Big Learning News 3-30-04
Big Learning News
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Table of Contents
First Book Lets You Share the Big Learning
Those of us with abundant home libraries sometimes take for granted the easy access we have to our books. First Book is a wonderful organization that makes it possible for children in low-income families to own books they otherwise couldn't afford.
First Book works through a network of volunteer Advisory Boards to provide local community programs with brand-new books that children can take home and keep. They have distributed over 20 million new books in the past three years alone.
With First Book Advisory Board grants, local community programs purchase books of their choice directly from publishers. Children in the programs use the books and then take them home, building their own home libraries over time. First Book has negotiated discounts with publishing partners, effectively doubling the purchasing power of every dollar donated.
First Book has the highest possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator, an organization that rates philanthropic organizations for sound fiscal management. First Book was also named one of ten "Gold Star" charities in Forbes' annual survey of 200 nonprofits.
If the simple idea of helping children own books appeals to you, there are many ways to get involved. You can make a donation to the national organization, or become involved at the local level by joining or starting a First Book local advisory board. To find out more or make a donation, visit the First Book web site at http://www.firstbook.org .
Maybe I'm just a little stodgy. I'm always a little suspicious of the Gee-Wiz method of teaching science, where a surprising trick is performed, and then the performer says something like, "this works because the negatively charged particles have created a force sufficient to counter the earth's gravitational pull." You can just see the kids thinking, "Sure, if you say so. Now stop talking and let's see that explosion again."
But I still like this book of table-top science demonstrations. The tone is charmingly show-offy ("Amaze Your Friends!"). The science explanations are, for the most part, clear and kid-friendly. And you can't argue with the simplicity of the materials - mostly straws, paper, soda cans, salt shakers, and other common restaurant table objects.
Get this book for your kids, but leave it where their favorite uncle will find it - he won't be able to resist the chance to restock his bag of tricks.
Lissa started this site at the age of 11 as a way to help herself remember what she was learning about web page programming. Now, at age 17, the site is going strong with millions of page views each day. Your child may be inspired by her story (scroll down to the "About Lissa" link at the very bottom of the page), if not by the idea of HTML coding. Kids will also enjoy her entertaining writing style and down-to-earth voice, as well as the copious demos that illustrate how to do things like rollovers, trailing cursors, and other bits of web fluff.
Big Learning News © 2004 Karen Cole