Boston University: Unearthing a Long Ignored African Writing System, One Researcher Finds African History, by Africans

Boston University: Unearthing a Long Ignored African Writing System, One Researcher Finds African History, by Africans. “In the same way that the Roman alphabet has been adopted to write English, French, and Spanish languages, [Fallou] Ngom’s research revealed that people in Senegal, Guinea, Nigeria, and other parts of West Africa use a modified Arabic alphabet to write in a number of local languages: Wolof, Hausa, Fula, Mandinka, Swahili, Amharic, Tigrigna, and Berber among them. It was an enormous discovery. This writing system, called Ajami, dispelled the false notion peddled by European colonialists that large swaths of communities in sub-Saharan Africa were illiterate, with no native written languages of their own.”

California Department of Education: State Superintendent Thurmond Announces Access to Free Literacy and Biliteracy Learning Tool for California Families

California Department of Education: State Superintendent Thurmond Announces Access to Free Literacy and Biliteracy Learning Tool for California Families. “The Footsteps2Brilliance bilingual early literacy program for birth through third graders is accessible 24/7 via the Internet from the smartphones, tablets, and computers that families already own. This resource expands free access to all children and families statewide, creating a much-needed bridge between school and home. The $27 million digital literacy partnership will provide free learning resources in English and Spanish.”

World Bank: 70% of 10-Year-Olds now in Learning Poverty, Unable to Read and Understand a Simple Text

World Bank: 70% of 10-Year-Olds now in Learning Poverty, Unable to Read and Understand a Simple Text. “As a result of the worst shock to education and learning in recorded history, learning poverty has increased by a third in low- and middle-income countries, with an estimated 70% of 10-year-olds unable to understand a simple written text, according to a new report published today by the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, UK government Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), USAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Sun Gazette: State extends access to digital reading for all students

Sun Gazette (California): State extends access to digital reading for all students. “On Jan. 25, state superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond announced access to myON digital books and daily news articles for students in California has been extended until Feb. 28. A partnership with Renaissance Learning, Inc. was originally announced in December to give students from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade the gift of literacy and provide them an opportunity to engage in reading at home, at school, and in the community.”

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction: DPI Launches Free Online Literacy Resource for Parents, Teachers

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction: DPI Launches Free Online Literacy Resource for Parents, Teachers. “North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) Office of Early Learning has developed and released a new virtual resource, Literacy at Home, to help support North Carolina’s youngest readers. Literacy at Home provides activities specific to each grade level from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. This online resource provides background knowledge on evidence-based literacy practices, as well as instructional activities for families and caregivers.”

Literacy is the great equalizer in the era of COVID-19 and polarization | Opinion (Tennessean)

Tennessean: Literacy is the great equalizer in the era of COVID-19 and polarization | Opinion. “The events of 2020 have highlighted some of the deep divisions in our society. Election years often have a way of polarizing our community, but the heightened racial tensions and the ever-growing consequences of the digital divide brought to bear in new ways by the COVID-19 pandemic seem to have thrust communities across the globe into new levels of isolation. In times like these, times of great social disturbance, literature can lead us forward, thrusting us into worlds both familiar and strange, forcing us to confront our norms, and providing us with the medium for productive discourse about our collective interests and shared values.”

TechCrunch: Duolingo’s new app teaches children how to read and write

TechCrunch: Duolingo’s new app teaches children how to read and write. “Until now, Duolingo‘s focus was always squarely on teaching languages, but today, the company launched Duolingo ABC, a free English literacy app for children ages 3 to 6. Originally, the company had planned on unveiling this app later in the year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it decided to launch it early to help parents who are now suddenly finding themselves homeschooling their children.”

Global Storybooks: From Arabic to Zulu, freely available digital tales in 50+ languages (The Conversation)

From The Conversation, with a big thanks to Garth W. who pointed it out: Global Storybooks: From Arabic to Zulu, freely available digital tales in 50+ languages. “This portal hosts custom sites with multilingual open-licensed books for over 40 countries and regions on five continents. Our vision is to help democratize global flows of information and resources, to facilitate language learning — including Indigenous languages — and to promote literacy.”

Larry Ferlazzo: “Freckle” Provides Hundreds Of Articles In “5 Or More Different Reading Levels”

Larry Ferlazzo: “Freckle” Provides Hundreds Of Articles In “5 Or More Different Reading Levels”. “It’s an ‘adaptive’ platform where teachers can set up free virtual classrooms (it looks like it’s free to individual teachers, but schools and districts can pay for more features) and is supposed to differentiate in English, Math and Social Studies content. It was particularly struck by it having “hundreds” of the same articles written at different lexile levels.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham: Free resource helps determine reading difficulty, provides interventions to help overcome

University of Alabama at Birmingham: Free resource helps determine reading difficulty, provides interventions to help overcome. “UAB launched an online resource, Electronic Portal for Assistance Learning, to remediate student difficulties in literacy to help with reading comprehension, confidence, fluency, phonemic awareness and phonics. The unique resource connects reading difficulties with resources to improve literacy.”

NewsCentral24x7: How a Script-Agnostic Media Can Empower The Illiterate

NewsCentral24x7: How a Script-Agnostic Media Can Empower The Illiterate. “In such an English-dominating virtual world, where technology, too, is largely developed and designed by native English-speaking persons, how do the oral or illiterate communities become a part? There is no denying that with the help of basic digital tools, people can be empowered to tell their own stories, beating long-set information exchange criterion of being able to read and write one or more script. By using the medium of spoken words and audio-visual story-telling, masses are better placed in the current information economy.”

EIN: New Global Digital Library to Provide Free Reading Resources for Ethiopian Children (PRESS RELEASE)

EIN: New Global Digital Library to Provide Free Reading Resources for Ethiopian Children (PRESS RELEASE). “The Global Book Alliance, which is comprised of donor agencies from the United States, Norway, the UK, and other countries, is launching a new Global Digital Library in Ethiopia to increase the availability of high quality reading resources for children and youth across the country. Ethiopia was selected as the first country to launch the Global Digital Library, which is a worldwide effort to provide children with the books and learning materials they need to learn to read.”

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning: 5 Great Kids Digital Libraries

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning: 5 Great Kids Digital Libraries . “Here are five web platforms where you can access a wide variety of books and other reading materials designed specifically for kids. Features provided differ from one platform to the other. Some of these platforms provide kids with personalized recommendations based on kids reading levels, others feature rewarding systems to encourage kids to read and provide teachers and parents with tools to track kids reading. We invite you to check them out and share with us your feedback.”

PRNewswire: NSF-Funded Digital Library for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Now Available on App Stores (PRESS RELEASE)

PRNewswire: NSF-Funded Digital Library for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Now Available on App Stores (PRESS RELEASE). “ReadAskChat™, a National Science Foundation funded early-learning system, launched its digital library for children 0-4 that embeds on-demand guidance for parents and caregivers in a method of interactive (or ‘dialogic’) reading—an activity the American Academy of Pediatrics says is vital for children’s development.” It looks like the initial app is free but you can subscribe for more content.