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Posts tagged literacy

How cell phone book clubs could help get young people reading and change their lives
September 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

BertelKingNote: Although David Rothman posted the article, he says the author is really Bertel King, Jr., SF/fantasy novelist and a journalist. Read about Bertel at the end of his cogent essay. Go here to learn how to start your own cell phone book club. Also check out related essays here and here. In 2008, I graduated from Southampton High School, which did an admirable job of preparing me for college. I say “admirable” because at the time I had no idea just how disadvantaged my county was compared to the wealthy suburban schools of Northern Virginia and Richmond that populate most...

Karen Brodie joins UK Reading Agency
August 9, 2014 | 10:33 am

According to a press release, Karen Brodie, a former British Council senior official in the field of arts and literature, has just joined the UK literacy charity The Reading Agency as its new new head of publisher partnerships. The Reading Agency states that Brodie began her professional career in the rights departments of Harper Collins and Penguin before joining the civil service, where "for the last five years, she has lead strategic programmes and partnerships for the Iran team at the British Council and she has recently returned from a two-year posting in Istanbul as head of arts." At The Reading Agency,...

The roots of English stupidity
July 28, 2014 | 2:25 pm

dunce.jpgThe roots of English anti-intellectualism and willful ignorance are long, deep, and twisted. The consequences you can see all over, in terms of literacy levels, reading habits, social order, and even prison numbers, and many other metrics that TeleRead tracks, but the causes are buried in the English past. Just every so often, however, it helps to lay them bare to explain just what the hell is going on in England, and what kind of hope, if any, there is for the country. The odd thing is that most Protestant countries outside the Anglo-Saxon sphere are renowned for their high standards...

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
July 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

textgirl2A friend of mine in his 40s is about to start teaching in Houston, Texas, and he recently shared a discovery. Many teenagers in Houston tote cell phones, but don’t know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. This would jibe with a 2012 poll showing similar ignorance among Americans at large. A bigger issue also comes up. Just how much do young people care about books in the first place? Americans 15-19 spend only about four minutes reading for fun on a typical weekend day. Too bad. Students who love books are more likely to excel in school....

UK rejoices as Gove goes
July 15, 2014 | 4:22 pm

mr-gove-cover Good news for UK teachers, pupils, readers - and incidentally, fans of American literature. Michael Gove, the much-despised UK Education Secretary dismissed by Professor Simon Schama at last year's Hay Festival for his "insulting, offensive" attitudes, and by author Patrick Ness as "appalling, ignorant and damaging" and "massive, arrogant egotist who can’t see anyone else’s opinion,"  has been moved to a new post as Chief Whip, in charge of internal discipline for the UK Conservative Party in the House of Commons, as part of a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister David Cameron. According to David Cameron's official Twitter feed, "Michael Gove...

Books are as essential as bread. Ask the English poor.
June 27, 2014 | 2:28 pm

In these enlightened times that have brought us that wonder of 21st-century social engineering, the foodbank, it's gratifying to report that, without any conspicuous aid from the current British government, UK charities are ministering to poorer citizens' cultural and intellectual as well as culinary needs. British literacy charity Booktrust has teamed up with the Trussell Trust Foodbank network to distribute books through their network - in this case, children's picture title Super Duck by Jez Alborough. "Books and toys are low down on priorities for families," said Project Leader of West Norwood and Brixton Foodbank, Elizabeth Maytom. "Money will be spent on...

Your lads aren’t reading? Blame the girls
April 25, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Monstrous regimentUK politicians, policy-makers and writers: Got a problem with your male population's reading habits? Guys too lumpen and anti-intelligent to be good citizens? Workforce too ignorant to be competitive? Well, here's an easy get-out: blame the women in publishing. Because according to a Times article sensitively entitled "It’s no wonder boys aren’t reading — the children’s book market is run by women," children's author Jonathan Emmett has deduced "that the majority of publishers, editors, librarians, judges and reviewers of children’s books were women, and this was exacerbating the literacy gap between the sexes. He said that children’s books tended not to contain...

Childwise Report charges top dollar for UK child tablet reading insights
April 24, 2014 | 4:05 pm

Mom and daughter turning page in children's book on iPad 2I have to be grateful for The Bookseller sometimes. For its boycott of Author Solutions advertising. And now for its heroic readiness to fork out £1980 ($3326) for a copy of the CHILDWISE Monitor Report 2013-14 from CHILDWISE,  "leading research specialists on children, young people and their families" with a "panel of over 1000 schools throughout the UK." And this Monitor Report states, according to The Bookseller, that one in five of UK children (going by its sample) read on a tablet. The Monitor Report, "a comprehensive annual report focused on children and young people's media consumption, brand attitudes and key...

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...