Amazon’s Tactics Confirm Its Critics’ Worst Suspicions

This week, as part of a contract dispute with the publisher Hachette, we’re seeing Amazon behaving at its worst. The company’s willingness to nakedly flex its anticompetitive muscle gives new cause for concern to anyone who cares about books — authors, publishers, but mainly customers. Here’s the back story: In an effort to exert pressure on Hachette, Amazon began taking down preorder buttons for many Hachette titles. It has also…

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Finished Reading The Chronicles of Prydain

We could hardly stop reading just before the big final battle. And really, how could I stop reading until we found out how the battle turned out. And once the battle ended, could we stop before we found out whehter Taran finally proposes to Eilonwy? So it was a quarter past midnight when we finally finished reading my tween the fifth book in Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series. The…

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Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say

  The brain was not designed for reading. There are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. But spurred by the emergence of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper and, finally, the Gutenberg press, the brain has adapted to read. Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on. Sure, there might be…

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Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework

Greater parental involvement in school (serving on committees, checking the kids’ homework) does not correlate with greater academic achievement. I wonder how these findings would relate to homeschooling. The theory was that more active and invested mothers and fathers could help close the test-score gap between middle-class and poor students. Yet until the new study, nobody had used the available data to test the assumption that close relationships between parents…

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Dear Google: You Should Have Talked to Me First

Teacher Jen Marten responds to Google’s latest educational initiative: Do you know what Accelerated Reader and programs like it are doing to readers these days? I’ve heard of teachers being reprimanded for not leveling all their classroom books. I know of school libraries where children have to show the librarian a card with their reading level on it before they can check out books. I know of kids excited about…