SRI International recently conducted a national study of the U.S. Department of Education's Community Technology Center (CTC) initiative, an initiative aimed at developing model programs that provide effective technology and education programs in underserved urban and rural communities.

The report: The Organization of Learning in Community Technology Centers: Learning with Technologies in Six Communities, published in March 2001, detailed the results of the SRI research. The Spaghetti Book Club, which is offered at the Technology and Learning Center @ the Armory in Washington Heights, New York City, was one of the programs featured in the report and received accolades for being a successful model for integrating technology and literacy. The full report is available at:

Below are quotes from the report that illustrate the success and effectiveness of the Spaghetti Book Club:

"The examples from students who've participated in the program at the TLC@the Armory illustrate the power of the program. The reviews of students are coherent and show the students' understanding of the plot of stories. Their opinions and recommendations show an attention to audience and an ability to reflect on meaningful texts. Their illustrations show their skill in linking visual and print modes of literacy, while at the same time providing the students with an opportunity to express themselves creatively."


"Part of the success of the Spaghetti Book Club owes to how much it draws from what we know about how young children learn how to read and write. In this early literacy program, students get to pick their own children's book to review. The students' book reviews call for them not just to summarize their books as in a book report but also to provide their own opinion of the book and make recommendations to others about the book."


"What is unusual about the project is that students really engage excitedly in the process of writing and revision. Even in the after-school hours, nearly all the participants observed were actively engaged in revising and improving reviews they'd already begun. The project takes students through a single book and, through iteration, students develop a more coherent and polished review."


"At different stages during the review process, students review each other's work and provide suggestions for improvement. Each of these strategies - peer review, connecting to personal experience, and studying of one's own choosing - is important in a learner-centered approach."


"In programs like the Urban Voice in Oakland, the Spaghetti Book Club in New York, and the after-school robotics classes in Columbia, program developers have blended their understanding of how people learn with their understanding of how people develop and grow through the opportunities and supports for taking responsibility for learning that can be provided in community-based organizations."

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