Right to Read

I may have mentioned it before, but I love books. I collect books. When I was a kid and had the time I read everything I could. Sometimes two or three books at a time. I’ll admit, I have read “Gone With the Wind” 5 times.
I assumed that people who didn’t read just didn’t want to or like it. For some that is true. I never suspected that 1 in 4 Americans are functionally illiterate. This means they cannot read above a 4th grade level. Some of these people hide their illiteracy out of embarrassment and get pretty good at it. Some of the people who work closest to them still know.

I dug into this issue some more to see what is being done to help fix the problem. A problem that seems to develop between 4th and 8th grade. Clearly “No Child Left Behind” failed them. In some cases programs like Accelerated Reader seem to do nothing but further discourage kids by putting a point value on books. The students pick books and literature that do not appeal to them, and in some cases are to difficult for them just to get their points. How exactly is this supposed to inspire a love of reading?

The next step was to look at programs outside of the schools. Most free reading programs dealing with illiteracy are focused on adults. Granted in our system these are apparently necessary, they do not hit the problem at the root of the cause. Other programs geared toward school age children do little more than throw books at the issue. Throwing books at kids who are already frustrated and embarrassed is absolutely counter productive.

I think I can fix some of the problem. I was inspired to develop a study to help counter some of the issues caused by the programs in schools now. I will divulge the details a little later as things get more settled and developed.

If you have an opinion or testimony about the illiteracy issue please comment below. I really look forward to reading what you have to say on the matter, even if it is that you don’t like what I have to say. It is everyones job to leave this world better than they found it.

Readings of a Coffeeholic

Now that summer vacation has commenced I actually have some time to read for fun. I am not only a coffeeholic but I am a bookaholic. For the first time since high school, I have created my own summer reading list. This ever evolving reading list got a kickstart from a recent book bender at Barnes and Noble. $5 hardcovers? I think so!

Reviews will follow each book. Like it or not. Since I hate people who force spoilers on the rest of the world, I make a solemn vow, lit lover’s honor, not to force spoilers upon you fine folks. Though I feel I should insert a disclaimer here. I am making no promises that this list is in any particular order and I reserve the right to read and review them in any order.

1.  Ireland’s Pirate Queen (The True Story of Grace O’Malley)– Anne Chambers

2. Lionheart-Sharon Kay Penman

3. Pirate Latitudes– Michael Crichton

4. 4,000 Years of Uppity Women– Vicki Leon

5. Great American Short Stories– Introduction and notes by Jane Smiley

( This is actually a collection of short stories and by far the collection that has the most stories that I have yet to read. The reviews will come by story or in small groups of reviews.)

If you have other suggestions PLEASE let me know. There will be an ongoing list announcing my current read and reading list in the sidebar shortly.