Monday, December 27, 2010

Library Fees - Impact People Who Actually Use Libraries

LA libraries seek new funding sources
Municipal Risk: December 23, 2010
Los Angeles county has a $130 million library budget. Looking out at the horizon, officials see a $22 million per year deficit – for at least the next 10 years.

With recent ballot initiatives passing in favor of capital funding for the system facilities, the LA library system is very heavily supported by its community, said Peter Persic, PR Director.

Yet, like all other municipal officials around the country, officials are still reticent to embrace the idea of charging a minor book rental fee to library users. “It’s an issue libraries around the country are grappling with, especially in light of the mission to be a free public library,” said Persic.

Here at MunicipalRisk, we see an enormous opportunity to supplement and possibly transform library budgets with revenue driven by usage.

A new book at Barnes & Noble costs $30. A movie rental costs $5 at Blockbuster or $10/month at Netflix. Average monthly cable bills are $100+. But, for some reason local officials are stuck on a centuries old idea that libraries should be completely free. Imagine just a 25 cent rental fee per item loaned by the library. In LA County, where 18 million items were checked out in 2009, that would’ve meant $4.5 million in revenue for the system.

Conceivably, user fees could easily be capped for library members, or even unlimited usage pricing options could be offered for frequent users.

The ultimate question is why should legislators increases taxes to everyone when user fees would just impact the people who actually use the library services?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

State-by-State Financial Capability Study

FINRA Foundation Releases Nation's First State-by-State Financial Capability Survey
New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire Most Financially Capable, Kentucky and Montana Place Last
December 8, 2010

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) today launched a dynamic interactive Web resource to display the results of America's first State-by-State Financial Capability Survey.

It displays a clickable map of the United States and allows the public, policymakers and researchers to delve into and compare the financial capabilities of Americans in every state and across geographic regions. The State-by-State Financial Capability Survey, which surveyed more than 28,000 respondents, was developed in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.

The state-by-state survey found a significant disparity in financial capability across state lines and demographic groups: Young Americans nationally were more likely to be less financially capable than older Americans, and they were significantly more likely to engage in non-bank borrowing.

“This study highlights how important improving financial education is for Americans, especially during times of financial insecurity,” said FINRA Foundation Chairman Rick Ketchum. “While the current economic conditions can exacerbate the consequences of poor financial decisions, some states are still well ahead of others.”

The state-by-state survey echoed several of the findings of a smaller-scale national survey released in 2009, finding:
~ Over half of all Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
~ 55% of Americans report spending more than or about equal to their household income.
~ A significant majority of Americans (60%) do not have a “rainy day” fund to cover 3 months of unanticipated financial emergencies.
~ More than one in five Americans (24%) have engaged in some form of higher cost non-bank borrowing during the last five years, including taking out a payday loan or getting an advance on a tax refund.

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The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit READ MORE !

Gauge your financial knowledge—take the quiz below and compare your score with the averages in specific states, regions or the nation overall.

1. Suppose you have $100 in a savings account earning 2 percent interest a year. After five years, would you have more than $102, exactly $102 or less than $102?

2. Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account is 1 percent a year and inflation is 2 percent a year. After one year, would the money in the account buy more than it does today, exactly the same or less than today?

3. If interest rates rise, what will typically happen to bond prices? Rise, fall, stay the same, or is there no relationship?

4. True or false: A 15-year mortgage typically requires higher monthly payments than a 30-year mortgage but the total interest over the life of the loan will be less.

5. True or false: Buying a single company's stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Learning: Is There an App for That ?

Learning: Is there an app for that?
by Cynthia Chiong & Carly Shuler
November 2010

A mobile media revolution that is changing the lives of adults, and now children of all ages, is under way across the globe. This report focuses on how new forms of digital media are influencing very young children and their families in the United States and how we can deploy smart mobile devices and applications-apps, for short-in particular, to help advance their education. It does so in three parts:

Part One discusses new trends in smart mobile devices, specifically the pass-back effect, which is when an adult passes his or her own device to a child.

Part Two presents the results of three new studies that were undertaken to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of using apps to promote learning among preschool- and early-elementary-aged children. Though designed to complement one another, each study approached mobile learning from a different angle.

Part Three discusses the implications these findings have for industry, education, and research.

Commissioned by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and PBS KIDS Raising Readers, through an initiative funded by a Ready to Learn grant and the United States Department of Education in cooperation with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Key Findings
Together, the three studies provide insight into how children are using and learning from smart mobile devices and apps. Here we present the findings according to our focal research questions:

• How much access do young children have to smart mobile devices?
The pass-back effect appears to be a real interactive phenomenon. Young children have access to smart mobile devices, but their access is often limited.

• What do young children do with smart mobile devices?
Kids say that they mainly play games with smart mobile devices, while parents report that their kids use these devices for a variety of activities.

• To what extent do young children like smartmobile devices?
They like smart mobile devices, particularly the iPhone/iPod touch.

• How adept are young children at using smart mobile devices?
Most children were able to use the device on their own without any trouble. Other children needed a little help, but only at the beginning. They quickly became adept users.

• To what extent do young children learn from apps?
There is evidence that kids can learn from apps. The Martha Speaks application used in the Learning Study shows promise for vocabulary learning, especially for older children. The Super Why app may be an effective way to promote literacy skills, especially for younger children.

• How can apps successfully sustain young children’s interest and learning?
Interest in the apps can be fleeting, but factors such as developmentally appropriate and fresh content, shortened wait times, humorous activities, incentives, goals, and parental involvement can help to sustain interest.

• What is the role of parents in the mobile media revolution?
All three studies suggest that parents play important roles in shaping the quality of their children’s experiences with mobile devices. When it comes to smart mobile devices, many parents do not yet view them as potential learning tools — especially when compared to other technologies like computers and the Internet — and thus restrict how their children use them.

Implications for industry
Design principle No. 1:
Create apps that are developmentally appropriate.
• Focus content narrowly within a developmental age range.
• Design content to be relevant to what children are already learning.
• Consider children’s evolving motor skills.
• Engage children (and adults!) by making them laugh… but not too much. Balance engagement and learning.

Design principle No. 2:
Create apps that sustain children’s interest and learning.
• Design for shorter playtimes.
• Provide goals and incentives: Keep them coming back.
• Give kids the option to personalize.
• Involve parents.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TAKE ACTION: Support Museum & Library Services Act

Support the Museum and Library Services Act S.3984 !

Call your Representative
Tell them to
Support the Museum & Library Services Act !

Take Action !

CALL the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your representative’s office. Tell their staffs that passing S. 3984, the Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA), is imperative to ensuring libraries can continue providing critical resources to their constituents, particularly in this tough economy.

Specifically highlighting programs or resources your library provides to the member’s constituents will make your message stronger.

The U.S. Senate passed MLSA Reauthorization under unanimous consent late Tuesday night, bringing the bill one step closer to reauthorization before the end of the 111th Congress.

MLSA will ensure that the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds are secured and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is equipped to lead America’s libraries. This bill received bipartisan support from both Senate Republicans and Democrats, especially Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), who is a longtime supporter of libraries in this country. Other Senate sponsors of this bill include Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

Access the full text of the bill S. 3984 here.

MLSA has moved to the U.S. House of Representatives where it must receive a vote before the end of the calendar year. Please call your representative and urge him or her to press House leadership for a vote on the Senate-passed version of MLSA and to support the bill.

Your calls are urgently needed TODAY. If the House does not pass this legislation in the next two weeks, the whole reauthorization process will have to start over after the first of the year.

Compose a Message Here and send by email.

Find Your Elected Officials @
~ including the president, members of Congress, governors, state legislators, and more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Books in the Home Increase the Level of Education

Books in Home as Important as Parents' Education in Determining Children's Education Level
ScienceDaily: May 21, 2010

Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics.

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.
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"What kinds of investments should we be making to help these kids get ahead?" she asked. "The results of this study indicate that getting some books into their homes is an inexpensive way that we can help these children succeed."

Evans said, "Even a little bit goes a long way," in terms of the number of books in a home. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit.

"You get a lot of 'bang for your book'," she said. "It's quite a good return-on-investment in a time of scarce resources."

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The *study by Evans and her colleagues at Nevada, UCLA and Australian National University is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on what influences the level of education a child will attain.

The researchers were struck by the strong effect having books in the home had on children's educational attainment even above and beyond such factors as education level of the parents, the country's GDP, the father's occupation or the political system of the country. READ MORE !

*Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations

Friday, November 12, 2010

Libraries: Have the Power to Change the World

Commentary: Technological and economic shifts have only made libraries more valuable
Washington Post: November 8, 2010 by Roberta Stevens

Today's challenging economy demands strategic investments. While the job market continues to recover, one of the best uses of public and private funds is to help ensure that people are digitally literate and are improving their employment skills.

Increasingly, the local public library serves as the community technology hub for training, digital literacy and, yes, even books.

While some believed the Internet might retire the library, the reverse has occurred. Over the past decade, libraries have embraced technology resources, and library visits and circulation have grown by 20 percent. The recession has only increased the demands on the public library.

Yet providing the full range of services to the public is possible only when libraries remain open. Locally, fiscal 2011 funding cuts have led to reduced staff and services and fewer operational hours in libraries in Arlington, Fairfax and Montgomery counties and the District.

As businesses in the D.C. area know, increasingly employment and government information is online -- and sometimes online only. Libraries open doors for millions of Americans who may lack Internet access or the skills to survive and thrive online. Sixty-seven percent of libraries, in fact, report helping library patrons apply for jobs online last year.

The 2010 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study conducted by the American Library Association and the Center for Library & Information Innovation at the University of Maryland found that in two-thirds of U.S. communities, public libraries offer the only free public access to computers and the Internet. Maryland and Virginia libraries report similar percentages statewide.

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Here's a message to elected leaders as they balance budgets: Today's libraries are an essential service and provide resources to ensure a competitive workforce.

All of us -- parents, families, seniors and businesses large or small -- must speak up to keep libraries open and available. The time to act is now: Phone or e-mail local officials supporting libraries and become a "friend of" your library.

The resources in your local library have the power to change the world; but the doors must be kept open. READ MORE !

Roberta Stevens is president of the American Library Association.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Libraries Around the World

Libraries Around the World
PRI’s The World: November 4, 2010

In the Geo Quiz we’re looking for one of the world’s oldest libraries that’s open to the public. 1368 is good year to start your search. This was the age of knights and crusaders, and the Ming Dynasty. And it’s when one King Charles V established a royal library. It packs in over 14 million books. Can you name it? …and tell us about great libraries you’ve had a chance to visit around the world.

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Now we want to tell you about one of the world’s newest libraries in Bhutan. Bhutan is a tiny kingdom sandwiched between two giants — India and China. It’s also perched high in the Himalayas — isolated for much of its history.
By Lisa Napoli

The village of Ura looks like it came out of a fairy tale a cluster of farmhouses in the midst of a valley of green. Most everyone here in this tiny community works the land. The children here represent the new, modern Bhutan: They’re learning to read, and in English.

So when a non-profit group announced it wanted to help the village start a library, the reaction was lukewarm. The library is only the second free lending library in the entire country. The other one is ten hours away in the capital Thimphu.

Kesang Choden came from there to help the villagers get the library up and running. She’s with the Bhutan office of the nonprofit group, Read Global. Choden says books aren’t the only thing in short supply in Ura.

“There’s just two stores, and those are grocery stores. You just get necessities. Like salt and oil. It’s very difficult for them to even get a pencil. Very difficult.”

Choden says some parents were worried by the idea that their kids would borrow books to take home. They were afraid the children might destroy them, and they’d have to pay. The sad part is that the parents here maybe because they’re illiterate don’t see the importance of a book. They don’t encourage their children to read. That’s the sad thing, right?

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Mostly, though, it’s kids who pack this place every day.

When we read more, we learn more, no? The children of Ura are so excited about the library that the staff is putting in extra hours. Kesang Choden doesn’t seem to mind.

Read Global hopes to open several libraries in other villages across the country by the end of the year. READ MORE !

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

6 Million Free Books Inside Boxes of Cheerios

Cheerios Serves Up 6 Million Children's Books Inside Boxes this Fall

Nov 3: Starting today, Cheerios, through its Spoonfuls of Stories program, is again bringing books to the breakfast table, by providing 6 million children's books, written in both English and Spanish, FREE inside Cheerios boxes.

Since Spoonfuls of Stories' inception in 2001, Cheerios has distributed almost 50 million children's books inside boxes. Families can see which book is inside through a special cut-out window on the front of the box, so they can select the specific book they want, or collect all 5.

Or: Check Out The Books @ Your Local Library

All the World - Elizabeth Garton Scanlon
Beach Lane Books, 2009

Chaucer's First Winter - Stephen Krensky
Simon & Schuster, 2008

Jump ! - Scott M Fischer
Simon & Schuster, 2010

No T. Rex in the Library - Toni Buzzeo
McElderry Books, 2010

The Purple Kangaroo - Michael Ian Black
Simon & Schuster, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fix Our Schools Manifesto . . . Got It All Wrong

How to fix our schools: A manifesto
by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and other education leaders
Washington Post: October 10, 2010

As educators, superintendents, chief executives and chancellors responsible for educating nearly 2 1/2 million students in America, we know that the task of reforming the country's public schools begins with us. It is our obligation to improve the personal growth and academic achievement of our students, and we must be accountable for how our schools perform.

All of us have taken steps to move our students forward, and the Obama administration's Race to the Top program has been the catalyst for more reforms than we have seen in decades. But those reforms are still outpaced and outsized by the crisis in public education.

Fortunately, the public, and our leaders in government, are finally paying attention. The "Waiting for 'Superman' " documentary, the defeat of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to Newark's public schools, and a tidal wave of media attention have helped spark a national debate and presented us with an extraordinary opportunity.

But the transformative changes needed to truly prepare our kids for the 21st-century global economy simply will not happen unless we first shed some of the entrenched practices that have held back our education system, practices that have long favored adults, not children. These practices are wrong, and they have to end now.

It's time for all of the adults -- the superintendents, educators, elected officials, labor unions and parents -- to start acting like we are responsible for the future of children. Because right now, across the country, kids are stuck in failing schools, just waiting for us to do something.

So, where do we start? With the basics. As President Obama has emphasized, the single most important factor determining whether students succeed in school is not the color of their skin or their ZIP code or even their parents' income -- it is the quality of their teacher. READ MORE !

The Manifesto got it all wrong - Stephen Krashen
Sent to the Washington Post, October 8, 2010

" The Manifesto ignores the real problem: Poverty. The best teaching cannot overcome the enormous negative influence of malnutrition and hunger, lack of health care, environmental toxins, and lack of access to books. Clear evidence that poverty is the problem is the finding that American students from well-funded schools who come from high-income families outscore nearly all other countries on international tests. Our overall scores are unspectacular because the US has a very high percentage of children in poverty (over 20%, compared to Denmark's 3%).

The first step in "reform" is to protect children from the effects of poverty: Improved health care, good food, and improved libraries and library services for children in high-poverty areas. When all American children have the advantages that middle-class children have, our international test scores will be at the top of the world. "
Map from: National Center for Children in Poverty

Monday, October 4, 2010

Health Literacy Month: October

Health Literacy Month: October

Struggling to Understand Health Information (A Podcast)
Engaging the Patient: October 4, 2010 by Geri-Lynn Baumblatt

By her own admission, Helen Osborne “had no idea what she was getting into” when she decided to found Health Literacy Month in 1999. Now, more than a decade later, the event is an annual institution. In this short interview, Helen Osborne sits down with Engaging the Patient’s own Geri Baumblatt to discuss Health Literacy, Health Literacy Month and the future of both.

Follow ‘Health Literacy Month’ on:

Friday, October 1, 2010

NIFL Closes

National Institute for Literacy [NIFL] closed on September 30.
On October 1, the Literacy Information and Communication System [LINCS] moves to the Office of Vocation and Adult Education [OVAE].

A new website, LINCS, will continue to provide popular NIFL resources: publications, news items, discussion lists, archives of webcasts, and the America’s Literacy Directory.

LINCS will provide access to literacy research and resources with Regional Resource Centers, Resource Collections, Discussion Lists, and newsletter.

Created in 1991, NIFL strove to provide leadership on literacy issues, including the improvement of reading instruction for children, youth, and adults. We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Institute for the numerous services provided and contributions to the field in its nearly twenty years of existence.

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Summary — May 7, 2009

National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) $6.5 Budget
Despite nearly 2 decades of operations, NIFL has demonstrated little success in its mission of providing national leadership on literacy issues, coordinating Federal literacy programs and policies, and serving as a national resource for adult education and literacy programs. Federal literacy activities remain diffuse and duplicative, and the Administration believes that the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) is better positioned to provide effective national literacy leadership and coordination. Folding NIFL's functions into OVAE also would allow all of its resources to be used for national activities rather than for staffing and overhead, which currently absorb almost half of NIFL's appropriation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's a Book

It’s a Book by Lane Smith
- video from YouTube

Roaring Brook Press, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1596436060

Read On @ Your Local Library: CalCat or WorldCat

Thursday, September 23, 2010

National Punctuation Day: September 24

National Punctuation Day: September 24

Last year there was a baking contest—and what a delicious exercise that was !

This year NPD is trying something a bit more literary—the first National Punctuation Day® Haiku Contest, with the winners receiving a plethora of punctuation goodies.

Send your best 5-7-5 (syllables, that is) poetry to Jeff and let the literary games begin! Haikus must be received by September 30 to be considered for prizes.

To get you started, here is a haiku written by Jeff's friend Craig Harrison, one of the best sales and customer-service trainers—and prolific writers—I know.

Which colon to use?
Colon or semi-colon?
I’ll use a comma.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reading Aloud

This part of Huxley's brave new world has come to pass
Daily Breeze: September 17, 2010 by Adell Shay

My husband, Jay, has been reading to me again. He's been doing that since his inaugural visit, me on the couch with the Hong Kong flu, him reading Edgar Allan Poe as I blew my nose in approval.

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Lately, he has been reading Aldous Huxley's essays.

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That's how he came to read me "Censorship and Spoken Literature," from "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and other essays."

In the piece, Huxley discusses how economic censorship is enforced - however unintentionally and blindly - in democratic countries by the steady rise in the cost of producing books, plays and films, and the unwillingness of publishers, studios, etc. to sponsor projects unless they promise commercial success. The essay, written in 1954, described a theme that has, like most of Huxley's premises, become more glaringly true over time.

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He notes:
"Listen to the reading aloud ...; you will find yourself getting more out of it than you got when you read it to yourself - particularly if you were compelled to read it under the threat of not getting a credit. Printed, the Hundred Great Books are apt to remain unopened on the library shelves. Recorded they can be listened to painlessly - at meals, while washing up in bed on Sunday morning."

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Huxley ends the essay with the following recommendations:
1. "Make the best of mankind's literature of wisdom available on cheap, slow-playing records."
2. "Do the same, in each of the principal languages, for the best poetry written in that language. Also, perhaps, for a few of the best novels, plays, biographies and memoirs."
3. "Encourage manufacturers to turn out phonographs equipped to play these recordings and at the same time arrange for (low-cost) distribution.

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Aldous Huxley's fondest desire has been realized. READ MORE !

Listen On @ Your Local Library: CalCat or WorldCat

Brave new world - Read by Michael York
Aldous Huxley
Audio Partners, 2003

Monday, September 20, 2010

Right to Literacy Declaration: September 22

Declaration for the Right to Literacy
September 22 – 3:15pm

The Scroll will be presented to the co-chairs of the newly-formed House Adult Literacy Caucus, Congressman Dan Maffei and Congressman Phil Roe on the steps of the Capitol. This bipartisan caucus aims to bring attention to the critical need for literacy services for the estimated 32 million adults in the country who have below-basic reading skills.

. . . from Margaret Doughty, Literacy Powerline

invite your representatives to this historic event on September 22nd. See the sample invitation below:

Dear __________,

On behalf of more than 30,000 signatories, we invite you to join a delegation of adult literacy advocates and adult learners. On the steps of the Capitol, we will present the Declaration for the Right to Literacy scroll to the co-chairs of the newly-formed House Literacy Caucus, Congressman Dan Maffei and Congressman Phil Roe, on Wednesday, September 22nd, at 3:15pm.

This scroll began its journey across the United States 13 months ago, following the Right to Literacy Convention in Buffalo, New York. It highlights literacy as a means to individual self- sufficiency and community economic prosperity and calls upon our government to support initiatives that promote basic literacy skills for all Americans.

This coming Wednesday, we will call upon Congress and the Obama Administration to establish a National Task Force on Literacy, Numeracy, and Lifelong Learning. The National Task Force will create a comprehensive National Literacy Plan to raise literacy levels for adults and children.

We hope you will join us for this exciting and historic event. If you will be able to join us, please contact [put your contact information here].

(Your Name)

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

. . . related links of interest:
Declaration for the Right to Literacy
Literacy Powerline: June 17, 2009

Right to Literacy Convention delegates from across the country determined and voted on the first United States Declaration for the Right to Literacy. The Right to Literacy Convention was part of the National Community Literacy Conference in Buffalo, New York on June 13, 2009.

Literacy leaders, using the model of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, convened from across the nation. The need was clear; tens of millions of adults and children do not have the skills needed to succeed in life. Literacy is the number one tool to change that plight. The right to literacy must be a national priority.

The resolutions support 5 pillars of literacy:
1. Building the Community
2. Strengthening the Family
3. Ensuring People’s Self-Determination
4. Improving the Workforce
5. Transforming the Literacy System

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eward Fry: April 4, 1925 - Sept. 2, 2010

Educator, 85, created Fry Readability Graph
Coastline Pilot: September 9, 2010 by Barbara Diamond

Educator, author and environmentalist Edward Fry died in his Laguna Beach home Sept. 2, surrounded by his family. He was 85.

"He lost his battle with leukemia, but we all know how he loved life," his wife, Cathy, wrote friends. "He especially loved teaching, whether in a Rutgers classroom or up in the hills hiking with a grandson. It was a learning experience and he made sure he learned something new every day."

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"I always thought of Ed as a gentle, thoughtful and wise person," said City Councilwoman Verna Rollinger, a member of many of the same organizations. "He was a person always involved in good works."

Near the end of his life, a doctor asked him if there was anything he would like to do, if he could.

There was one more book he wanted to write, Fry replied.

He wrote more than 31 books and more than 100 articles, including "How to Teach Reading," developed for the Peace Corps; "The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists," with Jacqueline Kress; and a video series for series for Time Life, narrated by Dick Cavett and Bill Cosby.

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In 1950, Fry married Carol Addison. Fry became an expert in teaching. He invented the Fry Readability Graph, which is a widely used tool for assessing the readability level of almost any type of reading material. He was on the faculty of Loyola University in Los Angeles and Rutgers University in New Jersey where he became a full professor.

During 22 years at Rutgers, he was president of the National Reading Conference, the International Reading Assn., and the New Jersey Reading Assn. He is a member of the Reading Teacher Hall of Fame. READ MORE !

Monday, September 13, 2010

Literacy Tribune Newsletter: September 2010

Literacy Tribune: September 2010
The Adult Learner Network Newsletter

United Literacy, a non-profit organization, provides resources and support to adult literacy learners in the United States. Its aim is to make literacy education accessible and worthwhile for adult learners.

Main Story: Back to School
September marks the beginning of a new school year.

A History Lesson: The Great Depression
The Great Depression began on October 24, 1929—“Black Thursday.

Member Spotlight: September 8: International Literacy Day
Every day, around the world, adults like you are learning to read. And every day, around the world, adults are struggling with illiteracy as you once did. Illiteracy is not only an American problem. It is an international problem.

Organization Spotlight: A Letter to Readers
This issue of The Literacy Tribune marks our third anniversary. I, along with the staff and board of United Literacy, want to thank you for your continued support

Technology Watch: Ninite Website
by Daniel Pedroza, Writer and Learner

Ninite is a service that lets users install popular Windows applications automatically.

The Literacy Tribune is looking for adult learner writers.
Are you an adult learner ?
Do you want to write ?
Do you want to publish your writing ?

You can write about:
Your road to literacy
Your literacy organization
Literacy resources you like
You can write book reviews, poetry, short stories
You can write articles about health, finance, or technology

You can write just about anything !

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day
September 8
Make A Difference !

Room To Read - Tweet For Literacy
Literacy Day 2010
Literacy has the power to lift families out of poverty in one generation and change the fate of entire communities, particularly in the developing world. Let's make this International Literacy Day really mean something and help more people learn to read. Check out the information below on what else you can do to make a difference!

Tweet a scrambled message to your followers so they know what it's like to be illiterate. They can click on the link to decipher it:

Wehn yuo cnnaot raed, noe hruendd ftory ccrhaetars maen noinhtg.
Hlep ptoorme goalbl latceriy.

International Literacy Day: 7 Easy Ways To Spread The Word September 7, 2010
You love books every day of the year, but there's only one that highlights the 774 million adults worldwide that UNESCO estimates are illiterate.Luckily, there's an easy way for even the busiest bibliophiles to share their love for reading with others who need a little help.

Here are just a few (see Slide Show).

Ten Tips for Parents to Help Children Learn to Read Outside the Classroom
On International Literacy Day, Save the Children Shares Simple Steps All Parents Can Take to Boost Children's Reading Skills
Save The Children: September 8, 2010To mark International Literacy Day and promote reading among children globally, Save the Children today shares 10 steps all parents can take to boost early reading skills among their children. The ten tips are part of a community strategies flipbook for parents and children that Save the Children developed for its global "Literacy Boost" program.

"Learning how to read should not be confined to the classroom," said Amy Jo Dowd, Ph.D., education research advisor for Save the Children. "There are many fun ways that parents, community members and even children can support other children in developing language and literacy skills as part of their daily life.

"Save the Children research from 2007 to 2008 found that children in developing countries were struggling to learn to read, even in classrooms that were child-friendly and in which the teachers used an active teaching and learning method. For example, 36 percent of the third graders tested in Ethiopia could not read one word correctly in a minute. In Nepal, that percentage was nearly 50 percent of the school-age children tested.

Things to do on the World Literacy Day:
~ Use your newsletter to spread the word about the importance of literacy.
~ Sponsor a book fair, using the proceeds to enhance your program’s outreach to learners.
~ Give a book as a gift. Include a note about the importance of literacy in adult life.
~ Establish a book discussion group with adult learners.
~ Form a reading promotion partnership with a public library or another basic skills/literacy program.

~ Take a field trip to a local literary landmark.
~ Make a collection of student writings. Get your local newspaper to review it.
~ Bring teachers, volunteers, and learners together to talk about favorite books.
~ Read books aloud with adult learners. READ MORE !

Canada Celebrates International Literacy Day
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada HRSDC

Canada joins countries around the world today to celebrate International Literacy Day. Established in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Literacy Day is celebrated on September 8 with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of literacy and adult learning around the world.

Literacy and essential skills are important for all Canadians. They help us participate fully in the workplace, in families and in the community. The nine essential skills are: reading text, document use, numeracy, writing, oral communication, working with others, thinking skills, computer use and continuous learning. It is important to note that these skills complement and build on each other.

While overall, Canada has a highly-educated and highly-skilled population, there are still too many Canadians who lack the literacy and essential skills needed for full participation and success in the work force and in their daily lives.

Last year, Human Resources and Social Development Canada announced the creation of the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills to support the development of skills Canadians need for life, work and learning. Working with a network of partners and stakeholders, the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills helps Canadians build their literacy and essential skills.

We can all do our share in promoting literacy and essential skills within the family, workplaces and the community.

For a list of activities being held to mark International Literacy Day, visit NALD.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Humble Library, A Valuable Resource

The humble library, a valuable resource
With the information available at your public library, there's no such thing as a "cold call."

Star Tribune: September 5, 2010 by HARVEY MACKAY

When Ben Franklin founded the first public lending library in America in 1731, he probably had no idea what he would inspire. There is no better bargain than a library card, and what better time to sign up for one than September, library card sign-up month.

Studies show that children who use the library tend to perform better in school. They are also more likely to continue learning and exploring throughout their lives.

If you don't use the library for business, now is a good time to start. We can obtain a high percentage of the information we need via search engines using our home or work computers. But there are a lot of hidden business jewels available at your local library, and many of them can be accessed online.

The average small business or job-seeker is penalized by having limited research capabilities. Big companies with big budgets pay for expensive databases. With a mouse click, they can instantly gain access to company data, sort through research reports, and locate newspaper and trade journal articles. Small companies and individuals who can't afford premium access are left out. Unless they have a local library card.

Most libraries pay for premium subscription databases that you can use for free. Want to use Dun & Bradstreet, ReferenceUSA or Hoovers to research companies, competitors and build lead lists? There's a good chance your library subscribes to a company search database. Want to see if the company where you're making your next sales call or job interview has been featured in an article? How about if the person you're meeting with has been cited as an expert in an industry trade journal? The library most likely has the information.
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And as you know, a library card is still great for checking out books! Haven't read any good books lately? There's no time like the present to start. I love the convenience of my Kindle, but the feel of a real book in my hands is unmatched. You can even check out an audio book for your commute.

Book-club guidance, computer classes, periodicals, story time for the kids -- all through the doors of your library. And one of the most amazing features I like best: live technical help when I need it. Your library card is your ticket to the past and to the future.

Mackay's Moral: The library is a truly amazing resource -- check it out. READ MORE !

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman and author.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Workplace Literacy

Improving literacy can save lives in the workplace – literally
The Conference Board of Canada
News Releases 11-10: July 21, 2010

Employers are more confident than workers or labour representatives in the ability of employees to understand health and safety policies, according to survey results published in What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Literacy’s Impact on Workplace Health and Safety by The Conference Board of Canada.

“This gap in perception creates the potential for accidents in the workplace to occur. Because employers are confident in their workers’ literacy levels, they are less likely to see the need for training to upgrade employees’ knowledge and understanding of health and safety practices,” said Alison Campbell, Principal Research Associate.

Many employers create manuals and other documents to set out health and safety practices, but relying on written materials leaves organizations open to the risk that their employees may not be able to read and understand them. When incidents occur, the typical response is to review policies and practices – rather than verifying whether individuals have the literacy and basic skills to fully understand or follow set procedures.

“Without even realizing it, some individuals with low literacy skills put themselves, their co-workers and the public at risk,” said Campbell.

The report summarizes the results of a two-year project for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, including a literature review, national survey, interviews with stakeholders and case studies.

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The report outlines seven steps to take as an organizational action plan:
1. Review past incidents through “a literacy lens”
2. Review organizational health and safety policies and practices
3. Examine policies and practices from the perspective of an individual with lower literacy levels
4. Brainstorm solutions to help users understand health and safety documents
5. Measure and track health and safety incidents and improvements
6. Recognize outcomes
7. Reward efforts to improve literacy skills.

. . . . . a site of related interest:

Workforce Competitiveness Collection
National Institute for Literacy
Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS)

The August edition features the Workforce Competitiveness Collection, which covers Workforce Education, English Language Acquisition, and Technology. Each month, Collections News features one of the three LINCS Resource Collections – Basic Skills, Program Management, and Workforce Competitiveness – and introduces research-based resources that you can use in your adult basic education and family literacy programs and classrooms.

What’s New in the Workforce Competitiveness Collection?

The products, materials, and papers in the Workforce Competitiveness Collection can introduce you to strategies useful in building students’ Eng¬lish language skills; provide information on integrating technology into your program; and help you develop effective, work-focused programs. Additional work-focused resources, organized by career clusters or oc¬cupational categories, can be found in the Career Pathways Instructional Materials Library. You also can subscribe to online topical discussion lists to interact with experts, ask questions, and share ideas with colleagues. Subscribe to the National Institute for Literacy Online Discussion Lists.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Reading

Fun, Sun and Good Books: UT Experts Say Summer Reading Keeps Skills Strong
Tennessee Today: July 21, 2010

To children, the summer slide means water, garden hoses and slippery plastic sheets. To teachers, the “summer slide” is the noted decrease in reading skills after a vacation without books.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen have completed a three-year study showing a significantly higher level of reading achievement in students who received books for summer reading at home.

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According to the professors’ research, the summer reading setback is the primary reason for the reading achievement gap between children who have access to reading materials at home and those who do not. Students who do not have books at home miss out on opportunities to read. Those missed opportunities can really add up.

“What we know is that children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development while kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency,” Allington said. “This creates a three to four month gap every year. Every two or three years the kids who don’t read in the summer fall a year behind the kids who do.”

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Their study ran three years from 2001 to 2004; the students chose their books; and targeted students in first and second grade at the beginning of the study.

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“Research has demonstrated that choice makes a very important contribution to achievement,” said McGill-Franzen.

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“We found our intervention was less expensive and less extensive than either providing summer school or engaging in comprehensive school reform,” Allington said. “The effect was equal to the effect of summer school. Spending roughly $40 to $50 a year on free books for each child began to alleviate the achievement gap that occurs in the summer.”

To get books into the hands of all children for summer reading, Allington and McGill-Franzen suggest keeping school libraries open during the summer break, sending books home with the students, and building on children’s prior knowledge by providing books on pop culture and local animals and habitats. READ MORE !

The researchers’ study will be published in the fall issue of Reading Psychology.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Love My Librarian 2010

I Love My Librarian Award

Nominate your favorite librarian in your favorite library !
Nominations for 2010 are open through September 20.

There are nearly 123,000 libraries nationwide, and librarians touch the lives of the people they serve every day. The award encourages library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. We want to hear how you think your librarian is improving the lives of the people in your school, campus or community.

Up to ten winners will be selected this year and receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and $500 travel stipend to attend an awards reception in New York hosted by The New York Times. In addition, a plaque will be given to each award winner’s library.

The award is administered by the American Library Association with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times.

Nominate a librarian in a:
School Library
Public Library
College, Community College, University Library

Follow 'I Love My Librarian' on Facebook for updates on the award throughout the nomination process.

See the 2009 winners here.