Dr. Thomas Long-Rescuing Reading
Rescuing Reading: Making Connections for Reading
across the Curriculum at the Community College
Dr. Thomas Lawrence Long, Presenter
Professor of English, Thomas Nelson Community College
Ms. Linda Simmons,
Associate Professor of History & Project Director, Reading Across the Curriculum
Friday, February 15, 2008
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Center for Innovative Technology, Briefing Room
2214 Rock Hill Road
Herndon, VA 20170
Reading is at risk, according to two reports by the National Endowment for the Arts (Reading at Risk , To Read or Not to Read [2007. Data suggests that both the amount of reading and the proficiency of reading in America have declined in the past twenty years. This workshop will discuss national data on the state of reading, will examine one initiative that was designed to intervene--a two-year VCCS Chancellor’s Commonwealth Professorship called Rescuing Reading-- and will give workshop participants an opportunity to adapt existing or create new interventions designed to strengthen their colleges’ commitment to reading as a component of general education. Rescuing Reading demonstrated measurable improvements that other colleges may wish to replicate.
About the Presenter
Dr. Thomas Lawrence Long is professor of English at Thomas Nelson Community College (Hampton) and has been an adjunct at Old Dominion University and the College of William and Mary. As a VCCS Chancellor’s Commonwealth Professor he conducted a two-year project called Rescuing Reading: A Community College Response to the National Endowment for the Arts Report, Reading at Risk. Dr. Long is the author of AIDS and American Apocalypticism: The Cultural Semiotics of an Epidemic (State University of New York Press) and is editor-in-chief of Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly. He “blogs” at http://thelongview.tv.
For more information on the Rescuing Reading project visit http://www.tncc.edu/rescuingreading.
Linda Simmons will conclude this seminar with a grant preparation session as described below:
Want your students to read more? Not sure what to do? Join a 30 minute discussion and identify one strategy to try, then spend a few minutes drafting a proposal for a grant that will allow you to try the strategy. Proposals may fit into the Initiative’s existing topics, such as “What to do during the First Class meeting,” or maybe on topics beyond those the Initiative currently supports.
The Reading Across the Initiative will fund up to 5 proposals.
Facilitator: Linda Simmons
This seminar is collaboratively sponsored by the VCCS Regional Center for Teaching Excellence
and The Reading Across the Curriculum Initiative
Written By Ms. Linda Simmons, Professor of History and Principal of Reading Across the Curriculum Project
On February 15 "Rescuing Reading" provided a lively, engaging seminar for full-time and adjunct faculty, from multiple campuses. In introducing Dr. Tom Long, Linda Simmons noted that he had written, among other things,"Confessions of a Promiscuous Reader." Long, professor of English at Thomas Nelson Community College and former Commonwealth Professor, noted later that the nearly full house of faculty were so engaged and lively that it made it challenging for him to stick to his planned remarks. In "Rescuing Reading," Long presented a range of scholarly data that showcased the status of reading today, especially in younger populations, and the alarming statistical evidence that their reading is decreasing at a faster rate. The data included the findings from "Reading at Risk," one segment of the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, conducted by the Census Bureau in 2002 at the request of the National Endowment for the Arts. One key finding noted that the 10 percent point decline in literary reading represented a loss of 20 million readers. A subsequent 2007 study revealed a worsening picture.
He identified a range of questions that NOVA could study to document the status of reading at the College in a variety of disciplines. Participants voiced their frustration about students who do not read, about students who read with no joy and about trying to balance coverage of course content with strategies to assist students with reading. To help participants design strategies tailored to these concerns and to a particular discipline, Simmons offered participants an opportunity to apply for grants funded by the Reading Across the Curriculum Initiative, an effort supported by NOVA's Professional Development Committee. Grants will be announced shortly.
VCCS's Northern Virginia Regional Center for Teaching Excellence,NOVA's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Reading and Reading Across the Curriculum Initiative supported the "Rescuing Reading" seminar.