More and more kids spend long hours on the Internet. At the same time, reading scores are declining. Is there a connection? Does the brain work differently with a book than with a computer? What’s the impact on reading proficiency? Should schools recognize that young people are on the Internet and teach them how to use it well? Also, after 8 years of George Bush jokes, what will comedians do with Barack Obama? (This edition of To the Point will be pre-empted by holiday programming, but will be archived online.)
FROM THIS EPISODE
February 18 is D-Day for the conversion of all broadcasting from analogue to digital TV. "Rabbit ears" won't work any more, and there could major booms in appliance sales and cable subscriptions. Charles Golvin is principal analyst for the technology research company Forrester Research.
Charles Golvin, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
The National Endowment for the Arts has a program called The Big Read, encouraging Americans to read books and talk about them together. The NEA program is one response to a disturbing finding: Americans are reading less -- and reading less well. That's according to an analysis of 40 different studies, "To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence." Humans are not genetically programmed to read, but have to learn over time by reading books. Books are giving way to the Internet. As reading scores decline, some researchers claim the Internet is promoting superficial thinking instead of the wisdom that comes with patient study. On this archived To the Point discussion, we consider whether schools should teach children to use the Web critically. Should Internet 1-A be part of the basic curriculum?
Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research and Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts
Maryanne Wolf, Director, Tufts University's Center for Reading and Language Research
Elizabeth Birr Moje, Professor of Literacy, Language and Culture, University of Michigan
Lee Siegel, writer and author
As Inaugural Day approaches, Barack Obama is even more the center of world attention than he was last year, before and after Election Day. What does that mean for the world of comedy? Will white comics have to be careful? Will black comedians have a built-in advantage? Lizz Winstead is a co-creator of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, and star of the web show Wake Up World.
More From To the Point
Touching down in fly-over country Dodge City, Kansas and Erie, Pennsylvania may have something in common. That’s just one surprise in “Our Towns,” a new book by James and Deborah Fallows. The veteran Atlantic magazine correspondent and his scholarly wife spent two weeks in each of 25 different cities. Their search for America’s character provides anecdotes, comparisons and distinctions after a journey of 100,000 miles.
Teachers are battling back Teachers are mad as hell in several red states. They’re walking out over cuts in pay and reductions in classroom support. It’s a grass-roots rebellion from West Virginia to Kentucky and Arizona. Will it renew support for the value of public education in a changing economy?
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