Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Programme For The International Assessment Of Adult Competencies PIAAC

Requests Comments about PIAAC
Federal Register: December 28, 2009 - V74, #247

Title: Programme For The International Assessment Of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2010 Field Test And 2011/2012 Main Study Data Collection.
Frequency: Annually.
Affected Public: Individuals or households.
Reporting and Recordkeeping Hour Burden:

Responses: 1,500. Burden Hours: 3,000.

DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before February 26, 2010.

The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues:
(1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department;
(2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner;
(3) is the estimate of burden accurate;
(4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;
(5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

Abstract: NCES seeks OMB approval to survey adults (16-65 years old) for the field-test administration of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) in 2011. PIAAC is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor.

PIAAC is the OECD's new international household study of adults' literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving in technology-rich environments. It will also survey respondents about their education and employment experience and about the skills they use at work. PIAAC builds on previous international literacy assessments: The 2002 Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALLS) and the 1994-98 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS).

PIAAC is expected to be on a 10-year cycle.
In 2011, 28 countries, including 23 OECD-member countries, plan to participate.

The U.S. PIAAC field test data collection will occur between August and November 2010. The main study will occur between September 2011 and March 2012.
NCES will seek approval for the full-scale instruments in the fall of 2010.

Requests for copies of the proposed information collection request may be accessed from Department of Education Information Collection System

~ select the “Browse Pending Collections'' link
~ click on link number 4194.
When you access the information collection,
~ click on “Download Attachments'' to view.

Written requests for information should be addressed:
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW., LBJ
Washington, DC 20202-4537

Requests may also be electronically mailed to:
or faxed to 202-401-0920.

Specify the complete title of the information collection when making your request.

Comments regarding burden and/or the collection activity requirements should be electronically mailed to:

Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Written-Word Death

Study: Rumors of Written-Word Death Greatly Exaggerated
Wired: December 29, 2009 by Eliot Van Buskirk

Conventional wisdom holds that YouTube, videogames, cable TV and iPods have turned us away from the written word. Glowing streams of visual delights replaced paper and longhand letters shrank to bite-sized Facebook status updates, the theory held.

Conventional wisdom, in this case, is wrong.

A large-scale study by the University of San Diego and other research universities revealed what some of us have long suspected: We’re reading far more words than we used to as we adopt new technologies.

“Reading, which was in decline due to the growth of television, tripled from 1980 to 2008, because it is the overwhelmingly preferred way to receive words on the Internet,” found a University of San Diego study (.pdf) published this month by Roger E. Bohn and James E. Short of the University of San Diego.

Americans consumed 3.6 billion terabytes of information last year, averaging 11.8 hours of information consumption per day. Video and videogames constituted 55 percent of those bytes, but on average, Americans read 36 percent of the 100,500 words they consume each day, according to the San Diego study, which analyzed more than 20 data sources. The study doesn’t cover writing, but a simple glance at Facebook feeds reveals that we’re almost certainly writing more than we used to, as well.

Admittedly, posting “OMG best pizza ever C U l8r” to a mix of strangers, friends and acquaintances is not the same as carrying on a lengthy epistolary relationship.

“The Internet is about the death of the written word as a means of exchange and a store of value,” writes Sam Vaknin, Ph.D., in a typical criticism. “As a method of conveying information, written words are inefficient and ambiguous…. Sounds and images are far superior … thus, textual minimalism is replacing books and periodicals.”

Story continues below ↓

If you’re reading thousands of words a day on a variety of devices, paper included, you need as much help as you can get in deciding which words to read. Ironically, the same technologies derided by some for contributing to a lack of literacy — Facebook and Twitter — are full of recommendations of things to read.

Technology may have truncated and warped the written word in some cases, while increasing competition for our time. But as borne out by this new data, technology hasn’t found a substitute for the written word as a means of conveying certain types of information. And, in fact, it has made reading and writing even more essential parts of everyday life. READ MORE !

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Word of the Year

2009 Word of the Year
American Dialect Society

All nominations will be considered for the ADS 20th Annual Word-of-the-Year (WOTY) vote. Nominations from the public can still be sent to:

The best "word of the year" candidates will be:

—new or newly popular in 2009
—widely or prominently used in 2009
—indicative or reflective of the national discourse

WOTY will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday, January 8, 2010, and is open at no cost to members of the press and public. Detailed information on where and when the final vote will be held is here.
Check out the early nominations from society members who specialize in following language trends:

Nominations from Grant Barrett, chair of the American Dialect Society's New Words Committee editor of the "Among the New Words" column of the society's journal American Speech.
Nominations from Wayne Glowka, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia.
Nominations from Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, and member of the Executive Council of the American Dialect Society.
Nominations from David Barnhart of Lexik House, editor of the Barnhart Dictionary Companion.
Nominations from Nancy Friedman, a name developer at Wordworking in Oakland, California. She keeps the blog Fritinancy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

America’s Most Literate Cities: 2009

America’s Most Literate Cities: 2009Central Connecticut State University: December 22, 2009

Drawing from a variety of available data resources, the America’s Most Literate Cities study ranks the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the United States. This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources.

The original study was published online in 2003 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The 2005 rankings were published online at Central Connecticut State University.

Dr. John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, is the author of this study. Research for this edition of AMLC was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Public Policy and Social Research at CCSU.

Overall Ranking and Rankings by Category

Top 10Seattle, WA
Washington, DC
Minneapolis, MN
Pittsburgh, PA
Atlanta, GA
Portland, OR
St. Paul, MN
Boston, MA
Cincinnati, OH
Denver, CO

@ the bottom from 65 - 7565 Fresno, CA
66 Glendale, AZ
67 Santa Ana, CA
68 Mesa, AZ
69 Anaheim, CA
70 Arlington, TX
71 Aurora, CO
72 Stockton, CA
73 Bakersfield, CA
74 Corpus Christi, TX
75 El Paso, TX

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jobs for Main Street Act ACTION ALERT

ALA Action Alert
Out of Work Librarians Need Your Help !

Call NOW to Include Libraries in the Jobs for Main Street Act !

Right now, the House of Representatives is debating the Jobs for Main Street Act, and this bill would provide funding to a variety of programs aimed at creating jobs. No other organization is as dynamic or as well-equipped to build jobs as libraries, yet neither the House nor the Senate version of this legislation mentions libraries. By including specific bill language that includes librarians, we can continue to help people look for jobs, help people obtain their GED, build valuable job skills, and much more. To read the full proposal, please click here.

The House is expected to vote on this legislation TODAY. Please call your representatives TODAY and your senators tomorrow; tell them you would like to see librarians included in the Jobs for Main Street Act and explain to them that those funds are critical in putting librarians back to work so they can help people get back to work.

1. Libraries play a key role in getting America back to work again. Nationwide, the library is the only source of no-fee Internet access for 71 percent of Americans. With more and more job applications only being accepted online, the public library is becoming the center of most American's job searches.

2. State Library Agencies reported in November 2009 that 77 percent of states cut funds that support local public libraries, which has meant layoffs, staff furloughs, and forced retirements. This has caused a 75 percent cut in services to the public including canceled statewide databases used for job searching, homework help, and cuts in 24/7 reference, which are used by small businesses and students.

Not Sure Who To Contact = Click Here
Find elected officials, including the president, members of Congress, governors, state legislators, and more.

Tweens News Literacy

Tween Tribune
News For Kids & News By Kids

A daily news site for tweens. Each day links to the day's most compelling news from a tweens perspective are posted. Stories chosen for TweenTribune are selected by tweens working closely with professional journalists. Tweens can submit links to stories they'd like to share, submit their own stories and photos, and comment on the stories they read.

It encourages tweens to seek out news on a daily basis. Fosters a daily news-reading habit at an early age.

There are also pages for Teachers that can be customized for the classroom as well as Lesson plans.

2 Recent Posts:
Oops! Tween's cell bill = $21,917 A 13-year-old was probably in hot water with his father after running up a cell phone bill of nearly $22,000. Ted Estarija said he was expecting his bill to be higher this month after adding his son to his plan, but wasn't expecting a bill of $21,917 in data usage charges. The Hayward, Calif.
- Posted on December 16, 2009 Read more
login or register to post comments

OMG! Kids send 2,000 txts per month R u kidding me? Americans punched out more than 110 billion text messages last year, double the number in the previous year and growing, as the shorthand communication becomes a popular alternative to cell phone calls. "If teens are a leader for America, then we are moving to a text-based ...
- Posted on December 15, 2009
Related stories
Does your teacher let you txt in class?
Young people finally flock to Twitter
Maybe txting isn't so bad after all
How fast R U? Girl wins US texting title
Read more
login or register to post comments

Thursday, December 10, 2009

literacy : : : lite : racy

Alphabet Updated With 15 Exciting New Replacement Letters

NEW YORK—Dynamic, sleek, and even sexy is how a panel of typographic and marketing experts described the 15 new replacement letters they unveiled Monday in an effort to reinvigorate interest in the faltering English alphabet.

"Forget everything you thought you knew about reading and writing," announced David Greenberg, 34, lead designer of the exciting ABC makeover. "These new letters are hip, fresh, and sure to forever change the way English speakers everywhere form their words."

"Move over 'M' and 'P,'" Greenberg continued. "Because this ain't your grandfather's alphabet."

According to Greenberg, the exciting new set of consonants and vowels will be rolled out over the next few months, and should find its way into most newspapers, magazines, and popular works of fiction by early spring.

The result of nearly a year of focus-group testing, the new letters are reportedly more than just an aesthetic update. Studies found that more than 87 percent of Americans rarely ever use the letter "X" in their daily lives, a discovery that led to a complete reworking of the neglected consonant that has transformed it from unpopular alphabet pariah to something "people will be dying to write down."

By contrast, the vowel "E" was found to be by far the most used letter in the alphabet, giving designers the idea to cash in on its popularity by adding a third horizontal line to the less desirable "F."

A series of PSAs for alphabet users of all ages is also scheduled to air this month, with such titles as "Coming Soon To A Paperback Near You" and "The New Alphabet: It Puts The In Fn!"

So far, reaction to the new replacement has been positive.

"I've never reay pai much aenin wrd an ff like ha, ell y he rh," 10h-graer Parick Reyno ai. "B hi i fn. I barey even feel like I'm wriing."

READ MORE ! @ The Onion: 12/10/09

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy: 2009

California Library Association
Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy: 2009

Derek Wolfgram was recognized as this year’s winner of the Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy at CLA's 2009 Conference.

The following comments are excerpts from his nomination:

Derek Wolfgram goes WAY above and beyond to support literacy! While not familiar with Literacy Services in the Library before becoming our Director (Butte County), he got up to speed quickly and became one of our best-ever advocates! From voting on t-shirt graphics, to starring in a zany radio spot, to respectfully presenting our Champion of Literacy award to our adult learner honoree, no doubt about it, in so many ways he was ‘there’ for us.

While always an enthusiastic spirit in support of Literacy, Derek’s support isn’t just all fun and games – rather it is also forward- thinking, inclusive and strategic. He was sure to include the Literacy Services team when doing his system needs assessment and when he instituted the Leadership Team of managers, the Literacy Specialist was solidly at the table. Extremely supportive of our efforts to secure grants, he’s proven to be a key team member, offering his valuable visionary and editing skills.

Perhaps most illustrative overall is recalling last January when Derek accompanied two adult learners and a volunteer tutor to visit one of our legislators. Derek stepped back and encouraged the focus be directed on the learners. Surely the necessary messages about concerns for the library were heard that day, but with Derek’s compassionate and elegant presence, what the legislator will remember when thinking of the Library are the voices from two adults who have so benefited from Literacy Services.

Butte County: 2006 - May 2009
Santa Clara County Library
Deputy County Librarian,
Community Libraries and Human Resources

Monday, December 7, 2009

Claremont 'library' Serves a Captive Audience

Claremont 'library' Serves a Captive Audience

The Prison Library Project responds to hundreds of requests a week from inmates around the country, and beyond, seeking a little relief from the boredom through reading. Penned inside a stark world of concrete and steel, the messages are often congenial, the words soft.

"Greetings from the other side. I hope this letter finds you in good health, achieveing all your heart's desire."

"Looking at things from a positive outlook helps you see the beauty in life."

"You all will always be in my prayers knowing that thy are truly servants of our God."

The project has been fulfilling that request since 1987, when Claremont resident Rick Moore took over a program begun by spiritual gurus Bo Lozoff and Ram Dass in Durham, N.C. Starting with used books stored in the closet of a friend's yoga studio, Moore eventually established the Thoreau Bookshop, where he could house the project as well as operate a store to fund it. From that evolved the nonprofit Claremont Forum, of which the Prison Library Project is the nexus.

More than 250,000 books have been mailed out over the last two decades. For inventory, the store relies on community members dropping off used books or publishers clearing shelves for a new print edition.

The one book the Prison Library Project can't seem to keep in stock is a dictionary.

READ MORE ! @ LA Times: 12/04/09 by Cornia Knoll

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Britain's Smallest Library: Red Phone Box

U.K. Phone Booth World's Smallest Library. The Star: December 3, 2009

A village in southwestern England is winning awards and attention for creating one of the world's smallest libraries.

Housed in an unused red telephone booth on the village square in Westbury-sub-Mendip, the 24-hour library is "very well used," parish councillor Bob Dolby told the Star on Thursday.

About 150 donated books sit on shelves in the phone booth, along with DVDs and CDs. A red box on the floor "at children's height" holds books for kids. Villagers can take whatever they want and leave their own books in exchange.

Story continues below ↓

British Telecom recently awarded the village 35 kilometres from Bristol a {pound}500 prize in its competition for the best conversion of a red phone booth, long a symbol of Britain but now slowly being phased out by mobile phones. BT was decommissioning "thousands around the country," Dolby said.

It was the competition that inspired a village tea party during the August bank holiday where villager Janet Fisher "came up with the brilliant idea of a book exchange," Dolby said. He hammered in the shelves and the books started to arrive. READ MORE !

. . . photo from Flickr Group:
Requiem for A Red Box - John Timpson
photographers Neil McAllister, Val Corbett
London: Pyramid - 1989

Check It Out @ Libraries on WorldCat