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Column One: Curriculum

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The project is the first of what will become a nationwide effort to nurture a love of children's literature among teachers. The associations reason that teachers who appreciate good children's books will use them in their classrooms, thus lessening their reliance on basal readers.

"We don't want to just immerse teachers in good books," said Ann McCallum, a member of the project's steering committee, "we want to marinate them."

The groups will launch the project at 25 sites. Each site, located in either an elementary or a middle school, will have a maximum of 10 participants--including a building administrator. Clubs will get extra funds if local superintendents are also involved.

Grants from the A.A.P. and private foundations will pay for the purchase of books this year.


To steer amateur stargazers in the right direction when they decide to invest in a telescope, the editors of Astronomy magazine have compiled a 16-page booklet called "How to Buy Your First Telescope."

The pamphlet contains the answers to the 30 most frequently asked questions about backyard telescopes.

And, while the information is consumer-oriented, it also could be incorporated as supplementary material into the curriculum of an introductory-astronomy class or a general-science course.

For more information about the booklet, or about how to order, call 1-800-533-6644.


Half of leading U.S. history and civics textbooks get a failing grade for their portrayals of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, according to a gun control advocacy group.

The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence surveyed 40 social-studies textbooks used in secondary schools. The organization charges that half of the books either present an inaccurate representation of the right to keep and bear arms, as the courts have interpreted it, or portray it in ambiguous or contradictory ways. Several books, the group said, fail to mention that courts have linked that right to militia service.

"As this country prepares to celebrate the bicentennial of the Bill of Rights, it is important to examine the Second Amendment 'myth' perpetuated by the gun lobby which has made its way into too many textbooks read by our schoolchildren," said Dennis Henigan, the Washington group's legal-action director--D.V. & P.W.

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