Thursday, January 31, 2008

Linguists: Documenting Vanishing Voices

"The Linguists: Documenting Vanishing Voices," premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival. The film highlights endangered languages in Siberia, India and Bolivia

In Siberia, fewer than 25 elderly people speak Chulym. In Bolivia, a language once spoken by healers to the Inca emperor is on the verge of extinction. In the Orissa state in the east of India, younger generations no longer speak Sora, a language of the region with a complex and expressive way of putting words together.

Scientists estimate that of 7,000 languages in the world, half will be gone by the end of this century. On average, one language disappears every two weeks.

READ ARTICLE @ National Science Foundation News

. . . just a click away

World Language Clock @
~ 6912 Living Languages
~ Endangered Languages (SIL)
~ The Endangered Language Foundation
~ Current Count of Living Languages
~ Living Languages by Country
Top Spoken Languages in the World

Enduring Voices @
~ saving disappearing languages

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

National Literacy Action Week 2008

National Literacy Action Week (NLAW): Jan 28 - Feb 2

Is being celebrated on campuses across the county. Sponsored by SCALE, Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education, a program of the School of Education at The University of North Carolina, the week will feature workshops, tutoring and tutor recruitment, storytimes and book distributions, and other literacy awareness activities.

The events on the UNC campus and surrounding community include the kickoff featuring local and student-led literacy and social activist organizations at the Pit, followed by two workshops addressing social activism and the civil rights movement held at the campus Y and the South Estes Family Resource Center.

Distinguished storyteller Aurora Boyer will facilitate a bilingual story time (Spanish-English), hosted by Carrboro Elementary School and MANO (Women Working Toward New Opportunities). Finally, a Public Health professional with experience in the Latina community will lead a discussion about issues in cross-cultural health literacy at the Borders store.

Among other campuses participating in NLAW 2008 are Duke University, Miami University, Rice University, Virginia Tech, and Florida State University. We will be blogging about their activities throughout the week so check back often for updates !

Friday, January 25, 2008

Family Literacy Day - Canada

Family Literacy Day: January 27

Promotes the importance of reading and learning together by families and in communities across Canada. It is celebrated at literacy-themed events coordinated by literacy organizations, schools and libraries.
Family Literacy Day had its beginnings on January 27, 1999, when ABC CANADA created Penny's Odyssey, a made-for-TV movie, which was broadcast nationally in prime time, on CTV. The movie told the story of a middle-class teenage girl who hides her literacy challenges from family and friends.

related article
Treat the ProblemTreat the Problem, Not the Symptoms
Underachieving students and high drop-out rates are a literacy problem, not a racial one Jan 24, 2008

TORONTO, ONTARIO – There has been much research done linking low literacy with high drop-out rates.

Recently, a concerned TD Canada Trust published a report which stated that low literacy rates are hampering life skills and affecting business. It also stated that if left unaddressed, other issues may arise which lead to increased high school drop out rates, crime and unemployment.

That high drop-out rates due to low literacy exist should not be a surprise.
According to The Movement for Canadian Literacy (MCL), low literacy is also closely linked to poverty, poor health and unemployment.

There was a time when there were lots of good jobs for people who couldn't read, but those days are gone. Today a person who can't read has trouble just finding work of any kind. As a result, people who cannot read, fall outside the norms of society with alarming frequency.

Seventy per cent of the people in jail in North America read at the two lowest literacy levels, which means they read nothing, or only well enough to understand the directions on a pill bottle.
. . . . .
Low literacy rates affect all cultures and socio-economic classes as evidenced by The Movement for Canadian Literacy (MCL) which estimates that 9 million out of 36 million Canadians lack the literacy skills needed for daily living.
. . . . .
Seventy-four per cent of children who are unsuccessful readers in the third grade are still unsuccessful readers in the ninth grade (Journal of Child Neurology, January. 1995).

"It would be easy to blame the students for their lack of progress, and many mistakenly do, except for the fact that over 85 per cent of Canadians are either average or above average in intelligence, so the students are smart enough to understand - they just can't read well enough to understand what they read,"
says Dr. Debby Cooper. "However, with early detection and successful remediation, teaching of basic reading skills is possible and can lead to effective change - I know this to be true because throughout my 30 years of practice working with those with low literacy, dyslexia and Learning Disorders (LD's), I've seen success first hand."

Every child has the ability to learn, but some just learn differently. READ ON

TD Canada Trust reports:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

National Year of Reading - United Kingdom

Prime Minister launches National Year of Reading

Gordon Brown and Education Secretary Ed Balls were joined by a group of schoolchildren and children's writers at 10 Downing Street today for the launch of the National Year of Reading.

Children from City of London Academy and Loxford School of Science and Technology created 'reading corners' with beanbags and cushions and chatted with the Prime Minister about their favourite books.

The 2008 National Year of Reading has been launched to help build a greater national passion for the pastime among children, families and adult learners alike.

At the launch, Ed Balls called for every employer, school, library, college and local authority to get involved and sign up to the campaign by logging on to the
National Year of Reading website.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Literacy Tribune Newsletter: United Literacy

United Literacy: The Adult Learner Network

January 2008 issue of the Literacy Tribune is now available @

~ Identity Theft: Have You Been A Victim?
~ Technology Watch: Text to Speech Part 2
~ A Learner's Poem: Tears
~ A History Lesson: Road to the Constitution
~ Member Spotlight: Kaddy Tamba
~ Words to Know

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Library: Return on Investment - ROI

A Library's Value
Journal Gazette: Jan 8, 2008

IN: Allen County residents who have visited the renovated downtown library or any of the county’s 13 branches already know the quality-of-life value of their rich community resource. Same with the patrons of Kendallville’s new library on Bixler Lake or Columbia City’s Peabody Library, with an observation deck overseeing an adjacent wetlands.

Now, an Indiana University report confirms the economic value of the state’s public libraries: A total market value of goods and services estimated at $629.9 million and a return of $2.38 on each dollar of investment. The report, by the Indiana Business Research Center at IU’s Kelley School of Business, concludes that public libraries are a good value, serving as “an important channel for literacy, education and information.”

“Public libraries are worth a lot more than they cost,” said Timothy Slaper, IBRC director of economic analysis and co-author of the report. “The 2.38-to-1 benefit-to-cost ratio represents a very conservative and defendable estimate of the value Hoosiers derive from their libraries.”

Information Searches That Solve Problems
How People Use the Internet, Libraries, and Government Agencies When They Need Help. Dec 30, 2007

There are several major findings in this report (a partnership of the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign and the Pew Internet & American Life Project). One is this: For help with a variety of common problems, more people turn to the internet than consult experts or family members to provide information and resources.

Another key insight is that members of Gen Y are the leading users of libraries for help solving problems and in more general patronage. In a national phone survey, respondents were asked whether they had encountered 10 possible problems in the previous two years, all of which had a potential connection to the government or government-provided information. Those who had dealt with the problems were asked where they went for help and the internet topped the list.

The survey results challenge the assumption that libraries are losing relevance in the internet age. Libraries drew visits by more than half of Americans (53%) in the past year for all kinds of purposes, not just the problems mentioned in this survey. And it was the young adults in tech-loving Generation Y (age 18-30) who led the pack. Compared to their elders, Gen Y members were the most likely to use libraries for problem-solving information and in general patronage for any purpose.

Furthermore, it is young adults who are the most likely to say they will use libraries in the future when they encounter problems: 40% of Gen Y said they would do that, compared with 20% of those above age 30 who say they would go to a library.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Alphabet of Hope - UNESCO

Writers for Literacy - The Alphabet of Hope Anthology

UNESCO’s "Writers for Literacy" initiative aims to raise public awareness of the extraordinary value of the written word and of the necessity to promote literacy for all, through writers of international standing.

The following authors are working for literacy either through their writing or by participating in UNESCO events. They have notably contributed to The Alphabet of Hope anthology:

Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Philippe Claudel, Paulo Coelho, Philippe Delerm, Fatou Diome, Chahdortt Djavann, Nadine Gordimer, Amitav Gosh, Marc Levy, Alberto Manguel, Anna Moi, Scott Momaday, Toni Morrison, Erik Orsenna, Gisèle Pineau, El Tayeb Salih, Francisco Jose Sionil, Wole Soyinka, Amy Tan, Miklos Vamos, Abdourahman A. Waberi, Wei Wei, Banana Yoshimoto.

According to UNESCO, an estimated 774 million adults, two-thirds of them women, live without basic literacy skills. Many organizations in the Granite State working to help people in our community to improve their lives by improving their reading. International Literacy Day is an opportunity for you to decide how you can help.

Women make up almost two thirds of the one billion adults who cannot read and write," said Victorine Kemonou, International Education Campaigns Coordinator for ActionAid. "Yet literacy increases women's involvement in household decisions, community affairs and as active citizens in national life," she added.

Friday, January 4, 2008

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Popular Children's Author Named Reading Ambassador
Washington Post
: Jan 3, 2008: by Bob Thompson

Jon Scieszka, author of "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales" and the "Time Warp Trio" series, will get the imprimatur of the Library of Congress today as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

"We think it's very important to have an evangelist for reading," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. The library's Center for the Book has teamed up with the Children's Book Council, a publishing industry trade association, to create the national ambassador program.

The appointment comes at a time when declines in Americans' reading proficiency and time spent reading have been widely noted -- most recently in "To Read or Not to Read," a report issued by the National Endowment for the Arts. For many reasons, including economic competitiveness, it is "a matter of crucial national importance" that young people read, Billington said.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Rose Parade: 2008

Sharing World Literacy Day

Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee’s entry into the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade, entitled “Sharing World Literacy Day,” celebrates the leadership in service by Rotarians worldwide.

Eight International Exchange Students on the float represent different parts of the Rotary World. The theme of this year’s parade is “Passport to the World’s Celebrations” and this will be Rotary’s 28th consecutive year of participation in the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional people united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.