Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Diseases can improve Science Literacy... What was that?

If you or someone in your family has a disease, you might Reach ReadTM to find out more about it. Students are the same way. The first journal article on a particular subject might be tough, but by the fifth one, you got most of the lingo down, and the reading becomes easier. The first one, though, you'll need to keep a dictionary (physical or digital) nearby.

Here's an example on, "glycemic index:"

When you have, "a need to know," hard words won't stop you. Even if you can't read the article, you can carry it in to your doctors' offices as your own, "reading material," and have a positive effect on your health care (my opinion and experience).

Now, back to the example of, "glycemic index." Let's look at the author and title of the above-referenced journal article:

Endocrinology Vol. 142, No. 3 1148-1155
Copyright © 2001 by The Endocrine Society

Monounsaturated Fatty Acid Diets Improve Glycemic Tolerance through Increased Secretion of Glucagon-Like Peptide-11

Antonio S. Rocca2, Jonathon LaGreca3, Juliana Kalitsky3 and Patricia L. Brubaker

Departments of Physiology (A.S.R., J.L.G., J.K., P.L.B.) and Medicine (P.L.B.), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Patricia L. Brubaker, Ph.D., Rm 3366, Medical Sciences Building, 1 King’s College Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 1A8. E-mail:

Hmm! What words do you know in the title?






Do you have them all on your list? Congratulations! Now for the rest of us...

Do not panic!

You are in the Reach ReadingTM zone. Whew!

Take it slowly, like Einstein did when he read. It's ok to take a long time, even to get through the title. Oh, by the way, science fair people, it is a good idea to support some of your work, in background information or in discussion, by citing journal articles, so, take your time. You can do it. (Do I sound like a cheerleader yet?) Ah! That is more like it. relax. You are not supposed to know all the words. In fact,
No one knows all the words.
Source: Joan Beinetti, Reading Specialist and Home School Expert; Personal Communication with J. S. Shipman; 1989.

Don't you feel better knowing that, "No one knows all the words." Even geniuses use dictionaries. You don't have to be afraid of science any more (if you ever were.)

That release felt grand, didn't it. You don't have to be afraid in front of students of needing to look up words. It is expected!!! They should expect it of themselves. You are, "modeling," that desired behavior while learning new vocabulary yourself.

After slugging through the first article, the rest get easier and easier. Note, I didn't say easy. But after about five articles, they may seem easy to you. And, you will know a lot about your disease.

"Glycemic index," isn't a disease," you say.

"I know that," I reply. So, let's get on with the matter at hand. People with diabetes, pre-diabetes, people who are hungry all the time, people who drink a lot of water (more than everyone else), people who are hypoglycemic, people who are obese, people who are sooo slim, people who are, "just right," ...many people have diseases related to the, "glycemic index."


More by Joan Beinetti:

More on and by Patricia Brubaker:

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