Educational CyberPlayGround

Research on Literacy in the USA and Europe found on the educational cyberplayground


What do Administrators, Teachers, and the Public need to know?


8/14/13 Reading skill linked to differences in brain structure The scans revealed separate parts of the brain were likely to be involved in different aspects of reading, such as being able to sound words out loud. The work, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, could lead to new ways to help those with reading difficulties. Differences in how well participants connected a new word with a sound were found to be related to structural differences in brain areas called the hippocampus and cerebellum. The hippocampus in particular has been shown many times to be related to memory. Interestingly, this study shows a relatively low association between remembering items and hippocampus grey matter volume. This, the researchers say in their paper, suggests the area is particularly important for remembering connections between things (as in between a word and a sound), rather than simply remembering items. The final aspect of reading identified, the ability to read out loud at speed, was found to be less localised, with a network of areas across the brain showing different grey matter volume. They also found this ability to be the only one of the three that was also related to general intelligence.


Persons saying this cannot be done
should not interfere with persons doing it.
~ Proverb

42 million adults in the US are "functionally literate,"
meaning that they can't read the front page of the newspaper. Many are not able to speak, read, and write English. Will these folks vote?

  1. Shocking truth about the Literacy Levels of American Adults.
  2. America's Most Literate Cities
  3. National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) 2002 will assess the current status of the English-language literacy skills of adults in the United States, as well as indicate how literacy proficiencies have changed over time. Reports, sources and information available.

35 percent of American children start school without the language skills necessary to learn to read. [source]

The big picture is transdisciplinarity. It includes understanding that teaching kids to read depends on what the teacher knows about Linguistics, Music, Gestures, Rhythm, Pitch, and the evolution of brain development.

How do babies begin to acquire language?

Where do words come from?
The origin or words: Rhythmic patterns underlie the human language. How children learn the meanings of words. Grammer is hard wired. Letters are shaped that way for a reason. Rhythm and pitch give the meaning.

Key findings:

  1. U.S. fourth-graders out perform their counterparts in 23 of the 34 other countries participating in PIRLS, but they score lower than students in Sweden, the Netherlands and England.
  2. Fourth-grade girls outperform boys in reading literacy in every participating country, including the United States.
  3. Fourth-graders in U.S. public schools with the highest poverty levels score lower on reading literacy compared to their counterparts in schools with lower poverty levels.
  4. Almost all (95 percent) of U.S. fourth-graders attend schools with a curricular emphasis on reading. This is greater than the international average of 78 percent.
  5. Sixty-five percent of U.S. fourth-graders receive more than six hours of reading instruction per week, a higher percentage than the international average of 28 percent.

Music is communication, Music is language

Evolutionary Science:

We hear and process all language as sound first and THEN we process the sound as as meaning something which we call a language. Remember we are animal and we will respond to a growl - hearing it as something dangerous - and that has meaning which will let us survive.
As language develops some cultures pay attention to the pitch of the word and the rhythm of the word. In all cultures, If it doesn't have the right rhythm nobody will understand.

Learn how to successfully bridge from the Dialect Speakers' home language to the Standard Language.

  1. Why should links exist between music and language?
  2. About the Digital Divide and Digital Equity
  3. Intelligence Controversy
  4. Reading Excellence Act Grant Descriptions
  5. U.S. Dept of Education - Research and Statistics
    1-800-USA-Learn They do not have information about Dialect Speakers because there are no federal funds. Funds are only for ESL~EFL~TSOL etc.
  6. Urban Minorities Reading Project
    Download the RX Program Linguistics Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania
    William Labov, Director
    Bettina Baker, Project Manager




What's going on in Jamaica?

International and National Government support for less-prevalent languages

Listed below are several initiatives that clearly move in the direction of support for less-prevalent languages, cultures and regions from multiple perspectives (i.e., linguistic, economic, education / literacy, etc). These are specific examples of past, present and upcoming funding and investments into projects.

European Commission and European Union initiatives

Over the years, the European Parliament has adopted a number of resolutions defending the idea of a European Union which respects its linguistic and cultural diversity. To this end, the European Commission has been instructed to implement actions in favor of regional or minority languages and cultures and for less-developed regions.

Minority Language funding

The European Commission is now examining the feasibility of proposing a multi-annual action program in the area of regional and / or minority languages.

The objective of the action is to reinforce the European dimension of activities for promoting and safeguarding regional and minority languages and cultures.

In various parts of the Member States of the European Union there are indigenous groups which speak a language different to that of the majority of the national population. More than 30% of all London schoolchildren speak a language other than English at home. (Source: BAKER, Philip & Yasir MOHIELDEEN. 2000.

"The languages of London's schoolchildren" in Multilingual Capital: The languages of London's schoolchildren and their relevance to economic, social and educational policies (edited by Philip Baker and John Eversley), Battlebridge: London, 92 pp.)

It is estimated that almost 40 million citizens of the Union routinely speak not only the official language of their country but also a regional or minority language that has been passed on from generation to generation.

The Final report to the European Commission on the implementation of the European Commission / Council of Europe Joint Programme on "National Minorities in Europe" Strasbourg, June 2000 is available at:

As a result, funding possibilities for lesser-used language projects are now available for eligible institutions.


Translation services are booming because global customers want to buy in their native language
[... Some of the largest companies in the field--Bowne Global Solutions, Lionbridge Technologies and Berlitz GlobalNET (a sister company of the language school)--say they expect a surge in U.S. government contracts involving Arabic, Dari, Pashtu, Uzbek and other languages useful in the war against terrorism. But that's a small part of the business. More broadly, the industry is thriving because American companies are learning--after years of denial--that to profit in the global economy, it's critical to speak the customer's native tongue. "An American company expanding abroad is competing with merchants who speak the local language," says Donald Plumley, chief marketing officer of Bowne Global Solutions, based in Parsippany, N.J. "You may have a better product, but if your customers don't understand your product, you lose. You have to speak their language."
Native English speakers are, in fact, fast becoming a minority in the marketplace. In the U.S. alone, 18% of the population speaks a language other than English at home, according to the 2000 Census. In California, the world's sixth largest economy, the figure is nearly 40%. And on the Internet, it's a Tower of Babel. Only 48% of the world's Web users are native English speakers, down from 77% in 1997. By the end of 2003, the figure will drop to 32%, according to the Aberdeen Group, a tech-research company in Boston.
Consumers are four times as likely to buy a product online if the website is in their preferred language, according to IDC, a research firm in Framingham, Mass. Some of the big dotcoms--Amazon, eBay and Yahoo--figured out this trend earlier than most, and report fast-growing revenues from overseas divisions, which generate indigenous content. But most U.S. firms have not yet done a great job of marketing to non-English speakers online. Last year just 37 of the large companies in the FORTUNE 100 operated non-English sites, according to Forrester Research, based in Cambridge, Mass..] <snip>