Tagged: recommended reading

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Please read: “The Need to Read,” by Will Schwalbe

favicon My friend Lynn emailed me “The Need to Read,” by Will Schwalbe, in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. It is definitely worth reading.

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Excerpts

Reading is the best way I know to learn how to examine your life. By comparing what you’ve done to what others have done, and your thoughts and theories and feelings to those of others, you learn about yourself and the world around you. Perhaps that is why reading is one of the few things you do alone that can make you feel less alone. It is a solitary activity that connects you to others.

I’m reminded that reading isn’t just a respite from the relentlessness of technology. It isn’t just how I reset and recharge. It isn’t just how I escape. It’s how I engage. And reading should spur further engagement.

And here’s my favorite:

Books remain one of the strongest bulwarks we have against tyranny—but only as long as people are free to read all different kinds of books, and only as long as they actually do so. The right to read whatever you want whenever you want is one of the fundamental rights that helps preserve all the other rights. It’s a right we need to guard with unwavering diligence. But it’s also a right we can guard with pleasure. Reading isn’t just a strike against narrowness, mind control and domination: It’s one of the world’s great joys.

Source: http://j.mp/2gtt9kI (via Pocket). You can also find this article at Iserotope Extras, a weekly email digest that includes my favorite articles about race, education, and culture. Feel free to subscribe! favicon

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Recommended Reading: “In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed”

favicon Most of the white, college-educated, middle-class, similarly-aged people I know have warm memories of their local public library when they were kids. These memories usually involve walking or biking to the library, checking out tons of books, and getting an ice cream cone on the way home. For many Americans, the public library is a personal sanctuary, a haven for knowledge, and a treasure of our democracy.

Not everyone, however, shares those sentiments. When I taught in San Francisco, my students told me over and over again that they had a more complicated relationship with their local public library. It didn’t feel comfortable or welcoming. I asked them why they felt that way, and the No. 1 answer was, They were afraid of library fines.

In a recent New York Times piece, reporter Carol Pogash assails the San Jose Public Library’s policies regarding late fees, lost materials, and checkout privileges. The library faces $6.8 million in unpaid fines. Its late fee is 50 cents per day per item. It prohibits checking out additional materials if people owe more than $10. And it uses a collection agency to recoup debts in excess of $50.

In “In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed,” Ms. Pogash does not pull punches. She interviews young people who say their moms don’t allow them to check out books. One mom tells her daughter, “Don’t take books out. It’s so expensive.”

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The article goes on to explore how the San Jose Public Library is not alone in its aggressive policies. For example, Texas allows its libraries to take delinquent patrons to court. Though I understand that libraries face tough challenges, particularly when a majority of people do not return books on time, current practice does not seem to be the right way to go.

Obviously, I do have bias because of my interest in the Kindle Classroom Project. Just to be clear, I love public libraries, especially the San Francisco Public Library and the Oakland Public Library. Libraries need to exist, and they do good things. Still, one thing I’ve learned since founding the KCP is how important it is to decrease barriers to reading. (Books are best in young people’s hands.) Rather than keeping track of tons of books each year, students check out and return just two items: their Kindle and their charger. Simple as cake. (Loss and breakage to Kindles is just 3.1%.)

Excerpt
“SAN JOSE, Calif. — When Damaris Triana, then 8, lost several “Little Critter” books that she had borrowed for her sister, the library here fined her $101 — including $40 in processing fees — a bill that was eventually turned over to an agency to collect from her parents.”

Source: http://j.mp/1qkXjdO (via Pocket). You can also find this article in next week’s Iserotope Extras, a weekly email newsletter that includes my favorite articles about teaching, reading, and technology. Feel free to subscribe! favicon

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Recommended Reading: “I’m Gonna Rise Above What I Was Doing”

favicon If you teach students who will be the first in their families to go to college, or if you teach urban students, this photographic interview, “I’m Gonna Rise Above What I Was Doing,” is important to read.

Excerpt
“Chicago taught Tavaris Sanders how to survive among gang members. Is there room for him to thrive at a liberal-arts college? Jonah Markowitz photographed Mr. Sanders throughout his freshman year at Connecticut College. Now a sophomore, he spoke about the photos with Mr. Markowitz.”

Tavaris — who earned a 4.2 GPA in his Chicago high school — experiences intense challenges, both academic and social, in his first year of college. The photograph of him checking his phone in the cafeteria is particularly startling. So is his resilience.

Source: http://j.mp/1MugLev (via Pocket). The Chronicle of Higher Education. You may also find this article in this Thursday’s edition of Iserotope Extras, a curated newsletter of my favorite articles about teaching, reading, and technology. favicon

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New feature: Say hello to Iserotope Extras!

favicon I’m very pleased to announce a new feature today: Iserotope Extras(Update: Extras is now The Highlighter.)

As you know, I care about (in other words: am obsessed with) teaching, reading, and technology. So I think about all this stuff and write about it and invite loyal Iserotope readers to comment about it. (Thanks, readers!)

But what I do, more than anything else, is read about it.

Now I want to share the very best of what I read with you.

Click on Extras at the top of the page and a new tab will open to a beautiful list of articles to read, along with a little blurb of what I think. (Credit goes to Bundlr for the design.)

Even better: You can share individual articles (or the entire list!) to email, FB, Twitter, and more.

The only negative is that you can’t leave comments about these articles, which would be cool. But feel free to tweet me @iserotope. That’ll have to do for now until I come up with some better idea.

Anyway, I’m really excited, and I hope you are, too. I know that several of you have asked me, “Mark, where do you find those articles?” and “How do you come up with your crazy ideas?”

Now you know!

Please let me know what you think! Is this a good new feature, and if so, what topics do you want to read about? favicon