Literacy

Meet the Author Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz is in Baltimore to read from his novel, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Blogging in the Baltimore Sun, Mary McCauley asks him about his development as an author.

His introduction to his lifelong love of literature was at his school library. Diaz says, "Mrs. Crowell, the librarian of the Parlin Elementary School in New Jersey, encouraged my love of reading. When I found the library, I felt as though I'd stumbled onto Ali Baba's cave. I'd walk four miles to take out books. She's even let me photocopy lists of books in print, so I could find new titles by my favorite authors."

Fiftieth Anniversary of 'The Elements of Style'

This article will most likely outrage legions of old English teachers, including mine.

Here is commentary from Geoffrey K. Pullum in The Chronicle of Higher Education about why the author is not celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of The Elements of Style.

He softens his commentary by adding that the authors of this chestnut, Strunk and White, "won't be hurt by these critical remarks. They are long dead."

William Strunk was a professor of English at Cornell about a hundred years ago, and E.B. White, later the much-admired author of Charlotte's Web, took English with him in 1919, purchasing as a required text the first edition, which Strunk had published privately.

Pullum comments, "The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students' grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it."

Bonus Miles for RIF Donation

Getting a corporate sponsor for your program is always helpful. US Airways has become the official airline partner of "Reading is Fundamental," and will donate bonus miles for donations to the RIF.

"US Airways, the official airline partner of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), invites you to support RIF's mission to help children discover the joy of reading. That's why if you donate $25 to RIF, we'll give you a gift - the children's book "Off You Go, Maisy!" For a donation of $50 to $250, we'll reward you with the book and bonus miles!"

Read more about it.

Iowa Students Pass On the Love of Reading

First-graders at Riverside (IA) Elementary are getting a little help in developing a love for reading.

The industrial manufacturing class at Highland High, along with sixth-graders at Highland Middle School, donated bookshelves and books they each made in class to the 37 first-graders. They presented the gifts at an assembly at the school Friday morning.

Each of the first-grade students received their own small bookshelf made by the high school students and a book written and published by the sixth-graders to take home. Great idea, story from the Iowa Press Citizen.

Women more avid readers of books than men, survey says

A study of reading habits showed almost half of women are 'page turners' who finish a book soon after starting it compared to only 26 per cent of men.

The survey 2,000 adults also found those who take a long time to read books and only managed one or two a year were twice as likely to be male than female.

Dysfunctional Reading Quiz

Find out how messed up your reading habits are by taking this therapeutic quiz about some of literature's most remarkably messed-up characters, including Jane Eyre, Oedipus Rex, Anna Karenina, Phèdra and more.

From Guardian UK.

Mini-libraries to foster book-reading culture in city

ISLAMABAD: Establishment of mini-community libraries in different sectors of the federal capital is a novel idea to foster a lifelong habit of learning among youths, Education Ministry’s Libraries Department Director General (DG) Muhammad Nazir told this news agency on Sunday.

He said the ministry had initiated the concept of reading rooms in the city to quench the thirst of booklovers for knowledge.

Full story here.

What About the Readers?

To get the right answers, you have to ask the right questions.

Book publishing has many conundrums to solve in the coming decade, and not a week goes by without a long, thoughtful article in some major magazine about the impending collapse of the industry and its myriad causes: ebooks, Youtube, greed, television, gaming, big advances, returns, amazon, pirates, the Decline and Fall of Civilization.

The articles all revolve around this central and troubling question: "How can publishing maintain its financial viability when fewer people are reading books? Especially when everyone wants everything for free?"

This is going to be a tough question for publishers to answer, but it misses a more fundamental question, which is: "What do readers want, and how can we best provide it?"

I don't mean: "What books do they want to read," but rather, "What can we do to help people read more books?"

Full article here.

Children's Author Rosemary Wells Salutes Librarians and Teachers

Author Rosemary Wells made a lot of people feel good about themselves at the Staten Island Historical Society Literacy Leadership luncheon at the Excelsior Grand, New Dorp.

The creator of beloved characters such as sibling bunnies Max and Ruby stressed the importance of reading to children every day and praised the people who help make that possible.

"Without teachers and librarians, our world as writers would be very small. Because of you, the world of ideas is open to all children," she said. The author of some 60 books lauded the society's honoree, Robert (Bobaloo) Basey, for his work as a storyteller.

"When you go around to schools and libraries, you are a living book and that is a wonderful life to live," she said.

Telling a story about building bridges, and performing his own exit music on a flute, Basey, a teaching artist and Stapleton native, expressed his gratitude for "getting a boost to hang in there. It's a challenge with arts funding being cut."

A major Max and Ruby fan, Robyn Busan, 7, was there to meet Ms. Wells. She is also a child who is being given, in Ms. Wells' words, the "gift of thought and language" by being read to.

"I like that he [Max] doesn't really talk much," said the first-grader at PS 65.

"And he doesn't listen," said her father, Robert, who was obviously benefiting from the daily reading sessions he and his wife share with their daughter.

Did Rap, Crack or TV Kill Reading?

Opinion piece in the Washington Post

Book mentioned in opinion piece: Steady Gains and Stalled Progress: Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap

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