Reading skills, a universal blog editor, and authorial genius

I have three items to share with you this week, one of which made me laugh out loud – but more of that later.

First, Intellectual Takeout notes that “A Decline in Reading Skills Makes Geese for the Plucking“.

A teacher-friend of mine recently expressed sadness over the stagnation of her students. Before the pandemic she could see students steadily gaining ground. Now she was seeing zero progress on their tests—and maybe even some declines. Tests aren’t everything, she admitted, yet after struggling through online teaching and masks and other troubles, she was disheartened to see ground being lost.

Unfortunately, it appears my friend is just one of many teachers experiencing such discouragement. The effects of the pandemic are beginning to show up, and the results aren’t pretty, particularly in the area of reading for younger students.

. . .

… one of the biggest dangers facing this up-and-coming population that can’t read [is that] they will be all the more easily taken in by propaganda, sucked onto the conveyor belt of yes-men that do anything the media and government tell them to do.

. . .

The more parents read to children, the more thinking citizens we will have one day. And the more thinking citizens we have, the fewer geese there will be for the plucking.

There’s more at the link.

It’s hard to argue with the author’s thesis.  I was blessed to grow up in a household with an abundance of books (over 3,000 volumes, including two full encyclopedias and several sets of Time-Life books on science, biology, geography and so on).  It made a huge difference to my schooling.  In my Matriculation year, I read over 700 books, over and above my schoolwork (yes, I kept a record of them as a study project).  Intellectually, my siblings and I were years ahead of our calendar age.  (Emotionally, not so much!)  I remain grateful to my late parents for the head start that gave us in life.

Next, I came across ScribeFire, a blog editor for the Chrome and Firefox browsers that promises to provide a common interface for social media posts to Blogger, WordPress, and several other platforms.  I haven’t tried it myself yet, but I’d like to hear from any readers who have – and/or who’ve tried other third-party blog editing software.

ScribeFire is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to all of your blogs.

You can post to blogs from WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Windows Live Spaces, Xanga, LiveJournal, or any other blog that supports the MetaWeblog or MovableType APIs.

You can edit and update existing posts. You can schedule posts for the future (if your blog allows that). You can delete posts. You can save drafts. You can tag and categorize. You can upload images. You can edit visually, or you can use HTML or Markdown. You can post to multiple blogs at once.

ScribeFire for Chrome has a simple interface that is so simple even a caveman could use it, and anything you’re working on is saved if you close the editor and restored when you come back.

Again, more at the link.  If you’ve tried it, please tell us how you found it;  and if you know of other, similar products, please tell us as well.  It would be a blessing to be able to avoid the vagaries of different editors on different platforms, and use a common interface instead.

Finally, cartoonist Stephan Pastis shows us how to address authors.

Pearls Before Swine 2022-03-17

I must try that approach!

7 comments

  1. As Larry keeps stressing…

    Reading skills are declining because of the absolute turds that are being passed off as ‘classics’ that kids are being forced to read.

    Stop passing off depressing 1930s (and set in the 1930s) drek as ‘classics’ and maybe kids will want to read. There has been 85 years since OM&M, do we have nothing better?

    1. I’d argue that the ones written in the 30s are better than the ones that were written more recently. No, I don’t particularly want to read Grapes of Wrath again (I’ve never read Of Mice and Men, so I can’t comment on that one), but if I was given a choice between that and, say, The Hate U Give, I’ll choose the Joads with enthusiasm.

      1. No. OM&M was the single most dreary novel I’d ever read in school, and that included The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, The Scarlet Letter, Oliver Twist, and a whole host of other depressing novels.
        They ALL suck, but OM&M is perhaps the MOST horrible, because of its heavy-handed Leftism. We were SUPPOSED to be on the side of the hapless Lenny as he protects the dullard, rather than thinking that he was an idiot, himself, to stick with him and destroy BOTH of their lives.

  2. It isn’t reading skills, it’s thinking skills. Is there a positive correlation between reading and rejecting Marx?

  3. > You can edit and update existing posts. You can schedule posts for the future (if your blog allows that). You can delete posts.

    So, for this to work, you’d be giving a Google application admin access to all your blogs, with the ability to edit entriesor delete them completely.

    Google is not your friend.

  4. Am I the only one here who felt bad for Lenny for trying to help his friend? Sure he bombed because Steinbeck is a jerk and a real writer would have figured out that Lenny should have found help to help his friend but Lenny tried.

    1. No. My school showed us the B&W movie where Lon Chaney Jr played Lenny. They apparently decided the novel would be too difficult; school did the same thing with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Maybe it was just Chaney, but poor Lenny’s fate left me in tears, embarrassing as that is to admit.

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