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  •      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—I would love to hear what you think!

    June 10, 2019

    How much thought do you put into texting and emailing? Does this influence the way you write formally?

    Author Trish Hall gives tips on how to write persuasively in your everyday life:

    How to Get Every Email Returned

    June 3, 2019

    How does spending less time looking at your phone help you feel more relaxed)?

    In this article by Catherine Price, the author explains how engaging with our phones increases the level of cortisol in our bodies and interferes with sleep, self-esteem, and decision-making skills:

    Putting Down Your Phone May Help You Live Longer

    May 28, 2019

    How has the advancement of technology influenced themes in contemporary fiction?

    This review of Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Machines Like Me, highlights how the author merges artificial intelligence and human love:

    Unreal Love

    May 20, 2019

    If extracurricular activities had no place on college applications, which ones would you still participate in?

    Author KJ Dell’Antonia explores the role sports, music, and other activities play in high school students’ lives:

    How High School Ruined Leisure

    May 13, 2019

    How does the way you think about high school math affect your plans for future careers?

    Ph.D. candidate John Urschel compares math to football, and explains how he misunderstood math while he was growing up:

    Math Teachers Should Be More Like Football Coaches

    May 6, 2019

    How does the amount of time spent reading in one sitting affect your enjoyment of a novel?

    Author Ben Dolnick explains why binge reading makes for the most pleasurable reading experience:

    Why You Should Start Binge-Reading Right Now

    April 29, 2019

    In what ways do innovative teaching ideas impact the way you learn?

    Nicole Krueger highlights  a teacher in India who abandoned traditional business teaching methods and had students run their own bazaar:

     Innovate, Iterate, Educate: Small Ideas Make the Biggest Difference

    April 15, 2019

    Many voters judge politicians’ reading habits.

    What does a person’s reading choices say about her/him?

    Author Jennifer Weiner explores how making assumptions based on what people read can discourage reading:

    'What's Your Favorite Book?' Is Not a Trick Question

    April 8, 2019

    Researchers have found that hearing a well-told story boosts the release of dopamine and oxytocin in the brain. How does the method of storytelling in a book affect the reading experience?

    Elizabeth Bernstein, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, explores how storytelling influences relationships:

    You've Told That Story 100 Times

    April 1, 2019

    In what ways has the increase in smartphone use contributed to the decline in the well-being of teenagers?

    This Time Magazine article explores the issue:

    Stop Debating Whether Too Much Smartphone Time Can Hurt Teens, and Start Protecting Them

    March 25, 2019

    At a time when Amazon makes it simple to buy a book online, what purpose do bookstores serve?

    Mitchell Kaplan started the bookstore chain Books & Books in Miami in 1982. Read about his inspiring literary journey:

    Putting Literary Miami on the Map

    March 18, 2019

    In the competitive environment of college admissions, do students lose sight of the quest for curiosity and learning for their own sakes?

    Frank Bruni, a The New York Times columnist, reflects on the values that are increasingly in jeopardy in the midst of the college application process:

    The Moral Wages of the College Admissions Mania

    March 11, 2019

    Two Young Adult authors have pulled their books from publication because of controversy stirred up on twitter. Should writers make decisions based on social media users’ opinions?

    Read what Jennifer Senior, a book critic for The New York Times has to say:

    Teen Fiction and the Perils of Cancel Culture

    March 4, 2019

    How can high school students balance their academic workload to make more time for leisure reading?

    This Time article points out that many teens rarely read for pleasure:

    A Third of Teenagers Don't Read Books for Pleasure Anymore

    February 25, 2019

    In Julia Freeland Fisher’s new book Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students’ Networks, the author argues that helping students make connections to people is as important as expanding their knowledge. How valuable is networking? 

    Here are some highlights from Fisher’s book:

    Bulletin Board: Creating Networks for Students

    February 11, 2019

    If studies show that girls are more disciplined about their schoolwork, why do they hold only 5% of the top positions in the largest public companies?

    Lisa Damour, a clinical psychologist and author, highlights how the lack of confidence may negatively affect girls:

    Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to Them at the Office

    February 4, 2019

    How does competitive gaming, aka e-sports, promote discipline and collaboration among high school students?

    Arielle Dollinger explores the rise in e-sports scholarships and how gaming can benefit students:

    Video Games Are a Waste of Time? Not for Those With E-Sports Scholarships

    January 28, 2019

    One study of Generation Z members found that their news consumption was “almost entirely driven by social media.”  In what ways has technology changed the credibility of information?

    Christopher Mims, a technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal highlights some other interesting findings about Generation Z and technology:

    Generation Z's 7 Lessons for Surviving in our Tech-Obsessed World

    January 14, 2019

    How does reading books that offend us also help us to grow as readers?

    Brian Morton, director of the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College, compares reading to time travel:

    Virginia Woolf? Snob! Richard Wright? Sexist! Dostoyevsky? Anti-Semite!

    January 7, 2019

    In what ways are writers responsible for upholding the moral standards of their times?

    Judith Shulevitz examines the recent practice of regulating authors’ book contracts based on their public reputations:

    Must Writers Be Moral? Their Contracts May Require It

    January 2, 2019

    What are the concepts that make innovation successful?

    David Sax explores how simple ideas are often the most valuable:

    End the Innovation Obsession

    December 17, 2018

    What are the differences between listening to a book and reading it?

    Daniel T. Willingham, a professor at the University of Virginia, explores the topic:

    Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?

    December 10, 2018

    Does striving for straight As in school interfere with other achievements?

    Adam Grant, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, explains how focusing too much on GPAs can affect students' future careers:

    What Straight-A Students Get Wrong

    December 3, 2018

    How can reading create empathy?

    This article from a British educational publication explains the connection:

    How Reading Can Boost Empathy

    Monday, November 26, 2018

    In what ways can adding cultural spaces to shopping areas benefit societies?

    Asia sets the example for what may be a positive future trend:

    Libraries, Gardens, Museums. Oh, and a Clothing Store.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    How does digital manipulation change the way we interpret news videos?

    The News Literacy Project analyzes video footage of recent events and explores the issue of digital authenticity:

    Manipulation or Compression?

    Monday, November 5, 2018

    How would pocket-size books affect your decision to read a print book versus a digital one?

    Alexandra Alter reports on the upcoming release of mini books and the prospects for booksellers:

    Tiny Books Fit in One Hand. Will They Change the Way We Read?

    Monday, October 29, 2018

    How has the way you were taught reading as a child affected the reader you are today?

    According to Emily Hanford, not all readers have been instructed in ways that helps them develop into confident readers:

    Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

    Monday, October 22, 2018

    How can an artificial intelligence program that helps authors finish sentences affect the creative process of writing a novel?

    Robin Sloan, bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, has been experimenting with new software that helps him write:

    A.I. Is Beginning to Assist Novelists

    Monday, October 15, 2018 

    In what ways do the topics you read and learn about in your classes affect your thoughts on a future career?

    According to the Student Research Foundation, students think about their future careers more often than teachers realize:

    When and How Do High School Students Begin to Consider Their Future Careers?

    Tuesday, October 9, 2018

    How can you tell if you’re a visual learner or an auditory learner? 

    Daniel T Willingham’s article explains why it’s not always helpful to define learning styles:

    Are You A Visual Learner or An Auditory Learner?

    Monday, October 1, 2018

    In what ways has technology made literature more accessible? 

    Author Cassandra Clarke discusses the impact technology has had on literature:

    How Technology Is Changing The Literary World

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    How are coding and literature similar?

    In​ Code & Literature: More Similar Than You Might Think,​ the author highlights some of the characteristics they share:

    Code & Literature


    Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    In what ways does listening to an audio book seem more or less appealing than reading a print book?

    Here are some suggestions for great audio books:

    12 Addictive Audiobooks For Teens


    Tuesday, September 4, 2018

    In what ways does the cover of a book influence your decision to read it?

    In an article on the Creative Market blog, Emmanuel Nataf shares classic book covers that were redesigned for the modern reader:

    How Eight Classic Book Covers Have Been Redesigned for Modern Readers