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1/7/12 Tips For Teachers

January 7, 2013
Plain English Version

Latina Birthrates Go Way Down

Why are Hispanic birthrates declining? Are the reasons clear to readers?

The idea behind large families was religion, the high rate of infant and childhood mortality and the necessity for children to support their parents in their elder years. All over the world, birthrates go down as families become educated and enjoy prosperity.

How important are large families today? Are people planning more than two children?

Nowadays, health care, college education and housing costs affect family planning decisions. Is this the right way to deal with the question of how many children?

Moreover, more children are being born into non-traditional households. Single parents, older parents, gay and lesbian parents are now part of the ordinary. Are these trends good for society?

Put Down That Pizza! But New Study Favors Overweight People

This is a story that stands common sense on its head. A few weeks from now we will read another study that says the opposite. The fact is most of these studies are “snapshots,” not research that follows a group of people over a long time period.

Nor are they controlled experiments, which means one group of people is given one treatment (say a diet of more than the number of calories than is healthy), and another group of people eating the way they normally eat.

Nevertheless, the health industry needs this kind of research to develop new health products and drugs.

Do readers accept this reporting at face value? Do they change their behaviors? For example, exercise is always in the news. One day it is essential they next day it makes no difference.

What advice do readers give young people?

Energy Drinks Really “Caffeine Delivery Systems”

People are working longer hours, going to school, caring for their families. Energy drinks promised they could maintain their strength. But they do so at a fairly high cost.

Now science says it all about the caffeine. Do readers accept this finding?

Are readers familiar with NoDoz?

An interesting aspect of this story is that the drinks deliver their caffeine quickly, while people drink coffee slowly. Do readers think this might account for the rush of energy?

And, incidentally, how many readers have used these drinks?

What do they think?

Tax Bill Hurts Working Families, Other Tax Breaks Remain

The biggest change in the paycheck of many lower-wage workers is a return to the old tax rates for social security. When the recession started, a 2009 law reduced them from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of wages. Now they are going back up.

That means less money in their pocket at the end of the workweek. But many people, including the President said the bill protected middle-class workers. It did, but lower wageworkers will be hurt.

Was this clear to readers when the new law was passed? Does the article make it clear?

The rest of the news for lower wageworkers is good. Other tax benefits will stay in place for five years.

Are readers concerned about the national economy — the annual national deficit and the longer-term debt?

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