• Each week in the Library Media Center, we display a thought-provoking question that focuses on a topical issue relating to literature, literacy, digital awareness, and other contemporary subjects. We post an accompanying article and encourage students to read and discuss. Please feel free to email your thoughts to me at karin_greenberg@manhassetschools.org—I would love to hear what you think!


    Week of September 11, 2017

    Should writers be able to write from the perspective of a character with an ethnicity, culture, or gender that is different from their own?

    Read what author Thrity Umrigar has to say in this article from The New York Times:

    I'm Indian. Can I Write Black Characters?


     Week of October 2, 2017

    Is there any value to memorizing a poem?

    Molly Worthen, assistant professor of history at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill expresses her thoughts on the subject in  The New York Times:

    Memorize That Poem!


     Week of October 9, 2017 

    How does reading a book digitally change the way you read and interpret literature?

    Naomi Baron, Executive Director at the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning at American University, explores the topic in this article from The Conversation:

    Do Students Lose Depth in Digital Reading?


     Week of October 16, 2017

    In what ways do classwork, homework, and conversations about college contribute to anxiety in high school students?

    In “Kids Who Can’t,” an article in The New York Times Magazine by Benoit Denizet-Lewis the author explains why more American teenagers than ever are suffering from anxiety:

    The Kids Who Can't


    Week of October 23, 2017

     What are the learning differences between writing notes by hand and typing notes on an electronic device?

     James Doubek, associate producer at npr, reports his findings:

    Attention Students: Put Your Laptops Away


    Week of October 30, 2017

    How do you learn differently when watching a video tutorial as opposed to reading about a topic in a book or article?

    Think about it as you read this blog post about educational videos by Joyce Valenza, Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutger’s University School of Information and Communication, and blogger for School Library Journal :

    Heather's Research Xpress


    Week of November 6, 2017

    How can bilingual students' native languages play a role in their creative writing?

    Erik Gleibermann, director of the writing program Socratics Mentoring, explores the topic here:

    Finding a Voice in Two Languages


    Week of November 13, 2017

    How much do smartphones affect the reading habits of high school students?

    David Denby, a staff writer at the New Yorker, discusses the subject in this New York Times article:

    Do Teens Read Seriously Anymore?


    Week of November 20, 2017

    What is the relationship between age and proficiency with modern technology? (Are "old" people less likely to adopt technological apps/tools/innovations?)

    Tad Friend, a staff writer for The New Yorker, explores the subject in this article:

    Why Ageism Never Gets Old


    Week of November 27, 2017

    To what extent do poor reading habits, caused partly by the rise in digital media, affect our reading comprehension?

    Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, explains in this New York Times article that when it comes to reading comprehension, the content of what we read may be more important than digital distractions:

    How to Get Your Mind to Read


    Week of December 4, 2017

    How does helping others help us gain more success?

    Lindsay Crouse, staff editor for Op-Docs at The New York Times shares her thoughts:

    How the 'Shalane Flanagan Effect' Works


    Week of December 11, 2017

    Does the prevalence of modern technology deny young people the chance to learn from their mistakes?

    Jim Reische, chief communications officer at Williams College, recounts lessons he learned from a mistake he made in the 80s:

    Let Them Make Mistakes 


    Week of December 18, 2017

    How do digital images on social media play a part in fake news?

    What is going on in this photograph? 

    What is going on in this photograph?

    Read this article to learn the truth:  Animal Images and Fake News


    January 2, 2018

    In what ways do GIFs reflect a country’s culture? How is this different from what the literature and news articles from that culture tell us?

    Amanda Hess, who writes about internet culture for the Arts section of The New York Times, explores the topic:

    What Love and Sadness Look Like in 5 Countries, According to Their Top GIFs


    January 8, 2018

    How has the shift to an image-centered technological world, where people often value approval (likes) over knowledge, changed the way internet users process information?

    In this Wired article, Hossein Derakhshan shares his opinion on the topic:

    How Social Media Endangers Knowledge


    January 16, 2018

    How will visual news apps, such as Zig, change the way people read and interpret the news?

    Read about the new app in Michael M. Grynbaum's article:

    Graydon Carton, Ex-Editor of Vanity Fair, Invests in an App


    January 29, 2018

    How can Super Bowl commercials help students think critically about media advertisements?

    Frank Baker, a media literacy education consultant, has a list of questions to consider beore Super Bowl coverage begins:

    Teach Media Literacy With Super Bowl Ads


    February 5, 2018

    How does the experience of reading silently differ from listening to texts read aloud? 

    Thu-Huong Ha, YA author and executive producer of the annual TEDxNewYork conference, explores the origin of silent reading:

    The Beginning of Silent Reading


    February 12, 2018

    How does high school exposure to literature affect future preferences?

    Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, an economist, analyzed data and found that men and women’s taste in music was largely influenced by their early adolescent exposure to songs:

    The Songs That Bind


    February 26, 2018

    How does pressure to succeed academically, paired with the lack of sleep and little downtime, affect students' intrinsic motivation and sense of control?

    In Gareth Cook's Scientific American interview with William Stixrud and Ned Johnson, the authors of The Self-Driven Child share their thoughts:

    The Case For the "Self-Driven Child"


    March 5, 2018

    What circumstances contribute to the fact that fewer girls than boys choose to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) studies in college?

    Susan Pinker, social science columnist for The Wall Street Journal, looks at some of the possible reasons:

    Why Aren't There More Women in Science and Technology?


    March 12, 2018

    Psychologists have found that filmmakers have recently increased the number of silent, close-up shots of characters in order to encourage viewers to guess their thoughts and feelings. In what ways do fiction writers challenge their readers to do the same?

    Matthew Hutson, a freelance science journalist, explains the practice in this Science article:

    What are these movie characters thinking? Directors are increasingly expecting you to wonder.


    March 19, 2018

    Writers often are influenced by the works of others. While plagiarism rules are well-defined in the realm of research papers, where should fiction writers draw the line between influence and copyright infringement?

    Writer Jeremy Gavron attempts to answer this age-old question in this article in The Guardian:

    The Highest Form of Flattery? In Praise of Plagiarism


    March 26, 2018

    How does reading a book affect the way you think and act?

    This article from Open Education Database highlights what happens to our minds when we read:

    Your Brain On Books: 10 Things That Happen to Our Minds When We Read 


    April 9, 2018

    In what ways do coding and computational thinking connect to the study of literature?

    In her School Library Journal article, Jennifer Snelling explains the multiple benefits of critical thinking in the context of learning code and exploring technology:

    Don't Stress About Coding: Focus Shifts To Teaching Problem Solving Not Computer Skills


    April 16, 2018

    In what ways do students benefit from taking standardized tests digitally?

    In her New York Times article, Liz Moore explores the effects of implementing computerized tests in schools:

    No Test Left Behind?


    April 23, 2018

    How should the continual changes in the English language affect the way we write?

    In his article in The Guardian, linguist Steven Pinker gives advice on grammar rules that can be ignored: 

    10 Grammar Rules it's OK to Break


    April 30, 2018

    How can the experience of reading and simultaneously listening to a podcast increase student learning and motivation?

    English teacher Michael Godsey shares his positive experiences using podcasts with his classes:

    The Value of Using Podcasts in Class


    May 7, 2018

    How will the ability to code benefit students entering the job market in the near future?

    Lisa Eadicicco, tech correspondent for Time Magazine, explores how new apps like Grasshopper are helping adults keep up with the new trend:

    Google Just Launched a Smartphone Game to Teach Adults How To Code


    May 14, 2018

    What types of changes in 12th-grade class curriculums could help prevent senioritis?

    The counseling staff at New York University highlights why the phenomenon could lead to negative results:

    The Dangerous, Costly Phenomenon (That Only Affects High School Seniors)


    May 21, 2018

    In what ways do our emotional interpretations of historical events affect the way we write about related subjects?

    In her Time Magazine review, Lily Rothman explores how Zora Neale Hurston’s interaction with a former slave led to a manuscript that is being published posthumously:

    Zora Neale Hurston's Long-Unpublished Barracoon Finds Its Place After Decades of Delay



    May 29, 2018

    How do political and social movements affect the literature of specific time periods?

    Clare McHugh reviews Meg Wolitzer’s new book The Female Persuasion, in which feminism plays a role: 

    Meg Wolitzer Explores Feminism and Friendship in The Female Persuasion


    June 4, 2018

    To what extent can artificial intelligence help dispel misinformation?

    Below is a sample of the writer Brooke Borel's fact-checking of an article, which she compared to that of a robot:

    Anatomy of a Fact-check