Posted by admin on 11.19.2007 at 12:09 pm
The National Endowment for the Arts released a study on American reading habits recently. The study draws on more than 40 sources, including federal agencies and universities, and examines the reading habits of American children, teens, and adults. The study found that nearly one-half of Americans aged 18-24 read no books for pleasure! It also found that 65% of American college freshman either do not read for pleasure, or read less than one hour each week. That trend improves slightly through college, with 1/3 of American college seniors reading nothing for pleasure during the week.
There is a lot of discussion on the study. Are we reading less or are we reading differently? Some argue that the decline is not actually a decline at all, but a transfer of attention. Rather than reading books and newspapers, teens and young adults are utilizing the internet for their news and entertainment. Hmmm…
Check out: The NEA site to learn more.
The attached picture is ME on Pearl Street in Boulder, CO while I was on my tour of conferences, campuses and bookstores in the Rockies.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, literacy statistics
Posted by admin on 11.14.2007 at 12:55 pm
Over at the National Institute for Literacy (or NIFL, not to be confused with our partner, the NCFL or National Center for Family Literacy), there’s a podcast from this past August about the findings of the “2003 Assessment of Adult Health Literacy.” Head over there to see the full results. They define “health literacy” as:
Health Literacy as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health Literacy is important for all adults; it is not just important for those who cannot read. It is also and can be an issue for well-educated adults to know and understand health information needed to make everyday decisions. Making good decision, health decisions, depends on having a high level of reading and comprehension skills.
As the page suggests, the following were the basic conclusions from the report, but there are much more in depth comments and findings within the report (natch):
Health literacy was reported using four performance levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. The majority of adults (53 percent) had Intermediate health literacy. About 22 percent had Basic and 14 percent had Below Basic health literacy. Relationships between health literacy and background variables (such as educational attainment, age, race/ethnicity, where adults get information about health issues, and health insurance coverage) were also examined and reported. For example, adults with Below Basic or Basic health literacy were less likely than adults with higher health literacy to get information about health issues from written sources (newspapers, magazines, books, brochures, or the Internet) and more likely than adults with higher health literacy to get a lot of information about health issues from radio and television.
Posted by admin on 08.14.2007 at 10:14 am
USA Today just published a letter written by Sharon Darling, the president & founder of the National Center for Family Literacy. The letter was in response to an article last week (8/9/07, “Hispanic growth extends eastward“) about Hispanic population growth in the U.S. – here’s an excerpt:
…Questions were raised about how this population pattern will affect school budgets and how newcomers can be transformed into workers and taxpayers. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the statistics: The nation’s largest and fastest growing minority is also the only one that experienced a decline in literacy from 1992 to 2003. It’s no coincidence, then, that in 2001, Hispanic dropout rates were about four times higher than those for whites. But the dropout rate for Hispanic students who speak English well is only 16%, compared with 59% for those who do not, according to a 2003 report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The key to meeting the immediate and long-term needs of this population is to focus on intergenerational learning. The National Center for Family Literacy has piloted programs in large cities with substantial Hispanic populations … Family literacy is a solution on which everyone can agree.
Click here to read the article in full on USA Today’s website.
Posted by admin on 05.25.2007 at 12:28 pm
A joint report by the UNAIDS/UNFPA/UNIFEM confirms the importance of educating girls. The reports states that:
“Education is key to an effective response to HIV/AIDS. Studies show that educated women are more likely to know how to prevent HIV infection, to delay sexual activity and to take measures to protect themselves.”
Moreover, educated girls can transform an entire community. Go to the following link http://www.unfpa.org/hiv/women/report/chapter5.html to find out how educated women can empower themselves and others.
Additionally, this graph shows the stark difference between the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection among Ugandan girls who are educated and those who are not.
Source: De Walque and J Whitworth, MRC Uganda (2002)
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, africa, literacy, literacy statistics
Posted by admin on 11.10.2006 at 5:30 pm
Every day, Google News sends me a number of articles with the keywords “literacy” and “Africa.” The majority only mention literacy in passing and then go on to offer a gloomy outlook on African development. Having worked with a number of African students and having visited Africa, I know that it is not the gloomy and hopeless place that many media outlets make it out to be. Where are the African news stories with a positive tone?
The following article is a breath of fresh air. Event though this piece, like most others, only mentions literacy in passing, it offers some very uplifting statistics on the state literacy and education in Africa . Recognizing the good along with the bad, this piece provides a balanced perspective on African development.
It is undeniable that there are a number of very serious issues that Africa and its many states must address to free themselves from the cycle of extreme poverty. I’m not suggesting that these topics should be ignored by the media or that they do not deserve attention. However, it is important these issues are approached in a constructive way and that impactful development is given the recognition it deserves. Positive reinforcement and positive thinking are key components of progress…
Has Africa finally turned a corner?
| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
JOHANNESBURG , SOUTH AFRICA – With a decade of sustained economic growth, increasing demand for African minerals and oil, and a falling number of conflicts, the trend lines for some countries in sub-Saharan Africa are finally starting to look pretty good.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, africa, literacy statistics
Posted by admin on 11.06.2006 at 9:10 am
Tomorrow is Election Day, and everyone needs to get excited about getting out and casting their ballot. This is an off-year election, which means only that the presidential race does not coincide with the senatorial race. Voter turnout is typically low despite the importance of the issues on the ballot. CNN says that they are only anticipating a voter turn out around 40%. Well, let’s see what will be on the ballot tomorrow…
35 House seats, 33 Senate seats, governorships in 36 states, not to mention thousands of state legislative and other local races. There are also other ballot initiatives in 37 states, where voters have the opportunity to voice their opinions on such issues as the minimum wage, or stem cell research.
So obviously there is a reason to get out the vote!
You see, I believe this is a travesty that so many of those who have the right to vote are not taking advantage of this opportunity to have their voice be heard. I know you care because you are here visiting our site. Better World Books is engaged in a socially responsible business effort to improve the literacy rate in the US and around the world. More importantly perhaps, Better World Books seeks to empower college students who care about this issue, and give them the opportunity to make a difference. Illiteracy is a woman’s issue, it is a poverty issue, a hunger issue, a social justice issue, etc. Whatever your cause, wherever lies your passion, illiteracy almost definitely has an impact on that issue.
So what does your vote have to do with that? This is an important time in US History because our nation is arguably still the single most powerful and influential country in the world, and has the capability of making a huge dent in the lives of the hundreds of millions of illiterate individuals around the world.
What this means is your vote, is more then just casting a ballot for your local races, it has an impact which resounds far beyond your hometown communities or your state, because it has an international influence. You have a responsibility to show your support for the candidates that reflect your convictions, and who are going to best represent you and your passions.
Go tell your friends, your family, your neighbors, whomever. Tell everyone you know to go vote. Voting is power.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, literacy, literacy statistics, voting
Posted by admin on 11.04.2006 at 2:00 pm
(Posted by Better World Books alum, Natasha Harris)
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to present at the 2006 Annual Fall Hunger and Homelessness Conference at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. This conference was attended by around 400 students from all around the country, and is actually the largest gathering of student leaders focused on hunger and homelessness issues. I had a lot of fun, and was pleased to have the opportunity to connect with students from so many different schools.
For me, this was a singular experience because I actually attended this conference for the first time a number of years ago, when I was still a student myself. I was, at that point, attending graduate school for Counseling. Though I’d always been service-oriented, it wasn’t until later in my college career (very much through events like this conference) that I decided to give up the idea of counseling and focus my career in the non-profit/social venture realm. I’ve always been very thankful to the folks at the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness for introducing me to so many caring and like-minded individuals and organizations. Such conferences give students a great gateway into getting more involved, and are also great ways that students can raise their own awareness about different issues. It was a landmark day for me to actually be presenting at this conference, and I was glad to see such a great turnout for Better World Books. Thanks to all the students that attended! We’re looking forward to working with you.
Posted by admin on 10.09.2006 at 1:03 pm
For too many people literacy vs. illiteracy has become a question of life vs. death. Understanding the correlation between illiteracy, disease and poverty is not intended to contribute to fear and helplessness felt by many when observing the severity of HIV/AIDS crisis. Rather these studies are a cue for what we can all do today to combat this pandemic. UNESCO reports that:
“Given the impact of the epidemic worldwide, with nearly 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS, the role of literacy and non-formal education needs to be fully acknowledged and promoted as part of the overall response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”
The most at risk population for contracting HIV/AIDS are the rural poor, particularly woman and girls who comprise 70% of the world’s impoverished population. Our international literacy partners Books for Africa , Room to Read and World Fund serve the most vulnerable communities by helping them obtain the life long tool of literacy which assists in the reduction of poverty and access to education and appropriate information with regard to health related issues.
Although, our book drives encourage the small and simple act of donating a used textbook, the collective impact and results of these acts of kindness are anything but small. What’s so exciting about Better World Books is that by addressing illiteracy, one of the factors contributing to disease and poverty, we are able to provide a tangible way to address the gargantuan statistics and despondency surrounding the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Posted by admin on 09.08.2006 at 4:14 pm
Here’s a PR from National Center for Family Literacy, promoting International Literacy Day…
Help Celebrate International Literacy Day Sept. 8
Louisville , KY – (September 8, 2006) New learning opportunities await families and children every day, it’s just a matter of looking in the right places, including the local newspaper.
Celebrate International Literacy Day Sept. 8 and begin a ritual of lifelong learning with the 2006 Literacy Tabloid presented by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, Verizon and the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL).
Titled “Newspaper Inspiration: New Generation,” the 16-page tabloid is offered to newspapers and features engaging articles and activities, all geared towards making reading the local newspaper a family affair.
The tabloid ran in more than 400 newspapers throughout the nation last year with a combined circulation of more than 25,000,000.
“Newspapers provide a daily source of learning opportunities for parents and children and are especially important even in this age of MP3 players and podcasts, instant messaging and other high-tech ‘infotainment’,” said Sharon Darling, president & founder of NCFL.
The literacy information and activities included in the tabloid are drawn from the latest research from NCFL’s qualified experts including:
• Activities to improve reading and math comprehension
• Parent resources
• Word games
• Literacy volunteer opportunities
Thirty-four million adults have such low literacy skills that reading newspapers or books to their children or filling out a job application is nearly impossible.
“Making reading the newspaper a family experience will give parents quality time with their children while instilling a love of reading and desire to know more about their world,” said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston.
The free tabloid comes in InDesign and PDF files on a CD and can be ordered at the NAAF Web site at www.naafoundation.org/foundation/LitTab06/.
For more information, call Marvin Young of NCFL at (502) 584-1133 x173.
The National Center for Family Literacy, the worldwide leader in family literacy, was founded in Louisville in 1989. NCFL has impacted 1 million families and trained 150,000 teachers, practitioners and advocates. To learn more or to donate to this effort, call 1-877-FAMLIT1 or visit www.famlit.org.
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