Berkeley economics prof (and former Clinton deputy Treasury secretary) J Bradford DeLong (previously) has written a guide for reading "long, difficult books," in response to Andy Matuschak's "rant" Why Books Don't Work. Read the rest
The past couple years has seen a rise in prison profiteers who strike deals with state corrections departments to provide "free" tablets to prisoners (these being the flimsiest, cheapest, least reliable hardware imaginable), and then profiting by charging exorbitant sums for prisoners to send emails (selling "digital postage stamps" that have to be affixed to each "page" of email), videoconference with family members, and provide media, charging prisoners for music that they lose every time a prison changes suppliers. Read the rest
"The books will stop working": That's the substance of the reminder that Microsoft sent to customers for their ebook store, reminding them that, as announced in April, the company is getting out of the ebook business because it wasn't profitable enough for them, and when they do, they're going to shut off their DRM servers, which will make the books stop working. Read the rest
Reading remains solidly popular in America, with the latest figures from Pew showing that print book readership remains at same levels as they were in 2012: about 74% of Americans have read at least one book in the past year: 67% of readers have read at least one print book. Read the rest
Daniel Willingham, a University of Virginia psychologist who wrote "The Reading Mind," says that the most common question he receives these days is the following: “Is it cheating if I listen to an audiobook for my book club?” In a New York Times essay, Willingham parses the benefits and drawbacks of both formats. Which one is better? Of course personally preference and convenience matter, but Willingham argues that generally right now when it comes to listening or reading a book, there is "equivalence for easy texts and an advantage to print for hard ones." For example, audio books provide prosody, the intonation, tone, and rhythm of the words. Sometimes, hearing those cues helps us understand the material. But not always. From the NYT:
Read the rest
For example, one study compared how well students learned about a scientific subject from a 22-minute podcast versus a printed article. Although students spent equivalent time with each format, on a written quiz two days later the readers scored 81 percent and the listeners 59 percent.
What happened? Note that the subject matter was difficult, and the goal wasn’t pleasure but learning. Both factors make us read differently. When we focus, we slow down. We reread the hard bits. We stop and think. Each is easier with print than with a podcast.
Print also supports readers through difficult content via signals to organization like paragraphs and headings, conventions missing from audio. Experiments show readers actually take longer to read the first sentence of a paragraph because they know it probably contains the foundational idea for what’s to come.
They say to create solutions for the problems you have and that's just what graphic designer Christian Boer did. He has dyslexia and, for his graduation project a few years back, he created a font that makes reading easier for people with dyslexia. According to his site, people with dyslexia often have difficulties reading because of certain "common reading errors" including "swapping, mirroring, changing, turning and melting letters together." Boer's Dyslexie Font is a typeface with uniquely-shaped letters that remove these common reading errors.
...research suggests that it’s effective (though some disagree) and also because Boer has made the font available for free. Many educators and businesses already make use of Dyslexie. For instance, Project Literacy integrated the typeface into its logo.
Recalling an anecdote from one of his design clients, Boer notes, “They were creating an animated commercial and hired a dyslexic voice-over artist to narrate it. He wanted to be able to read the script fast enough to match the video’s pace, so he asked them to lay it out in Dyslexie first.”
For many... individuals and families who have used Dyslexie, the results are transformative. One mom emailed Boer to say that being able to read this font has encouraged her son to dream big.
“He is looking forward to the possibility to become an engineer, now that this is available for him,” she wrote.
The Bklyn BookMatch is a free service that matches readers with custom lists of recommendations: fill in a webform with "the titles, authors, and/or types of books you enjoy, and why" as well as "movies, TV, games, and other interests" and any books you dislike, as well as format and age preferences and within two weeks, a librarian will send you a customized reading list that you can check out of the Brooklyn library (or your own local library -- the service seems to be open to everyone!). (via Kottke) Read the rest
Stan Rehm writes, "An uncommonly sensible new policy in Los Angeles libraries now allows children with overdue book fees to 'read off' their fines in the library." Read the rest
I remember the day I realised that my daughter's London school had no library, the shock I felt, the sense that the cuts had gone beyond the bone, and that kids were being deprived of something critical -- and then the discovery that then-Education Minister Michael Gove was planning to spend a fortune distributing Bibles to schoolchildren with his name embossed in metal foil on the cover. Read the rest
UNESCO is about as good as it gets in the world of UN Specialized Agencies, responsible for designating and protecting world heritage sites, running literacy for the poorest people on Earth, supporting potable water programs, protecting fragile and endangered ecosystems, running disaster preparedness plans for all to use, protecting indigenous knowledge, protecting the free press, and digitizing the world's libraries. Read the rest
Since 1991, the number of full-time librarians working in Philadelphia's cash-strapped, budget-slashed public schools has declined by 94% -- only eight remain, while the state continues to trail the nation in literacy scores. Read the rest
Chris writes, "Indianapolis has just launched a great new series of art installations intended to promote both art and literacy." Read the rest
The librarians of Vernon, Illinois want you for their summer reading program, and they're not shy about it! (Thanks, Sharpchair64!) Read the rest
The school bus driver in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec told 8 year old Sarah Auger she wasn't allowed to read on the way to and from school because she might poke herself in the eye with a corner of the book. Read the rest