National Literacy Month is here

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September is National Literacy Month. I wanted to relate that, according to the National Center for Family Literacy, more than 30 million Americans have reading skills below basic literacy levels.

One more stat I can’t resist: A Pew research poll from Sept, 28, 2010 found that only 42 per cent of Americans know that Herman Melville is the author of Moby-Dick or, The Whale. The stat emerged as part of a survey of religious and general knowledge.1

To improve that state of affairs, here’s a cool website from MIT that suggests Moby-Dick be offered to young readers because they now typically appropriate information of all kinds from the Internet. Well, that’s what Melville did — appropriate from many sources — in amazing fashion in writing Moby-Dick, which makes it a sort of post-modern book, written in 1851! So the site suggests it may be the right time for web-literate young people to experience this great book. http://cms.mit.edu/news/features/2008/09/project_new_media_literacies_r.php

Generally speaking, one link worth exploring is from the American Library Association site detailing literacy month events and suggestions. http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks

I also wanted to share my favorite image of literacy. This photo depicts Lynn Bartoszek, at the time a dedicated ESL teacher in Madison, reading for her three nieces, Katherine, Hillary and Sonya, at a holiday family gathering. All children should have an aunt, or a reading mentor, like Lynn.

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1.http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey/

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