Reading Computers

How will reading be affected by computers? Some sanguine folks have argued that computers, behind the wizardry of the Internet, will make conventional books, magazines, and newspapers obsolete. This opinion, though not yet a consensus, is growing. At the forefront of the revolution is best-selling author Stephen King. One of the United States’ most dominant […]

The Price of Low Literacy in Adults

In an age where ordinary people air their dirty laundry before an audience of millions on daytime talk shows, over one-fifth of American adults—between 41 and 44 million people—harbor a secret they consider so shameful that many do not even tell their immediate families. They cannot read or write well enough to fill out a […]

Building a Bridge for Excellence Between the Community and the Schools

Duval County, Florida School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Wise has only been on the job for 10 months, but already he is making a big impact on the 165 schools, 130,000 students and 14,000 employees in his district. Taking the lessons he learned from his last position as Superintendent of the Christina School District in Wilmington, […]

A Conversation With Alison Gopnik

Most parents have, at one time or another, gazed lovingly at their newborn child and wondered whether someday their offspring would grow up to be the next Einstein or Newton. If Alison Gopnik were watching, she might suggest that the newborn in the bassinet doesn’t need to grow up. Perhaps they already think like a […]

Are Reading And Writing Innate Skills?

We’ve come to expect a daily dose of Internet spam—and of intriguing comments and jokes from friends (today I was electronically asked if Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks, and whatever happened to Preparations A through G?). The terribly misspelled paragraph below has similarly been zipping around the Internet recently. Perhaps you’ve received it and […]

From Genes to Memes – Part 2

Last month’s column discussed the human need to replicate and exchange both biological and cultural information. A gene contains and transmits the cross-generation biological information an organism needs to develop and maintain itself. A meme is the cultural equivalent of a gene—a bit of replicated information that spreads through imitation, teaching, and learning. Memes can […]

From Genes to Memes – Part 1

When we conceived our children, my wife and I had to give them genetic instructions on how to build their bodies, including such developmental issues as nose placement and skin color. Egg and sperm split the instructional task. My March 2003 column celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) located in […]

Legislation toward Better Reading

In the heated environment of last year’s U.S. presidential election, the subject of education was a common sound bite, with both candidates describing the terrible state of literacy in our nation—and of course each candidate assured us that he was the person to fix the problem! It is true that literacy is in a state […]