Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Newborns cry in their native tongue

The melodies of the cries newborn babies produce differ depending on their native language, a new study says. Apparently humans start to practice language skills right in the first days of their lives.

Babies learn about speech even earlier. Some three months before birth a fetus’ ear is developed enough to hear sounds, including mother’s voice, which probably explains why infants as young as one month seem to prefer being talked to in their native language.

However, developing speaking skills of their own takes some time outside of the womb. Some 4 months after birth, babies start babbling in their parents’ language or languages.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keep Shakespeare in Our Schools!

Last week, the UK government barred state schools from offering a new IGCSE qualification because it would allow students to opt out of studying Shakespeare.

I think that the very idea that an entire generation of students could leave school without being exposed to Shakespeare at all is terrifying. The study of Shakespeare forges a link with our culture, our history, our heritage and our language - factors that will give the adults of tomorrow a solid grounding in life.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Modern children's literature has come a long way from fairy tale classics

Children and books have a long history together, from summer days spent with a stack of page-turners in a backyard hammock, to reading on school nights with a flashlight under the covers. However, in today's world, books face competition for children's attention with video games, the Internet, television and other pastimes.

Because of these distractions, children's book authors, parents, librarians and teachers are having to incorporate different methods to encourage children to read.

One of the steps authors are taking is changing the subject matter of children's literature.

Many adults recall growing up reading tales of princesses, knights in shining armor and evil witches. However, current children's books have taken a step away from fairy tales and are gravitating toward solving the trials of real life.

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Related Contrasting Article:

Anne Fine deplores 'gritty realism' of modern children's books

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bookless Libraries?

DENVER — When does a library cease to be a library?

What started as a debate over whether brick-and-mortar libraries would survive much further into the 21st century turned into an existential discussion on the definition of libraries, as a gathering of technologists here at the 2009 Educause Conference pondered the evolution of one of higher education’s oldest institutions.

“Let’s face it: the library, as a place, is dead,” said Suzanne E. Thorin, dean of libraries at Syracuse University. “Kaput. Finito. And we need to move on to a new concept of what the academic library is.”

her argument tapped into theories about the obsolescence of libraries — traditionally defined — that have grown along with the emergence of Web-based reference tools, e-books, digitized and born-digital content, and other technologies that some see as changing essential library functions.

Certain major research universities, she noted, have even begun moving their books to off-campus storage facilities due to space issues and a diminishing need for on-site hard copies. Libraries everywhere are eliminating pricey subscriptions to printed academic journals, often opting for less expensive digital versions.

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Emotional Bunny Says: "Last night's Google search was, unfortunately, "free online books", and even more unfortunately, I found some."

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