Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Greeks Have a Word for it: 'New' Literacy

We've heard it so often in the last few years: kids can't write any more. It may have been true. I remember seeing the most appalling writing from high school students. However, social networking, beginning with text mail, may have changed that.

According to a Wired story, researchers at Stanford University, led by Professor Andrea Lunsford, examined more than 14,000 samples of writing of college students, including academic writing, blogging, email and other forms of immediate communication and found that literacy had take a giant leap not seen ' since Greek civilization'. That's a weighty statement. The researchers attribute this to the large increase in the volume of writing now done by young people, primarily social networking. Prior to immediate forms of writing, people wrote infrequently. Another change is that this writing tends to be of the persuasive type, so the quality of the writing rises as the writers struggle to persuade their peers.

Here is the full article on the recent surge in literacy.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

The Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts, a U.S. Government-sponsored program, encourages communities, through grants for the Big Read program, to select one of twenty-seven books for the whole community to read, followed by related community events. According to this NY times article, participation is wide-spread, although some communities find the program limiting and design their own programs.

More than 200 communities participate in the Big Read or similar programs, modeled after “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” a project launched in Washington in 1998.

On the Big Read website, there is a search facility to find nearby participating communities.

In a related (though not necessarily causative) January story, American fiction-reading is up after a long decline

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

James Patterson's ReadKiddoRead Project

James Patterson launches his ReadKiddoRead website to encourage young readership. According to his website, his goal is to help "parents and educators connect their children with the books that will turn them into lifelong readers...." He does this by suggesting page-turners for various age groups. He started this when his own son showed a reluctance to read.

I noticed that his links to the various online booksellers appeared not to have an affiliate ID. That is, he gets no fee for sending his visitors to the online sellers, so I take this to be a heart-felt effort. (But he could donate such fees to a literacy organization.) He also linked to a library finder.

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