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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Are E-Books Killing Reading For Fun?

Are E-Books Killing Reading For Fun? | college and career ready |
Americans are reading differently than they used to.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 25, 6:57 AM

25 January 2014


Generally speaking NPR is one of my "GO TO" resources for reliable  information about "anything." So when I saw this headline in my daily search for scoopable online content, I was intrigued. 


Though the PEW Research Center report referenced is a pretty serious and deep and somewhat encouraging report  (see: this six-minute audio seemed to cover the surface, but "failed to support the headline." It did not focus upon the implication of the headline that E-Books ARE killing reading for fun.


Actually, I'm trying to be a bit snarky here. The audio is worth listening to. It's the headline that bothers me. We all know that we often scan headlines looking for intriguing articles to read. Some do not create enough traction for us to consider reading, others get us to start but not finish reading, and still others get us to the article that is so intriguing that we read with attentive interest to the end.


This morning in my scan for articles, my eye was caught by several headlines and I began to wonder about headlines themselves.


A few examples, you can Google them all if any of the tiltes intrigue you...


BUT BEFORE you start Googling the titles, Try this.

1. Read the entire list of titles FIRST

2. Being mindful of your own initial reaction to the titles, review the titles and decide which you believe

 - will be articles promoting reading and which will be critical of reading.

 - which will support opinions you already hold and which will challenge your existing opinions

- which you will actually consider Googling so you can read them and which don't even create sufficient curiousity to read

- and finally (rhetorically) which will implant some sense that there really is evidence to support your opinions that you won't read but sub-consciously incorporate as proof that your opinion is justified by some authoritative expertise.


THEN read as you wish and when finished, which headlines planted biased opinions that might be dangerous if the article is not read at all or not read attentively. (Was the article WHETHER YOU AGREED WITH IT OR NOT reliant upon cherry-picking the evidence it relied upon for its conclusions? Did the article adequately address any counter-evidence WHETHER YOU AGREED WITH IT OR NOT?)


Well, as are all of my "commentary assignments" you may consider them only rhetorical. But, here's the list...



"Most American adults read a print book in the past year, even as e-reading continues to grow"

"Kids Aren't reading On Tablets"

"The Top 10 Books on Apple's iBooks"


"Book-crazy boy, 5, a budding literary critic"


"A brief guide to faking your way through literary classics when you haven't actually read them"

"Getting Rid of Books, Making Space for Life"

"Reading Books Is Fundamental"


"9 Video Games Based On Classic Literature"






"Why It's Important to Keep Reading Books By People Even If They're Monsters"


"Is American literature 'massively overrated"?


"Fla. Board of Ed weighs changes to Common Core"


"5 Questions To Evaluate Curriculum For Rigor"


"Holding Teachers Accountable For Decisions They Aren't Allowed to Make"


"The Peculiar Underworld of Rare-Book Thieves"




 ~ ~

by GLT GLobal ED (dba Google Lit Trips) a 501c3 tax-exempt educational non profit encouraging learners to "READ THE WOR(L)D"






Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Federal Bureaucrats Declare 'Hunger Games' More Complex Than 'The Grapes of Wrath' - The New Republic

Federal Bureaucrats Declare 'Hunger Games' More Complex Than 'The Grapes of Wrath' - The New Republic | college and career ready |

To be fair, both the creators of the Common Core and MetaMetrix admit these standards can’t stand as the final measure of complexity.  

As the Common Core Standards Initiative officially puts it, “until widely available quantitative tools can better account for factors recognized as making such texts challenging, including multiple levels of meaning and mature themes, preference should likely be given to qualitative measures of text complexity when evaluating narrative fiction intended for students in grade 6 and above.” But even here, the final goal is a more complex algorithm; qualitative measurement fills in as a flawed stopgap. 

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 1, 2013 8:02 PM



I did not realize that both the developers of the Common Core AND the Lexile Reading measurement admit that the existing assessment structures upon which much of the Common Core Literary Reading assessment is based, DO NOT adequately account for factors recognized ss making such texts challenging and that QUALITATIVE rather than the the current sorely lacking QUANTITATIVE measures for students in grade 6 and above would be preferred, essentially admitting that the existing literary reading  measurement is a seriously flawed stopgap. 


I found it interesting that in the quote from the article above, the author in an "effort to be fair," gave credit to both the creators of the Common Core and to MetaMetrix (developers of the Lexile Measurement) for recognizing that the standards assessment for literary reading can"t stand as a final measure the student's ability to read literary complexity. 


What's that old saying? Garbage in Garbage out?


Yet, the official position taken in spite of this recognition is that the test does not do the job; that we don't have a test that does the job; so we pretty much have to use a flawed data collection method because collecting data with a significant margin of error until we can do until we figure out how to get good data, is somehow better than collecting  nothing and thereby avoid polluting the data with  misleading results 


I would suggest that attempting "to be fair" to those who created the flawed measure and to those who use the flawed data is certainly gracious. However, it ignores the extent to which using a flawed measure to collect flawed data in order to make important decisions about educational reform is BEYOND UNFAIR to parents, students, educators, and taxpayers who are being led to believe that the data collected has value and who will to a large extent, falsely believing they have informed themselves, will vote for or against reforms proposed by legislators who unintentionally or otherwise will misinform, perhaps even stooping to disinform, their constituency regarding their concerns for what must be done to build a better education system.


The Humanities are in many ways, not like the sciences and the maths and history or even grammar, vocabulary and text decoding, all of which rely heavily upon knowing facts and having skills. The Humanities focus upon much more difficult to determine progress in assimilating the wisdom of the age and learning the great questions ; the questions that do not have simple right or wrong answers. Why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? What are the motives that cause evil people to take advantage of the gullible, the less fortunate, those least able to protect themselves? What makessome  human beings do inhumane things and others seek to be humane beings?  Why did Atticus Finch not give up when he knew he would lose the case against the obviously innocent Tom Robinson? Why do we scapegoat rather than contemplate our own contribution to what we believe is not good or right?


It is not news to those who have reservations about the well-intended but still flaw-heavy Common Core State Standards assessment structures, that  in some areas the margin of error is not acceptable and yet it is being passed off as being "good enough." The comparison is not a new one when the author suggests that, "Lexile scoring is the intellectual equivalent of a thermometer: perfect for cooking turkeys, but not for encouraging moral growth"  which, of course, is the heart of why there is great value in seeking the wisdom for which literary reading is intended. 


And it is disengenuous to criticize those with concerns regarding the significant margin of error and subsequent misdirection of focus regarding the importance of literature as mere whining by teachers who don't want to be held accountable or teachers' unions who "are presumed to be the usual suspects for being the cause of the everything that is wrong with public education?"


Isn't it disengenuous to believe or pretend to believe that overly simplistic solutions can be passed off as potentially viable simple solutions?  


If we are to be fair to all those who want true educational reform, we should certainly be very concerned about the quality of our teachers' efforts and of our students' learning. However, I would suggest for what it's worth, that it be made clear that although some elements of the well-intended efforts of the Common Core State Standards are well-within an acceptable margin of error, at the same time, we ought to be more honest about the serious shortcomings of the existing assessment structures and make it equally clear that some elements have much to address before we can profess that what we truly want to measure is being measured well enough to rely "too heavily" upon. 


I am not proposing like many that we "simply"abandon the Common Core Standards and their intentions. That is not a simple solution. It is a simplistic solution. But, I might suggest that we take a cue from our data-obsessed record keeping friends in professional baseball who argue that some recorded performance outcomes ought to include a few asterisks to clearly note the questionable status that may have skewed the reliability of those performance outcomes. Remember Barry Bonds and the rest of the steroid-using athletes who set records that replaced records of predecessors who thought obeying the rules was a baseline for qualifying for being record holders? 


This is not to compare cheating to flawed data collection. However, what might be the extended impact of a student who does either exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly on a test that was exceptionally flawed to begin with? Will the false appearance that he or she is or is not ready for college and career cause some who are ready to not be accepted to their college of choice while others who only appear to be ready receive the precious acceptance letters? 


Do we really believe we can afford the potential public backlash if, by using flawed measures that produce flawed data that leads to flawed reform that does NOT lead to the desired educational results (again!) and millions of mispent tax dollars? It's a matter of earning the public trust. And we've all seen the results of losing the public trust haven't we?


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Google Lit Trips is the legal fictitious business name of GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit



Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Truth in fiction

Truth in fiction | college and career ready |
HBS Professor Joseph Badaracco trains students for the complexities of the business world by examining great works of literature.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, August 11, 2013 6:54 AM

YES! "HBS" is that Harvard Business School." A great article about the value of literary reading focusing upon the work of Joseph Badaracco who has sufficient "distance" from the assumed biases that we who teach literature are too often easily dismissed for having.


Sometimes we who are the flag-bearers for the value of literary reading are not necessarily the best at articulating that value in the language that can be easily appreciated by others.


And when it is those others who are to a large degree responsible for  assessing the value of literary reading and/or who are responsible for attempting to develop appropriate assessment structures for the acheivement of that value, there may be well-intended but short-sighted and thereby detrimental rather than beneficial outcomes.


Consider a few excerpts from this article...



"There’s a lot more to leadership than streamlining and spreadsheet analyses, Badaracco says. Running an organization, in his view, is about understanding yourself and being open to the perspectives of others in a way that balances different business and ethical interests."



If the only data we collect is data that can be crunched in spreadsheets, then what data are we not collecting because it can't be easily collected that would shift the entire outcome generated by the data-analysis we CAN do?


Or this passage...



“Literature gives students a much more realistic view of what’s involved in leading” than many business books on leadership, said the professor. “Literature lets you see leaders and others from the inside. You share the sense of what they’re thinking and feeling. In real life, you’re usually at some distance and things are prepared, polished. With literature, you can see the whole messy collection of things that happen inside our heads.”



What are the variables in business leadership that are just too messy and complex to gather and synthesize? How do we account for the messy in spreadsheets?  We used to call this the margin of error. But, can we really determine the margin of error if the "whole story" has an infinite number of variables, most of which are not universally applicable in any particular data collection, synthesis, and decision making  process?





“Reading in a deep way, and reflecting on the material with others in class, opens students to multiple perspectives on the toughest issues. Badaracco sees literature as a great remedy to a “one-size-fits-all” approach to leading. The multidimensional nature of great works can help leaders enhance self-understanding and open themselves to alternative perspectives and outside-the-box solutions, he says."


" 'Business schools don’t do enough to develop reflection,” says Badaracco, “but it’s really hard to do. Real reflection is hard because you need the time and training to do it.' ”



Essentially, the point I take from this article is that there is more to a well-developed rubric for decision making than "Is it good for the stockholder's portfolios?"


And that business about "Real reflection" being "hard because you need the time and training to do it" is true as far as it goes. Doing hard work well does take time and time is money after all. But, perhaps even harder than doing  real reflection and raising overhead by learning to do it well is facing the complex truths discovered once one has risen to the challenge of having actually done "real reflection."


A worthwhile bit of "informational reading."


 ~ ~


"Google Lit Trips" is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from The Age of Common Core!

Debating the Common-Core Nonfiction Requirements - Teaching ...

Debating the Common-Core Nonfiction Requirements - Teaching ... | college and career ready |
An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times defends—kinda, sorta—the language in the Common Core State Standards requiring teachers to assign more nonfiction texts. But it disputes the notion that the nonfiction requirements can ...

Via DT Hernandez
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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

We're Teaching Books That Don't Stack Up

We're Teaching Books That Don't Stack Up | college and career ready |
All too often it's English teachers who close down teen interest in reading.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 24, 12:36 PM

24 January 2014

 (This scooped article was orignally published in 2008)


Okay, Gulp!


I think I'll begin my comments with one of my favorite Dick Cavett quotes....



It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear.



There, I said it. Literature teachers, we may just be a big part of the problem, well intended as we may be.


If you don't read the scooped article, or finish my brief comments, I'll include one paragragh from the article worthy of some open-minded collegial contemplation in a pending department meeting...



""Butchering." That's what one of my former students, a young man who loves creative writing but rarely gets to do any at school, called English class. He was referring to the endless picking apart of linguistic details that loses teens in a haze of "So what?" The reading quizzes that turn, say, "Hamlet" into a Q&A on facts, symbols and themes. The thesis-driven essay assignments that require students to write about a novel they can't muster any passion for ("The Scarlet Letter" is high on teens' list of most dreaded). I'll never forget what one parent, bemoaning his daughter's aversion to great books after she took AP English Literature, wrote to me: "What I've seen teachers do is take living, breathing works of art and transform them into dessicated lab specimens fit for dissection."



(awkward pause)




Yes, we do need to sow the seeds of the next crop of English majors. But, we ought to consider it even more important, since the numbers are so lopsided, to remember that as many as 90% of our students "ain't gonna major in English" and perhaps as many as 50% of our students "ain't gonna read a single piece of fiction" after they are no longer required to do so.


I know.


I don't particularly want to hear it either.  But "facts is facts." And, if there is any truth in the contentions made in this article that in too many cases we may be killing what we believe we are nourishing we may want to revisit even our own personal favorite lessons.


I am not proposing that we "dumb down" but rather that we give some thought to how we might "relevance up" what we do in our literary reading instruction. Anyone who can't imagine how to "relevance up" say a play like Cyrano deBergerac, must surely have forgotten what it felt like to have acne or the intensity of the forces of physical attractivenss at a time in one's life when "inner beauty" is just something that teens' parents say is really important while correcting their children's posture.


Yes, of course! That's it. Our students don't particularly want to hear what they don't want to hear either. But, we're the grown ups in the room aren't we? 


Of course if taken as a blanket condemnation of how we teach literary reading, then it is a harsh and unfair implication to suggest that none of us do manage to successfully engage the vast majority of our students. But, if we are willing to listen and hear what we may not really want to hear, we may give some readjusted attention to the complaints of those who are brave or annoyed enough to express those complaints. And, if we really do want to hear what we really don't want to hear, then we might also spend significant time listening to the eerie silience of those who "lay low" only pretending to care or to those silent ones who don't even bother to pretend to care while wondering why the clock moves so slowly.


We can sometimes too easily explain away the complaints and disengaged silence by believing that "they're just lazy, they spend too much time on facebook, they just don't care, that they just want less challenging work." There certainly are those. But a surprising number of the disengaged don't want less; they want "something" more.


It was not too long ago that the battle cry was, "No Child Left Behind!" But, I would propose that perhaps an equally important concern is that when we finish with them, that they do not ride off "into the real world" happy to be finally free to leave some of their teachers behind.


Teach to their hearts and their minds will follow.


 ~ ~

Google Lit Trips is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED, a 501c3 tax-exempt educational nonprofit


Shay Davidson's curator insight, January 24, 5:47 PM

Interesting. I'm quite sure people could argue all day about the books kids are forced to read in high school. I only wish that good teachers had a choice in the books they wanted to present to students--and I'd get to pick the good teachers out!

Steffen Sipe's curator insight, January 30, 12:45 AM


Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from PBL!

Teaching Literature

Teaching Literature | college and career ready |

Via Amy Burns
Amy Burns's curator insight, September 30, 2013 3:21 AM

Check out the great resources offered here.  Lessons, links, assessments and more

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley | college and career ready |

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 17, 2013 2:21 PM

I'm happy to announce the publication of the long awaited Frankenstein Google Lit Trip.


This project was developed by Mr. Gregory Greenleaf and his 2012-2013 Advanced Placement English students at Greely High School in Cumberland, Maine. 


I'm also pretty excited about having used Screenflow in order to create the video preview for the Frankenstein Google Lit Trip. Screenflow is capable of capturing 1080 HD video of the computer screen so detail is much easier to see. Take a look for yourselves by viewing the Preview Video here:




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Kevin Atkins's curator insight, February 12, 2013 7:33 AM

Schönes Beispiel für eine literarische Reise

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Why Writing Matters and How to Use it Effectively!

Written Communication Skills

Nice list of better ways to communicate in writing.

Via Doug Joubert, Eliza Steely
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