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T C E A Remarks
 

T C E A Remarks

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    T C E A Remarks T C E A Remarks Document Transcript

    • TCEA REMARKS
      IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE IS A FALSE DICHOTOMY IN THE LIBRARY PROFESSION OF LATE. IS LITERATURE OR IS TECHNOLOGY MORE IMPORTANT? TO ME THAT SEEM POLARIZING. LITERATURE AND TECHNOLOGY DO NOT EXIST AS SEPARATE ENTITIES. RATHER THEY ARE TWO ENDS ON THE SAME CONTINUUM, A CONTINUUM WE MIGHT LABLE “LITERACY.”
      SO, IN THE WORDS OF RODNEY KING, I WANT TO ENTITLE THESE REMARKS: CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
      IN ORDER TO GET ALONG, ITHINK, WE NEED TO REDEFINE SOME TERMS. WE NEED TO REDEFINE WHAT WE MEAN BY READING. WE NEED TO REDEFINE WHAT WE MEAN BY BOOKS. AND FINALLY, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO REDEFINE WHAT WE MEAN BY “LITERACY.”
      WHAT IS READING? AS SOMEONE WHOSE DOCTORAL STUDIES WERE IN THIS FIELD, I KNOW THERE IS NOT A SIMPLE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION. HOWEVER, I DO NOW THAT READING HAS TO EXTEND BEYOND A DISCRETE SET OF SKILLS. AFTER ALL, IS READING IS SIMPLY SOUNDING OUT WORDS, THAN THIS IS READING:
      A
      AB
      AC
      AD
      AF
      AG
      ANYONE RECOGNIZE THIS? THIS IS THE SYLLABARY. IT IS HOW CHILDREN WERE TAUGHT TO READ IN CENTURIES PAST. HOWEVER, IT IS ALSO, IN ESSENCE, PHONICS. SOUNDING OUT IS NOT READING. I CAN SOUND OUT LOTS OF WORDS. THAT DOES NOT MEAN I KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN. LIKEWISE, THE CONVERSE IS TRUE: I CAN KNOW WHAT A WORD MEANS AND NOT KNOW HOW TO SOUND IT OUT.
      NAT’S WAFT STORY
      MY STORY ABOUT INDICT
      WHEN PROGRAMS SUCH AS HOOKED ON PHONICS CLAIM THAT WITH 30 MINUTES OF INSTRUCTION A CHILD CAN READ AN ENTIRE BOOK, NOTE THAT THEY DO NOT SHOW THE BOOK THEY CAN READ. GUESS WHAT THE BOOK IS? IT IS A SYLLABARY VARIANT. IS THIS READING? I THINK MOST OF US WOULD SAY NO.
      SO, IS READING COMPREHENSION? UNDERSTANDING THE WORDS? READ A PASSAGE; ANSWER THE QUESTIONS. VOILA, READING? GOSH, I HOPE RADING IS MUCH MORE THAN THAT. SOUNDING OUT AND DECODING ARE FINE AND WE NEED KIDS TO HAVE THOSE SKILLS. HOWEVER, IF THAT IS ALL THERE IS TO READING, HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO SOMEONE WHO POSTED THIS THE OTHER DAY IN RESPONSE TO NANCIE ATWELL’S LOVELY ESSAY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF BOOKS AND READING ENTITLED THE CASE FOR LITERATURE?
      ENGLISH EDUCATION HAS NEVER HAD A CONVINCING RATIONALE FOR TEACHING LITERATURE; THANK HEAVEN FOR WRITING, AS AT LEAST A TEACHER KNOWS WHEN A STUDENT DOES IT! LITERATURE HAS ALWAYS BEEN--AND CONTINUES TO BE--USE-LESS: IT DOESN'T HAVE A CLEAR USE THAT TRANSLATES INTO A VALUE FOR NON-LITERATURE-TEACHERS.
      I KNOW WHAT MY REPLY IS. WELL, AT LEAST THE REPLY I CAN SHARE WITH YOU IN PUBLIC AND NOT THE MUTTERED REPLY THAT SPRANG FROM MY LIPS UNCENSORED WHEN I READ THIS. HOW SAD TO THINK THAT LITERATURE IS USE-LESS. HERE IS JUST A FRACTION OF WHAT LITERATURE DOES:
      • IT REMINDS US OF HOW WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. I HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS TALKING ABOUT CONNECTIONS AS I WORKED ON MY NEW BOOK: READING LADDERS. WHEN I READ, I SEE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN TEXTS. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, I SEE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE BOOK AND MY OWN LIFE, THE CHARACTERS AND ME.
      • LITERATURE ENCOURAGES THE “WHAT IFS” OF INVENTION.
      • LITERATURE HELPS US DEAL WITH SOME OF THE COSMIC QUESTIONS: WHO AM I? HOW DO I FIT INTO THIS WORLD? WHAT CAN I BE WHEN I GROW UP?
      • LITERATURE SHOWS ME ALL OF THE MANY SPLENDID WAYS WORDS CAN BE UTILIZED. HOW CAN WE HAVE WRITERS IF WE DO NOT FIRST HAVE READERS? AND FINALLY
      • LITERATURE OFFERS WINDOWS AND MIRRORS: WINDOWS INTO OTHER PLACES AND TIMES, WINDOWS TO OTHER CULTURES. AND MIRRORS? MIRRORS THAT REFLECT OUR OWN LIVES AND CULTURES AND PLACES.
      SO, WE NEED TO EXTEND OUR DEFINITION OF READING TO GO BEYOND SOUNDING OUT AND DECODING. HERE ARE SOME THINGS WE NEED TO INCLUDE:
      • THE READING OF NONFICTION
      • THE READING OF NON-PRINT MATERIALS
      • READING WITH OUR EARS
      THAT SUGGESTS, THEN, THAT OUR REENVIONING OF READING IS ALSO A REIMAGINING OF WHAT WE MEAN BY THE TERM BOOK OR TEXT. HOW MANY OF YOU READ THINGS LIKE THIS:
      BILLBOARDS?
      MENUS?
      SHAMPOO BOTTLES?
      CEREAL BOXES?
      ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING?
      TWEETS, STATUS UPDATES, BLOGS, WIKI PAGES, NINGS?
      THESE ARE ALL TEXTS. WHEN I SEE REPORTS THAT INDICATE THE AMOUNT OF READING OUR KIDS ARE DOING IS DECLINING, MY FIRST QUESTION IS: DID YOU COUNT THIS KIND OF READING, THESE KINDS OF TEXTS. IF NOT, YOUR CONCLUSIONS NEED TO BE CHALLENGED.
      REDEFINE READING, REDEFINE BOOKS, AND NOW WE NEED TO REDEFINE LITERACY. JIM WARLICK AND JOYCE VALENZA AND MANY OTHERS HAVE WRITTEN ELOQUENTLY ABOUT THIS TOPIC. I WANT TO ADD A PIECE FROM MY END OF THE CONTINUUM AND FROM MY FIELD: ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS.
      DAVID BOOTH, IN HIS POWERFUL BOOK, READING DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE, HAS QUITE A BIT TO SAY, I THINK, ABOUT WHERE LITERACY MUST HEAD NOW. READING DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE HE SAYS UNLESS WE REDEFINE LITERACY. HOW DO WE DO THAT? BOOTH PROPOSES THAT WE INCLUDE A VARIETY OF TEXTS, HELP KIDS BUILD STRONG READING MUSCLES, VALUE THE RESPONSE OF THE READER, AND WELCOME READERS INTO THE CULTURE OF LITERACY. NONE OF THIS IS NEW. WHAT IS NEW, THOUGH, ARE THE READERS WE WORK WITH IN CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
      EACH AUGUST FOR THE PAST 11 YEARS, BELOIT COLLEGE IN WISCONSIN, HAS RELEASED THE BELOIT COLLEGE MINDSET LIST. IT PROVIDES A LOOK AT THE CULTURAL TOUCHSTONES THAT SHAPE THE LIVES OF STUDENTS ENTERING COLLEGE.
      THE CLASS OF 2012 (AND I HAVE A RESIDENT OF THE BACK BEDROOM WHO WILL BE IN THAT FRESHMAN CLASS THEN) HAS GROWN UP IN AN ERA WHERE COMPUTERS AND RAPID COMMUNICATION ARE THE NORM, AND COLLEGES NO LONGER TRUMPET THE FACT THAT RESIDENCE HALLS ARE “WIRED” AND EQUIPPED WITH THE LATEST HARDWARE. THESE STUDENTS WILL HARDLY RECOGNIZE THE AVAILABILITY OF TELEPHONES IN THEIR ROOMS SINCE THEY HAVE SELDOM UTILIZED LANDLINES DURING THEIR ADOLESCENCE. THEY WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE ON THEIR CELL PHONES AND COMMUNICATE VIA TEXTING. ROOMMATES, FEW OF WHOM HAVE EVER SHARED A BEDROOM, HAVE ALREADY CHECKED OUT EACH OTHER ON FACEBOOK WHERE THEY HAVE SHARED THEIR MOST PERSONAL THOUGHTS WITH THE WHOLE WORLD. IT IS A MULTICULTURAL, POLITICALLY CORRECT AND “GREEN” GENERATION THAT HAS HARDLY NOTICED THE THREATS TO THEIR PRIVACY AND HAS NEVER FEARED THE RUSSIANS AND THE WARSAW PACT. STUDENTS ENTERING COLLEGE FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS FALL WERE GENERALLY BORN IN 1990.
      FOR THESE STUDENTS, HARRY POTTER COULD BE A CLASSMATE, PLAYING ON THEIR QUIDDITCH TEAM.
      GPS SATELLITE NAVIGATION SYSTEMS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AVAILABLE.
      IBM HAS NEVER MADE TYPEWRITERS.
      THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN PEARL JAM.
      AUTHORITIES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN BUILDING A WALL ACROSS THE MEXICAN BORDER.
      CALLER ID HAS ALWAYS BEEN AVAILABLE ON PHONES..
      OFF-SHORE OIL DRILLING IN THE UNITED STATES HAS ALWAYS BEEN PROHIBITED.
      STUDENTS ALWAYS HAD GOOSEBUMPS.
      THESE ARE THE STUDENTS SITTING IN OUR CLASSROOMS, STUDENTS FOR WHOM OLDER DEFINITIONS OF LITERACY AND BOOKS AND READING MUST EVOLVE. FOR THEM, GN ADAPTATIONS OF BEOWULF OR THE MERCHANT OF VENICE BY GARETH HINDS ARE MEANINGFUL. ALAN GRATZ’ CONTEMPORARY AND HUMOROUS STORIES ABOUT HAMLET AND MACBETH IN SOMETHING ROTTEN AND SOMETHING WICKED RESPECTIVELY ARE WAYS TO MAKE THE BARD MORE THAN ACCESSIBLE, THEY MAKE HIM ACTUALLY PALATABLE. AUDIOBOOKS ALLOW THEM TO GET MORE READING ACCOMPLISHED. HERE ARE THE MOST DOWNLOADED AUDIOBOOKS AND EBOOKS FROM 2009:
      Most Downloaded Juvenile Fiction Audiobooks AND E BOOKS from the Library (2009)(Title, Author, Publisher)1. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer, Listening Library2. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer, Listening Library3. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer, Listening Library4. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer, Listening Library
      Most Downloaded Juvenile Nonfiction Audiobooks from the Library (2009)(Title, Author, Publisher)1. Night, Elie Wiesel, Audio Bookshelf,LLC2. VocabuLearn Spanish Word Booster, Penton Overseas, Inc., Penton Overseas, Inc.3. Hear-SayTM Spanish, Penton Overseas, Inc., Donald S. Rivera4. Amelia Earhart, Books In Motion, Lori Van Pelt5. Blizzard!, Jim Murphy, Audio Bookshelf,LLC
      MY OWN JOURNEY TOWARD A NEW DEFINITION OF LITERACY BEGAN ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS ASKED BY STENHOUSE TO WRITE A SECOND BOOK. QUITE FRANKLY, I WAS PRETTY SURE THAT I HAD ALREADY SHARED ALL I KNEW IN MAKING THE MATCH. SO, I WAS RUMINATING ABOUT SOME SUBJECT FOR A SECOND BOOK WHEN I LEARNED ABOUT NAKED READING. (SOME OF YOU HERE ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE STORY BEHIND THE BOOK, BUT IT BEARS REPEATING AND THERE IS A CADENZA TO ADD TO IT NOW SOME 3 YEARS LATER). AT THE TIME, MY YOUNGEST GRANDDAUGHTER, NATALIE, WAS 10. EACH NIGHT, AFTER HER SHOWER, SHE WOULD DISAPPEAR INTO HER CLOSET FOR ABOUT AN HOUR. IT WAS A QUIET TIME; SHE WAS IN THERE AND SILENT. THIS COULD NOT BE GOOD, I THOUGHT, THE PARENT IN ME KICKING IN. SO, I SENT HER OLDER SISTER IN TO SPY, TO SEE WHAT NAT WAS UP TO. AFTER ALL, THIS WAS THE SAME KID WHO HAD BEEN LIGHTING CANDLES IN THE CLOSET OT GIVE IT “ATMOSPHERE.” AS IT TURNS OUT, NATALIE WAS IN THE CLOSET, SITTING BUTT NAKED READING A BOOK. WHEN I ASKED HER TO COME OUT AND EXPLAIN WHAT SHE WAS DOING, SHE TOLD ME THAT SHE HAD READ SOMEWHERE THAT IF THE SKIN AIR DRIES, IT IS BETTER. SO, SHE CONTINUED, I WONDERED WHAT I COULD DO WHILE I WAS AIR DRYING (AND NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN HERE IN TEXAS AND EXPERIENCED OUR HUMIDITY, YOU KNOW THIS IS NO SMALL FEAT), AND I DECIDED I COULD READ. WELL, THAT SET ME THINKING ABOUT WHY SOME KIDS CAN READ WHILE AIR DRYING IN THE CLOSET AND OTHERS ELECTED NOT TO READ EVEN FULLY CLOTHED.
      I ASKED NATALIE THE OTHER DAY IF SHE STILL READS NAKED AND SHE TOLD ME THAT, IF THE BOOK WAS REALLY GOOD, SHE DID. SO, SHE WAS READING NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL BY JUSTINE CHEN HEADLEY WHILE NAKED. HOWEVER, A TALE OF TWO CITIES AND THE SCARLET LETTER REQUIRED READING WITH CLOTHES. WHY IS THAT? SIMPLY, BOOKS THAT SPEAK TO NAT AND TO HER LIFE AND WORLD ARE INDEED FODDER FOR NAKED READING. BOOKS ASSIGNED FOR ESSAYS AND VOCABULARY STUDY WERE NOT. I WONDER, THEN, IF IT IS NOT MORE BENEFICIAL TO ALLOW TEENS SOME TIME TO READ NAKED, TO READ BOOKS WITHOUT HAVING TO DO SOMETHING AFTER THE READING OTHER THAN PERHAPS TELL A FRIEND ABOUT THE BOOK? THUS, NAKED READING HAS YET ANOTHER INCARNATION FOR ME. IT MEANS GIVING KIDS THE TIME TO READ, SIMPLY TO READ. OF COURSE, I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT THERE IS NEVER SOME SORT OF ASSESSMENT. WHAT I AM SUGGESTING IS THAT WE ALSO FIND TIME FOR STUDENTS TO READ WITHOUT THE TYRANNY OF A TEST HANGING OVER THEM. AT HOME, WE READ, WE READ A LOT. WE LISTEN TO BOOKS IN THE CAR. SOMETIMES WE TALK ABOUT THE BOOKS.
      THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL LIBRARIANS HAS BEEN WORKING ON THIS SAME AREA WITH ITS 21ST CENTURY LITERACY INITIATIVE. HERE IS WHAT AASL HAS TO SAY ABOUT LITERACY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:
      READING IS A WINDOW TO THE WORLD. READING IS A FOUNDATIONAL SKILL FOR LEARNING, PERSONAL GROWTH, AND ENJOYMENT. THE DEGREE TO WHICH STUDENTS CAN READ AND UNDERSTAND TEXT IN ALL FORMATS (E.G., PICTURE, VIDEO, PRINT) AND ALL CONTEXTS IS A KEY INDICATOR OF SUCCESS IN SCHOOL AND IN LIFE. AS A LIFELONG LEARNING SKILL, READING GOES BEYOND DECODING AND COMPREHENSION TO INTERPRETATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NEW UNDERSTANDINGS.
      EQUITABLE ACCESS IS A KEY COMPONENT FOR EDUCATION. ALL CHILDREN DESERVE EQUITABLE ACCESS TO BOOKS AND READING, TO INFORMATION, AND TO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS SAFE AND CONDUCIVE TO LEARNING.
      • LEARNING HAS A SOCIAL CONTEXT. LEARNING IS ENHANCED BY OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE AND LEARN WITH OTHERS. STUDENTS NEED TO DEVELOP SKILLS IN SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING WITH OTHERS, BOTH IN FACE-TO-FACE SITUATIONS AND THROUGH TECHNOLOGY.
      FINALLY
      DANIEL PENNAC’S BETTER THAN LIFE OFFERED A WONDERFUL READER BILL OF RIGHTS SOME YEARS AGO. RECENTLY, I SAW A BLOG POSTING WITH A RELUCTANT READER’S BILL OF RIGHTS. SO, THE LOGICAL CONCLUSION FOR ME, OF COURSE, WAS TO SEE IF I COULD COME UP WITH A YA READER’S BILL OF RIGHTS. SEE WHAT YOU THINK:
      YA READER’S BILL OF RIGHTS
      • RIGHT TO READ YAL AT ANY AGE
      • RIGHT TO READ EXTENSIVELY INSTEAD OF INTENSIVELY
      • RIGHT TO DEMAND CHANGES IN THE LITERARY CANON FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
      • RIGHT TO READ WITH THEIR EARS
      • RIGHT TO SEE THE MOVIE OR PLAY INSTEAD OF READING THE BOOK
      • RIGHT TO READ BOOKS THAT DISTURB THEM AND ESPECIALLY THEIR PARENTS
      • RIGHT TO HAVE ACCESS TO BOOKS AT SCHOOL AND AT HOME
      • RIGHT TO READ BOOKS WITH LOTS OF PICTURES IN THEM
      • RIGHT TO REFUSE TO READ A PROSCRIBED BOOK
      • RIGHT TO DEMAND A REDEFINITION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO READ
      IF WE FAIL TO OFFER THESE REDEFINITIONS, THESE REIMAGININGS, REENVISIONINGS, THESE RE-PURPOSINGS, OTHERS WILL DO THAT FOR US. WE WILL CEDE CONTROL; WE WILL LOSE, I THINK, OUR ROLE ON CENTER STAGE WHEN IT COMES TO DEVELOPING 21ST CENTURY LEARNERS. SO, TAKE ON SOME “RIGHTS” OF YOUR OWN AND PLACE YOURSELF SQUARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT CONTINUUM I MENTIONED AT THE OUTSET OF THESE REMARKS. THERE IS NO DICHOTOMY THAT EXISTS BETWEEN LITERATURE AND TECHNOLOGY, TO ANSWER THE QUESTION: YES, WE CAN GET ALONG JUST FINE.
      THANKS YOU.