Sunday, September 24, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Waterville ME :: Walworth Co WI :: Kenosha WI :: San Bernardino Co CA

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Donations from central Maine towns help literacy program expand
Literacy Volunteers Waterville Area helps adults learn to read, a much needed program that can result in greater economic and civic productivity.
Central Maine: 8.20.2017 by Madeline St. Amour

On a sunny day in July, Mona Gagnon, 54, sat at her kitchen table writing in her workbook provided by Literacy Volunteers Waterville Area. She focused on an exercise asking her to separate words into syllables and then rewrite them.

Howard Gagnon, her husband, leaned over her shoulder and waited for her to sound out the words.

“Can we skip it?” Mona said.

“No. Just sound it out,” Howard said.

Mona moved her lips and ran her finger under the word as she looked for ways to break it down.

“Thanks … thanks … thanksgiv … Thanksgiving,” she said, looking up at Howard, 56, before writing the word down in her book.
Three and a half years ago, Mona lost her memory after her medication was increased by one pill, according to Howard.

About a year ago, one of Mona’s friends suggested she go to Literacy Volunteers to start learning how to read again. Now she’s up to a first-grade reading level, Howard said.

The nonprofit relies almost entirely on volunteer workers to provide adults and families free instruction in reading and writing that are necessary to procuring healthcare, shopping for groceries and other needed items, finding work and even driving.  READ MORE @

Learning the language of opportunity
Janesville Gazette: 8.20.2017 by Margaret Plevak

Born in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, Lilly Barrett came to the United States as a child, so she understands firsthand the difficulties of learning a language while simultaneously navigating life in a new country.

That experience adds a compassionate dimension to her new job as coordinator of the Walworth County Literacy Council, where she assesses the needs of students and matches them to tutors.

“So often people think if somebody doesn't speak English they're not intelligent, that they don't have feelings, they're not human or equal. There are many intelligent people out there, hardworking people, compassionate people, but they're just not able to express themselves. That's something I hope people can see if they get to know others,” says Barrett, a Williams Bay resident who has a background in social services and industrial relations.  READ MORE @

Literacy level of parents affects next generation
Kenosha News: 8.24.201 by Cheryl Hernandez, Kenosha Literacy Council

Back to school season is here and many of us are thinking of ways that we can help children achieve academic success. It might surprise you to learn that the single greatest indicator of a child’s future success is the literacy level of his or her parents. In fact, children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72% chance of struggling themselves. Low-literate parents who have the opportunity to improve their own skills are more likely to have a positive impact on their children’s educational achievements.

It’s estimated that 36 million adults in the U.S. struggle with basic reading, writing, and math. Because of this, everyday tasks like reading a menu, filling out a job application, or helping children with homework are more difficult. At the Kenosha Literacy Council we see firsthand how adult literacy is a factor in almost every socioeconomic issue, including parenting, health care, workforce development, and poverty.  READ MORE @

Highland Library program aims to improve adult literacy
Highland News: 8.24.2017

The San Bernardino County Library is pleased to provide adult literacy services to the Highland community. The adult literacy program features individualized literacy services in one-on-one, confidential, student-centered sessions.

The program is intended to equip participants with lifelong learning skills and prepare them for personal, family, career and community success. Best of all – this program is absolutely free.

The incredible adult literacy program at the Highland Branch Library is improving the quality of life for residents and making a big difference in the community. The library is proud to offer a program that fosters confidence and enables learners to pursue new opportunities for success.

If you or someone you know struggles with literacy, the Highland Library is here to help.  READ MORE @

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Muskogee OK :: Reading-Berks PA :: Detroit MI

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Literacy council efforts go beyond reading instruction
Muskogee Phoenix: 8.18.2017 by Rebecca Walkup

The Muskogee Area Literacy Council is dedicated to helping adults improve all parts of their lives through lifelong learning. The council serves as an advisory body for the Muskogee Public Library adult literacy program. A focus of the organization is on getting the community involved in literacy programing [sic] by recruiting tutors and volunteers as well as promoting literacy programs in the community. Many members of the literacy council are tutors.

Adult literacy programming at the library goes beyond just reading instruction with several focus areas. Adult Basic Education individual tutoring includes reading, spelling, writing, and comprehension; GED preparation courses cover math, science, social studies, and language arts in a group setting. English as a Second Language classes provide beginning to advanced language training, and the U.S. Citizenship test preparation class covers the broad range of material on the citizenship test. Volunteer tutors must be 21 or older, be proficient in English, and have a high school diploma or equivalent. They receive nine hours of initial training taught by literacy staff and must take three hours of continuing education training each year. All classes are completely free for students. Sixty students are currently enrolled in adult literacy courses.  READ MORE @

Variety of services available through Literacy Council of Reading-Berks
Reading Eagle: 8.20.2017 by Michelle N. Lynch

Harry Jeffries always had an affinity for math. In his school days, it was the 49-year-old Reading man's favorite subject.

"I was interested in algebra," he said.

But despite his fascination with numbers and equations, he ended up dropping out of high school.

Jeffries knew if he wanted to follow his interest at the college level, he would need to earn a diploma first. So, he called the Literacy Council of Reading-Berks.

Not Just ESL

"Many members of the community view us as the mom-and-pop shop that just provides English as a second language (or ESL) courses," said Ryan A. Breisch, executive director of the council.

The West-Lawn based council does offer such courses, he said, but it also offers much more.

"We offer what we call high school equivalency classes," he said.

But don't call the course a GED class, Breisch warned. People who take the classes will feel confident taking General Educational Development, or GED, exam or the High School Equivalency Test, or HiSET, he said.  READ MORE @

Fighting illiteracy takes courage
Detroit Free Press: 8.20.2017 by Hilarie Chambers, Executive Director-Reading Works

Every day, adults in our families and workplaces are taking the courageous step to come forward, admit they don’t read well — and do something about it.

They may not read well enough to do the small  things  that many of us take for granted, like reading a prescription or a note from a teacher. And not well enough to do the big things, like filling out a job application or reading an employee manual.

Put yourself in their place. Imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning and have to communicate with the world in a different language. How could you read your daily instructions at work or write a report for your boss?  You'd have that pit in the bottom of your stomach, and you'd feel inadequate, insecure.  

And if you decide to improve your life, to take the time-consuming steps to learn to do those things big and small, you'd have to do so while maintaining all of your current responsibilities — maybe raising kids, paying the mortgage or the rent, trying to stay afloat financially.  You'd face what could be a long, lonely struggle.

This is where Reading Works and our partner network of adult literacy agencies come in. It's where you come in, too. It's important that we collectively signal to these courageous people that they are not alone.  READ MORE @

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Reading the Past, Writing the Future: Fifty Years of Promoting Literacy :: UNESCO

Reading the Past, Writing the Future: Fifty Years of Promoting Literacy
UNESCO: April 2017

The present publication takes stock of literacy initiatives world-wide over the last five decades and analyses how literacy campaigns, programmes and policies have changed to reflect the evolutions in our conceptual understanding of literacy.

Fifty countries have been selected in this review based on those that achieved strong progress during the Education for All (EFA) period between 2000 and 2015. These countries serve as a symbol of global progress and wider literacy efforts, although many challenges remain. The fifty selected countries are as follows, listed by region:

●● Latin America and the Caribbean:
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Peru, Plurinational State of Bolivia
●● Northern Africa:
Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
●● Oceania:
●● South-Eastern Asia:
Lao People’s Democratic Republic,  Timor-Leste
●● Southern Asia:
Bangladesh, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal, Pakistan
●● Sub-Saharan Africa:
Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia
●● Western Asia:
Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,  Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Yemen

Defining literacy
For governments and organizations like UNESCO that have a mandate to promote opportunities for all to benefit from the use of literacy, two fundamental dilemmas lurk just under the surface.

First, what is meant by literacy? UNESCO has given several definitions, notably in 1958, 1978 and in 2005. The first two definitions focused on the capacity to read and write a simple sentence, whereas by 2005 UNESCO had moved to a broader understanding of literacy, recognizing that the complexity of the phenomenon meant that any definition could not claim to be universal. As a working definition and in the context of assessing literacy, a meeting of experts adopted the following formulation:

Using the term ’literacy’ in other domains
Another perspective on linkages with literacy derives from the extended use of the term ’literacy’.  In addition to its primary connections to communication involving text, the term ’literacy’ is used  by stakeholders in other disciplines to refer to basic knowledge and competences in other domains.  In this sense, literacies are often used as a shorthand for the capacity to access, understand, analyse  or evaluate these areas. Some common areas include:

●● Financial literacy: in OECD surveys,7 this concept has addressed the financial knowledge,  attitudes and behaviour of adults.

●● Legal literacy: a more complex concept that includes the ability to navigate a legal process with understanding, recognize a legal right or responsibility and recognize when problems or conflicts  are of a legal nature.8

●● Medical or health literacy: this indicates how well a person can obtain the health information and services that they need, how well they understand them and how they use them to make good  health decisions.9

●● Media literacy: UNESCO defines this as ’a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy’ (UNESCO 2016b).10

●● Information literacy: this may be defined as being able to ’empower people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals.’11

●● Environmental literacy: the Campaign for Environmental Literacy defines this as ’…the capacity of an individual to act successfully in daily life on a broad understanding of how people and societies relate to each other and to natural systems, and how they might do so sustainably.’12

The extent of this more figurative use of ’literacy’ is illustrated in some less obvious collocations, including emotional literacy, cultural literacy, social literacy… and even kitchen literacy.

Using the term ’literacy’ in this extended way does not sever the links with the basic understanding of the term, but rather builds on it. There is a clear relationship, first in terms of the common element of manipulating knowledge and symbolic systems. More concretely, none of the derived ’literacies’ can be accessed or mastered without some degree of communication involving text. In the pursuit of the SDGs, embedding literacy across the agenda will be essential, meaning that those without basic literacy will have little (or certainly less) chance to acquire competencies in other domains. Moreover, the use of this wider range of basic competencies will be part of achieving all seventeen SDGs as each one will require the learning of new skills and knowledge, as well as the capacity to imagine, analyse and evaluate new solutions. Therefore, promoting literacy – in its central meaning of communication involving text – is fundamental to acquiring other basic competencies as a necessary part of the collective effort to achieve the SDGs.  READ MORE @

Monday, September 18, 2017

Adult Literacy is a Bigger Problem than You Might Think

Adult Literacy is a Bigger Problem than You Might Think
Millennial Magazine: 9.15.2017 by Millennial Staff

It can be hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has problems with literacy. What we so often take for granted is the advantage being able to read and write gives us. This infographic from Trainwest takes you through the issues millions of people face with literacy around the world on a daily basis. For example, between 40 & 44 million adults can only read at a basic or below basic proficiency in America.

There are five levels of literacy and the majority of people here will be either at level 4 or 5. Level 3 is considered the bare minimum to be able to cope with the demands of modern society.

The issue is made a lot worse when people aren’t willing to seek help. They can often feel ashamed about their poor reading and writing skills and even when they do seek help; the help available isn’t tailored to meet their needs. Find out more in the infographic.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Wichita Falls TX :: Charlottesville/Albemarle VA :: Bangor ME

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Proclamation for 35 years of WALC
Texomas: 8.15.2017 by Gwyn Bevel

The Wichita Falls Mayor read a proclamation to recognize a nonprofit and a force of volunteers behind it, during Tuesday morning's council meeting.

The Wichita Adult Literacy Council is celebrating its 35th anniversary in Wichita Falls and some of its long time members and true supporters were in council chambers for the honor.

WALC pairs students with tutors, they work with on a one-on-one basis, to improve reading and writing skillsREAD MORE @

Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle

Describe your nonprofit's mission.
Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle (LVCA) addresses low literacy and under-education among adults in our region through free, individualized reading, writing and English language instruction. Our mission is to help individuals become better workers, consumers, neighbors, citizens and parents through one-to-one tutoring.

As an independent 501(c)3 offering individualized tutoring, unrestricted donations allow us to be student-centered and serve individuals, no matter their goal. Instruction focuses on specific goals, such as being able to communicate with their children’s teachers, speak to their employers, and become better consumers and workers.

What need in our community brought about the creation of your nonprofit?
In 1983, the director and staff of the Charlottesville Adult Education Center identified a need for an “adult readers program” for the area. They invited community leaders and various service organizations to attend an exploratory meeting. This led to the formation of a small volunteer group.

Census data for Charlottesville and Albemarle has consistently revealed a significant literacy deficit for adult residents of the area, native and non-native. In the most recent census, for example, the number of adults with less than a 9th grade education was 3,935, or 4.2 percent of the population. In 2014, 2,991 adults in Charlottesville and 5,815 adults in Albemarle did not have a high-school diploma. The 2010 census also shows that approximately 1,660 residents of Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville self-reported that they “do not speak English very well.”  READ MORE @

Bangor literacy tutors helping others overcome the barrier of illiteracy, one life at a time
Bangor Daily News: 8.17.2017 by Meg Haskell

Heather Lambert grew up in Maine’s foster care system, entering state custody when she was two months old and aging out at 18. During that time, she lived in 40 different foster homes and attended 15 different schools the length and breadth of the state. By the time she was on her own, she was already making critically bad choices about drugs, school, alcohol, men and the law, choices that developed into serious substance abuse, landed her in prison and cost her custody of two young daughters.

Given all the instability in her young life, it is unsurprising that Lambert never finished high school. She dropped out in eighth grade, missing out on crucial years of learning, extracurricular opportunities, social maturation and, ultimately, that all-important high-school diploma. There are many life decisions you can’t undo, but now, at 25 — clean, sober and the doting mother of a sweet, six-month-old boy named Ezekiel — Lambert’s looking to get her life on track. And she’s got help doing it.

On a recent Monday morning, Lambert met with her Literacy Volunteers of Bangor tutor, Jen Montgomery-Rice, in the living room of Lambert’s tidy basement apartment at the Shepherd’s Godparent Home, a residential facility in Bangor for pregnant women and young mothers. The two have been meeting regularly for almost a year, ever since Lambert learned she was pregnant and decided to take advantage of the facility’s focus on helping young mothers learn healthy parenting skills, finish high school, develop a career, find long-term housing and stabilize and take control of their lives in other ways.  READ MORE @

Friday, September 15, 2017

1 In 6 U.S. Adults Have Low Literacy Skills

1 In 6 U.S. Adults Have Low Literacy Skills
I Love Libraries: Libraries Transform

Knowing how to read boosts your quality of life—literacy has been linked to improved health and economic development.

Librarians play a key role in supporting people of all backgrounds in learning to read: in a recent Urban Libraries Council survey, 90% of responding libraries reported offering early literacy programming.

Learn what can you do to help spread the word about the important role of libraries in people’s lives.

* Goodman, Madeline et al.Literacy, Numeracy, and Problem Solving in Technology: Rich Environments Among U.S. Adults: Results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies 2012,” National Center for Education Statistics, October 2013.

**The Economic & Social Cost of Illiteracy: A Snapshot of Illiteracy in a Global Context,” World Literacy Foundation, August 2015.

*** Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development, Urban Libraries Council, 2007.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: St Johns Co FL :: Wilmington NC :: Cleveland/Cuyahoga OH

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Learn to Read receives $5K health literacy grant

Learn to Read of St. Johns County was awarded a one-year, $5,000 grant in July from Florida Blue Foundation and the Florida Literacy Coalition.

The funds will be used to implement a health literacy program to benefit its English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) classes.

The program’s focus is to help students acquire the knowledge, literacy skills and resources to help them navigate the medical system and make informed health decisions.

Learn to Read Executive Director Ann Breidenstein said the grant will help ESOL students concentrate on the importance of nutrition for themselves and their families.

“They will plant and tend a vegetable garden, as well as learn healthy cooking methods for their harvest,” Breidenstein said.  READ MORE @

One Tutor, Two Students, Countless Benefits
Wilmington Biz: 8.15.2017 by Geneva Reid, Cape Fear Literacy Council volunteer

When we moved from Memphis to Wilmington 13 years ago, I was eager to locate the Literacy Council and volunteer as a tutor.

I had been inspired by a University of Memphis report revealing that one third of the adult population in Memphis could not read at a functional level but I did not volunteer there because we were planning to move. I did, however, volunteer at Cape Fear Literacy Council the second week we were in Wilmington.

“I read the Bible in my church Sunday, and no one made fun of me.”
Back in 2004, my very first student was an elderly grandmother who was a beginning reader. She wanted to learn to read the Bible so she could read it aloud in her church.

Working together, we discovered a process that would enable her to achieve that goal. For our one-on-one meetings, she would bring in her upcoming Sunday School lesson, and we would spend part of each session learning to read the appropriate Bible verses.  READ MORE @

Cuyahoga County, Cleveland libraries transform into community service, job training hubs
Cuyahoga Co Insider: 8.15.2017 by Karen Farkas

Residents will be able to apply for food assistance, cash assistance and Medicaid at any Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Public Library in a one-of-a-kind partnership with county government announced Tuesday. Literacy experts will also be on hand in every library to help people earn GEDs and gain jobs.

The programs are the latest for the award-winning libraries, which have evolved from institutions that lend materials to nerve centers of communities, aiming to serve as convenient one-stop locations for families.

"Libraries have transformed," Cuyahoga County Public Library Director Sari Feldman said. "Collections are important, but it is more about what we do for and with people in our community. If we do not recognize the role we play -- education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment and engagement -- we are destined to be like video stores and Radio Shack."

The libraries all offer the ASPIRE literacy program and benefits sign-up. They serve free lunches and dinners from the Cleveland Food Bank and offer homework help for kids. They offer English language instruction and help with citizenship, computers.

She and Felton Thomas, executive director of the Cleveland Public Library, are working with Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish on the partnership, which Budish said enhances the county priorities of putting residents on a career path with a family-sustaining wage and making county services more easily available.

"This new collaboration brings county services into neighborhoods where people live," he said.

The library systems have or will provide three major services:

Adult literacy, GED courses and skills to find jobs

Aspire programs, formerly called ABLE, are offered through the Ohio Department of Higher Education and provide free education services in reading, math and tecnology [sic] -- all skills to be successful in post-secondary education and advanced employment.  READ MORE @