Friday, October 30, 2009

Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

Glasgow's world first for the English language

After 45 years painstaking scholarship by the English Language department of the University of Glasgow, the world’s first historical thesaurus is to be published this week.

The brainchild of Professor Michael Samuels in 1964, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary . . . map almost every word in the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary on to a vast classification structure where words with similar meaning are grouped together and listed in chronological order from the oldest (c700 A.D.) to the most recent.

It contains nearly 800,000 meanings, 236,000 categories and subcategories in 2 volumes. READ MORE ! @ Univ of Glasgow News: 10/22/09

Structure, History, Sample Page, Brochure and Podcast @ OUP Online

Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary
With Additional Material from A Thesaurus of Old English
Christian Kay, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels, Irene Wotherspoon
OUP, Oct 2009
ISBN13: 9780199208999

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adult Learners - Writing

2009 Writer-to-Writer Awards
- at CLA Conference – Literacy Interest Group
October 31 @ Bar Celona Restaurant

This year 188 adult learners entered the Challenge from 43 library literacy programs all over California. Their letters, based on their writing skill levels, were divided into four categories: Emerging, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. [see earlier Post for more information !]

The letters of the winners will appear as a Four-part Series by the Literacy Interest Group E-newsletter.

2009 Writer to Writer Challenge Winners

Emerging Level Winner:
Anonymous, Alhambra Civic Center Library
wrote to Anne Frank - Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

Beginning Level Winner:
Evonne Macias, Hemet Public Library
wrote to Dave Pelzer - A Child Called It.

Intermediate Level Winner:
Larry Evans, Palmdale City Library
wrote to Sidney Poitier - The Measure of a Man.

Advanced Level Winner:
Sima Tawakoli, Berkeley Public Library
wrote to Paulo Coelho - The Alchemist.

. . . more @ SCLLN Blog

Book about adults learning to read 'stirs the emotions'
Daily Gleaner: October 24, 2009 by Rose Burke

Breaking the Word Barrier:
Stories of Adults Learning to Read
Edited by Marilyn Lerch, Angela Ranson

Goose Lane Editions

Do not pass on this book because you think it will be academic; it isn't. It is personal and stirs the emotions.

Adults who have achieved success in literacy were paired with writers to tell their stories and the result is 17 compelling accounts that capture the struggles and joy of each journey. The reader sees the obstacles that prevented them from mastering reading skills in their youth, feels the frustration of the impact it has had on their lives, cheers at their motivation to take their first steps and rejoices for the well-earned pride that comes with success. READ MORE !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How e-Books Could Smarten Up Kids and Stretch Library Dollars: A National Plan

How e-Books Could Smarten Up Kids and Stretch Library Dollars: A National Plan

I remember the poverty beat from my newspaper days eons ago in Lorain, Ohio -- a steel town near Cleveland -- where Toni Morrison once lived.

Believe me, I didn't see many welfare mothers with shelf after self of Dickens and the rest, or even romance novels. Today millions of children are still growing up in bookless homes. But suppose a well-stocked national digital library system existed for Americans of different ages, along with the means to encourage schoolchildren and others to use it.

Among those benefiting:• Students at small colleges without big budgets for either paper or electronic books.

• Workers who want to upgrade job skills.

• The elderly. In the future many baby boomers may face challenges of their own -- the inability to drive to the public library or read books of normal type size.

• People in cash-strapped library and school districts. With cost-savings in mind, a city council member in Los Angeles is already advocating e-books. "I just believe that with technology moving forward, we could save a great deal of money in not having to buy thousands of books each year when they could be made available online," a news account quotes Councilman Bernard Parks. He's off on some details, but yes, if nothing else, libraries shell out big bucks to store and manage paper collections. "E" could automate plenty.

• Writers and publishers who are suffering from slumping book sales and could well stand a little economic stimulus, in the spirit of the old Federal Writers Project.

READ MORE ! @ Huffington Post: 10/22/09 by David Rothman - Teleread

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

literacy : : : lite : racy

Cambridge Study Says 5-year-olds Too Young To Start School

LONDON: A study of primary education by Cambridge University recommends that formal schooling of children should begin at the age of six, a year later than the present norm in the UK.

The 608-page Cambridge Primary Review . . . said there was no evidence suggesting formal teaching environments benefited young children, and that introducing children at the age of five into the structure and discipline of a classroom could even be harmful.

Dame Gillian Pugh, chairwoman of the review, said: "Four and five-year-olds tended to be at a stage where they were just 'tuning in' to learning and that they could be 'turned off' if they were made to follow too formal a curriculum, too early on."

In Finland, as in Germany and Sweden, children begin school in the year they turn seven. In France, children begin formal education at six. Finland is regarded as having Europe's best education system, with the country's students regularly achieving top marks for reading literacy and science in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

READ MORE ! @ lifesitenews: 10/21/09 by Thaddeus M. Bakllinski

At 26, celebrity chef Curtis Aikens finally learned to read

At 26, celebrity chef Curtis Aikens finally learned to read

Even if you’ve never met Curtis Aikens, all it takes to get a sense of his personality is the command on the front of his chef’s jacket: “Give me a hug!!”

When he graduated from high school, though, he would have had trouble reading those four words.

And yes, Aikens graduated from high school. Without learning to read.

“I could not spell Kmart,” he says. “I could spell my name. That was about it.”

He could recognize letters. But as he set off to college, he could not form letters into words and words into sentences.

Finally, at 26, after seeing a TV commercial for literacy tutoring, he signed up. Within a year he had become a reader.

These days, at 49, Aikens — a cookbook author and former Food Network personality who has met three presidents and even Oprah — is an advocate for adult literacy. He was in Kansas City last week to tell his story, do a little cooking and raise money for Literacy Kansas City, an organization that teaches adults and teenagers how to read.

READ MORE ! @ 10/20/09 by Tim Engle-Kansas City Star

1,000,000 for Literacy: Shatter the Silence

. . . forwarded from Margaret Doughty @ Literacy Powerline

Literacy Advocates can create a larger voice to let the President know that literacy must be a priority - Plan to meet with the President in Summer 2010.

Join 1,000,000 for Literacy Facebook group.
Connect with other literacy advocates.
Forward to all your friends - not just your literacy colleagues !

1 Join Facebook
2 CLICK on "Invite People to Join"
3 SELECT all of the friends that you want to join
4 CLICK on "Send invitation"

Shatter the Silence Video

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

National Coalition for Literacy Blog

NCL Advocacy Clearinghouse and Toolkit Blog

The National Coalition for Literacy brings you this experimental online Blog Forum, for program year 2009-2010, to engage NCL members in cultivating and supporting public policy advocates, assisting advocates with questions asked by the press and the public, and expanding the number of active advocates in support of adult and family literacy.

The NCL posts frequent public policy updates, as well as key information and resources pertinent to the current federal public policy landscape. Additionally, we will host 2-4 blog discussions with NCL members who are federal advocacy experts during critical times for advocacy.

How to Participate:
Just post your comment or question in the “Comments” field.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vooks ?

Does the Brain Like E-Books?
NYT: October 14, 2009

Room for Debate - by The Editors

Writing and reading — from newspapers to novels, academic reports to gossip magazines — are migrating ever faster to digital screens, like laptops, Kindles and cellphones. Traditional book publishers are putting out “vooks,” which place videos in electronic text that can be read online or on an iPhone. Others are republishing old books in electronic form. And libraries, responding to demand, are offering more e-books for download.

Is there a difference in the way the brain takes in or absorbs information when it is presented electronically versus on paper? Does the reading experience change, from retention to comprehension, depending on the medium ?

Alan Liu, English professor
Sandra Aamodt, author, “Welcome to Your Brain”
Maryanne Wolf, professor of child development
David Gelernter, computer scientist
Gloria Mark, professor of informatics

Read what 5 experts have to say @ Room for Debate - NYT

Read On @ Your Local Library: WorldCat

Print Is Dead: Books In Our Digital Age
Jeff Gomez – Palgrave Macmillan, 2009
~ authors, producers, distributors, and readers must not only acknowledge these changes, but drive digital book creation, standards, storage, and delivery as the first truly transformational thing to happen in the world of words since the printing press.

Friday, October 16, 2009

literacy : : : lite : racy

Nine Reading Experts Explain the Sad State of Reading

The Reading Wars continue to rage.
Flawed methods continue to cause illiteracy and dyslexia. It’s a huge tragedy.
But why has it happened? And how do you keep your child from being damaged?
1) Don Potter
2) Mona McNee
3) Wanda Sanseri
4) Samuel Blumenfeld
5) Kim Lattadren
6) Siegfried Engelmann
7) Malkin Dare
8) Geraldine Rodgers
9) Elizabeth Brown

My personal conclusion is that the flawed methods used in many public schools are not only a national tragedy but child abuse. I want to remind everyone of Rudolph Flesch´s "Why Johnny STILL Can´t Read" (1981). Chapter 7 is titled "We Do Teach Phonics," which is the official lie that many teachers are still told to use. Caveat emptor.

The USA is said to have 50,000,000 functional illiterates and 1,000,000 dyslexics.
They are victims of educational malpractice. This article is dedicated to them.
READ MORE ! @ American Chronicle: 10/14/09 by Bruce Deitrick Price

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Transliteracy – Reading in the Digital Age
The Higher Education Academy English Subject Centre Newsletter Issue 9 - November 2005
Professor of New Media, De Montfort University
‘Transliteracies’ Conference
University of California at Santa Barbara
June 7– 8, 2005

. . . this new literacy is not about reading fixed type, but about reading on fluid and varied platforms – blogs, email, hypertext and, soon, digital paper and all kinds of mobile media in buildings, vehicles, and supermarket aisles. Although text still dominates at the moment, it is possible that it might come to be superseded by image, audio, or even ideogram as the medium of choice.

Hence ‘transliteracy’ – literacy across media.

The first hurdle of ‘traditional reading’ by making it very clear that reading in any medium has never been simple or transparent.

In the medieval period ‘good reading’ was collective and public, and silent reading often provoked suspicion, but as reading became more professionalized certain practices which once were common came to be frowned upon – pointing at the page as one reads, reading aloud, annotating margins, or permitting one’s lips to move during reading. Nevertheless, as Leah Price noted, reading has always disrupted the linear via ‘mining’ practices of tables of contents, indexes, and concordances.

Awareness of transliteracy reminds us that fixed-type print is a very new and possibly short-lived phenomenon within the long and diverse history of communication platforms.

According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the word 'illiterate' dates back only to 1556, around 100 years after Gutenberg invented the printing press. Prior to this period more people could read than could write, but many more could do neither. Since the 16th century an increasing number have become fully literate, but today transliteracy is becoming more desirable than print-based literacy.

The term "transliteracy" was coined by Alan Liu, a professor in the English department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose research on the subject is being carried out across University of California campuses.

Trend Transliteracy: A Trend of Amplified Organization
KnowledgeWorks Foundation: 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning

Effective communication depends on the ability to read, write, and interact across multiple media and social platforms:
Digital video
Virtual Worlds
Social Networking

-provided by

Sue Thomas and Kate Pullinger have now established The Transliteracy Research Group which launched October 13, 2009.

Since transliteracy research began at DMU in 2005 under the umbrella of PART (Production & Research in Transliteracy), group members have produced a significant range of projects, events, presentations and publications, stimulating an informal research network around the theory and practice of transliteracy.

Transliteracy and Libraries video . . . saw it on a Jeff Scott (Deputy Director of the Tulare County Library) tweet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10 Politically inCorrect Words: 2009

Top Politically (in)Correct Words of 2009
Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas October 2, 2009 – Swine Flu, Flush Toilet, Green Revolution, Minority, and Saint have been named the top politically (in)Correct words and phrases of the past year according to The Global Language Monitor in its sixth annual survey of the English Language.

“Once again, we are seeing that the attempt to remove all bias from language is itself creating biases of their own,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of The Global Language Monitor. “At this point it is becoming increasingly difficult to engage in any form of public dialogue without offending someone’s sensitivities, whether right, left or center.”

The Top Politically Correct Words and Phrases for 2009 include:
1. Swine Flu
Though hundreds of millions know of the current pandemic as Swine Flu, various governments and agencies for political motives ranging from protecting pork producers to religious sensitivity have chosen to address the virus by its formal name, influenza A(H1N1).
2. Flush Toilet
Flush toilets, toilet paper and toilet use in general are now coming under the watchful eyes of the green movement.
3. Green Revolution
In the 1960s the scientific consensus was the world was on the brink of a ‘Malthusian’ collapse. The Green Revolution changed all that, but now there are those who believe that the world has paid a “stiff price in environmental degradation”.
4. Minority
Talking about minorities is considered insensitive to minorities since this can make them feel, well, like minorities.
5. Saint
In addition to the word ‘saint,’ Oxford University Press has removed words such as ‘bishop,’ ‘chapel,’ and ‘Pentecost’ from the Junior Dictionary.
6. Politically Correct
The term politically correct has, itself, is now politically correct, Be careful how you use it.
7. Oriental
In the US considered offensive to Asians because the term is based on the geographic relationship of Asia from a Western perspective. In Europe (and in most Asian nations), however, Oriental is acceptable.
8. Founding Fathers
Though all the Signers of the American Declaration of Independence were men, this is considered sexists in some quarters. Founders, please.
9. Black Sheep
Though originally referring to the rare birth of a lamb with black fur, now considered ethnically insensitive; the same is true for Black Day, Conversely, terms like White Collar and Whiter than White all can be used to encourage a hierarchical value of skin tone.
10. Senior Citizen
In the name of ‘inclusiveness,’ the UK’s Loughborough University’s suggests replacing senior citizen with ‘older person’.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dropouts - Prison - Unemployment

Study Finds High Rate of Imprisonment Among Dropouts
NYT: October 8, 2009 by Sam Dillon

On any given day, about one in every 10 young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, compared with one in 35 young male high school graduates, according to a new study of the effects of dropping out of school in an America where demand for low-skill workers is plunging.

The picture is even bleaker for African-Americans, with nearly one in four young black male dropouts incarcerated or otherwise institutionalized on an average day, the study said. That compares with about one in 14 young, male, white, Asian or Hispanic dropouts.

Researchers at Northeastern University used census and other government data to carry out the study, which tracks the employment, workplace, parenting and criminal justice experiences of young high school dropouts.

Story continues below ↓

“The dropout rate is driving the nation’s increasing prison population, and it’s a drag on America’s economic competitiveness,” said Marc H. Morial, the former New Orleans mayor who is president of the National Urban League, one of the groups in the coalition that commissioned the report. “This report makes it clear that every American pays a cost when a young person leaves school without a diploma.”

The report puts the collective cost to the nation over the working life of each high school dropout at $292,000. Mr. Sum said that figure took into account lost tax revenues, since dropouts earn less and therefore pay less in taxes than high school graduates. It also includes the costs of providing food stamps and other aid to dropouts and of incarcerating those who turn to crime.

Story continues below ↓

The new report, in its analysis of 2008 unemployment rates, found that 54 percent of dropouts ages 16 to 24 were jobless, compared with 32 percent for high school graduates of the same age, and 13 percent for those with a college degree.

Again, the statistics were worse for young African-American dropouts, whose unemployment rate last year was 69 percent, compared with 54 percent for whites and 47 percent for Hispanics. The unemployment rate among young Hispanics was lower, the report said, because included in that category were many illegal immigrants, who compete successfully for jobs with native-born youths. READ MORE !

The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School:
Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for TaxpayersCenter for Labor Market Studies - October 2009
Northeastern University - Boston, Massachusetts

Thursday, October 8, 2009

State of America's Brain Health

2009 State of America’s Brain Health

life’sDHA Index of Brain Health
– an evaluation of brain health indicators in areas of diet, physical health, mental health and social well-being.

Take the Brain Health Quiz – note questions 12 & 13 !
#12: How many minutes do you spend reading for personal interest in a day ?
#13: How many hours do you volunteer in a typical month ?

Top 10
District of Columbia
Washington State
New Jersey
New Hampshire

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Read For The Record: October 8

Read For The Record: October 8

Join Jumpstart and read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Pledge to read today to help set a world record.
Celebrate the joy of reading all over the globe !

Here is how you can count towards the record !

Step 1:
Pledge to Read for the Record !
Pledging to read requires you to fill out a simple online form. By pledging to read, you commit to reading to at least one child in your life on October 8 and to receive campaign updates via email.

Step 2: Visit our Plan Your Event Page
to access all of the tools and resources you will need to hold your Read for the Record event - large or small !

Step 3: Post your event on the Event Builder/Finder !
Use this tool to invite guests to your event !

Find an event near you !

Monday, October 5, 2009

Battling the Scourge of Illiteracy

Battling the Scourge of Illiteracy: 30 Million Americans Cannot Read, But There Is Hope and Help
CBSNews: Oct 4, 2009 by Byron Pitts

Walter Long is 59 years old and lives in the town outside of Pittsburgh where he grew up. He's got a good job with the county water board, a nice house where he has raised four kids, and a wife who loves him.

And for years, Walter Long also had a secret: He could not read.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

He faked it well, until one night when he was reading - or pretending to read - a story to his four-year-old daughter, Joanna.

"My daughter looked up at me and said, 'That's not the way mom read it to me,'" Long recalls with emotion. "It's still hard to say to a four-year-old, that you can't read.

Lavonne McKinstry drives a school bus for the greater Pittsburgh school system. Ten years ago she would not have had the job because she couldn't read well enough to pass the driving test. Like Long, she hid her lack of reading skills from everyone - even her daughters.

"I was embarrassed, I was ashamed," McKinstry says. "It hurt."

There are 30 million Americans who are functionally illiterate, which means they cannot read well enough to function effectively, according to a federal survey.

"There are 40 percent of our nation's fourth graders who are not reading at basic level," says Emily Kirkpatrick of the National Center for Family Literacy. "Many of those fourth graders are children of the 30 million who cannot read at the basic level." READ MORE !

Harry Smith spoke with author and CBS reporter Byron Pitts about overcoming his childhood illiteracy to become a network news reporter. To read an part of Pitts' book, go to an excerpt of "Step Out of Nothing."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October: Health Literacy Month

October is Health Literacy Month

Annual awareness-raising event started in 1999 by Helen Osborne along with a team of health literacy advocates.

The theme for Health Literacy Month 2009 is "Why Health Literacy Matters: Sharing Our Stories in Words, Pictures, and Sound."

Sign-Up for Health Literacy Consulting’s free monthly "What's New" e-newsletter.

SAVE THE DATE: October 19 - 20

The Boston University Medical Center will hold the Health Literacy Annual Research Conference in Washington DC @ the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2101 C Street, NW.

Roundtable on Health Literacy – Institute of Health Medicine

Building upon the 2004 report Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion, the Institute of Medicine has convened a Roundtable on Health Literacy. The Roundtable brings together leaders from academia, industry, government, foundations and associations, and representatives of patient and consumer interests who have an interest and role in improving health literacy.

. . . some health literacy sites of interest:

Health literacy articles, videos and images @ asterpix

The Health Literacy Special Collection:
Curricula - Health Info for All - Multilingual Health Info - Resources
Funding Sources - Cultural Competency - Plain Language

Health Information Literacy @ Medical Library Association