-by before he successfully pressed the paper into the hands of one of them, and many of those hands appeared far older than his employer might have liked.


Literacy the focus of Jamaica's Adult Learners Week

Mock Turtle writes "With Adult Learners Week 2003, Jamaica seeks to draw attention to the nation's 20.1 percent illiteracy rate, highlighting the fact that many adults who cannot read are too embarrassed to attend literacy classes. Adult Learners Week, a project of the Jamaican Council for Adult Education (JaCAE), features a variety of events to promote the view that provision of learning opportunities should be a matter of public policy. Read more about it at The Jamaica Observer."


Another mammal for literacy

Mock Turtle writes "Here's another example of (ahem) harnessing the power of animals to encourage kids to read: The Black Stallion Literacy Project, the brainchild of Mark Miller, owner of the Arabian Nights dinner/performance attraction in Kissimmee, FL, and Tim Farley, son of the the late Walter Farley (author of the Black Stallion books). First- and fourth-graders receive free books and special visits with the Arabian Nights horses. Last year, the Black Stallion Literacy Project reached 35,000 children across the United States, about half of whom were from Central Florida. A traveling troupe of horses and performers takes the program on the road outside of Central Florida. The Orlando Sentinel profiles the Black Stallion Literacy Project."


Tools for teaching media and information literacy

Mock Turtle writes "To celebrate International Literacy Day (which was September 8) and the beginning of the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012), Canada's Media Awareness Network web site currently features practical Internet and media literacy resources that public and school libraries can use in their programming. The site includes interactive tools such as "Jo Cool or Jo Fool," in which students tour a set of mock web sites and test their surfing savvy."


The BBC News StyleGuide

David Dillard writes "The BBC News StyleGuide[pdf]. An excellent overview of the BBC News StyleGuide may be found in this
written by Melvin Block.
The book has an English accent, but it provides pointers that can also
benefit newspeople on this side of the ocean. After all, or before all,
the Brits helped create our language.


Decline in reading hurts publishers

Peter Murray writes "The United States (of course) isn't the only country facing a decline in reading with competition from other media. The Hindu Business Line has an article with the title 'Satellite TV, piracy hit publishing cos' about how a publisher is working with librarians to address the issue."

They say decline in reading habits, spiralling cost of production, piracy, proliferation of cheap quality books and onslaught of satellite TV channels have been cutting ground from under publishing industry's feet


@ Your Library campaign goes graphical

Peter writes "Silver Bullet Comics has a story titled American Library Association Teams with DC Comics to Create Sandman Poster and Bookmark. ALA has a press release as well (scroll down to the heading "Gaiman's Sandman promotes reading and libraries"). From the article:

"As graphic novels become a more important category for libraries, Sandman is a perfect choice to attract readers and we're glad to be working with the ALA on this beautiful poster," said Paul Levitz, President & Publisher, DC Comics."


Celebrate Seuss and Give the Gift of Reading to Underprivileged Children

"Random House Children's Books, in partnership with First Book and the National Education Association (NEA), announced today the launch of a national literacy campaign dedicated to providing children from low-income families with their first, new books. The campaign is taking place in conjunction with the NEA's Read Across America celebration, an annual reading initiative designed to motivate every child in every community to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss's birthday, March 2nd" (from PR Newswire)



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