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Posts tagged literacy

Testosterone makes you stupid – if you’re English
April 21, 2014 | 10:25 am

I never thought of stupidity as particularly macho. But then, maybe I've lived outside the UK for too long. Because apparently a lot of British men fit that mold. And I'm rather ashamed to link my own gender to this, but the statistics seem to speak for themselves. Or should I have softened it a bit? Saying, well, if you're male and British there is a greater tendency towards not taking a serious interest in books, rather than making such an emphatic statement? And let British society off the hook? And sidestep that disgraceful conclusion? Because here we have some hard...

World Literacy Summit opens in Oxford
April 15, 2014 | 12:25 pm

World Literacy SummitThe World Literacy Summit 2014, which "aims to build awareness of the global literacy crisis and provide opportunities for participants to develop strategic plans, exchange information, find solutions and build partnerships to improve literacy standards worldwide," has just opened in Oxford. This year, the theme is "Literacies: the Power to Change," which allows for exploration of "the role of both new and traditional literacy tools and techniques in the worldwide fight to eradicate illiteracy." The Summit is organized by the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation from Australia, which seeks to "transform the lives of Indigenous children by focusing on literacy and numeracy education,"...

R.I.P. Richard Hoggart: A force for literacy, and culture
April 11, 2014 | 3:11 pm

Hoggart LiteracyOne of the UK's most articulate and forceful thinkers, and actors, in the cause of popular education and cultural uplift has just died. Richard Hoggart, born in Leeds in 1918 the son of a housepainter who died in his first year, came from the most authentic English working class background imaginable, and immortalized it in his classic The Uses of Literacy (1956), the most passionate love letter to the English common people since George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier.  An immediate bestseller, it's recognized as, in the words of its Penguin introduction, "one of the few truly essential books...

UK Inspector of Prisons condemns political interference in book ban policy
March 28, 2014 | 12:25 pm

inspector of prisonsThe storm of criticism that greeted the UK Government's new policy of stopping anyone sending books to prisoners has gone beyond writers and left-wing politicians to professionals in the prisons system. Now, in an interview with The Independent, the UK Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, has condemned the ban as "not sensible,” with individual prison governors best placed to decide what prisoners should and shouldn't receive. "The problem in this case… is trying to micro-manage this from the centre, with the centre describing very detailed lists of what prisoners can and can't have,” he said in The Independent. “I think...

UK government fosters crime, bans books for prisons
March 24, 2014 | 10:25 am

books in prisons[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="376"] Grayling says: Go to jail. Learn nothing. Come out. Commit crime. Go to jail. Repeat cycle.[/caption] It pays to be nasty. At least, so Britain's current government appears to have calculated, by deciding that there's electoral dividends in barring prisoners from receiving books sent by relatives or others. The rules imposed by UK justice secretary Chris Grayling have not exactly passed unchallenged. "This is part of an increasingly irrational punishment regime orchestrated by Chris Grayling that grabs headlines but restricts education or rehabilitation," asserts Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, the UK's longest-established...

Britain’s World Book Day sees events, promotions UK-wide
March 6, 2014 | 10:25 am

The UK's World Book Day, March 6th this year, has seen promotions, participations by organizations, related articles including travel tips, and events across Britain. According to the World Book Day site, the event is "the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world." World Book Day is generally celebrated worldwide on April 23rd; however, in the UK, it takes place on March 6th The key offering marking the event in the UK is the World Book Day £1 Book Tokens offer courtesy of...

UK Publishers Association revs its snow blowers with Reading for Pleasure literacy campaign
February 10, 2014 | 10:38 am

The UK Publishers Association appears to be preparing a snow job for the first days of spring, with the announcement of its new Reading for Pleasure campaign, designed to highlight and coordinate with "the huge range of inspiring work being undertaken by a variety of charities in the UK to promote reading for pleasure." Charities listed in the PA's brochure guide to the initiative include Beanstalk, BookTrust, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), the National Literacy Trust, Quick Reads, The Reading Agency, Save the Children, World Book Day, and World Book...

Can reading make you more stupid?
January 24, 2014 | 4:45 pm

There, thought that would grab your attention. And of course the answer is no. But I'm using that title to point up the somewhat asinine headline of a recent article by Dan Hurley in the UK Guardian: "Can reading make you smarter?" To which many might immediately answer: What else is reading for? And others might ask: Well, if reading can't, what the hell else can? [caption id="" align="alignright" width="238"] Dan Hurley: The smart money's on him - maybe...[/caption] But then, Hurley has quite a lot invested in the business of smartening up your smarts. He's the author of Smarter: The New...

Should public libraries give away e-book-friendly tablets to poor people? $38 tablet hints of possibilities
January 10, 2014 | 4:54 pm

NextYoung people love suitable paper books, ideally new, that they can own. Could the same idea work for econo-tablets that public libraries gave away to low-income families---with a big, fat, e-book-related icon smack in the middle of the home screens? Yes! Don’t just hand out gizmos, though. Let the tablets come with old-fashioned encouragement from public and school librarians. Technology is no panacea. Kids should be able to own paper books, too, in fact, not just gadgets. But e-book-capable tablets, especially with national digital library systems in place, could multiply the number of books matching students’ precise needs. Paper books could serve as gateways to...

Kate DiCamillo is new U.S. National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
January 4, 2014 | 10:15 am

Kate DiCamilloThe Library of Congress has made one of the more welcome literary announcements of the new year with the news that  children's author Kate DiCamillo is to be America's next National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. In this post, she has to raise "national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people." Under the selection criteria, the National Ambassador has to be an "excellent and facile communicator, dynamic and engaging personality," and "someone who is revered by children and who has earned the respect...

Reboot your brain for 2014: Read a novel
December 29, 2013 | 10:22 am

Here's some news that will not surprise most writers, or readers, but which brings some good neurological data to back up their views against science-fixated skeptics: Reading novels can improve your mind. Physically, noticeably, and measurably. New research from Emory University, "Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain," published in the journal Brain Connectivity (where it is available in full as a PDF) and made available via eScience Commons, has found that "actual changes in the brain that linger, at least for a few days, after reading a novel." [caption id="" align="alignright" width="143"] Pompeii - erupting...

Publerati and Worldreader Organization Giving Back For the Holidays
December 21, 2013 | 3:29 pm

publerati logoPublerati, which we've covered before, is doing a nice give back until December 26. The are donating 100% of their publisher share of books sold to the Worldreader Organization, which turns into a double match because Quest Foundation will then match those donations, dollar for dollar. Worldreader Organization is dedicated to eliminating illiteracy among the world's poorest people. From their website: Here’s how we do it: We start early using e-readers in primary schools where if kids fall behind, they almost never catch up. Kids begin reading thousands of local stories together with great international books that we’ve curated into the largest...