literacy

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We Created— and Deserve —the Idiots in Washington

If our government is awful, it's because we're not so bright ourselves: LZ Granderson

(Newser) - It's easy enough to complain about Washington gridlock, but "every country has the government it deserves," said philosopher Joseph de Maistre. We're the ones who put the politicians in power, but when you look at the recent results of an international skills survey , it would seem... More »

Americans Read and Math Bad

New study shows US adults are lagging in crucial skills

(Newser) - You've probably heard that test scores are lagging badly for America's youth, but it turns out they're just chips off the old blocks. A sweeping new study has found that American adults are below-average when it comes to literacy, basic math skills, and "problem-solving in technology-rich... More »

On NY School's Summer Reading List: 30+ Typos

Students advised to read 'The Great Gypsy,' Emily Bonte

(Newser) - Good news, students of Hempstead Public Schools: You won't be wading through F. Scott Fitzgerald's version of that Leo DiCaprio movie this fine summer vacation. Rather, you'll be searching endlessly for a tome called The Great Gypsy—at least according to the district's summer reading list,... More »

In Laos, Bringing Books to Children—Via Elephant

The story of one American expatriate's local publishing company

(Newser) - In Laos, many children had never seen a book until “Uncle Sasha” came to town. American Sasha Alyson first visited the impoverished country in 2003, and was struck by the lack of books for children. “Many [kids] don't even know what a book is. Sometimes you have to... More »

Many English Speakers Don't Understand English

Study discovers shocking grammar deficiencies

(Newser) - Loads of native English speakers lack even a basic understanding of the language, according to a surprising new study from Northumbria University. The researchers gathered a group of adults, some of whom were postgraduates students, and some who had dropped out of school at age 16, and tested them on... More »

Let's Rethink How We Teach English

Kids can't write, and it's getting worse

(Newser) - Take it from a first-year college instructor: The writing skills of young adults are a joke. "They have either forgotten the rules of writing, or they never learned them in the first place," writes Kara Miller of Babson College. And while the media focuses on the need for... More »

Seattle: America's Most Literate City

High-ranking literate cities safer, better for singles

(Newser) - The most literate cities tend to be safer, healthier, and have thriving singles' scenes, according to Central Connecticut State University's annual ranking of American cities. Seattle topped the list again this year, which was cross-indexed with statistics and other surveys for the first time. Washington, DC, came in second, knocking... More »

'Candid' Laura Bush Tells Her Story

Met with historians to discuss her little-known legacy

(Newser) - Shortly before the election last November, Laura Bush sought to shape her somewhat hazy legacy. The former first lady spoke to historians, reporters, and other DC insiders in a 3-hour “legacy lunch,” at which she was called “candid,” “funny,” and “open” as she... More »

Braille Read by Less Than 10% of Blind Americans

(Newser) - Less than 10% of blind Americans know how to read Braille, and just 10% of blind children are being taught the printed language, the AP reports. A study by the National Federation of the Blind also pegs Braille illiteracy to unemployment. While the blind population faces 70% unemployment overall, that... More »

Howard Dean: Dems Must Not Cave on Health Care

(Newser) - Howard Dean didn't get the health cabinet post he wanted, and doesn't want the job that's open—surgeon general—but is pushing President Obama's health-care plan just the same, the Washington Times reports. "Democrats can’t cave," says the former doc. Obama’s plan is "perfect,"... More »

32M Lack Basic Reading Skills

Study says Illiteracy crisis getting worse

(Newser) - One in seven American adults in the US—about 32 million people—have such low literacy skills that they cannot read a newspaper story or a prescription bottle, a new federal study says. "They really cannot read paragraphs (or) sentences that are connected," says an Education Department researcher.... More »

Minneapolis, Seattle Top List of Most Literate Cities

Read all about it

(Newser) - New York may be America's cultural capital, but Seattle and Minneapolis top the list as the nation's most literate cities, reports LiveScience.  The rankings are based on newspaper, magazine, and online news readership, library usage, book purchases, and educational levels. The two cities also topped the list last year.... More »

Winslet on Reader Role: It's 'Blown My Mind'

(Newser) - Even for a seasoned actress like Kate Winslet, the role of Nazi guard Hannah Schmitz in The Reader was a game-changer, writes Brad Balfour in the Huffington Post. “I sort of walked away like some car crash victim who somehow hadn't been hurt on the outside,” Winslet said.... More »

Interviewers Let Palin Off the Hook: Couric

Couric wonders why Palin wouldn't answer reading question

(Newser) - Sarah Palin’s non-answer to Katie Couric’s question about what periodicals she reads still has the CBS anchor puzzled. Couric visited with David Letterman last night, and he quizzed her about why post-election interviewers haven’t asked the VP wannabe about her non-response, Gawker reports. Meanwhile, Letterman has a... More »

Laura Bush's Feminist Agenda Is Anything but Demure

First lady quietly used her clout for every lady

(Newser) - You don’t hear much about Laura Bush, probably because her “demure librarian-teacher persona has minimized her appeal,” but women around the world owe a lot to the first lady, writes Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post. Bush has campaigned for breast cancer awareness in the Middle East,... More »

Death of Reading Greatly Exaggerated

Author Eggers pooh-poohs skeptical pundits, says it's 'as alive as ever'

(Newser) - Our bleak outlook on the future of reading owes itself to a doomsday reflex, the pervasive belief that things are bound to get worse, author Dave Eggers writes in Esquire. "It must be true, we think—just yesterday I saw some kid on the bus, and he wasn't reading... More »

Depressed Dads Make Kids Less Literate

Sad fathers don't read as much to babies, whose vocabs suffer

(Newser) - About 10% of new fathers show signs of clinical depression—a rate twice that of other men—and that can have a noticeable effect on their children, an American Psychiatric Association study finds. Sad dads interact less with their progeny, which means less bedtime reading and a smaller vocabulary by... More »

Eating Isn't Only Healthy Benefit of Family Dinner

Structured, deep interaction at meals yields adjusted kids

(Newser) - Studies in the 1990s showed that regular family dinners made kids less likely to do drugs, smoke or have psychological problems, but a closer look now finds that it's what goes on during those meals—strong verbal interaction, parents showing interest in their children—that really counts in the youngsters'... More »

Survey: Minneapolis the Most Literate US City

Researchers looked at 69 major metropolitan areas

(Newser) - New York may be the US city with the most literary pretensions, but the nation's most literate city it's not, a new survey finds. Minneapolis takes the honors as most literate large metropolitan area in a Central Connecticut State University survey reported in LiveScience. The nine runners-up are, in order:... More »

Is Our Children Reading?

No, and neither are teenagers and adults, new study finds

(Newser) - As far as young people are concerned, books are so 20th century. Reading's popularity has fallen as gadgets have taken over modern life, according to a new National Endowment for the Arts report. Only a third of high school seniors read at a proficient level. “And proficiency is not... More »

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