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Literacy Everywhere

February 2, 2009

Holy crap last weekend was full of literacy-related stuff! Here’s a quick run-down.

In the comics we had Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman’s Zits talking about childrens’ books. Here’s the first two cells:


And Bunny Hoest and John Reiner’s Lockhorns discussing reading skill and its inverse relationship to TV watching:


And then in the New York Times Mazagine, Virginia Heffernan’s “The Medium” column asked “What are kids learning to read when they learn to read online?” As I posted on the course blog for the 21st Century Literacy grad seminar, it’s not just that each of these relates to what we discussed last week and will discuss this week, it’s as if our classroom is bugged.

Anyway, back to the good literacy-y stuff. Heffernan opens:

“Did you like this book?” asks the computer. It’s a customer-satisfaction question, but it seems more profound than that.

We hesitate. Ben, my 3-year-old son, shoots me a puzzled look. The answer should be yes. Ben enjoys what’s on the screen right now: Starfall, an online medley of free learn-to-read activities. But he doesn’t like the question.

“It’s not a book,” he explains, emphatically, to the laptop. “It’s more like a movie or a video.”

Read the rest — it’s really interesting, especially from a childrens’ lit perspective. And super interesting, from a Proust and the Squid perspective, when Heffernan notes that:

I’d like for Ben to sit with One More Story and come away with the impression that he’d been read beautiful books all afternoon. But Ben tends to ask for One More Story when he wants privacy, the same state of mind in which he likes videos. Books, by contrast, are for when he feels snuggly.

As I said, read it all. It’s well worth your time. Even if you have to read it on a computer monitor.

(X-posted to 21st Century Literacy

Categories: Literacy
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