Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Wilmington NC :: Sacramento CA :: Kinston NC

Literacy: Spanning the US

Each One Teach One
Yasmin Tomkinson Steers The Cape Fear Literacy Council
WilmaMag: 6.22.2020 by Beth Klahre

It’s called the silent epidemic. One in six adults struggles with reading.

YASMIN TOMKINSON, executive director of the Cape Fear Literacy Council (CFLC), drives the mission to provide personalized education so adults can transform their lives and contribute to a stronger community.

“Low literacy among adults is an underlying factor in almost every social issue: unemployment and underemployment; children’s academic prospects; incarceration rates; drug and alcohol abuse; high health care costs,” Tomkinson says.

Tomkinson’s journey to executive director traversed the United States. After attending Vassar College, studying education and American history, she joined Volunteers in Service to America.

“I lived in a small Utah town near Navajo and Ute Indian reservations. My first day, tumbleweeds rolled down the street. I wondered what I had just committed to! But, it turned out to be an incredible year, learning about different communities and cultures. I began to understand the kind of work that I found rewarding,” she recalls.

Subsequently, Tomkinson traveled across the county working with various nonprofits including California Campus Contact in Los Angeles and the Abell Foundation improving the quality of life in her hometown, Baltimore. 

Tomkinson moved to Wilmington in 2002 to escape the Boston cold. She started to volunteer at CFLC in the one-on-one tutoring program. Eventually hired, Tomkinson became responsible for the Adult Literacy Program.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 12
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 17-18 yrs. old
(Twelfth graders)

COVID Diaries

Each of us has been impacted in different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. Old, young, and in-between, we’ve all experienced big changes in our work life, family life, and social life.

The California State Library is inviting Californians to share their experiences and stories of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage the California Library Literacy Services community to take part in this project and share a story, a poem, a letter–however you feel comfortable expressing yourself. Learners can choose to write their own submission or dictate their experience to their tutor.

The project team will collect submissions from learners, tutors, and library literacy staff, add submissions to the State Library’s archive, and maintain a California Library Literacy Services archive.

* The project website is for the California Library Literacy Services community only. Library literacy coordinators will provide learners and tutors with access to the URL.


A template for writing a themed poem 
(it can be helpful to create your Word Bank first)

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 14
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 21-22 yrs. old
(college level)

Neuse Regional Libraries Awarded LSTA Literacy Without Barriers Grant
Kinston: 6.24.2020 by Melanie Morgan, Neuse Regional Library

The Neuse Regional Libraries (NRL) are excited to be rolling out the Literacy Without Barriers project beginning July 1, 2020 thanks to a $29,121 grant made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The NRL seek to support several types of literacy through programs and services that address the intergenerational nature of literacy, and support parents as the first teachers of their children. The NRL will create literacy centers at the Greene County Public Library, Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library, La Grange Public Library, Maysville Public Library, and Pollocksville Public Library to meet the essential educational and technology needs of families . . .  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 23
Reading Level: very difficult to read.
Reader's Age: College graduate

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

150 Student Writing Prompts For Blogs Or Websites The Edublogger

150 Student Writing Prompts For Blogs, Digital Portfolios, Or Websites
The Edublogger: 6.30.2020 by Kathleen Morris, Ronnie Burt, and Sue Waters

If your students have their own blog, digital portfolio, or website, you may have found that their enthusiasm for writing was initially high. Students typically can’t wait to unleash their creativity and publish on their own online space, often for an authentic audience.

Sometimes when the initial excitement wears off, students start facing “bloggers’ block” or get in a rut of writing the same style of post over and over.
Our interesting collecting of writing prompts will help your students maintain momentum with their blog, website, or digital portfolio. The prompts allow your students to explore various genres, tools, and mediums. If you have students who are reluctant writers or perhaps you’re just looking for fresh and authentic ideas to get your students publishing, you’re in the right place.

Scroll down to dive straight into the 150 prompts, or read on to find out more about the types of posts you could see on a blog, personal website, or digital portfolio.

10 Types Of Blog Posts

Blogging isn’t like traditional writing — it’s a unique genre and it’s worth exploring what’s possible.

Here are 10 types of blog posts you commonly see on the web. This might give you inspiration to mix up the posts on your students’ blogs, websites, or portfolios.

1. Reflection:
Deep thoughts and self-reflection on what you’ve learned, experienced, or what you’re thinking about.

2. How-to/Helpful:
Everyone loves using the web to find out how to do something. This classic style of post can be enhanced with pictures, videos, and other media.

3. Journal/Diary/Recount:
This is a versatile style of post that’s great for reading logs, field trips, science labs, special events, study abroad, and so on.

4. News/Announcement:
These posts aim to keep readers up-to-date with important information.

5. Marketing/Sales:
Typically these are commercial style posts. Students could use blogs to advertise things like school events and fundraisers.

6. Controversial/Debate/Editorial:
This involves taking a stance on an issue while backing up thoughts with facts and proof.

7. Reviews:
Many people love to take to the web to share their reviews (sites like Amazon and TripAdvisor may offer inspiration!).

8. Listicle:
This is another name for a list post. We know how popular articles are that start with something like “10 ways to…”.

9. Curation Posts:
Sometimes a blog post or page is used to curate a list of resources on a particular topic.

10. Ongoing Series:
Choose any of the above, but split it up into several shorter posts that get published over a set period of time. The posts could connect sequentially, or just fall under the same umbrella topic.

150 Ideas And Prompts For Student Writers

We’ve divided the prompts up into 8 broad topics to make navigation easier. Of course, some prompts could fit into more than one category.

Getting Started
Online Prompts
Interdisciplinary and Fun
Art, Images, and Music
Reading and Writing
History and Geography
Math and Science
Web Tools

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 8
Reading Level: standard / average.
Reader's Age: 12-14 yrs. old
(Seventh and Eighth graders)

Monday, July 6, 2020

Mapping the American Literacy Ecosystem via Library Journal

Mapping the American Literacy Ecosystem
Library Journal: 6.23.2020 by  Ian Chant

On literacy, libraries don't have to go it alone.

There is probably no single cause more popular than literacy. While libraries of all types are of course front and center in the fight, everything from a plethora of other governmental agencies to literacy-specific nonprofits international and domestic to giant for-profit corporations like McDonalds have dedicated resources to promoting reading and addressing the literacy crisis we scoped in our April issue (“How Serious Is America's Literacy Problem?” by Amy Rea.).

That complex landscape means a wealth of opportunities for partnership and/or funding for libraries. It also comes with the challenges of coordination and the need to avoid reinventing the wheel. If your library is looking to start a new literacy program or level up its existing offerings, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local landscape of what’s already on offer and what the gaps and opportunities are.

In a crowded field, knowing which partners are right for your team, and how best to work with them, can be tricky. Here’s a rundown of some key players in the literacy space and their thoughts on what to know before you reach out for support for training, teaching tools, grants, etc.


Whether you’re establishing a new program or expanding an existing one, librarians and literacy consultants alike agree the first step is coming to an understanding of what your library’s offering should look like, and why. A literacy program for early readers looks much different from one for adults looking to pass high school equivalency exams, and both look different from a literacy program focused on English as a second language (ESL).

Having a sense of the kind of program you want to establish, and why it’s the most appropriate choice for your community, is not only foundational to your internal planning—it’s a question to which partners will expect a good answer.

Local libraries should know two main things—what the need for literacy programs looks like in their service area, and what programs are already serving those needs.


In California, 105 of the state’s 186 public library jurisdictions operate adult and family literacy programs supported by California Library Literacy Services (CLLS), a program of the state library. CLLS administers $7.3 million in state funding each year and also supports in-person and online training for literacy program staff and volunteers.

On the other coast, the New Jersey State Library provides continuing education opportunities such as the Literacy Boot Camp, a four-day training seminar that combines workshops, speakers, and hands-on training, which was developed in partnership with New Jersey’s Plainfield Public Library in 2015.


How can partnering with a larger organization help level up your library literacy program?

One ADLI grantee, the Terrebonne Parish Library in Louisiana, used the resources from its grant to develop a collection of books helpful to communities of English learners.


Organizations and programs supporting literacy efforts come in many shapes and sizes, and serve a range of needs including early childhood, family, and adult literacy. Here are some of the key players.

AMERICAN DREAM LITERACY INITIATIVE Administered by the American Library Association (ALA) and funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Dream Literacy Initiative (ADLI) provides grants to libraries serving adult learners, provided they are within 20 miles of a Dollar General store or office. In the 10 years since it started, the program has provided $10,000 grants to more than 200 libraries, supporting services like expanded services, workforce training, and collection development.

BARBARA BUSH FOUNDATION Since its founding 31 years ago, the mission of the Barbara Bush Foundation has evolved, but continues to work to serve literacy efforts aimed at children and adult learners alike.

DOLLY PARTON'S IMAGINATION LIBRARY Since its inception in 1995, this program of the Dollywood Foundation has helped support early childhood literacy by sending children one book a month from birth until they turn five years old.

EVERY CHILD READY TO READ A collaboration of the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children, Every Child Ready To Read (ECRR) helps train library staff in developing workshops and resources for parents and caregivers looking to give their kids a leg up on literacy from a very young age.

NATIONAL CENTER FOR FAMILIES Learning Working to end poverty through family education.

PROLITERACY This umbrella organization, which supports member programs in all 50 states as well as internationally, doesn’t do direct granting, but does provide resources to help librarians hone their skills as both literacy tutors and advocates for their programs with local and state legislators

READING IS FUNDAMENTAL Funded by a variety of private organizations, Reading Is Fundamental works with schools and public libraries to give young readers access to books they never need to return to a drop box.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 16
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: College graduate

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Califon NJ :: Bath ME :: Murfreesboro TN :: Winchester VA

Literacy: Spanning the US

Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board Offers Virtual Literacy Program

A new series of virtual literacy services is set to begin next month for adult learners seeking a high school diploma and to develop English language skills in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

Like other programs around the state and nation, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the programs once offered in face to face settings in libraries and churches have moved to a remote-learning model. Students and teachers will be using Zoom, Whatsapp and other virtual methods to conduct individual and group learning. Some of the programs also are purchasing additional Chrome books to help support students’ learning experiences.

Beginning on July 1, Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission is hosting new literacy programs open to residents of Hunterdon and Somerset counties. Services include high school equivalency, basic computer skills and English Language acquisition.

In addition, the Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission also operates two Workforce Learning Link sites offering adult literacy programs. These programs offered through the Greater Raritan One-Stop Career Center, are also currently being offered remotely, and may go back to some form of in-person classes later this summer or in the early fall.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 14
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 21-22 yrs. old
(college level)

Midcoast Literacy Looking For Volunteer Tutors
Boothbay Register: 6.20.2020 by Dan Burson, Midcoast Literacy

Midcoast Literacy, a non-profit that provides free literacy tutoring to people of all ages, needs more volunteer tutors who can begin working with children and adult learners this summer, especially in the Bath/Brunswick area. Tutors are needed for school-age children who are struggling to read at grade level; for children and adults from asylum seeking families; and for adults wanting to improve their literacy skills so they can improve their lives. If you think you might be able to help an adult or child in the Bath/Brunswick region develop stronger literacy skills this summer, please contact Midcoast Literacy at

“The COVID-19 pandemic, school closures, and stay-at-home directives have all made the need for literacy programs more acute,” says Don Lader, Midcoast Literacy’s executive director. His comments were echoed by Brunswick Cultural Broker Nsiona Nguizani, who works closely with new Mainers in the region. “Kids who are being tutored are getting to speak English outside school, and they’re picking it up quicker than the other (immigrant) kids,” says Nguizani. “The tutors are the person-to-person keys that bring them to the language.”
=Currently, tutoring sessions are taking place remotely via Zoom and other platforms, and in-person at outdoor sessions. In the coming months, some tutoring pairs will move their sessions to inside locations that allow for appropriate distancing and protection measures.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 14
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 21-22 yrs. old
(college level)

Greenhouse Ministries Focuses On Education
Murfreesboro Post: 6.20.2020 by Kristina Brown

Are you looking for useful ways to volunteer?  Do you want to invest in your community, but are unsure where your donations will do the most good?  Would you like to know more about the services non-profit organizations in your community provide?  Read on to discover how you can make a difference in Rutherford County.

For over 20 years, Greenhouse Ministries’ mission has been simple: help, educate, and connect the underserved while nurturing them in a safe place. Greenhouse’s clients are primarily the working poor, single mothers and grandmothers, the homeless, those displaced through job loss or medical issues, the disabled, and those on Social Security.

Greenhouse offers services for basic human needs. These include providing help from its food pantry, clothing, toiletries, household items, prayer, and assistance obtaining an ID/birth certificate.

However, the main emphasis of the services offered at Greenhouse Ministries is the long-term help through educating and connecting with their clients. It offers adult education classes, including computer skills, tutoring for the high school equivalency test, literacy tutoring, parenting, budgeting, and career advancement classes. It also connects its clients with other resources available, including job and housing opportunities, as well as connecting them with other nonprofits who might be able to better serve their needs.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 13
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 18-19 yrs. old
(college level entry)

Literacy Volunteers Adapting In Age Of COVID-19
Winchester Star: 6.22.2020 by Brian Brehm

The COVID-19 quarantine pushed many area schools, businesses and organizations into cyberspace, where people meet via videoconference using services such as Zoom and WebEx.

Included among them was Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area, which switched to a distance-learning model in order to continue teaching English as a second language.

While there have been a few hiccups along the way, officials said the overall results have been encouraging — so much so that distance learning will become a permanent teaching alternative for the nonprofit at 301 N. Cameron St., in the Our Health complex.

Student-turned-tutor Laura Rodriguez admitted, “It’s challenging,” but said she is learning to adjust to the online teaching model by gauging the reactions of her pupils whenever she introduces new subject matter.

Tutor Meghan Blake, a Winchester resident who recently graduated from St. Joseph’s College in New York, said the key to successful online teaching is adapting to a sometimes unpredictable environment.

“These people are at home. They have kids, so we’ll have kids show up in class,” she said. “That can be both fun and interesting at the same time.”

Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area has a multi-faceted mission, helping people of all ethnic and educational backgrounds improve their reading, writing and computer skills, and assisting immigrants with the process of becoming naturalized U.S. citizens.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 11
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 15-17 yrs. old
(Tenth to Eleventh graders)