Literacy

Rescuing Reading: It's Not Shoe Shopping

Over at Rescuing Reading, a new blog where a children's librarian attempts to bring some common sense and passion for literature back into the world of children's reading, the blogger continues her discussion of the dangers and pitfalls of enslavement to Lexile scores, with some commentary on the first 90 seconds or so of Metametrics' online promotional video about its Lexile scoring system. Among other trenchant observations:

When a child outgrows a shoe size, they can’t go back to wearing that size. They must move up. There is no other choice. It is not the same at all with reading. Kids can read at widely varying levels on any one day. Perhaps they read a comic book or magazine in the morning, their science textbook at school and an instruction manual for their new electronic toy in the afternoon and a favorite fiction author in the evening. These materials will all be written at different levels, and the decision to read each one is made for entirely different reasons.

The digital divide gets granular

The digital divide gets granular
"This makes me think that the digital divide may or may not be growing wider, but it’s growing more granular. As more and more aspects of our culture have a digital dimension, there are more and more ways to get confused, fall behind, and so on. And as more technology assumes an always-on or always-connected state to be the natural state, it becomes easier to have digital cracks in the sidewalk to jump over if you aren’t willing or able to pay for that kind of connectivity."

Health Reporting and Its Sources

Impartial sources are hard to find

Medical journals have been called "an extension of the marketing arm of pharmaceutical companies", because industry funding can affect a study’s results and/or the way those results are presented in the paper. When a paper with favourable results manages to pass through peer-review and get published in a major journal it is "worth thousands of pages of advertising." That is, first, because people who aren’t that affected by commercials (say, your doctor) take trials published by a major journal much more seriously [9]. If the media pick up the paper as well, the pharmaceutical company can enjoy further advertising, this time straight to the general public.

Pleasure Reading Leads to Professional Careers, Study Says

Teens who read for pleasure are more likely to have professional careers as adults, says a study conducted by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Full article

Verifying information

Information literacy. If you worked for a television station that was running a story about Seal Team 6 and you wanted their logo where would you go? The Internet of course. Simple task, it would seem, but here is a story about a station that got it wrong. One point is that verification is an important part of information retrieval. Answer was on the Internet but they did not find it. At least not at first.

Report Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can't Read

Report: Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can’t Read
According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are ”functionally illiterate.” The alarming new statistics were released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund on Wednesday.

'Literacy' sucks

In sum, there are multiple literacies out there, but they can be organized in a way that makes sense. In fact, I think they should be organized better. I'll admit that the organizational structure I tossed up there is a work in progress and may be completely, utterly idiotic. But, it's a start. Feel free to criticize, compliment, or call me a moron, but at least let me know what you think. I'm always open to suggestions for improvement.

Brain’s Reading Center Isn’t Picky About Vision

The part of the brain thought to be responsible for processing visual text may not require vision at all, researchers report in the journal Current Biology.

This region, known as the visual word form area, processes words when people with normal vision read, but researchers found that it is also activated when the blind read using Braille.

Full article

Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff has second thoughts about our digital practices

The kids I celebrated in my early books as “digital natives,” capable of seeing through all efforts of big media and marketing, have actually proven less able to discern the integrity of the sources they read and the intentions of the programs they use than we struggling adults are. If they don’t know what the programs they’re using are even for, they don’t stand a chance at using them effectively. They’re less likely to become power users than the used. It is our job as educators to change all this. We’re our students’ best chance of becoming media—or new media—literate. Yet our digital practices betray our own unconscious approach toward these media. We employ technologies in our lives and our curriculums by force of habit or fear of being left behind.

I regularly visit one-to-one laptop schools where neither the students nor the educators have any real sense of purpose about the highly technologized program they’ve implemented. They bring a very powerful new medium into the classroom and make it central without having reckoned with the medium’s biases.

Full article at School Library Journal

Bus Of Books To Hit The Streets

In an effort to get more people to read, the books are hitting the streets by the busload. And best of all, it’s free.

“The books are free. No charge. These are all brand new books. Never been opened,” Penny Boykins of Metro Community College said.

From nonfiction to science fiction and everything in between, 10,000 books will be handed out for free. Organizers said it’s all an effort to promote literacy made possible by a handful of local organizations.

Full story

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