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The Public Education System is Failing Our Kids


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka the nation’s “report card,”  was released last April and its was filled with some very sobering facts on public education. As we head into 2019 the Ridgewood thought it was time to restate some of the findings.

According to the report only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math.

The atrocious National Assessment of Educational Progress performance is only a fraction of the bad news. Nationally, our high school graduation rate is over 80 percent. That means high school diplomas, which attest that these students can read and compute at a 12th-grade level, are conferred when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math.

For black students, the news is even worse. Roughly 75 percent of black students received high school diplomas attesting that they could read and compute at the 12th-grade level. However, 83 percent could not read at that level, and 93 percent could not do math at that level.

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The Ridgewood blog would like to challenge our readers and all residents to read as many books as possible for 2019, Lets build a smarter Village!

Ridgewood Public Library by ArtChick

file photo by ArtChick

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, There’s no secret to how to get smarter. You read a lot it’s that simple .There’s a whole host of people who have excelled , from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to Richard Branson and Barack Obama, who will tell you the same thing. In the old days it was often said you can tell the second you enter a room if anyone there has ever read a book before.

But if building your brainpower is that straightforward, why don’t more people do it? For the same reason that we fail to do lots of worthy but less urgent self-improvement projects , we think we are all really busy.

But are we really? A new article by Charles Chu of site Better Humans raises some eyebrows by people who claim they simply don’t have enough time to feed their intellect with books.According to the author the simple math that proves you do have enough time to read. Chu tells the story of how reading 200 hundred books a year (yes, 200!) for the past several years has helped him turn his life around, reconsider his career, and become much happier.

The math is simple , according to Chu the average American reads 200 to 400 words per minute. A Typical nonfiction books have about 50,000 words.

Now, all we need are some quick calculations:

200 books x 50,000 words/book = 10 million words
10 million words/400 wpm = 25,000 minutes
25,000 minutes/60 = 417 hours

That’s all there is to it. To read 200 books, simply spend 417 hours a year reading!

You say you don’t have time take a look at what the average American spends on social media and TV in a year:

608 hours on social media
1,642 hours on TV

If those hours were spent reading instead, you could be reading more than 1,000 books a year!

The Ridgewood blog would like to challenge our readers and all residents to read as many books as possible for 2018 ! Lets build a smarter Village and perhaps a smarter New Jersey !

For those who don’t know where to start ,the Ridgewood library is full of suggestions and many librarians have made recommendation lists for residents .

The Ridgewood Public Library is located at
125 N Maple Ave
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Call (201) 670-5600

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Ridgewood Public Library had over 200 sign-ups and over 1,800 books read for the Adult Summer Reading Club

photo courtesy of the Ridgewood Public Library Facebook page

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood Public Library reported  the results of their Adult Summer Reading Club 2018.

“The Ridgewood Library would like to thank all the local businesses that donated prizes for our Adult Summer Reading Club. A huge thanks to the Friends of the Ridgewood Library for sponsoring this fantastic program. Congratulations to all our winners! This year we had over 200 sign-ups and over 1,800 books read.”

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the Ridgewood Blog : An Interview with a Librarian

June 18,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, as has been previously reported on the Ridgewood blog , the Ridgewood Public Library is looking to embark on a major renovation . While the renovation was described in glowing terms , the staff noticed the absence of any mentions of books .

Ridgewood Public Library Renovation: What about the books?

So we asked reader and an old friend who happens to be a librarian and a voracious reader Jason Vigorito the Reference Librarian at Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA. a few questions about books and libraries . Jason has been there for two years and has worked in Libraries for a total of 7 years .

TRB : what is the purpose of a public library?

Jason , “A public library’s purpose is three-fold: it’s an information repository for print, digital, video, audio, and other published mediums; it’s a community center for local residents to gather for various activities; and, it provides community assistance in a variety of ways, including literacy promotion, general education development, charitable work, and connections between various individuals and organizations. ”

TRB : has that purpose changed?

Jason , “Libraries, in the formal community-accessible modern sense, have been around for over a hundred years. Their three-fold purpose has always been standard, however the focus within each has shifted and widened considerably given how times have generally changed. For example, focus on certain forms of print–like newspapers and microfiche–has shifted in a dramatic decrease while digital databases have literally begun from scratch and widened into many niches and accessibility options. ”

TRB: why do people use a library ?

Jason, ” People unfamiliar with libraries tend to think that patrons visit them basically just to borrow books and maybe read newspapers or magazines. That’s only a small percentage of why people patronize libraries. The list is extensive. Some of the many other reasons include: to find a quiet place to study; to grab a coffee and snack (if your library has a cafe, as mine does); to watch performances by musicians and artists; to take a class (like on how to do your taxes, or on personal finance, or work toward a GED, or how to navigate social media); to research local history or one’s family tree; to buy books and other materials at sales; to meet with government representatives in forums; to participate in charity drives; to attend fun activities whether for adults or the whole family; to watch films; to access computer programs and the Internet when they don’t have them at home; to seek refuge when natural disasters hit; and on and on and on.”

TRB : what is the value of books?

Jason , ” If you do an online search, you’ll find some pithy quotes on the power of books. My personal favorite is Dr. Who’s: “You want weapons. We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!” The original Twilight Zone tv show had some great episodes on the subject, as well. It’s possible that books’ value can be broadly applied in two ways:

First, they are travel guides–they take you from the here and now and transport you to the there and/or other times;

Second, they are teachers–they expose you to new ideas and perspectives. Books are the torches that pass ideas down through the ages of otherwise dark ignorance.

In other words, a book’s value is in creating deeper, more cultivated value within its readers. Learning is always forward-moving, and you can’t unlearn what you learn.”

TRB : why do we need books?

Jason , ” We need books in order to prevent history from repeating itself while simultaneously continuing to advance civilization. History shows that with greater accessibility to books in general, society progresses more rapidly and expansively. The best example is Gutenberg and the advent of his printing press–it incontrovertibly proves that civilization took a massive leap forward in every respect thanks to the printed word. Without books, we might very well regress back to some forgotten yet frightening times; just take a look at societies where books were reproached by, or outright prohibited to, the people.”


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Ridgewood Public Library Launches Bookmatch service

Ridgewood Public Library by ArtChick
file photo by ArtChick
March 24,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, You could write to the New York Times, I suppose, or you could ask the experts right in your own backyard at the Ridgewood Public Library. Check out our Bookmatch service Simply email us a few books you loved and a few books you hated and we will give you a personalized list of suggestions.

125 N Maple Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
(201) 670-5600
Library · Government Organization
Opens at 9:00am 9:00AM – 6:00PM

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How I Tricked Myself Into Reading More Books


cold weather ,time to pick up a good book

Patrick Allan
2/27/17 8:00am

I love books. I can’t leave a bookstore without at least one. But I also have a tendency to buy books and not actually read them. Somewhere along the way reading fell by the wayside in favor of other forms of entertainment. To get back on track, I made some simple changes that have helped me with my reading habits thus far—no speed reading necessary.

I Made My Environment More Reading Friendly

I Carry My Books With Me Wherever I Go

I Give Up on Books I’m Not Enjoying

I Started Reading Three—and Only Three—Books at a Time

I Talk About Books More With Others

I “Complete the Cycle” When Reading

Read the full article :

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America’s kids got more stupid in reading, math and science while Team Obama was in charge


By Todd Starnes

Published February 09, 2017

American school kids became more stupid under the Obama administration, according to rankings released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

They recently released the results of a worldwide exam administered every three years to 15-year-olds in 72 countries. The exam monitors reading, math and science knowledge.

Based on their findings, the United States saw an 11-point drop in math scores and nearly flat levels for reading and science.

The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, fell below the OECD average – and failed to crack the top ten in all three categories.

In other words, thanks to the Obama administration’s education policies, kids in the Slovac Republic are more proficient in multiplication.

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Reader says please don’t cut the book shelf space. Most important part of the Ridgewood library!!


I saw Green’s presentation. Boy do I ever feel relieved. I am a senior citizen and Nancy said it was too confusing and difficult for people to find the stairs to go to second floor from the first floor and that it is too “dim” to read upstairs , so they need to redesign the first floor to put the staircase to the second floor right in your face when you walk into the library. And they need natural sunlight from a newly designed roof.

I thought I was getting Alzheimer’s disease and going blind. because I always get lost when I am trying to find the stairway and it is too dark for me to read.

The auditorium with tiered seats will seat about 250 she said. Now it seats about 150. Justin Timberlake still won’t come and perform.

Relax Nancy. Buy some new furniture if you have too, update the lighting fixtures if you have to, but they’re fine for me and really, Nanc, that auditorium has featured some top-notch talent, especially in classical music. It has a great stage and grand piano and the viewing from the floor is fine. And great acoustics. So be happy, I am.

From a long-time Ridgewood resident and library user.

Oh! please don’t cut the book shelf space. Most important part of the library!!

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The hidden benefits of reading aloud — even for older kids


Educator Jim Trelease explains why reading aloud to your child, no matter what her age, is the magic bullet for creating a lifelong reader.

by: Connie Matthiessen | January 14, 2016

Jim Trelease is the author of the respected, Read-Aloud Handbook, which some parents have called the “read aloud Bible.” The book is packed with information — from what really makes kids love reading, to tips for luring kids away from electronics and onto the page, to hundreds of read aloud titles. The Handbook’s seventh edition will be published in the spring of 2013 and, at 71 years old, Trelease says it will be his last. We reached Trelease recently in his home in Connecticut and asked him to explain why reading aloud is essential for kids of all ages.

Can you explain the link between reading aloud and school success?

It’s long established in science and research: the child who comes to school with a large vocabulary does better than the child who comes to school with little familiarity with words and a low vocabulary.

Why is that? If you think about it, in the early years of school, almost all instruction is oral. In kindergarten through second and third grades, kids aren’t reading yet, or are just starting, so it’s all about the teacher talking to the kids. This isn’t just true in reading but in all subjects; the teacher isn’t telling kids to open their textbooks and read chapter three. The teaching is oral and the kids with the largest vocabularies have an advantage because they understand most of what the teacher is saying. The kids with small vocabularies don’t get what is going on from the start, and they’re likely to fall further and further behind as time goes on.

How does a child develop a large vocabulary even before school starts? Children who are spoken to and read to most often are the ones with the largest vocabularies. If you think about it, you can’t get a word out of the child’s mouth unless he has heard it before. For example, the word “complicated.” A child isn’t going to say the word unless he has heard it before — and in fact to remember it, a child probably has to hear it multiple times. (That’s not true with swear words, of course. If a child hears his parent swear he’ll remember it the first time, and happily repeat it whenever he gets the chance.) But kids have to hear most words multiple times, so it’s important that their parents talk to and around them from the time they are very young, because that’s how they learn words.

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Reader says the Ridgewood Public Library has no business getting involved in a performing arts center


The Ridgewood Public Library has no business getting involved in a performing arts center. They are not the village Entertainment Center.

They are trying to build up their numbers by hosting book clubs, cooking clubs and other hobby clubs. What is the purpose of a library? They need to evolve to electronic information – if that even makes sense.

A performing Arts Center should use private funds. Create a nonprofit and give it a go. Government should not be in the entertainment business. And opera and ballet are entertainment.