Literacy
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ALFF1.pdf

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(Some of my scoops didn't publish the first time so I'm republishing them now. If they're repeated on my page just ignore this.)

 

This article talks about the gap in literacy in New York between African-Americans and Latinos and other adolescents of the same age. For example, aproximately % of white adolescents achieve a proficient literacy rate compared to only 10& percent of black students. This tends to correlate directly with income since this " same pattern of disparity is observed 

when children who are eligible for free and
reduced-price school lunches (an index of low socioeconomic status) are compared to those who are
not". 

This study is useful in finding out why these differences occur. While some studies just present the data, this study gives a detailed table of the factors, like cultural membership or socio-economic status, that can create gaps between races. 

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3 Key Factors that Contribute to the Literacy Deficit - Reading Horizons

3 Key Factors that Contribute to the Literacy Deficit - Reading Horizons | Literacy | Scoop.it
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This article argues that there are three main factors that affect literacy: learning disabilities, the decline of leisure reading and the failure of teachers to properly teach reading. It also gives statistics on literacy rates among students. 
There are no comments on the article.

This article is convincing but I find it interesting how it ignores the socio-economic factors addressed in the previous article I read. I would think this would be a major factor in the availability of books and schools with good teachers.  

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The Future of Reading - Literacy Debate - Online, R U Really Reading? - Series - NYTimes.com

The Future of Reading - Literacy Debate - Online, R U Really Reading? - Series - NYTimes.com | Literacy | Scoop.it
Is the Internet the enemy of reading, or has it created a new kind of reading, one that society should not discount?
Noah S.'s insight:

Is online reading a new form of literacy?

This article is about how changes in reading habits, specifically a shift from print media to online texts, is changing literacy and the popularity of reading. Reading for fun has declined among teenagers and adults. However, onlin ereading arguably has the same effect, causing some to champion it as an equally valid form of learning. 

In the comments, the majority of commenters seem to disagree with the conclusion of the article. The commenters challenge the idea that reading online is equally valid; reading online does not have the same grammatical standards and usually lacks the intellectual depth of a published book. 

In general, I agree with the commenters. I think that online reading cannot compare with reading print. There are more distractions and it  is difficult to find a sustained, well researched argument online. It might be interesting to see how online reading has affected literacy rates, if they have. 

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27_4.pdf

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A History of the Spelling Reform Movement in AmericaFrom Verbatim magazine published 2002 This article gives a history of American efforts to reform spelling, from the 18th century until the 20th. While English has a relatively simple grammatical structure, its spelling makes it very difficult to learn for non-native speakers or people who have never learned to read. These historical movements attempted to change this by simplifying English spelling and removing unnecessary letters.  Since this was originally published in a print magazine, the only comments are letters in response. There is one letter that someone wrote to the magazine, but it only criticizes the article for a spelling error and misquoting Mark Twain. I find the article fascinating since this is something that could have been done potentially but was never implemented successfully. The article did make me realize how much spelling has been reformed in little ways since the 18th century, such as changing defence to defense or publick to public. 
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Young 'prefer to read on screen'

Young 'prefer to read on screen' | Literacy | Scoop.it
Young people are now much more likely to prefer to read on computer and phone screens rather than to use printed materials, according to a literacy study.

Via Joan Vinall-Cox
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A History of Reading

A History of Reading | Literacy | Scoop.it
People make hoary generalizations about changing American reading habits but we actually know very little about the history of reading.
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Does Spelling Matter?

Every so often, I write about language, in my capacity as an amateur user of one. And a few times, when I have done, a polite and earnest young man from something called the SaypYu Project has got in touch.

The SaypYu Project is, and I’ll quote the young man in question directly here, “a collaborative project that aims at building a list of words from all languages spelled phonetically using a 24-letter alphabet”. English is, they say, wildly illogical in its spelling. They want to remove unnecessary letters (C, Q and X, “because these could be replaced by their phonetic equivalents: K and/or S”), and add one new one (Ǝ/ɘ, or “schwa”), which would replace the short A sound in “about” or “ago”.

Under the new system, it is proposed (although SaypYu stresses that it is at an early stage of development and likely to change) the similarly spelled but differently pronounced words "bough", "cough", "though" and "through" would be written as "baw", "kof", "dhow" and "thruu". (On a side note, I’m intrigued to see that the TH sounds in "though" and "through" are different – although, when you say them, one is indeed “voiced” and one isn’t. I hadn’t noticed before.)

The SaypYuers are not the first to try to reform English’s illogical spelling. There’s a piece of mocking poetry that made the point a long time ago, and which Steven Pinker mentions in his book The Language Instinct:

Beware of “heard”, a dreadful word
That looks like “beard” and sounds like “bird”
And “dead”; it’s said like “bed”, not “bead” -
For goodness’ sake don’t call it “deed”
Watch out for “meat” and “great” and “threat”
(They rhyme with “suite” and “straight” and “debt”)

In 1855 a publisher, Charles Ollier, complained that “fish” could perfectly logically be spelled “ghoti”, if you used the GH from “tough”, the O from “women” and the TI from “nation”. The playwright George Bernard Shaw similarly wanted to reform the language, and left a cash prize in his will to the designer of a more logical writing system.

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Illiteracy Statistics | Statistic Brain

Illiteracy Statistics | Statistic Brain | Literacy | Scoop.it
Kirkpatrick, Ujda: Improving literacy would boost our economic outlook
Houston Chronicle
And while many think illiteracy is an individual challenge, the effect it has on the economy is staggering.
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OPINION: The Need to End Childhood Illiteracy, Not Just Fight It - Asian Fortune

OPINION: The Need to End Childhood Illiteracy, Not Just Fight It - Asian Fortune | Literacy | Scoop.it
Kirkpatrick, Ujda: Improving literacy would boost our economic outlook
Houston Chronicle
And while many think illiteracy is an individual challenge, the effect it has on the economy is staggering.
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93275.pdf

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This is an extrememly valuable resource that gives some of the most comprehensive data on adult illiteracy that I've found. It's a survey of approximately 26,000 adults that measures literacy on a scale that ranges from the ability to sign one's name to the ability to use information in a word problem to solve a complex word problem. The survey then breaks down the results by race, gender and socio-economic class which is very interesting. 

It's very difficult to find complete information on adult literacy. Most articles just summarize the data without presenting it. They also tend to only give the main idea (for example the largest number of people affected) instead of the specific populations it affects. 

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71-77.Geske.pdf

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This paper looks at the different factors that affect literacy in young children. The study found that socio-economic factors (parents' level of education, finances, and the number of books at home) had a significant effect on childhood literacy. In addition, the number of siblings played a role in literacy rates, presumably because with fewer children there was more individual emphasis on learning. 

There are no comments on this article. 

In general, this in not a surprising result but it is good to have basic data that confirms that socio-economic factors have a strong effect on literacy. 

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Literacy study: 1 in 7 U.S. adults are unable to read this story - USATODAY.com

Literacy study: 1 in 7 U.S. adults are unable to read this story - USATODAY.com | Literacy | Scoop.it
A long-awaited federal study finds that an estimated 32 million adults in the USA about one in seven are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children's picture book or to...
Noah S.'s insight:
Results from a national literacy surveyFrom USA TodayThis article, from 2003, explains the results of a national literacy survey conducted by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. The survey discovered that approximately 32 million adults have low reading skills. In addition, literacy in America had not improved in the 10 years between 2003 and the previous literacy surveyThere were no comments on the actual page but the article has been reprinted several times with comments. Mainly people shared personal stories about their struggles with literacy. A few people blamed it on national priorities, i.e. our prioritizing of military spending over education. In general, there was a common feeling that an illiteracy rate this high is an injustice. The comments are not very interesting. There is very little evidence for any of their claims about the government and there is no disagreement or alternative viewpoints. In general the anecdotes are fine but not very revealing. This is partly the fault of the article since it does not address the possible causes of adult illiteracy. 
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E-Readers Don’t Cut Down on Reading Comprehension

E-Readers Don’t Cut Down on Reading Comprehension | Literacy | Scoop.it
Recent research says that reading comprehension on an e-reader and electronic screen is just as good as with paper

Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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Literacy for all remains an elusive goal, new UNESCO data shows | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Literacy for all remains an elusive goal, new UNESCO data shows | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization | Literacy | Scoop.it

Via Joan Vinall-Cox
Noah S.'s insight:

This article summarizes recent literacy trends. 743 million adults will remain illiterate in 2015, and the majority of these people are women. As technology connects the world, the article argues, literacy becomes an even more crucial skill. 

This article is fairly objective and uncontroversial. I tried unsuccessfully to find some comments on it or similar studies. A few people seemed supportive of the message since it's fairly benign but there are no disagreements about it. 

The article presents good information in a factual way, but still raises interesting points about literacy in a technological world like the New York Times article.

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What Muncie Read

What Muncie Read | Literacy | Scoop.it
People make hoary generalizations about changing American reading habits but we actually know very little about the history of reading.

Via Fred Zimny
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Making Ћ English language better: a (long) history of failed attempts – Telegraph Blogs

Every so often, I write about language, in my capacity as an amateur user of one. And a few times, when I have done, a polite and earnest young man from something called the SaypYu Project has got in touch.

The SaypYu Project is, and I’ll quote the young man in question directly here, “a collaborative project that aims at building a list of words from all languages spelled phonetically using a 24-letter alphabet”. English is, they say, wildly illogical in its spelling. They want to remove unnecessary letters (C, Q and X, “because these could be replaced by their phonetic equivalents: K and/or S”), and add one new one (Ǝ/ɘ, or “schwa”), which would replace the short A sound in “about” or “ago”.

Under the new system, it is proposed (although SaypYu stresses that it is at an early stage of development and likely to change) the similarly spelled but differently pronounced words "bough", "cough", "though" and "through" would be written as "baw", "kof", "dhow" and "thruu". (On a side note, I’m intrigued to see that the TH sounds in "though" and "through" are different – although, when you say them, one is indeed “voiced” and one isn’t. I hadn’t noticed before.)

The SaypYuers are not the first to try to reform English’s illogical spelling. There’s a piece of mocking poetry that made the point a long time ago, and which Steven Pinker mentions in his book The Language Instinct:

Beware of “heard”, a dreadful word
That looks like “beard” and sounds like “bird”
And “dead”; it’s said like “bed”, not “bead” -
For goodness’ sake don’t call it “deed”
Watch out for “meat” and “great” and “threat”
(They rhyme with “suite” and “straight” and “debt”)

In 1855 a publisher, Charles Ollier, complained that “fish” could perfectly logically be spelled “ghoti”, if you used the GH from “tough”, the O from “women” and the TI from “nation”. The playwright George Bernard Shaw similarly wanted to reform the language, and left a cash prize in his will to the designer of a more logical writing system.

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SC considers changing how reading is taught - USA TODAY

SC considers changing how reading is taught - USA TODAY | Literacy | Scoop.it
Kirkpatrick, Ujda: Improving literacy would boost our economic outlook
Houston Chronicle
And while many think illiteracy is an individual challenge, the effect it has on the economy is staggering.
Noah S.'s insight:

This article focuses on efforts to make teachers responsible for falling literacy rates among students. Instead of blaming factors like socio-economic status or race for illiteracy, the article places the blame on bad teaching standards, requiring teachers in South Carolina to take a required course on how to teach reading to children. The program is modelled on the example in Florida which was successful in raising test scores. 

I'm not sure that I agree that test scores are a good way to measure literacy. While they are a good measurement in matters of reading comprehension, for issues that require more in-depth knowlege, I think they are less useful. It seems like an earlier idea, from the time when reading was just a matter of understanding yes or no questions rather than today when literacy is measured by in-depth knowledge.

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Kirkpatrick, Ujda: Improving literacy would boost our economic outlook - Houston Chronicle

Kirkpatrick, Ujda: Improving literacy would boost our economic outlook - Houston Chronicle | Literacy | Scoop.it
Kirkpatrick, Ujda: Improving literacy would boost our economic outlook
Houston Chronicle
And while many think illiteracy is an individual challenge, the effect it has on the economy is staggering.
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