Syracuse University

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5th annual E*LIT competition recognizes student accomplishments in literacy, technology projects

May 14, 2008

Margaret Costello Spillett
315 443 1069

Margaret Costello Spillett

The Syracuse University Center for Digital Literacy will host its fifth annual E*LIT (Enriching Literacy through Information Technology) competition, featuring award-winning children's author Uma Krishnaswami, Friday, May 16, at 10 a.m. in Grant Auditorium.

The E*LIT Competition is intended to help children in Central New York and beyond understand the synergy between technology and literacy. This event has been highly successful in motivating children to read, work collaboratively and use technology in productive ways.

This year, school media specialists, students and classroom teachers in the Central New York area have created literacy projects using a variety of media based on the life of Krishnaswami and showcasing a minority perspective. These projects are submitted into the E*LIT Competition, and are judged based on such criteria as originality, depth and breadth of project content, spelling/grammar and use of technology. Every school that enters the competition receives an autographed book for its library.

On Friday, Krishnaswami will address student participants and their teachers and award winners will be announced.

Krishnaswami's first work, a poem, was published in the Indian magazine Children's World at age 13, and she's been writing ever since. Krishnaswami, a native of New Delhi, India, focuses her work on perception and diversity.

"The impression in many circles, publishing and otherwise, is that stories from a given culture are mainly, even only, of interest to those within that culture," she says in her blog, Writing with a Broken Tusk. "You often hear the word `niche' in connection with such work, and it's really a cop-out in some ways. It implies that kids will only read work that reflects their worlds, and I think kids are a whole lot smarter than that. They will read compelling stories, and they'll read them over and over."

She has authored more than 20 children's books, including "Bringing Asha Home" (Lee & Low Books, 2006), "The Closet Ghosts" (Children's Book Press, 2005), "Naming Maya" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004), "Chachaji's Cup" (Children's Book Press, 2003) and "Holi" (Children's Press, 2003). Krishnaswami received the 1997 Skipping Stones Award and the 2004 Paterson Prize for Books and Young People.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorship, Microsoft and Apple.

The Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) is an interdisciplinary, collaborative research and development center at Syracuse University dedicated to (1) understanding the impact of information, technology and media literacies on children and adults (particularly those from underserved populations) in today's technology-intensive society and (2) studying the impact having or not having these literacies has on people, organizations, and society.

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