Literacy

Reading by the Numbers

Essay in the Sunday New York Times Book Review.

Reading by the Numbers

“Reading management” software cannot identify what makes some books so complex and lovely and painful.

Students Get New Assignment: Pick Books You Like

For years Lorrie McNeill loved teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Harper Lee classic that many Americans regard as a literary rite of passage.

But last fall, for the first time in 15 years, Ms. McNeill, 42, did not assign “Mockingbird” — or any novel. Instead she turned over all the decisions about which books to read to the students in her seventh- and eighth-grade English classes at Jonesboro Middle School in this south Atlanta suburb.

Among their choices: James Patterson‘s adrenaline-fueled “Maximum Ride” books, plenty of young-adult chick-lit novels and even the “Captain Underpants” series of comic-book-style novels.

Full story in the NYT

'Reading Rainbow' Reaches Its Final Chapter

Even if you can't remember a specific Reading Rainbow episode, chances are, the theme song is still lodged somewhere in your head:

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high,
Take a look, it's in a book — Reading Rainbow ...
Remember now?

Reading Rainbow comes to the end of its 26-year run on Friday; it has won more than two-dozen Emmys, and is the third longest-running children's show in PBS history — outlasted only by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers.

Full piece on NPR

Get Those Kids Reading!!

1. READ ALOUD SOMETHING EVERY DAY
2. LAUGH A LOT AS YOU FOOL AROUND WITH LANGUAGE
3. ACT OUT STORIES.
4. TELL STORIES.
5. ENCOURAGE DRAWING.
6. LEARN A NEW FACT EVERY DAY.
7. ASK AND ENCOURAGE QUESTIONS.
8. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.
9. LOVE YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR LIBRARY.
10. LOOK FOR OLDIES BUT GOODIES.
11. LOOK FOR WHAT'S NEXT
12. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS

Courtesy of James Patterson's Read Kiddo Read, twelve ways to get kids reading...and they don't all involve sitting down with a book. Each link is clickable on the site.

The Family that Reads Together…. (aka What’s in it for ME?)

We often talk about the benefits of reading aloud to our children -- but we usually focus on the benefits to the children. Today, let’s reflect on the ways reading aloud to our children benefits ourselves as parents, our families and our relationships with each other.

Read-Aloud Idol
I’m no ham and I rarely attempt read-aloud theatrics, accents or voices, but boy-oh-boy do I love the rush I get when I have my young audience shrieking with laughter, swooning, raving and begging for more. Sure, all I’m doing is reading the printed word, the real genius is the author, but I’m the main act at our house and I bask in the glow of my appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Childhood is short -- I treasure the precious moments when reading aloud makes me a star in the eyes of my children.

Cuddle Time -- Read More

Lost Art of Reading

So what happened? It isn't a failure of desire so much as one of will. Or not will, exactly, but focus: the ability to still my mind long enough to inhabit someone else's world, and to let that someone else inhabit mine. Reading is an act of contemplation, perhaps the only act in which we allow ourselves to merge with the consciousness of another human being. We possess the books we read, animating the waiting stillness of their language, but they possess us also, filling us with thoughts and observations, asking us to make them part of ourselves. This is what Conroy was hinting at in his account of adolescence, the way books enlarge us by giving direct access to experiences not our own. In order for this to work, however, we need a certain type of silence, an ability to filter out the noise.

Read more about it at: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-ca-reading9-2009aug09,0,1920172...

One Country (New Zealand), One Story (a Kiwi Tale)

Cross-legged and hushed, 146 children waited for South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop to sit in his throne-like chair and read to them.

The pupils from Hawera and Mokoia Primary schools and other guests had gathered at Hawera Library to hear the mayor read to them as part of New Zealand's Biggest Storytime at Hawera Library.

At 10.30am yesterday special guests in libraries across the country simultaneously read Itiiti's Gift, written by Kiwi author Melanie Drewery.

Librarian Kaye Lally told the eager listeners they were taking part in something really special.

"There are lots of children listening to the same story all over New Zealand." Story about storytime during New Zealand Library Week from Stuff NZ.

Reading One Book Changed His Whole Life

And now he owns one of the few bookstores, independent or otherwise, in an inner-city Philadelphia neighborhood.

Hakim Hopkins, who grew up in West Philadelphia and Atlantic City, was 15 and in juvenile detention when his mother gave him a copy of Native Son. "That book just took me out," Hopkins, 37, remembers. "I didn't know that a book could be that good. I became a book lover, and a thinker." Today, Hopkins runs the Black & Nobel bookstore at Broad and Erie that in the year since it expanded to that spot has become a neighborhood hub. Hopkins says that although business is drying up for other independent bookstores, Black & Nobel's mix of services is adding to its bustle.

Story at Philly.com.

Summer's Coming to a Close @ Your Library

Florida youth have not spent the entire summer at the seaside; in fact, many of them have been participating in summer reading programs!

From the Foster Folly News, an update on the Summer Reading Program at the Chipley Library. Childrens librarian Zedra Hawkins said 18 preschoolers, 114 elementary school students, 68 students from the middle schools, and 31 high school students participated in this year's summer reading program. More than 536 book reviews were entered for drawings for prizes.

Remember Shorthand?

NY Times: Shorthand wasn’t always just for secretaries and court reporters, Leah Price writes in her essay on the history of shorthand in the London Review of Books.

Before the 1870s, it was used more for writing down one’s own thoughts or discretely noting the conversation of others. Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens used it, as did legions of “spirit-rappers, teetotalers, vegetarians, pacifists, anti-vivisectionists, anti-tobacconists,” and other members of a “counter-culture of early adapters” who generated something of a shorthand craze in mid-19th-century Britain. Isaac Pitman, creator of the wildly successful “Stenographic Soundhand” method still used today, made arguments that don’t sound so different from the tweeting techno-evangelists of our age. When people correspond by shorthand, he declared “friendships grow six times as fast as under the withering blighting influence of the moon of longhand.”

I remember my mother with her spiral top notebook and two columns of lines writing down what seemed to me to be completely indistinguishable marks. Anyone out there know shorthand? Is it of any value today?

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