Thursday, April 30, 2009

Literacy - CLArion: April 2009

A Publication of the California Library Association
Volume 5 • Issue 1 • April 2009

Welcome to the spring issue of CLARION everyone!

Dedicating this issue to literacy is so appropriate because just as the spring season is a time of rebirth and renewal, library literacy services allow those involved to experience a type of rebirth and improvement in their lives. And certainly at the heart of any library, no matter which type, is the improvement of our users’ literacy in many areas:

Basic literacy
Early literacy
Computer literacy
Information literacy
Consumer literacy
Family literacy

I hope you find the articles here inspiring and perhaps, throughout this issue, identify people with whom you might partner or share information. As we all deal with our budgets this year, let’s remember that literacy programs should be considered basic core services and not partially or underfunded “extra” programs. Some of us, I know, need to fight for that core funding and are particularly grateful to the state library’s literacy grant programs that allow us to provide these essential services.

To all who work with literacy in all its forms, thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment. Thank you for being the champions of providing people with the opportunity to be not only literate, but smarter and better informed in their lives. In these times of economic upheaval and information overload it is more important than ever for libraries to let their constituents, their politicians, and their stakeholders know how our literacy efforts impact the lives of those we serve. Don’t be shy; market the fabulous results of your programs.

Speaking of being better informed, the CLA Transition Tool Kit has been distributed to chairs of current sections, round tables and committees. It is also available on the CLA website. I hope everyone has an opportunity to take a look at this document so we are all better informed about the transition to our new governance structure.
Barbara L. Roberts
2009 California Library Association President

Table of Contents
~ California Library Literacy Services By Susan Hildreth
~ The Wednesday Night Readers By John Gildersleeve
~ The CLLS AmeriCorps Initiative By Susan Empizo
~ Adult Learners Leading the Way By Shanti Bhaskaran and Rosie Manela
~ The Business of Building Hope in Salinas By Mary Ellison and Elizabeth Martinez
~ Writer to Writer Challenge By Shanti Bhaskaran
~ Changing Lives in Solano County By Ann Cousineau
~ Adult Learner and Tutor Profiles

Click on links for more information about:
Adult Learners Leading the Way [ ALLI ]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nation's Report Card: 2008 Long Term Trends

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2008 long-term trends.

This report presents the results of the NAEP long-term trend assessments in reading and mathematics, which were most recently given in the 2007–08 school year to students at ages 9, 13, and 17. Nationally representative samples of over 26,000 public and private school students were assessed in each subject area. (2007 Reading - grades 4 and 8).

In reading, average scores increased at all three ages since 2004. Average scores were 12 points higher than in 1971 for 9-year-olds and 4 points1 higher for 13-year-olds. The average reading score for 17-year-olds was not significantly different from that in 1971.

2008 Scale: 9 – 220; 13 – 260; 17 – 286
2004 Scale: 9 – 216; 13 – 257; 17 – 283
1971 Scale: 9 – 206; 13 – 255; 17 – 285

Scale scores
The reading and mathematics results are reported as scores on a 0–500 scale. Average scores are reported overall for each age and for selected groups of students.

Reading Performance-Level Descriptions

Level 350: Learn from Specialized Reading Materials
Readers at this level can extend and restructure the ideas presented in specialized and complex texts. Examples include scientific materials, literary essays, and historical documents. Readers are also able to understand the links between ideas, even when those links are not explicitly stated, and to make appropriate generalizations.
Performance at this level suggests the ability to synthesize and learn from specialized reading materials.

Level 300: Understand Complicated Information
Readers at this level can understand complicated literary and informational passages, including material about topics they study at school. They can also analyze and integrate less familiar material about topics they study at school as well as provide reactions to and explanations of the text as a whole.
Performance at this level suggests the ability to find, understand, summarize, and explain relatively complicated information.

Level 250: Interrelate Ideas and Make Generalizations
Readers at this level use intermediate skills and strategies to search for, locate, and organize the information they find in relatively lengthy passages and can recognize paraphrases of what they have read. They can also make inferences and reach generalizations about main ideas and the author’s purpose from passages dealing with literature, science, and social studies.
Performance at this level suggests the ability to search for specific information, interrelate ideas, and make generalizations.

Level 200: Demonstrate Partially Developed Skills and Understanding
Readers at this level can locate and identify facts from simple informational paragraphs, stories, and news articles. In addition, they can combine ideas and make inferences based on short, uncomplicated passages.
Performance at this level suggests the ability to understand specific or sequentially related information.

Level 150: Carry Out Simple, Discrete Reading Tasks
Readers at this level can follow brief written directions. They can also select words, phrases, or sentences to describe a simple picture and can interpret simple written clues to identify a common object.
Performance at this level suggests the ability to carry out simple, discrete reading tasks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

American Schools - Standards

How to Raise the Standard in America's Schools
Time: April 15, 2009 by Walter Isaacson

National standards have long been the third rail of education politics. The right chokes on the word national, with its implication that the feds will trample on the states' traditional authority over public schools. And the left chokes on the word standards, with the intimations of assessments and testing that accompany it. The result is a K-12 education system in the U.S. that is burdened by an incoherent jumble of state and local curriculum standards, assessment tools, tests, texts and teaching materials. Even worse, many states have bumbled into a race to the bottom as they define their local standards downward in order to pretend to satisfy federal demands by showing that their students are proficient.

It's time to take another look. Without national standards for what our students should learn, it will be hard for the U.S. to succeed in the 21st century economy. Today's wacky patchwork makes it difficult to assess which methods work best or how to hold teachers and schools accountable. Fortunately, there are glimmers of hope that the politics surrounding national standards has become a little less contentious. A growing coalition of reformers — from civil rights activist Al Sharpton to Georgia Republican governor Sonny Perdue — believe that some form of common standards is necessary to achieve a wide array of other education reforms, including merit pay for good teachers and the expansion of the role of public charter schools.

The idea of "common schools" that adopt the same curriculum and standards isn't new. It first arose in the 1840s, largely owing to the influence of the reformer Horace Mann. But the U.S. Constitution leaves public education to the states, and the states devolve much of the authority to local school districts, of which there are now more than 13,000 in the U.S. The Federal Government provides less than 9% of the funding for K-12 schools. That is why it has proved impossible thus far to create common curriculum standards nationwide. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush summoned the nation's governors to Charlottesville, Va., to attempt a standards-based approach to school reform. The result was only a vague endorsement of "voluntary national standards," which never gained much traction. In 1994, President Bill Clinton got federal money for standards-based reform, but the effort remained in the hands of the states, leading to a wildly varying hodgepodge of expectations for — as well as ideological battles over — math and English curriculums.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, led by reformer Chester Finn Jr., has been analyzing state standards for more than a decade and concludes, "Two-thirds of U.S. children attend schools in states with mediocre standards or worse."

These 21st century American Standards should be comparable to, and benchmarked against, the standards of other countries so that we can determine how globally competitive our nation's economy will be in the future. Forty years ago, the U.S. had the best graduation rates in the world. Now it ranks 18th. In math scores on international tests, the U.S. ranks 25th; in reading, 15th. As Obama said in his speech to Congress a few weeks ago, "This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that outteach us today will outcompete us tomorrow." We can already see the signs. Major drug companies such as Merck and Eli Lilly used to outsource much of their manufacturing to India and China; now they also outsource much of their research and engineering.

The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have been working with a nonprofit called Achieve Inc. In 2001, Achieve helped launch the American Diploma Project, which establishes curriculum standards that align with what a graduate will need to succeed in college, the military or a career. Gene Wilhoit, the executive director of CCSSO, hopes to kick this effort up a notch at a special meeting in Chicago on April 17 by announcing an agreement among 25 states to support an aggressive schedule to devise internationally benchmarked math and English standards for all grade levels. "I see standards as the essential foundation for all education reforms," he says.

The U.S. will, believe it or not, eventually get out of the current financial crisis. Then it will face an even bigger challenge: creating a real economy that will be as internationally competitive in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century. All of the recent bank bailouts and mortgage plans will, even if they succeed, build an economic foundation of bricks without straw — ready to crumble — if we don't create a productive economy again. That means creating a workforce that is educated well enough to produce more value per capita than other countries. This will be especially true in the 21st century economy, which promises to be based foremost on knowledge. And that is why the U.S. needs, particularly at this juncture, 21st century American standards for its schools. READ MORE !

Monday, April 13, 2009

State of America's Libraries 2009

New Report Shows Libraries Critical in Times of Crisis, But Funding Lags and Services Reduced
ALA Press Release: April 13, 2009

The value of libraries in communities across the country continued to grow in 2008 -- and accelerated dramatically as the national economy sank and people looked for cost effective resources in a time of crisis, according to the American Library Association's (ALA) annual State of America's Libraries report, released today as part of National Library Week, April 12-18, 2009.

U.S. libraries experienced a dramatic increase in library card registration as the public continues to turn to their local library for free services. More than 68 percent of Americans have a library card. This is the greatest number of Americans with library cards since the American Library Association (ALA) started to measure library card usage in 1990, according to a 2008 Web poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

The report also states library usage soared as Americans visited their libraries nearly 1.4 billion times and checked out more than 2 billion items in the past year, an increase of more than 10 percent in both checked out items and library visits, compared to data from the last economic downturn in 2001.

However, public funding did not keep pace with use, according to a survey conducted by the ALA. Forty-one percent of states report declining state funding for U.S. public libraries for fiscal year 2009. Twenty percent of these states anticipate additional reductions in the current fiscal year.

Libraries continue to report that job-related activities are a priority use of their computers and Internet services. Nationwide, libraries are offering programs tailored to meet local community economic needs, providing residents with guidance (including sessions with career advisers), training and workshops in resume writing and interviewing, job-search resources and connections with outside agencies that offer training and job placement.

ALA President Jim Rettig said, "As illustrated in the ALA's State of America's Libraries Report, in times of economic hardship, Americans turn to -- and depend on -- their libraries and librarians."

Other key findings in the 2009 State of America's Libraries report:

~ Children are among the heaviest users of public-library resources. Children's materials accounted for 35 percent of all circulation transactions, and attendance at library-based children's programs was 57.8 million.

~ Individual visits to school library media centers increased significantly at the schools that responded to both the 2007 and 2008 surveys: up 22.7 percent for the 50th percentile, up 12.5 percent for the 75th percentile and up almost 25 percent for the 95th percentile oursHours for Hours for Selected activities, . There were no major year-to-year differences in the responses with regard to the other variables.

~ Academic libraries maintain their leading role in partnering to scan and digitize print book collections, with the potential to provide unprecedented access to millions of volumes. Large-scale digitization initiatives include Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance and the Million Book Project.

Friday, April 10, 2009

National Volunteer Week 2009

Tutor Spotlight: Tone Correa Celebrating His 100th Birthday in April
Read Writes Newsletter: Feb 2009

In 1996, at the age of 87, Tone Correa joined READ/OC as a tutor. To date, Tone has tutored 21 adult learners. In March of 2005, Tone received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for Lifetime commitment. In 2002, he was honored at the Sixth Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards for the County of Orange. At that time he was 93 years young with 1,400 service hours to his credit. Tone often worked with 3 or 4 adult learners simultaneously.

In April of this year, Tone will celebrate his 100th birthday and we are going to help Tone celebrate ! In April, we are asking 100 people to pledge to read one hour in Tone’s honor. You can use any book or any combination of books to meet this goal. Each of the OC public libraries will have a pledge/birthday card you can sign to participate in this exciting event.

Feel free to stop by the READ/OC office to make your pledge and to sign a birth-day card for Tone. Happy Birthday Tone !

National Volunteer Week - April 19-25
" Celebrating People in Action "

The theme for National Volunteer Week captures the meaning behind this signature week – honoring the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Value of Volunteer Time: 2008

Value of Volunteer Time: 2008
Independent Sector reports the estimated dollar value of volunteer time at $ 20.25 per hour for 2008. Updated figures for each state will be released later this spring.

This year’s estimate increased from $19.51 per hour in 2007.

The hourly value of volunteer time is based on the average hourly wage for all non-management, non-agriculture workers as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a 12 % increase to estimate for fringe benefits.


The Economic Impact Of Volunteers Calculator created by the Points of Light Foundation makes this possible. It estimates the appropriate wage rate for volunteer time based on what the person does, the value of specific tasks according to market conditions as reported by the US Department of Labor. Organizations can use the Calculator to determine the value of the time their volunteers give doing a wide variety of volunteer jobs.

To use the calculator, search for the job description using the drop-down box. Then enter the number of hours given by all volunteers performing that particular task. Repeat this task until all volunteer positions have been entered. The system automatically calculates the totals for each job category and for the total across all volunteer jobs.

Friday, April 3, 2009

April - National Poetry Month

April – National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was established in 1996 to promote and celebrate the reading of poetry throughout the United States. It was established by the Academy of American Poets as a month-long, national celebration of poetry.

Who is the current U.S. Poet Laureate ?
What state appointed the 1st State Poet Laureate ?
How many states have a Poet Laureate ?
Is there a Children’s Poet Laureate ?

Join the ‘ Free Verse Competition ' @

Capture and share your own ephemeral bits of verse. Write lines from a favorite poem on a sandy beach, assemble twigs on a hillside, or chalk the sidewalk. Take a photo before it disappears and post it on:

Flickr – Free Verse Group page
Facebook - Acadamy’s Fan Page
email your photo to

Include the source of your lines in the photo caption. All photos posted by April 15 will be automatically entered in the contest.

Check out the National Poetry Map. Find local poets, poems, events, literary journals, writing programs, poetry organizations, and more.