Literacy

Literacy

One Reader's Experience With 'The Big Read' (One City One Book)

The book arrived from the publisher without any fanfare, wrapped in plain cardboard and sent through the U.S. mail. Record-Bee reports.

With no more effort than it took to tear open the perforated strip that sealed the package closed, the small church library that I oversaw was now part of a "common read." What an exciting moment!

My first experience with a common read was just a few years earlier, during an effort to encourage all of California to read John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." My husband and I read aloud to each other from my copy that had been given to me by the Calistoga Junior/Senior High School librarian.

It was intriguing, as we read to each other, to know that across the state of California, other people were reading the same book and that, moreover, public events were promoting "The Grapes of Wrath." One of those events was organized locally through the efforts of Harold Riley.

My experience taking part in a common read had been very enjoyable so when the organization that oversees our local church selected a common read, I knew that I wanted to make the book available to the members of my church: to give them a chance to have that much more in common with people in other communities, in congregations around the world. Read more.

A Palin Flub Becomes a ‘Word of the Year’

At the start of the year the word “refudiate” didn’t exist. In mid-July Sarah Palin, Alaska’s former governor, changed that when she used the word in a Twitter message, somehow mashing up “refute” and “repudiate,” while trying to say something like “reject.”

Full piece here.

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The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

Plan to teach immigrants spurs flap

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A public librarian in Nebraska resigned due to confusion over whether or not she should be teaching illegal immigrants English. “A lot of people are afraid of changes and growth. ... I don't know if that was the case with this or not,” Shafer said. “I didn't mean to do any harm. I just tried to do good.” Read all about it. http://omaha.com/article/20101024/NEWS01/710249869

When 103-Year Old Dies, Her Reading Circle Mourns

When Elizabeth Goodyear died late last month, at 103, a handful of friends, all more than two generations younger, sat vigil. They toasted her over dark chocolate, the elixir Ms. Goodyear had savored daily since she was 3 years old, and Champagne, a more recent favorite.

Two years ago, a front-page article in The New York Times featured Ms. Goodyear, a lifelong lover of books, and the small group of people who would stop by her apartment, in Murray Hill, to read to her after she lost her sight. Those readers became a family to Ms. Goodyear, who had outlived her relatives and loved ones.

It all began about seven years ago, after Alison West, a yoga instructor who lives in Ms. Goodyear’s building, posted a sign seeking readers in yoga studios downtown and sent an e-mail that was forwarded again and again.

“Liz has no family at all, and all her old friends have died, but she remains eternally positive and cheerful and loves to have people come by to read to her or talk about life, politics, travel — or anything else,” the message read. “She also loves good chocolate!”

Young women in their 20s, many of them Ms. West’s students, started to visit. Read more in the NYTimes blogs.

How's Your Samizdat?

Great word for Banned Books Week...samizdat.

from Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day PRONUNCIATION: (SAH-miz-daht)

MEANING:
noun: An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely. Also, such literature.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Russian samizdat, from samo- (self) + izdatelstvo (publishing house), from izdat (to publish). Coined facetiously on the model of Gosizdat (State Publishing House).

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One Man's Opinion: How to Raise Boys Who Read

WSJ.com - Opinion: How to Raise Boys Who Read. The authors hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes.

Fight for Libraries As You Do for Freedom

A very powerful op-ed piece by novelist Karin Slaughter in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"My father and his eight siblings grew up in the kind of poverty that America doesn’t like to talk about unless something like Katrina happens, and then the conversation only lasts as long as the news cycle. His family squatted in shacks. The children scavenged the forest for food. They put cardboard over empty windowpanes so the cold wouldn’t kill them.

Books did not exist here. When your kids are starving, you can’t point with pride to a book you’ve just spent six hours reading. Picking cotton, sewing flour bags into clothes — those were the skills my father grew up appreciating.

And yet, when he noticed that I, his youngest daughter, showed an interest in reading, he took me to our local Jonesboro library and told me that I could read any book in the building so long as I promised to talk to him about it if I read something I didn’t understand. I think this is the greatest gift my father ever gave me. Though he was not a reader himself, he understood that reading is not just an escape. It is access to a better way of life."

Read more: AJC.

Sony Has Dave Farrow Reading Aloud to Promote Its Readers & Help Canadian Libraries

Dave Farrow, who overcame dyslexia and ADHD to become a world-famous speed reader and Guinness World Record holder, is living and reading in a front window display at the Sony Centre in Toronto. For every book he reads, Sony will donate 2 Reader™ digital books to public libraries across Canada. Watch live on Facebook.

Beginning this past Tuesday, consumers were and are invited to view Farrow's progress and additional world record attempts online (also via Facebook). If you're in the Toronto area, you can also visit the newly renovated Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in person at One Front Street East in Toronto at the south-east corner of Yonge and Front Streets, where Farrow will be reading and living from September 7 through 24th. Consumers who visit the Sony Centre can receive an in-person demonstration of the new Reader Pocket and Touch Editions, "relief-read" for Dave Farrow, enter to win great prizes, and enjoy free frozen yogurt bars from 10:30-1pm daily.

Read more: SONY BRINGS DIGITAL READING EXPERIENCE TO LIFE WITH THE GLOBAL LAUNCH OF ITS STYLISH NEW LINE OF READERS - FierceMobileContent http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/press-releases/sony-brings-digital-reading-experience-lif...

September 8 is International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Celebrate International Literacy Day by joining IRA on either September 7 or September 8 for webinars on Building Support for Effective Reading Instruction featuring IRA President Patricia Edwards, Richard Carson (Rotary Representative to the OAS) and Instructor Judy Backlund (IRA member and Rotary Club President). The webinar will be held twice, so choose the time that works best for you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Tuesday webinar...or

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Wednesday webinar.

Other live events, fact sheets, celebration ideas and award certificates can be found at the IRA Website.

Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

Many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious academic misdeed.

Excerpt:

“This generation has always existed in a world where media and intellectual property don’t have the same gravity,” said Ms. Brookover, who at 31 is older than most undergraduates. “When you’re sitting at your computer, it’s the same machine you’ve downloaded music with, possibly illegally, the same machine you streamed videos for free that showed on HBO last night.”

Ms. Brookover, who works at the campus library, has pondered the differences between researching in the stacks and online. “Because you’re not walking into a library, you’re not physically holding the article, which takes you closer to ‘this doesn’t belong to me,’ ” she said. Online, “everything can belong to you really easily.”

Full story in the NYT

So-Called 'Digital Natives' Not Media Savvy, New Study Shows

During the study, one of the researchers asked a study participant, "What is this website?" The student answered, "Oh, I don't know. The first thing that came up."

That exchange sums up the overall results from this study: many students trusted in rankings above all else. In fact, a quarter of the students, when assigned information-seeking tasks, said they chose a website because - and only because - it was the first search result.

Full article at ReadWriteWeb

Readers Are Abandoning Print, Yet Don’t Trust the Web

A new report finds that even as people abandon print publications, they distrust the information they read online.

Full piece at the NYT Bits Blog

Novel Approach: Reading Courses as an Alternative to Prison

And now...the other side of the coin. How enforced reading can help rehabilitate former and would-be offenders as reported by the Guardian UK. The program, Changing Lives Through Literature, is described here.

When Mitchell Rouse was convicted of two drug offences in Houston, the former x-ray technician who faced a 60-year prison sentence – reduced to 30 years if he pleaded guilty – was instead put on probation and sentenced to read.

"I was doing it because it was a condition of my probation and it would reduce my community hours," Rouse recalls. The 42-year-old had turned to meth as a way of coping with the stress of his job at a hospital where he frequently worked an 80-hour week. Fearing for his life, Mitchell's wife turned him into the authorities. "If she hadn't, I would be dead or destitute by now," he says.

The Medium Is the Medium

Opinion piece by David Brooks

Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years.

Then the researchers, led by Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee, looked at those students’ test scores. They found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher reading scores than other students. These students were less affected by the “summer slide” — the decline that especially afflicts lower-income students during the vacation months. In fact, just having those 12 books seemed to have as much positive effect as attending summer school.

Full piece

Unaccelerated Reading

Topic: 
Recent news articles focusing on the "slow reading" concept suggest that more deliberative and methodical textual reading creates deeper engagement and understanding of information. This raises a number of questions about digitial reading styles, and the wisdom of engaging children with literacy skills based on a consumption and reward model: http://library.blogs.delaware.gov/2010/06/20/unaccelerated-reading/ To access the subscription content, readers may use the guest login and password twitteruser3/tweet

The End of Braille?

Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million legally blind Americans now read Braille, down from around half in the 1950s. Reporter Rachel Aviv wrote about the dying language earlier this year in The New York Times Magazine. Read transcript or listen to full story here. (You can also download a MP3 of story)
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Does poetry matter?

There is a blog entry at the Paper Cuts book blog titled Does Poetry Matter? The blog post reminded me of the poet in this "Tom the Dancing Bug" comic.

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Laura Numeroff (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...) Talks About Her First Library Card

In “Readers Reflect” author Numeroff reflects on receiving her first library card (photo of the author below).

I remember getting my first library card, not believing that there were so many books to choose from that I could bring home , read tall of them, bring them back and then takc out more again! Unfortunately, this was in the 60s and the library I went to only let you take out six at a time! I very quickly became a voracious. Some of my favorites were anything by Beverly Cleary, Lois Lenski, and, Marguerite Henry. But, the two books that made the biggest impact were STUART LITTLE, and, ELOISE!

The stories excited me so much that I tried to write my own book. The first one was about a horse called Trixie who went shopping in Macy’s. When I was 9, I KNEW I was going to be a children’s book writer, but didn’t think about paying rent! After I graduated from Pratt Insitute in Brooklyn, NY, I went to San Francisco for two weeks and stayed for seven years! In that time, I registered with a temp agency, got MediCal, got fired from a myriad of part time jobs, and, managed to write and illustrate nine books. I got $500,oo for my first advance!

Rose Zertuche-Treviño, Champion of Latino Children's Literature

Rose Zertuche-Treviño, a librarian who devoted her career to helping improve the lives of children, died on April 30 in Houston, TX. She was 58 reports SLJ.

Treviño spent her last seven years as the youth services coordinator for the Houston Public Library, a system that serves one of the biggest Spanish-speaking populations in the country. She retired in October 2009 and moved back to San Antonio, where she was born and raised.

“How fitting that Rose died on April 30th, El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day),” says her friend and colleague Oralia Garza de Cortes, a Latino children's literature consultant. “She loved her work and devoted her life to making sure all children had access to great literature and particularly to programs where children could enjoy and connect to the literature.”

The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Treviño grew up poor. Her father worked in a cotton field as a child and went on to hold two jobs to support his family, while his wife worked four jobs. Treviño’s first language was Spanish and only learned to speak English when she entered kindergarten. It was also that year that her mother first took her to a public library—and the five-year-old decided on her career path. “Not everyone figures out what they want to be at such a young age,” says her son Steven Treviño, 33. “And she got to do more than she thought she would ever do.”

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