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"Calling All Pets", a radio program on National Public Radio, had an interesting program today on "assistance dogs" who help children read. These are "Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ)", which permits children to read to dogs rather than to other kindergarten children or teachers. "11/01/2008 on Calling All Pets: There's a new kind of "assistance dog" in town, and it's here to help your child learn to read. After three, on Calling All Pets, find out more about the new "literacy dog" program."
Hear the program at: http://www.wpr.org/pets/index.htm and search for "read" or the program broadcast on 11/01/08. The segment on reading dogs starts about twelve minutes into the program.
See also: http://www.wpr.org/pets/
Things aren't improving fast enough or far enough, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, and particularly among women.
U.S. First Lady Laura Bush was at U.N. headquarters in New York Tuesday to spotlight the need for improved literacy. The statistics are daunting, 774 million people worldwide cannot read and write. Two-thirds of them are women. Seventy-five million children do not attend school. And in Africa, only 61 percent of adults can read and write, compared with the world average of about 82 percent.
It's not just going on in libraries and bookstores. The Church is now into the reading marathon thing. The text of course is what many call "the Good Book", and the first reader, the Pope (is he Catholic? yes).
AP reports: ROME, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI's "In the beginning" started off a weeklong Bible-reading marathon on Italian television Sunday.
RAI state TV began its program called "The Bible Day and Night," with Benedict reciting the first chapter of the book of Genesis -- the holy text's opening verses about the creation of the world.
The marathon will feature more than 1,200 people reading the Old and New Testament in over seven days and six nights. While the pope recited his segment from the Vatican, most of the reading will be done live in Rome's Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, a basilica built in the fourth century.
Today in the New York Times:
Publishers, authors and even libraries are embracing video games to promote books to young readers.
When PJ Haarsma wrote his first book, a science fiction novel for preteenagers, he didn’t think just about how to describe Orbis, the planetary system where the story takes place. He also thought about how it should look and feel in a video game.
The online game that Mr. Haarsma designed not only extends the fictional world of the novel, it also allows readers to play in it. At the same time, Mr. Haarsma very calculatedly gave gamers who might not otherwise pick up a book a clear incentive to read: one way that players advance is by answering questions with information from the novel.
“You can’t just make a book anymore,” said Mr. Haarsma, a former advertising consultant. Pairing a video game with a novel for young readers, he added, “brings the book into their world, as opposed to going the other way around.”
From Shelf-Awareness today: Among the many volunteer readers, Matt Phillips, a librarian at the Twin Hickory Public Library, Glen Allen, VA and his daughter Sydney read Where's Waldo by Martin Handford (No. 88 on the ALA's top 100 banned and challenged books 1990-2000) in the library's Banned Books Weeks window. Adrienne Minock, teen librarian at Twin Hickory, wrote that the window has "gotten a lot of attention. We hear a lot of 'Mom, what are those people doing in there?' The best part has been hearing parents explain to their kids what the display is all about, which is exactly what we wanted to happen!"
After leaving the White House Laura Bush plans to continue promoting literacy through the United Nations and the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas.
The AP reports that the first lady, who will host the National Book Festival on Saturday, also said she hopes her signature Washington event becomes a lasting tradition -- and she'll whisper something about that to the next first lady. This is the eighth year for the book festival, which will be covered on BookTVon CSpan-2 all day Saturday.
Will we miss having a librarian in the White House?
There are lots of reasons to have a valid and up to date library card, but here's one you might not have thought of...
In keeping with National Library Card Sign Up Month, the local independent bookstore La Vieille Maison des Livres announces a free book giveaway. Bring your new (dated September 2008) library card and receive a free children's book. This offer is open to all new library sign ups by children of Union County (PA) in grades 1-6.
Hopefully Mom & Dad will also shop around and find something to their liking at the bookshop and keep their dollars in the community.
It completely makes sense, but does it happen at school systems around the country? And do parents follow through?
On September first, the Arlington (TX) Public Library is launching a campaign to get library cards into the hands of the estimated 50,000 children who attend pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.
Students who attend schools in the city limits will receive an application to take home to their parents. Once the application is signed, children can receive their card at the library or through the mail, Libraries Director Cary Siegfried said. More from the Star-Telegram.
When Jamie Comer graduated from high school at age 21, gone were the in-depth assignments and hours of homework that had long challenged him.
As Comer, who has Down syndrome, began to gradually lose critical thinking skills without the aid of vigorous schoolwork, his mother struggled to find opportunities to keep him mentally sharp.
"People have always assumed that people like Jamie don't really have opinions on anything remotely complex," said his mother, Nancy Comer, 64, of Port Washington. "They're just expected to work and be happy."
But Nancy Comer wanted more for her son, now 29, and other adults with developmental disabilities. Five years ago, with the help of like-minded advocates and the Port Washington Public Library, she formed Books for Dessert, a book club - thought to be the only one of its kind on Long Island - for adults with intellectual disabilities.
Books are not Nadia Konyk’s thing. Her mother, hoping to entice her, brings them home from the library, but Nadia rarely shows an interest.
Instead, like so many other teenagers, Nadia, 15, is addicted to the Internet. She regularly spends at least six hours a day in front of the computer here in this suburb southwest of Cleveland.
A slender, chatty blonde who wears black-framed plastic glasses, Nadia checks her e-mail and peruses myyearbook.com, a social networking site, reading messages or posting updates on her mood. She searches for music videos on YouTube and logs onto Gaia Online, a role-playing site where members fashion alternate identities as cutesy cartoon characters. But she spends most of her time on quizilla.com or fanfiction.net, reading and commenting on stories written by other users and based on books, television shows or movies.