Archive for August, 2011

Remembering Former City Librarian James Welbourne

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Former New Haven City Librarian James Welbourne died August 22, as recognized in a New Haven Register article that includes comments by his widow, Penny Welbourne.  Jim Welbourne was part of the task force that formed the Literacy Coalition of Greater New Haven, and he was an original member of the Coalition’s board.  His Coalition colleagues remember his important contributions to the community, send condolences, and await news of a memorial service in October.

Connecticut Humanities Council’s Sandra Santy Joins Coalition Board

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Sandra Santy, since 2006 the director of reading programs at the Connecticut Humanities Council, has joined the board of the Literacy Coalition of Greater New Haven.  She has broad experience in education, government, and the nonprofit sector.  She worked with Lowell Weicker when he was governor of Connecticut and earlier when he was a U.S. senator.   Immediately prior to her current role, she directed continuing education for the Farmington public schools.   Already, Sandy Santy lives in New Haven; now we are pleased to welcome her as a Coalition colleague.

The Auditory Role in Dyslexia

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a director of the Center for Dyslexia and Creativity at Yale University, was quoted in a recent New York Times article, “Study Sheds Light on Auditory Role in Dyslexia.”  She said the study “demonstrates the centrality of spoken language in dyslexia — that it’s not a problem in meaning, but in getting to the sounds of speech.”

Pam Belluck’s Times article noted that the study – published in Science by MIT professor John Gabrieli and graduate student Tyler Perrachione – suggests that how dyslexics hear language may be more important than previously thought.  According to Belluck:

“Gabrieli said the findings underscored a critical problem for dyslexic children learning to read: the ability of a child hearing, say, a parent or teacher speak to connect the auditory bits that make up words, called phonemes, with the sight of written words. If a child has trouble grasping the sounds that make up language, he said, acquiring reading skills will be harder. The research shows that spoken language deficiencies persist even when dyslexics learn to read well. The study subjects were mostly ‘high-functioning, high-I.Q. young adults who had overcome their reading difficulty,’ Dr. Gabrieli said. ‘And yet when they had to distinguish voices, they were not one iota better with the English-language voices that they’ve heard all their life.’ Experts said the new study also shows the interconnectedness of the brain processes involved in reading. . . . This research shows that normal reading involves a ‘circuit, the ability to have all of those components integrated absolutely automatically,’ said Maryanne Wolf, a dyslexia expert at Tufts University. ‘One of the great weaknesses in dyslexia is that the system is not able to integrate these phoneme-driven systems’ with other aspects of language comprehension.  As a follow-up, the M.I.T. researchers have been scanning the brains of subjects performing voice recognition and other activities, and have found ‘very big differences in dyslexics and nondyslexics in a surprisingly broad range of tasks,’ Dr. Gabrieli said. ‘We think there might be a broader kind of learning that’s not operating very well in these individuals and that in some areas you can circumvent it pretty well. But in language and reading, it’s hard to circumvent.’ . . . Dr. Shaywitz said the study also has implications for teaching.”

A Thousand Visitors

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

On August 10, the LiteracyEveryday website received its 1000th unique visitor; through that date, the site has now received some 1786 visits from 1002 unique visitors in nearly a year since its soft launch began.  This fall, there will be a broader launch.

(In almost three months since its launch May 23 of this year, the Literacy Coalition’s Twitter page has acquired 94 followers.)

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