Monday, December 19, 2005

Newspaper In Education : Kids & News

Tucked inside the Gazette on the second Wednesday of each month is the Kid County Courier, a special section designed specifically for our younger readers. The publication is part of Newspapers in Education, a nationwide program that provides newspapers to classrooms to be used as a teaching tool and to expose elementary school children in particular to reading a newspaper.

According to Kristen Jackson, the Gazette's education services director, each week more than 550 students in the Sequim area receive a copy of the Sequim Gazette. That means 550 students are learning the ins and outs of how to read and use a newspaper.

Who reads the newspaper? It's a question circulation managers, publishers and editors struggle to answer when crunching end-of-month numbers that justify revenue to newspaper owners.

It's also a question whose answer is often crucial to newspaper content.

One statistic is constant: Young people aren't reading the newspaper. That includes not only elementary aged children, but also teenagers and young adults up to their mid-20s. And if you aren't reading a newspaper as a young adult, chances are you are not going to develop the habit once you turn 30.

The reasons for the decrease in readership among young people include the wide variety of media choices, the declining role of the newspaper in the home and the lack of newspaper marketing aimed at young people. The growth of the Internet in the past decade has only exacerbated the trend.

Surveys show those in the 18-24 age bracket spend an average of 48 minutes per day gathering news: nine of those minutes are spent reading a paper, 31 watching television news and 13 listening to radio news. By contrast, those between 50 and 64 spent an average 71 minutes on news per day, 21 from the paper, 34 television and 16, radio. Publishers and editors say young people don't have a huge hunger for reading hard news in a newspaper. They get that from the television or the Internet.

Back to the Kid County Courier. This week's publication includes a variety of stories and puzzles, all created with the holiday season in mind. While it is wonderful that teachers in the Sequim schools use this section as part of their curriculum, what is even better is for parents to open the pages of the Kid County Courier and share some quality time with their children reading the stories together and solving the puzzles. And it is also a good time to thumb through the pages of this week's Gazette, perhaps reading aloud a story or two that affects our lives here in Sequim.

The news habit is something that needs to be cultivated early, or it never comes. Remember, the first and best teacher a child has is his or her parent.

From Where Does The Fantastic Digital Content Come From : Books

We live in a time when digital wizards can create just about anything that can be imagined for the latest movies or video games. But where does the imagination come from?

From books, pages of words and pictures that come to life in the mind.

DVDs and video games will occupy a child, but books will develop the child's mind -- and keep that child company like nothing else.

A book can be a cozy refuge, a great adventure, a teacher, an inspiration, a source of vivid dreams. Give a kid a book and you never know what else you are giving along with it. Reading is, in so many ways, the key to lifelong learning.

With the help of readers like you, the Free Press (Detroit, USA) has since 1987 been feeding children's dreams through our Gift of Reading program. Through donations of books and money, more than 500,000 books have been distributed to children and countless literacy programs have been bolstered.

The aim is to get young people fired up about reading -- and to make sure they get presents this holiday season. In some case, books from the program may be the only gifts they receive.

You can help by buying books geared to children 6 and younger and dropping them -- unwrapped -- at any of the sites listed here, including libraries, bookstores and the Free Press.

If you want to make your dollar go further, send a tax-deductible check or money order; the newspaper purchases its books in bulk and can buy more for less.

The point is to give something, a donation that can make a holiday festive, boost literacy and start a child on a path to a lifelong habit that can offer a whole new way to see the world around them.


Promoting Literacy With A Film

Turning reading into a story

James Earl Jones promotes literacy with Hallmark filmGenerations ago, James Earl Jones' great-great-grandmother, an Irish indentured servant, taught his great-great-grandfather, an African slave, how to read.

"Of course," Jones says, "it was forbidden. Slaves weren't allowed to read because they might get some wisdom about what was wrong with their lives and why slavery was not right. To cut down on the rebellion and the enlightenment, there were laws passed so that slaves couldn't read.

“And I find it an irony that it's so hard to convince generations of young black people of the importance of reading. In other words, something that was forbidden before, now it's highly encouraged, but some people, on their own, reject it, not just reading but learning and education."

Emphasizing he's neither a sociologist nor an activist, Jones has taken the best route available to an actor to discuss an important subject - he did a movie about it."

I wouldn't call it activism," Jones says. "That's called influence. The reason I didn't become active politically is I thought, being an actor, I would be able to affect thought- if not change - the way people feel about things. I was very grateful to have that access to resort to."

Reading with a plot

Airing tomorrow at 9 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel, "The Reading Room" - endorsed by the National Center for Family Literacy - features Jones as William Campbell, a retired businessman who has just lost his beloved wife Helen (Lynne Moody). After the guests leave the memorial service, he plays a video recorded during her last days, in which she asks him to use their money and personal library to open a community reading room in a storefront business he owns in his former inner-city neighborhood.

While opening the reading room isn't that difficult, keeping it open proves to be a formidable challenge."

I had to keep the mission clear in my head doing the movie," Jones says, "that this was not his idea. It was his wife's idea. The focus was to take the books out of the library where you would never use them and put them someplace where they can be used. That's the whole mission. His only virtue is that he's very stubborn about it."

Along the way, Campbell reaches out to a young thief (Douglas Spain) by offering him a job as a security guard and to a bright 8-year-old (Gabby Soleil), who asks for help learning to read so she can then help her literacy-challenged mother.

Ironically, one of Campbell's biggest challenges comes from local clergyman, the Rev. Rashid Rahim (Georg Stanford Brown, who also directs).Rahim questions Campbell's motives and his book collection, saying he needs more titles that are relevant to the community's ethnic makeup. Always arriving accompanied by big men in suits, Rahim is a menacing character."

I told Georg I would not do the movie unless he did the reverend," Jones explains. "I said, 'I'm not coming near it unless you are the other guy,' and I'm very happy that he did it, because he was able to bring all the colors to that character, the good and the bad."

"The Reading Room" also features Tim Reid ("Frank's Place"), Joanna Cassidy ("Six Feet Under") and Kathryne Dora Brown, daughter of the film's director and actress Tyne Daly.

Obviously, a movie such as "The Reading Room" is meant to encourage reading and literacy, but Jones feels that, ultimately, what you take away from the film is related to what you bring to it.

Refraining from a message

"In my years of being an actor," he says, "I learned not to have an agenda about the message. My job is to figure out the essential statement that the story makes, but beyond that statement, it cannot be a message. A message means that it reaches somebody's ear and affects them. That's the job of the receiver more than the sender.

"It's not that I don't have any hope, I don't like to prejudge what somebody will get out of a movie. There are messages, but they're made up of the questions that the audience brings to it themselves. Most of us have questions that we have never voiced, but we all have questions. You see a movie, and the message we get is the one that answers the questions we have innately."

To pretend that you have something that will bypass that - I don't believe that. I don't like to declare that there's a message."

For example, Jones remembers being affected by something he saw in the 1952 movie "Viva Zapata!" a biography of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (Marlon Brando)."

On his wedding night," Jones recalls, "he can't sleep. He's also become the leader of a nation. His wife asks him 'What's wrong?' 'I can't read.' And he said it with such anguish."

My [then preschool-age] son did that one day. We made a habit of reading to him, and one day he said, 'I can't read, Dad. I wish I could read. I want to be able to look at the book and see what it says myself, instead of having you tell me.'"I had a problem in my own childhood, being a stutterer. While I was not illiterate, I was practically illiterate, because I couldn't share. I couldn't get the words out because it was shattered, broken, stuttering and stammering."


Sunday, December 18, 2005

It Is Never Too Soon For A Child To Learn

When it comes to learning your ABCs, it is never too soon.

Mothers are starting to expose their babies to English soon after birth. The only caveat is that they ensure that Japanese language skills come first, educators advise.

A survey this year by Benesse Corp., which owns the Berlitz Japan chain of language schools among other lifestyle service companies, found 14.2 percent of households with preschoolers are sending their kids to English lessons--a jump from 5 percent in 2000.

It seems the "English mom" boom has returned, but this time around the emphasis is on early introduction over pre-examination cramming.

Preschools and playgroups offering English are gaining an edge with parents. Inspired by stories like the mom who started teaching her baby English before it was a year old, mothers are pushing their kids to develop second-language skills earlier.

The big difference for recent parents is the goal. Early English is no longer seen as a route to the fast track to an elite education. These days, parents are simply interested in giving their children the wider opportunities in life that English abilities can provide.

Yukari Morifuji, a homemaker in her 30s in Ehime Prefecture, is a celebrity of sorts among mothers nationwide who revere what she accomplished with her son.

"Even parents without good English can raise a bilingual child. It just takes a little subtlety," Morifuji writes on her Web site.

Morifuji began exposing her son to English when he was an infant. She read him books and played CDs and videos for two hours daily starting when he was 7 months old.

Now 9, he watches U.S. kids' programs on television, reads English novels and has even started writing his own stories in English.

Her Web site has received 3 million hits in the five years since she first began charting her son's progress. She featured samples of him speaking in English as proof of his achievements.
Mothers eager to do the same even came to consult Morifuji at her home for advice about what level of educational materials to introduce to their children.

"The important thing to remember is that Japanese comes first," Morifuji said. "Only then should English be taught. I also read many Japanese stories (to my son)."

ALC Press, a nationwide publisher of language teaching materials, issues Yochiyochi Eigo (English for toddlers) annually. The magazine is aimed at readers up to age 3, and features ideas such as singing English songs with hand games to begin with. For toddlers, reading in English and playing games in English helps.

It offers tips and suggestions geared for different age groups to aid parents hoping to raise bilingual children.

One recent feature was "Make bath time fun English time!"

A detailed planner accompanied by illustrations helps parents schedule daily English events, such as having children brush their teeth while listening to an English CD.

An ALC survey asking readers how much English they hoped their children would master received responses from about 400 people. Of those, 70 percent said they wanted their kids to know "enough to be able to communicate with foreigners without feeling shy."

Twenty percent said they wanted them to know enough English to land globetrotting jobs.
Masako Noguchi, 45, works for ALC's English-for-kids division.

"I assume there are parents out there who feel that 'If I could speak English, maybe there would have been more opportunities out there.' And they are the ones who are intent on teaching their children English and providing then with a bigger, wider world," Noguchi said.
Meanwhile, Benesse's Advanced Education Research Center this year surveyed about 3,000 parents with young children under 6 in the Tokyo metropolitan area regarding their toddlers' lives.

Overall, 14.2 percent said they sent their kids to English language lessons. In 2000, the figure was 5 percent.

More than 20 percent of 5- to 6-year-olds were studying English, and 10 percent of 2- to 3-year-olds.

Preschools that take on the additional role of English language school are catching on. An estimated 140 such English-oriented preschool facilities are operating nationwide, sources said.
At Shikahama English Adventures in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, which opened in 2001, bilingual lessons are taught by a pair of instructors--one a native English speaker, the other, a Japanese nursery school teacher.

Recently, toddlers assembled spider shapes out of cookies as they chanted, "A spider has eight legs." Then they wolfed down the goodies.

The center currently has 22 students, aged 2 to 6, attending classes five days a week from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuition is about 70,000 yen a month.

One Shikahama graduate passed the lowest, fourth-grade Practical English Proficiency Test (STEP, or eiken, test) when in the first grade of elementary school.

Parents are typical office workers or truck-driver dads and stay-at-home moms with part-time jobs.
The school advises parents to use English at home, although acknowledging that Japanese should be the primary language of communication.

The school knows some parents tend to become overzealous. In one case, being inundated with English at school and at home so confused a child that he stopped speaking Japanese.

English play groups, where English-speaking mothers or native speakers visit to play with the children, are also gaining popularity.

And many language schools now offer "kids courses" for students 12 and under.
One 36-year-old mother who sends her two children to an English language school said: "I can't speak English, but I want my children to be able to talk to foreigners without feeling self-conscious."

Kazuko Nakajima is a professor of Japanese as a second language at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies who specializes in bilingual education.

"There is a special window during development when children can absorb a (new language) through physical stimuli," Nakajima said.

"In that sense, starting English at an early age makes sense. But it has to be continued."
However, "the cardinal rule is to make the mother tongue the primary language. If the mother continues talking nonstop in English during crucial developmental stages, the child will be hampered in acquiring Japanese," Nakajima warned.

"Furthermore, a non-native-English-speaking mother trying to teach her child could cause much trouble for the child later on through cultural mismatching. Her words and grammar may not match the natural facial expressions and gestures that native English speakers use."

To avoid such problems, "Tapes and lessons from native speakers may be the best bet, not parents serving as English teachers."(IHT/Asahi: December 16,2005)


Disney Publishing In China

For The Record Only

Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) currently sells 12 million magazines and 2.7 million books in China, making DPW the leadingforeign publisher. Mickey Mouse magazine (launched in 1994) continues to be the leading children's magazine in China with 350,000copies/issue and 1.750 million readership. Disney's books and magazines are distributed in more than 25,000 retail outlets and 5,000 schools.

Grandparents Can Make Holidays Special

You might be wondering how this article fits in this blog. Lest you start believing that I have run out of material to post, fret not. The net will not allow this to happen. This article had a passing reference of grandparents gifting magazine subscriptions to children which caught me eye. Also, this is the time of holidays - a week of so for Christmas. Timely, isn't it.
Read on the full article below.

Ah, the holidays! There's nothing quite like going to the grandparents for the holidays. Or having them come to visit. The closeness of grandchildren and grandparents make these days truly special.

Being a wonderful grandparent is easy if you had wonderful grandparents in your life. If not, you'll have to work at it a little bit more and invent the role with love and creativity. Besides birthdays and other holidays, getting together at the holidays is an opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to nurture family bonds.

Here's some advice on how grandparents can develop loving bonds with their grandchildren during the holidays.

Tell children why the holidays are important

Use the occasion to teach important family values and religious traditions. You offer a unique perspective and different information than from any other relationship. Think of yourself as a carrier of family tradition. You are their link to the past and a key to helping them understand themselves.

Connect them with their roots

Tell them stories about your past holidays and what you did when you were little. That way they'll learn about their great-grandparents too. Tell stories about your son or daughter when he or she was little. Grandchildren are never too old to enjoy those kinds of stories.

The holiday decorations and heirlooms that come down through the family have special stories behind them. As you decorate, talk about the memories behind the holiday keepsakes. Be with them.

Have one-on-one time with your grandchildren. Each relationship is different. Give of yourself completely with the one you are with. Make each one go away thinking he or she is your favorite. Go on special outings. Read to them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Have fun and make memories.

Teach them something only you can teach them

Share your talents and work together on one of your projects — Swedish bread, lasagna, special cookies or whatever you do that is special.

Show up even if you can't be there. Grandchildren need to know special people love and adore them. The holidays are a wonderful time to establish and build on your relationships. If you can't be there in person, telephone calls, letters, E-mail, faxes, videotapes and gifts will remind them of you and your love.

Gifts have great power

In choosing gifts, we also choose what we value. Gifts can introduce the grandchildren to something. For example, giving tapes or CDs can introduce a child to music. Giving a subscription to a children's magazine will be a monthly reminder of you to them. For young adults, a special gift may be a family heirloom, something you may want to give away someday anyway.

Help take the materialism out of the holidays

Give handmade gifts. Don't bombard them with so many gifts that your gifts don't have any meaning. One or two choice, well-selected gifts can make a memory or a bond. For younger children, a lot of inexpensive gifts in a stuffed stocking can bring great delight. Giving money or a generic gift to the whole family doesn't create memories like a specific gift.

Another gift is the gift of time together. A gift of a visit to your home or a future trip together will be a treasured memory.

Don't overwhelm your grandchildren with too many or too expensive gifts. Consult with the parents on the extent of your gift-giving. Don't compete with their other grandparents.

Downplay any comparisons. Don't get hung up on making your gifts so equal that you don't recognize the personality and special needs of each grandchild. Make your gifts from the heart — particular to each grandchild.

We now have 13 grandchildren. My wife, Darlene, thinks ahead all year long to come up with gifts that will make an impression on the grandchildren. It isn't easy and can't be done at the last minute.

Go with the flow

Remain the grown up. Roll with the punches. Don't be uptight, demanding, judgmental or too particular. Give unconditional love and leave the parenting to the parents. You are not in charge. The holiday isn't about you. It is about them. Be tolerant and flexible. If your grandchildren are visiting in your home, explain the rules and then give gentle and patient reminders. If you are a guest in their home, fit into their family's schedule. It is not your kitchen, your schedule or your needs that count. Let go. It is your children's time to shape their own holiday routines.

Honor the other side of the family and how they celebrate. If there is diversity in the family, respect those traditions. Be supportive of your grandchildrens' relationship with their other extended family members. Be flexible and accepting of where your children need to be for the holidays. Don't play favorites between families or between grandchildren

Sibling rivalry between children is natural and may continue into adulthood. Don't compare grandchildren to each other or with grandchildren from another family. Don't compare grandchildren with their parents. Don't hold up one member of the family as an example for others.

It is fun being a grandparent at the holidays! Every year is a new adventure in making the holidays count.

For more information on holidays, you can visit Val Farmer's Web site at
Val Farmer is a clinical psychologist with MeritCare in Fargo, N.D. He specializes in rural mental health and family business consultation. Dr. Farmer's column is sponsored by Cass County Social Services. For more information, go to

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Libraries are community assets: JEO

TIRUPATI: Libraries are invaluable community assets, which help the less privileged to get knowledge of different subject, through the collection of vast number books they house, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Joint Executive Officer N Mukteswara Rao said.

Addressing the ‘National Library Day’ celebrations at the TTD Central Library here on Monday, he said that the books give knowledge and the youth should develop reading habit.

He said that a person, who desires to know something, he is not aware, looks for the books for guidance and for that purpose he visits a library.

‘‘For a poor student, who cannot afford to buy reference books, Libraries are ultimate resource,’’ he said while stating that the role of libraries, which cater to the knowledge needs of all sections of society, have an important role to play in universal literacy.

The Joint Executive Officer opined that the TTD Central Library is one of the finest libraries in the country and some of the rare books, which are not available elsewhere, are there with it.

He said that to encourage book reading, it has been decided to present books instead of mementoes in any programme organised in TTD Educational Institutions.

On the occasion, director of TTD Central Library and Sri Venkateswara Employees Training Academy (SVETA) BS Reddy said that students should resist the temptations of films and television, and instead develop book reading as a hobby, which is not only a time well used but also has a good effect on health.

Books are source of knowledge and play a crucial role in shaping the personality of the student. They inculcate self-confidence and other positive habits in the children, he said.‘‘

We have taken up the task of creating interest in the school children towards book reading, for which a special bus is being operated by the Library to transport school student to the library in their free time, so that they can utilise the library services,’’ he explained while expressing satisfaction over the response for the programme.

TTD’s Dharma Prachara Parishad (DPP) secretary Chenchu Subbaiah spoke on the occasion. Over 600 school students took part in the programme and some of them shared their thoughts on libraries and book reading habit on the occasion.


Reading Set To Enliven School Time

I am not sure if I have posted this item before on my blog. Because of its record value, I am posting it again. So, if you feel like have read this before, do drop a line so that I can remove it.

MALAPPURAM: Reading is making a forceful entry into the school curriculum with the Education Department gearing up to go ahead with the next phase of the ‘school library popularisation programme’.

While ensuring quality education to students, the new curriculum also aims at helping them find one’s own educational goals and pursue it. Reading has been found playing a crucial role in empowering students to identify their dreams and going in search of it.

The comprehensive project of the State Education Department, ‘Vayanayiloode Valaruka’ (read and grow), which is already right on track in the district, is a positive move in this direction.

The project mainly aimed at the renovation of school libraries and popularisation of reading among students, will be implemented in all the government and aided UP and high schools in the state.

As many as 30 lakh students across 2393 high schools and 2827 UP schools in the state will benefit from the project in the first phase. This also will be expanded to the LP levels later.

For the first time in the state a ‘library hour’ will be introduced to the school time table as part of the project. The project is envisaged to be implemented with the complete support of various institutes and organisations like local bodies, voluntary organisations, clubs, PTAs, financial organisations, library councils, media organisations, public sector enterprises, cooperative units and business enterprises in the state.

The initial ground works for the project was started in July 2005. The progress of the new drive was monitored by a state-level steering committee with the education minister as the chairman.

School, panchayat, block and district level committees have been formulated for the proper implementation of the project.

One week every year - from November 21 to 26 - will be observed as ‘Vayana Varam’ in the district as part of the project.

Different programmes to strengthen the reading habit of students including reading competitions, readers’ gathering, training in reading and book keeping lessons for teachers at the schools.

The library renovation committee formulated as part of the project has launched a resources accumulation drive from December 1 to 10.

Resources including books, shelves and sponsorship for library building will be collected by the members of this committee from across the district.


Is One Month A Right Age To Start Reading To A Child ?

Decide For Yourself After Reading This Question Posed To

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I have a 1-month old. When's the right time to start reading to her? And is there a "right" way to do it?

A: If there is one gift that every parent should give his or her child, it's a love of reading and stories. At this age, you can read just about anything to your baby, from "War and Peace" to the installation guide to your dishwasher. The goal isn't to educate, it's to get her used to the sound of the language and to give make a connection to a peaceful activity.

Children who get read regularly to by their parents have bigger vocabularies, are able to sit still for longer periods of time, and have fewer problems learning to read than kids who don't have the same exposure to books. Still not convinced that reading to your child is a good thing? Try this: 60 percent of prison inmates are illiterate, 85 percent of juvenile offenders have reading problems, and 44 percent of adult Americans do not read a single book in the course of a year.

Clearly, reading is an important habit to develop, and it's never too early to start. It'll be a while, though, `till you get much reaction from the baby. At about 3 months, she may start holding your finger while you read to her. At 4 months, she'll sit still and listen attentively while you read and may even reach out to scratch the pages of the book. At around 5 months, she'll probably start to respond to your pointing. At 6 months, she'll respond to what you're reading by bouncing up and down or chuckling before you get to a familiar part of the story. Look for books with simple, uncluttered drawings as well as poetry and nursery rhymes.

At around 7 months, your baby's grabbing and tearing are now slightly more purposeful, and you may notice an occasional attempt to turn pages. By 10 months, she may follow character from one page to the next. At a year, she'll not only be able to turn one page of her book at a time, but she'll be able to answer questions like, "What does the duckie say?"

As far as whether there's a "right" way, the answer is no. Just try to make it a regular part of your baby's life. If you can set up a special time and place for reading, so much the better. The best reading position for your baby is to sit her on your lap with her back to your chest. Hold the book with your arms around her and read from over her shoulder.


Reading Crucial In ICT-driven Era

Today, I have this info. about Mayor Supporting Reading Habit

Mayor Supports Reading Habit

Instilling the reading habit in children will help them develop their creativity and become more knowledgeable.

Reading is the foundation for a knowledge-based society that is crucial in this Information Technology (IT)-driven era since it enhances one's creativity and judgement skills.

Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim said this in a speech read by City Hall Corporate Deputy Director-General, Wan Maria Othman Lee, during a visit to the Kota Kinabalu Children's Home in Beringgis, Papar, Friday.

Accompanied by officers from City Hall, Wan presented 140 new and used books donated by City Hall staff to the home's Principal, Hajjah Dg Rogayah Awang Besar.

They were later given a guided tour of the home led by Rogayah and met with the children there.

The programme was part of City Hall's activities under the Reading and Noble Values Campaign launched on Aug 5 this year by State Secretary, Datuk KY Mustafa.

Iliyas also called upon the children at the home to make full use of their time spent there to acquire knowledge and skills provided by the 33 staff.

He added that being orphans it should not be an excuse for them not to become useful and successful adults especially having received proper guidance, education and skills at the home.
Meanwhile, Rogayah thanked City Hall for the visit, which she described as important and meaningful to the children in the home.

She also pointed out that despite receiving allocation from the government, it was insufficient to run the home and hence, it is in need of contributions and donations from the public and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

"We need all forms of donations to cope with the children's growth development in this home. For example, we need diapers for the infantsËe use about 50 diapers or more for the 12 infants here who also need supervision 24 hours a day," she stressed when explaining some of the shortcomings faced by the home.

Located at Beringgis, Kinarut along Papar Road, the home, which started operations last year, houses 83 children aged between eight months and 16 years, from all over the State.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Launch of A Book Club

Book Club to be launched - NT Bureau Chennai, Dec 10

Aimed at bringing back the vanishing reading habit among the children, the Manoj Prakashan group is launching the Book Monster Club on 25 December. Pooja Sharma, managing director of the Manoj Prakashan group, in a press release said that the club will promote books that enhance the child's knowledge. Prior to its launch, the club already has 4,000 registered numbers.

Manoj Prakashan has recently launched 'Interactive English Series' and 'Master English Grammar Series' for 1st to 5th standard, and Matriculation schools. The Master English Grammar series was penned by Pusha Balajagam, former principal, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan School.


Tips From

Tips for Parents, Primary Caregivers, and Educators

Initial book activities

One of the easiest ways to begin telling the story of a book is through the use of illustrations.

Most books for young children are illustrated in great detail, and noting important details
related to the characters, plot, and setting will provide a wholesome first literacy activity.

Set aside a regular time and place for books so that reading books becomes as natural as eating and sleeping.

Browse through books to help the child become familiar with books and how they are handled.

Read the story while the child points to the pictures. Adult and child can repeat interesting sounds, repetitive word patterns, and distinctive word features to the delight of both.

Have the child tell the story using the illustrations, while the adult reinforces the telling.

The two can predict outcomes, discuss how the characters feel, and relate the events to their own experiences.

Read the book to the child and enjoy it together. Retell the story together and talk about the characters, setting, plot, and life experiences.

Compare the similarities and differences of children's books available as video productions.

Have children make responses to the books read through art reproductions such as drawings, or by using clay, papier-mâché, dioramas, or fingerpaints.

Make regular trips to the library and attend storytelling sessions. Visit bookstores together to begin a personal library for a child.

Beginning reading-level activities

Children at this level should be encouraged to browse through books and pretend to read the story, an initial step toward becoming an independent reader. Children may tell the story to themselves or attempt to read frequently highlighted words.

Read the story as the child points to the pictures on each page.

Let the child pretend to read the story as the adult points to the pictures.

Read alternate pages, ask each other questions, and discuss the story. The adult models what he or she thinks of when reading the page so the child gets a variety of perspectives on the ways words have different meanings.

Use computer programs to expand a child's interest in specific topics and to provide valuable information for later curriculum study.

Compare and contrast video adaptations of children's books for this and more advanced literacy levels.

Primary-grade book activities

Continue to spend time reading with the child; set aside a specific time and place.

Be familiar with Children's Choices books and other high-quality children's literature.
Become aware of the interests of your children and books that extend life experiences so they know what happens in the world around them.

Encourage children to share books read in school with parents and caregivers at home. Parents and caregivers should encourage children to share books they've read at home with their teachers and schoolmates.

Continue to extend the information and knowledge bases through computer programs and other technology that capitalize on topics initiated through reading.

Independent reader activities

Challenge readers to compare and contrast books.

Encourage children to develop an interest in a variety of genres such as biography, historical fiction, and poetry.

Encourage children to read books related to beginning career and vocational choices.
Seek a balance between school book activities; home and school literature activities; and familiarity with newspapers, magazines, and other text media that address contemporary social, cultural, and civic issues.

Develop the desire to be a lifelong reader

Have students bring what is read to bear on what is viewed on film, television, and computer and other media technologies.

View technology in the reflection of the literature.
Keep in mind that the most memorable conversations are often filled with anecdotes from literature.

Relate what has been read to the solution of problems. By internalizing what has been read, we use knowledge and wisdom to solve personal problems, to make significant decisions related to career choices, to find solutions to community and social problems, and to develop healthy attitudes toward a positive world environment.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Promoting A Book For The First Time Here

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

School Libraries Key To Learning

13,000 Kids Can't Be Wrong - By Debra Lau Whelan -- 2/1/2004

A new Ohio study shows how school libraries help students learn

Whether it's learning proper research skills, locating quality Web sites, or getting better test scores, an overwhelming number of kids think media specialists are essential to learning, according to a new study by professors Ross Todd and Carol Kuhlthau of Rutgers University's Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries. Student Learning Through Ohio School Libraries reveals that 99.4 percent of students in grades 3 to 12 believe school libraries and their services help them become better learners. To what extent do kids value the media center? Some 88.5 percent of the 13,123 Ohio students surveyed say the school library helps them get better grades on projects and assignments, 74.7 percent say it helps with homework, and 92.4 percent say computers in the media center help improve their overall academic work. The study, which also surveyed 879 faculty members—including principals, assistant principals, teachers, and media specialists—shows that students and educators alike strongly believe that school libraries are key to learning.

Commissioned by the Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA), the survey is bound to have national repercussions: after all, it's the first comprehensive study based on students' evaluation of their media centers. Unlike researcher Keith Curry Lance's studies, which demonstrate the important correlation between effective school libraries and higher test scores, this study provides a multidimensional view of how school libraries specifically help young people with their learning. (For more information on the Lance studies, see "Dick and Jane Go to the Head of the Class ," April 2000, pp. 44–47.)

The Ohio study certainly comes at a crucial time as media centers still suffer from budget cuts and questions continue to rise about the role of school libraries in education. "We expect that other states will want to replicate this study to show the value of school libraries in student learning," says Kuhlthau. Although it's too soon to tell what impact it will have on Ohio's schools—the state currently requires only one certified librarian for each district—the hope is that this study will influence educational leaders who make funding and staffing decisions for school libraries. (The complete study can be found at
School Library Journal spoke to Todd, the study's principal investigator, about the importance of his findings.

What is the most important finding of your study?

Of the 13,123 students that we collected data on, only 73 students indicated that none of the 48 statements on the survey applied to them. This is important because the prevailing view by some that school libraries don't help kids learn or that they should be eliminated is blown apart. We have unequivocal evidence from these kids that school librarians help them do better.

Were there other significant findings?

The second most important finding is that we got a comprehensive picture of how school libraries help students. We also have qualitative data. We asked students to remember a time when the school library really helped them, to write about the type of help they received, and to describe what they were able to do because of the help. We got 10,000 written responses that talked about help in different ways. The prevailing type that students spoke about was from library-based instruction—what they got in terms of what was taught in the class, in groups, or individually that enabled them to engage effectively with information sources and information technology in the pursuit of their learning—the whole information literacy agenda. Time after time, students talked about various library-based classes that helped them with using and accessing information for their research assignments.

Why is that so important?

This is significant because the school library has been very clearly perceived to be a passive space where students go to get information. But libraries are more than a point of exchange to get books and Web sites. That's a passive notion. This study shows that school libraries are actively engaged as learning instructional centers to develop intellectual scaffolds for students and to help them engage with information meaningfully to construct their own understanding of the topic they're [studying].

Obviously a proactive librarian is key to a successful library.

A school librarian is absolutely key—that clearly came through. It's a school librarian who is committed to effective teaching, a school librarian who is a dynamic teacher. Most important is the notion that a school library is a place where kids are facilitated by the school librarian who is actively engaged in using information to construct knowledge.

Were there any surprises in the study?

Students ranked general reading interests as sixth [in order of importance in a school library]. This raises some interesting questions, because for decades we've said that the school library is the place for reading enrichment and encouragement and for helping kids become better writers. It's clear that libraries still do so, but it's a challenge for school librarians to do that better. It's obvious that school libraries help kids with general reading interests, but kids perceive help in other areas, such as computer technology, as more important.

Why did reading rank so low among high school students?

The number-one reason is that high school curriculums are so crowded. Kids are so pressured, particularly in high school, that they have barely enough time to do all the schoolwork, let alone read. When we asked students to list topics they thought were primary for the school library, leisure reading ranked relatively low. If kids wanted books for pleasure reading, they went to the public library. Kids perceive general interest collections in school libraries as not as strong as those found in public libraries.

Do school and public libraries need to collaborate more closely to get older students interested in reading?

School and public libraries are functioning as separate entities and need closer collaboration and dialogue to provide a much more holistic information service. Students should use public libraries in addition to school libraries as part of the information chain. We didn't work out a solution in the research. The role of the study is not to provide a solution but to begin a dialogue to find a solution.

Were you surprised by how high school students ranked technology?

The role of information technology in an information-age school is critical. We weren't disappointed that technology ranked so much higher than reading because students' comments focused on the instructional component of technology. Students not only saw technology in terms of providing access to information, they valued the information-literacy skills that school librarians taught them, such as learning to search the Internet; evaluating Web sites; and things that went beyond the Internet, like using PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and other software programs to make their projects better.

Tell us about how the faculty responded to the survey?

We gave the same statements [we asked the kids] to the faculty. We collected data from 800 teaching faculty—principals, assistant principals, school librarians, classroom teachers, and technology experts. What surprised me was that the ranking of the faculty was almost identical to the students', apart from reading. Also, the faculty ranked the importance of school libraries with assistance with schoolwork in general as number six and students ranked it number four, but teachers are not going to say that the library does a better job than they do. Such a strong triangulation between students and faculty is a confirmation of the importance of the school library.

How do girls' responses compare to boys'? And how do minority students' responses compare to whites'?

Overall, girls consider school libraries as more helpful, but we don't know why. Also, [students' perceptions of how the library helped them with reading scored] higher for African Americans than whites. While school libraries benefit all students, they afford African Americans particularly meaningful opportunities to learn and achieve. We're not sure about the reasons why African Americans scored higher in those areas, but overall trends were higher for African-American students. This is important for No Child Left Behind in that school libraries are particularly beneficial for this minority group. African Americans scored higher than mixed race [students] and Hispanics.

What does the study suggest in terms of No Child Left Behind?

At a basic level, without school libraries, my sense is that kids will be left behind. The study shows that kids see a very clear relationship between the help they get from school libraries and doing better on research assignments, class work, and tests. Some 99.4 percent of kids say they cannot do well without a school library. I was so happy to see that only 73 students said the school library didn't help them. When 10,000-plus students take the time to write how the school library helped them, it's no longer guesswork.

The Ohio Study's Top FindingsStudents in grades 3–12 were asked to rank the different ways in which school libraries helped them learn.

Most helpful
Quite helpful
Some help
A little help
Does not apply

The school library has helped me do my schoolwork better.

The school library has helped me get better grades on my projects and assignments.

The school library has helped me know the different steps in finding and using information.

The school library has helped me work out the main ideas in the information I find.

The school library has helped me get better at taking notes.

The information I have found in the school library has helped me become more interested in my topics.

The school library has helped me be more careful about information I find on the Internet.

The school library has helped me be a better writer.

The school library lessons have helped me solve problems better.

The school library has helped me know when I find good information.

The school library has helped me put ideas into my own words.

The school library has helped me know how to use the different kinds of information sources (books, magazines, CDs, Web sites, and videos).

About the Study:

Based on 48 statements broken down into seven blocks, or categories, Student Learning Through Ohio School Libraries asked 13,123 Ohio students from 39 schools to rank the different ways in which school libraries helped them with learning, from "most helpful," "quite helpful," "some help," and "a little help" to "does not apply at all." Schools that met certain criteria related to effective school libraries—such as having a strong collection and a certified librarian—were chosen by a confidential panel of international and local experts on school libraries. Ohio schools were also asked to nominate schools that met those criteria. The researchers chose an equitable distribution of elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, as well as rural and suburban schools. Each school library was responsible for securing student volunteers to participate in the Web-based survey. The study was conducted from October 2002 to December 2003.

Author Information - Debra Lau Whelan is SLJ's senior editor for news and features.

What Students Had to Say

"When I had to write a term paper for English class, the school library was vital in helping me at all the different steps in the research and write-up. Because of the school library, I got a pretty good grade on my paper."

"I was having trouble finding any sources, and the librarian showed me how to use some things on the Internet, which got me a lot of good and credible sites for my research."

"The library has helped me understand that not everything I read online is true. The school librarian made me double-check any information I got. Now even at home I check everything I read online from another source. My grades have improved just from this one little technique."
"I really didn't know how to do reading, and I was getting bad grades. Then we started doing main-idea reading, which we learned in library class. Now I know how to come up with a main idea and put my other ideas together around it."

"The library helped me become more organized, including how to do bibliographies to show where I got my information. This also includes how to set up and take my notes properly."
"When beginning research for a paper on The Odyssey by Homer, I had no idea where to begin looking. I asked my librarian for help, and she discussed my ideas with me without making me feel like a dummy, and showed me many useful books. When I then wrote the paper, I got an A."

Profile of a Successful School Library

Based on their findings, Ross Todd, Carol Kuhlthau, and the Ohio study research team concluded that students perceived the school library as a "dynamic agent of student learning and student achievement." The researchers also developed a more detailed profile of an effective school library. The following eight characteristics can be used as a strategic road map for school librarians who want to place a stronger emphasis on instruction and learning in their programs.

Resource Agents.

The school library and librarian provide up-to-date diverse resources to meet the curriculum's informational needs. The librarian provides instructional interventions by guiding students in their information choices through the effective use of these resources.
Literacy Development Agents. The school librarian engages students in an active and meaningful search process, enabling them to explore, formulate, and focus their searches, and providing a supportive environment (personal, physical, and instructional) for students to be successful in their research. Students understand that doing good research will lead to better knowledge of the curriculum content, as well as to academic success in their research projects.
Knowledge Construction Agents. The school librarian develops information literacy scaffolds for engaging students with information in meaningful ways, enabling them to construct and develop new knowledge and understanding.

Academic Achievement Agents.

The school librarian is a dynamic agent of learning who helps students achieve better grades, particularly on research projects and assignments. An agent of academic achievement must be both a credentialed educator and librarian.

Independent Reading and Personal Development Agents. The school library plays a role in fostering independent reading, particularly in lower grades. Reading materials that target personal pursuits, pleasure reading, and reading for knowledge provide students with an important foundation. It is essential to promote and encourage reading literacy, academic achievement, and the development of independent, lifelong readers.

Technological Literacy Agents. The school library plays an important role in information technology by providing students with up-to-date software across multiple media. Lessons must go beyond teaching the effective use of software to include technical troubleshooting (disk, printing, Internet access) and problem-solving skills.

Rescue Agents. Students have many information crises: they need last-minute resources, help with technology, solutions to technical problems, and help developing theses for projects. Indeed, even as a rescue agent, the library is opportunistic, responding to the multiple needs that arise from learning.

Individualized Learning Agents. The personal touch of a professional school librarian matters a great deal to students. Personal engagement with students is a critical component of an effective school library. School librarians who see themselves as information-learning specialists play a vital role in student learning.

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Indian Celebrities Can Endorse Reading Activities

Ask Aishwarya to ask children to read - Sridhar Balan

The widespread concern that there is a marked decline in the reading habit among children has led to a number of initiatives to spread the reading habit and love for books among children.

The Habitat Children's Book Club recently organised a function to mark the bicentennial year of the master storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. His favourite stories were read out aloud and children were encouraged to enact scenes and initiate other activities from his stories. They were also encouraged from their favourite stories.

The British Council Children's Library too has organised a series of reading sessions for children all through summer. Titled the ‘Reading Rollercoaster’, the programme is aimed for a fairly diverse age group, 4–12 years. No doubt, the readings will be structured accordingly.
These efforts, along with others in the country, are laudable and noteworthy. They are motivated by a sense of concern and also by the strong belief of the immense pleasure reading can bring to young minds. Above all, they are impelled by a strong belief that if we can inculcate the reading habit among our children while they are young, the habit will stay with them well into adulthood, just like other basic skills like swimming and cycling.

These efforts are even more significant in the absence of a strong and vibrant library system in the country unlike the West and even in countries like Japan, where public libraries act as common resource centres, and are an integral part of the vibrant life of local communities.
These efforts need to be strengthened by multiple, similar movements all over the country, leading to what we have been pleading for some time now, a national movement for reading. We would need the support of a host of agencies, both government as well as private, for this to happen.

However, in our efforts to strengthen reading among children, there is perhaps one vital resource that we seem to have overlooked, and this that of celebrities both endorsing and initiating reading activities.

We use our celebrities from diverse fields, from warning us to the dangers of aids and the necessity of the pulse polio vaccine to educating the girl-child and the problem of dowry. Apart from the social messages our celebrities endorse a host of consumer products from automobiles to soft drinks and mobile phones, detergents and what have you. Strangely, no one has thought of enlisting the support of our celebrities to the cause of reading.

Read Across America was originally started as a one-day event to mark the birthday of the famous children's author, Dr Seuss. The initiative has now become a year-round event in the US, sponsored by the 2.7 million member National Education Association and Dr Seuss Enterprises along with 45 national partner organisations.

This year, the celebrations are headed by actor Morgan Freeman.

To encourage children to read, it has enlisted the help of two NFL super stars who happen to be twins. They are Tiki Barber of the New York Giants, and his brother, Ronde Barber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Barbers are themselves authors of By My Brother's Side, a children's book illustrating the value of hard work and perseverance.

There are of course, a whole host of activities designed to celebrate books and reading. The celebrity host must certainly have made the proceedings lively and interesting.

A similar move in India would pay rich dividends, and in addition to strengthening reading, would also give us an insight into what children are reading.

Source :

Friday, December 02, 2005

School Inculcates Reading Habit

Ludhiana, November 5: WITH more and more TV channels and the fast-paced life keeping parents busy, children are free to watch TV for hours together. Like a couch potato, they remain hooked to cartoons, serials and many other entertainment programmes. All this has lead to the disappearance of the reading habit among children, and their reading is restricted to the books in their syllabus alone. To promote the reading habits among children and to make them more familiar with english language, the efforts of GGN Public School, Rose Garden, have paid off.

Ten years ago, the school started a practice in which all students are supposed to read books other than their school syllabi. The school authorities feel that it has produced good results.

Says R S Grewal, principal of the school, ‘‘More than ten years ago, this idea came to my mind. Since then, each student from Class IV to VIII is supposed to buy one book every year other the school books. It may be a short story, a novel, comics etc. This way, if their are 30 students in a class, there will be 30 books in that class. And all these students read these books one after the other. These books are kept in the custody of the language teacher of the class, who keeps noting down which student has read which book. At the end of the year, each student is given his/her book, which also adds to the personal library of the students.’’

Says Poonam Madiya, an English teacher at the school, ‘‘We encourage children to read books of Enid Blyton, Jeffrey Archer, Agastha Christie, Nancy Drew, R K Narayanan, the English version of Panchtantra, books by Rudyard Kipling and other such books.’’

Principal Grewal highlights that it has been seen that when book exhibitions are organised in the school, the children themselves purchase and read books. ‘‘Their expression in English has improved too,’’ he says.

He adds that to check if the students read the book completely or not, the school has now planned that each student will be asked to write a synopsis of the book, which will be checked by the teacher concerned.

Supreet, a student of Class VII, is happy reading the complete collection of the English translation of Panchtantra. ‘‘I like reading these books whenever I get time in my summer holidays,’’ says Supreet.

Adds Jaskiran, another student, ‘‘The stories by Rudyard Kipling are really interesting. When my mother told me that the serial Mougli is based on his stories, I purchased his books and read them,’’ says Jaskiran.

Grewal says that students up to Class III are too small to understand the story books while from Class IX onwards, their workload increases. Hence, they are exempted from this practice.

Source :

Celebrities Help Taken In U.K. To Promote Adult Literacy

Feeding the reading habit - By The Huddersfield Daily Examiner

THE fight is on to get more of us back into the habit of reading books.

The RaW campaign across the UK is the biggest adult literacy campaign ever launched by the BBC and is aimed at adults who may have had a bad experience at school, who are running busy lives and who need motivating to get back into books.

It's backed by celebrities like Natasha Kaplinsky, Linford Christie, Andy Kane and comedian Gina Yashere. And with help from David Spinx (Keith Miller from EastEnders).

Kirklees libraries, who have signed up for the campaign, got the bright idea of finding out what books some local personalities liked to read and why.

Marketing Officer, Tanya Horan said: "By passing on their recommendations we hope to encourage people back into reading again."

Here is what they found.

Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat and many other popular titles, is the most high profile author living in the area.

Joanne recalled her grandfather reading Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and says this was the first book which really engaged her imagination of travelling to other times and places. Later in life she read Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy and remains entranced by the richness and intensity of the language.

Denis Kilcommons, as well as being a highly popular Examiner columnist is a published author himself, with several books to his credit.

He remembers reading Arthur Ramsome's Swallows And Amazons as a child. Having read all the other books in the series he consequently fell in love by proxy with the Lake District, where the books are set.

These days he looks forward to reading the latest Bernard Cornwell book, the author who created Richard Sharpe, the hero played by Sean Bean on television.

Denis says he would recommend anyone to start with the first book in the series, Sharpe's Tiger, and then work their way through the remaining 19 novels!

Kali Mountford MP says she is an avid reader and could not narrow her choice down to just one or two books.

The Colne Valley MP says she was inspired by her primary school teacher Mrs Eaton who said that once a person can read a whole world of opportunities opens up to them.

Kali says she has not stopped reading since! Her particular favourites include: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, Ireland by Frank Delaney and Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder.

Mike Wood MP shares the same favourite choice of book with Great Expectations.

Mike, who represents Batley and Spen, says he has recently reread and found to be a much better story than he remembered.

He found it to be much darker and interesting than some of the television adaptations and would recommend it to anybody wanting a thoroughly good read.

The Rev Catherine Ogle,Vicar of Huddersfield, admitted to being a voracious reader of novels and found it hard to choose one book, but in recent years Life Of Pi by Yann Martel stood out as a firm favourite.

She says: "The story of a boy in a boat with a tiger sounds like a fable but the writer tells the story with a realism that had me gripped with anxiety. The sweetness of the boy's nature only added to my longing to see him survive.

"The book takes a refreshingly positive approach to religion and the hero delights in the life and beauty of different faiths. On one level this is an adventure story about a battle of wits, but there are other levels to this profound novel and in the end a great question: `Which story is true?' "

Andy Booth, Huddersfield Town player and Kirklees Libraries' reading champion, dropped into Huddersfield library earlier this year and took a look at the range of sporting books available.

He is a big cricket fan (he's a former player with Hall Bower in the Huddersfield District League and the club's current president and chairman) and Ian Botham is one of his heroes. So Botham's book Botham's Century: My 100 Great Cricketing Characters particularly caught his eye. Other favourites included Lance Armstrong's It's Not About The Bike and The Boss: The Many Sides Of Alex Ferguson by Michael Crick.

Kimiyo Rickett, head of culture & leisure services gets the final word, with the recommendation Song Of Solomon by Toni Morrison.

By providing a new collection of RaW books aimed at this target audience, along with online advice, reading and writing groups, taster sessions, quizzes and other activities, all linked in with the BBC's national campaign, libraries across the country will be joining forces to get people back into the pleasure of reading.


Reading Helps Discover Talents

Junior Graphic/EPP Award Winners Receive Prizes(11/30/2005)

Winners of the Junior Graphic/EPP Books Service Essay Competition were at the weekend presented with their prizes at a funfair held at the Aviation Social Centre to climax the fifth anniversary celebration of the re-introduction of the Junior Graphic.

The first prize winner at the SSS level was Master Bayo Yusifi El-Alawa of Mfantsipim School,Cape Coast.He took home a computer and its accessories,books and some Junior Graphic souvenirs.

Miss Giuseppina Baafi of New Juaben Secondary Commercial School,Koforidua,came second,and for her prize,she received a cheque for ¢5 million,books and souvenirs.

In the JSS category,Hawa Ibrahim of Tarkwa Methodist JSS received a computer and its accessories,books and souvenirs for emerging the winner of that category.

Plange Adamah of Amusudai JSS,Adabraka,who came second, received a cheque for ¢3 million,books and souvenirs.Samuel Duodu Abbrey of CRIG Primary School,New Tafo Akim, and Pearl Fleischer of Sunyani won the first and second prizes respectively in the Upper Primary category.

For their prizes,Samuel took home ¢2.5 million,while Pearl received books and souvenirs.Little Abena Akweley Okai of UGARS Primary was the proud winner in the Lower Primary category,and for her prize,she received a cheque for ¢1.5 million,while Beatrice Mensah of Bright Child Academy, Winneba,who came second,took away books and souvenirs.

Eight other students received consolation prizes for performing creditably in the competition.Some corporate bodies which joined the Graphic Communications Group Ltd (GCGL)to donate the prizes to the winners were:The EPP Books Service which donated all the books and cash.

The ChildNet Electronic Publishing Co. Ltd presented educative,nteractive and entertaining CD-ROMS,while PaperPen Systems Ltd donated Mica puzzles as prizes to the winners.

Addressing the children,the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry,Mr Kwadwo Affram Asiedu, urged the youth to cultivate the habit of reading,since it would help them to discover their talents.

He told the children that it was through reading, particularly the Junior Graphic,when he was a young boy that he was able to discover what he wanted to do in future.

The Managing Director of the GCGL, Mr Berifi Apenteng, said the Junior Graphic was a symbol of the company’s vision for the youth and their development,adding that the paper was rendering a social service to the youth,with the aim of instilling in them the habit of reading and providing a corrective measure for the fallen standard of English language in schools.

"A clear testimony of this is the writing competition the paper organised, in collaboration with the EPP Books Service,”he said.

Mr Apenteng said the company had decided to subsidise the paper by selling it for only ¢2,000,instead of passing on the real cost to schoolchildren.

A member of the technical working committee on the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS),Mr Bernard Ntim,said the Ghana Education Service (GES) would continue to work hand in hand with the Junior Graphic in educating the public on the new sytem.

The Editor of the Junior Graphic,Mrs Mavis Kitcher, recalled how the paper was re-introduced and the response it received. "

We have been able to deliver to your expectation again and again with each publication," she said.She said,for instance,that the first publication was a modest 12,000 copies,when it was first published on September 6,2000, but the high demand of the paper saw a sharp rise in circulation within two weeks and by the end of the year, circulation had peaked to 120,000 copies."

We could not have achieved all that without you, our cherished readers,and also parents,guardians as well as teachers,who regularly buy the paper for their children," she said.


At 11, she's read 110 books

This girl deserves a gold medal for her achievements. Just have a look at this news item.

BILIMORA: When most girls at the age of 11 prefer spending time playing with Barbie dolls, Juhi, living in Bilimora, is into reading. And, within a span of three months, she has read 110 books on various subjects.

Juhi, class sixth student of St Joseph's English Teaching High School here, is one of the contestants among 1,923 students of various schools of the town, who are participating in the 'Best Reader Competition –2005'.

The aim of this competition is to make students acquainted with books and to inculcate the reading habit. She has directly qualified for the second round, where judges would quiz her on the books she has read to assess her understanding of the subjects and her role model, who happens to be Albert Einstein.

The competition was inaugurated on November 26 by J J Rawal, eminent scientist of Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai.

Source :

Library hour likely in State schools

Here comes a good impetus (for a change) from the state government of Kerala. Three Cheers for the Education Minister.

Special TV programmes for SSLC students

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Government would give serious consideration to the suggestion made from several quarters to include a weekly `library period' in the timetable for the State's schools. The Department of Education will also consider proposing an amendment to the Kerala Education Rules (KER) in order to make the library room a compulsory part of a school's building plan.

This was stated by Minister for Education E. T. Mohammed Basheer at a press conference here on Tuesday. The press conference was preceded by an "editors' meeting" and an all-party meeting at which the Government's school library project came up for discussion.
Mr. Basheer said the Chief Minister had promised Rs.2 crores for this project. Various committees were in place to oversee its implementation. All the participants in the all-party meeting had pledged their support for this venture. "At the all-party meeting and at the editors' meeting, it was pointed out that the involvement of the PTAs was very vital for this project. It was also suggested that the library council be involved in this venture. We will certainly think of implementing that," he said.

The sustainability of such a scheme also came up for discussion at these meetings, Mr. Basheer said. At the editors' meeting, it was proposed that there should be specific provision for this in the education budget. "We will give this a serious thought and find ways to implement the same. Moreover, many participants felt the need for setting up `newspaper corners' in schools and instituting contests based on articles that appear in newspapers to encourage the reading habit among children," he said.

The State Institute of Education Technology would design and set up an educational and career portal that would provide course and career-related information about educational institutions in India and around the world. The portal's address would be `' He said the SIET had also prepared special television programmes for students preparing for the SSLC examinations in March 2006. These programmes will be aired over a period of three months beginning December 26, 2005 for 30 minutes. In DD-4, the programmes would begin at 7 a.m. from Monday to Saturday and in the DD-1 channel from 10 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. on these days.

Source :

Quote : Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity - Aristotle

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Books & Culture

Karin Callahan sits on the desk beside the boy who just finished reading several pages of "To Kill a Mockingbird" to the rest of the sophomores in her Schenectady, N.Y., High School English class.

While Callahan looks for a definition, a book sits pitched like a tent on one student's desk. Another girl tears strips of paper so she can pass notes. A boy in the corner stares intently ahead at nothing.

Today, she asks questions about Harper Lee's classic. But often, Callahan asks herself another question, one repeated by teachers, librarians, parents and anyone who believes in that Ray Bradbury quote hanging on Callahan's wall: "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

How do you -- with all the things competing for their time -- inspire teenagers to unlock a world that can only be found in books?

This summer, while school was out and teenagers gorged themselves on free time, the National Center for Educational Statistics released a troubling finding. The percentage of 17-year-olds who said they never or hardly ever read for fun grew from 9 percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.

At the same time, the percentage of 17-year-olds who read every day dropped from 31 percent to 22 percent.

"It's about drawing them in," Callahan said. "That's the most important thing because if they're not reading, there's nothing."

The English classes at Schenectady High and the teen lounge at the Guilderland, (N.Y.) Public Library, two places worried that more kids aren't picking up books, have become battlegrounds for literacy.

They'd rather not blame it on competition with video games. Many times, Callahan said, students don't read because they're simply too busy. They have too many activities after school, are responsible for younger siblings at home or they work.

And, the teacher said, schools are partly to blame. The emphasis on standardized testing has sucked some of the joy out of reading and pushed it out of students' schedules because homework consumes a lot of their time.

In the teen world, there's also sometimes a social stigma attached to reading. The kids who eagerly attend library story times when they're young fade away as they hit adolescence.
Reading simply is not cool.

"There's a lot of pressure on just about every teen to fit the status quo, go with the mainstream," said Trevor Oakley, teen services librarian at the Guilderland library.
While 90 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 said they'd watched television yesterday, 33 percent said they'd read a book for pleasure, according to a 2004 Gallup Youth Survey of more than 430 kids nationwide.

Reading, Callahan said, exposes people to situations and topics they may not encounter otherwise. It sharpens their ability to think critically. It feeds their own creativity.
And that's particularly important for teenagers, Oakley said, because it shows them how they can express themselves and gives them a way to cope with the trials of growing up.
Jesse Kukulich, a 17-year-old who comes to the library every week and is part of Oakley's Anime Club, started writing about four years ago and says Oakley is his book editor, looking over the more than 100 pages the teen author has written so far.

Kukulich enjoys science fiction and fantasy and is a faithful Harry Potter follower. Over time, Oakley used Kukulich's interest in post-apocalyptic style books as a gateway to "classics" like George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World."
"It puts new ideas in my head," Kukulich said.

Guilderland library has developed a vast collection of anime and graphic novels. It's not high literature, but it brings kids into the library and exposes them to new ideas, Oakley said.
Recently, members of the library's anime club asked him if they could learn Japanese, so they could better understand the stories.

It's important, say Oakley and Callahan, to find those magical books that will capture kids. One enjoyable book can lead to a lifetime habit of reading.

For Callahan, that book was "The Scarlet Letter." The Nathaniel Hawthorne novel so shaped her love of literature that she decided to teach it. And as soon as she became a teacher and stood before her first class, she couldn't wait to share the book with her students.

The students hated it.

So she learned over time to find the books that would hook them. For the first batch of freshmen students she taught at Schenectady, it was youth author Louis Sachar's book "Holes," which tells the story of an innocent boy's time in a juvenile detention camp where the kids spend the day digging holes.

Callahan didn't have enough copies for the kids to take home. And they could never wait for the part of the class where they'd read the book out loud together. Callahan found them sneaking copies under their desks to read during vocabulary lessons.

And she was thrilled.

"They need to personalize it in order for it to have meaning," she said. "Every English teacher's had an experience with great books."

In Schenectady, the English department has stepped away from the traditional canon of "A Tale of Two Cities" and other novels, and looked at more contemporary work that has literary value.
Some students read "A Child Called 'It'," a former best-seller by Dave Pelzer that details his life of abuse by his mother. Kids who have struggled tend to relate to it, the staff says.

They tie modern-day themes in movies and music with similar themes in books.

And one teacher asks students to condense Shakespeare's "Macbeth" into a 32-second play, so they work past the sometimes difficult prose and get into the heart of the story, Callahan said.
Jessica Cydylo, one of Callahan's sophomore students, didn't start reading until just this summer when she picked up the first book in the "Gossip Girl" series as part of the school's summer reading requirement.

Now, she's on the fourth book in the series and likes to go to the bookstore as much as the local mall.

"I always have a lot of stress from school and stuff so it takes my mind of everything," Cydylo said.

All it took was one book.