Thursday, June 25, 2009

Right to Literacy Convention: Buffalo

Declaration for the Right to Literacy
Literacy Powerline: June 17, 2009

Right to Literacy Convention delegates from across the country determined and voted on the first United States Declaration for the Right to Literacy. The Right to Literacy Convention was part of the National Community Literacy Conference in Buffalo, New York on June 13, 2009.

Delegates concluded that to ensure prosperity for the nation and self determination for the individual, changes at the national, regional and local level must take place.

Literacy leaders, using the model of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, convened from across the nation. The need was clear; tens of millions of adults and children do not have the skills needed to succeed in life. Literacy is the number one tool to change that plight. The right to literacy must be a national priority.

The resolutions support five pillars of literacy:
1. Building the Community
2. Strengthening the Family
3. Ensuring People’s Self-Determination
4. Improving the Workforce
5. Transforming the Literacy System

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It is a truth held evident by our United States Declaration of Independence: that all men [and women] are created equal, and thus shall have the opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. To preserve these rights, we, residents of the United States of America, designate “literacy” as the foundation of such principles and organize our powers to enable every person to affect that ideal. In that pursuit, we acknowledge and agree, as we did in Seneca Falls in 1848 and again 100 years later as part of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, that education shall be guaranteed for all members of the human family—men, women and children. The realization of this vision requires that all residents, regardless of age or status, be able to read and write in order to participate fully and equitably in our democracy.

Closing Remarks by David Harvey, President/CEO, ProLiteracy
June 13, 2009


To Bear Witness to our shared American history – The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, the first Women’s Rights Convention, and now, today, the FIRST Right to Literacy Convention in our history, held in the same birthplace of the women’s rights movements. . . . .


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Literacy: Switzerland

Mr Switzerland Turns Spotlight on Illiteracy June 18, 2009 by Morven McLean

The recent admission by the new Mr Switzerland, (1) André Reithebuch, that he is one of that number has drawn attention to the hidden problem of illiteracy in Switzerland. It has also earned him both praise and criticism.

The (2) Swiss Reading and Writing Federation is responsible for raising awareness of illiteracy in Switzerland. Partly funded by the Federal Culture Office, it is attempting to address the problem on a nationwide level. But it is still the case that the country's 26 cantons respond to literacy needs in different ways.

A study presented in April 2007 found that illiteracy not only carries a social stigma but also a high economic price. The greater incidence of unemployment among those affected costs the Swiss economy SFr1.1 billion ($1.02 billion) a year.

Reithebuch, a 22-year-old from the eastern canton of Glarus, is hardly a prime candidate for joining the ranks of the jobless. With his title come modeling contracts that should net him around SFr500,000 during his year in office. And even when his youthful good looks have faded he can always fall back on his original training as a carpenter.

While some newspaper commentators have called the male model "brainless" and mocked him for openly admitting to having read just one book in his life, support has come from a surprising source. Communications Minister Moritz Leuenberger, considered the most eloquent member of the cabinet, has expressed solidarity.

Brigitte Aschwanden, head of the Reading and Writing Federation of German-speaking Switzerland, says around 435,000 of those with low literacy skills are from immigrant families. The other 365,000 are Swiss.

1. MISTER SCHWEIZ Organisation, André Reithebuch, Stephan Weiler, Tim ...
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2. Schweizer Dachverband Lesen und Schreiben - Home
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unemployment Soars to 15.5 Percent among Adults with Less than High School Education.
SOA World: June 15, 2009 – PR Newswire

Pitney Bowes and other leading corporations have joined with ProLiteracy, the nation's largest adult literacy organization, in a new initiative to build workforce readiness through adult literacy and basic education at a time when unemployment among the least educated adults has soared to 15.5 percent, according to the Department of Labor.

Pitney Bowes and other leading corporations have joined with ProLiteracy, the nation's largest adult literacy organization, in a new initiative to build workforce readiness through adult literacy and basic education at a time when unemployment among the least educated adults has soared to 15.5 percent, according to the Department of Labor.

On Thursday, June 18, nearly three dozen business leaders will meet in Washington as part of a panel discussion on ways to build a stronger workforce by investing in adult basic education and workforce training. There are 32 million adults in the U.S. who lack the skills to consistently and correctly read connected sentences and paragraphs -- skills needed for success in the workforce.

"An educated workforce is a critical element of our nation's ability to compete and lead in a global marketplace," said John Ward, president, Pitney Bowes Mail Services. "Businesses, federal, state and local governments need to work together to better educate and train American workers and boost U.S. global competitiveness."

"As a country, we need to invest more in adult basic education and workforce training programs to help unemployed Americans gain the skills needed to get and retain a job," said David Harvey, president & CEO of ProLiteracy.

By the Numbers: Economic Impact and Current Investment

~ 3 out of10 high school students don't graduate on time.
~ ~ ~ If all students in 2007 graduated on time, they would earn an estimated $329 billion in income over their lifetimes -- generating long-term benefits to the economy.

~ A high school dropout has an average annual income of $17,209
~ a college graduate earns on average $52,671 annually

~ Adult literacy programs return $33 to the economy for every dollar invested in them.

~ Only 2.5 million adults are currently enrolled in literacy or adult basic education programs despite research showing 32 million adults need additional education for success in the workplace.

~ About $2 billion is spent collectively by federal, state and philanthropic funding for adult literacy and basic education programs annually. Federal funding in real dollars has decreased over the past 10 years, despite a growing need for adult education. READ MORE !

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adult Learner Leadership Institutes

Adult Learner Leadership Institutes

ALLI Graduation:
Southern California Library Literacy Network (SCLLN) Blog

24 Adult Learners from Southern California library literacy programs successfully completed the 2009 Adult Learner Leadership Institute.

11 adult learners graduated on May 30 at the Carlsbad Library Learning Center. 13 will graduate on June 13 at the Upland Public Library.

In addition to improving basic reading and writing skills, many learners are eager to take on new challenges and want to make a contribution of their own:
~ Become better role models for their families
~ Assume leadership roles at work
~ Participate in community activities and decision-making
~ Advocate for resources for adult learners

The 6-month ALLI program was founded in 2000 as the Henry Huffman Leadership Institute in memory of Henry Huffman, a dedicated learner who devoted his life to spreading awareness of literacy in the community. Graduates keep their skills active by facilitating and co-presenting sessions for new learners.

ALLI graduates build self esteem as they increase their potential to speak out effectively on community issues, and act as spokespersons for literacy causes.

Strengthening the Effectiveness of Adult Education
World Education/US: May 2009
Ernest Best, Executive Director-Massachusetts Alliance for Adult Literacy

This year’s Massachusetts Alliance for Adult Literacy (MassAAL) Student Leadership Conference was one of the best that we’ve had in our 10-year history. The conference successfully fulfilled its purposes: to bring adult learners together from across Massachusetts; to learn about current student leadership activities; and to reinforce the value and importance of student leadership to the ABE field by highlighting a number of leadership and advocacy successes at the local, state, and national levels.

Students not only attended workshops, but they designed and facilitated them as well. In addition to being engaging and enjoyable, the workshops had clear learning objectives. Learners walked away feeling that they had learned something of value that will help them in their daily lives. The workshops dealt with issues such as the MassAAL Student Leadership Regional Teams and defining student leadership; health: “How to Protect Yourself from Disease and Germs"; and some students shared their methods for finding jobs. The students’ presentations demonstrated a level of competence and professionalism that was good for all of those in attendance. I can’t help but guess that those presentations must have done wonders to increase the level of confidence and self-esteem for the presenters themselves. It’s a moment in their lives that I’m sure they'll never forget. READ MORE !

Voice of Adult Learners United to Educate - VALUE

On May 3-5, 2009, VALUE held its 6th biennial Leadership Institute in New Carrollton, MD. Cosponsored this year by ProLiteracy Worldwide , the event’s full name is the National Adult Learner Leadership Institute and Adult Literacy Congress.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Television and Child Development

Language Use Decreases in Young Children and Caregivers When Television is On, Study Finds Seattle Children’s Institute: June 1, 2009

Exposure to audible television has implications for language acquisition and brain development.

In a new study, young children and their adult caregivers uttered fewer vocalizations, used fewer words and engaged in fewer conversations when in the presence of audible television.

The population-based study is the first of its kind completed in the home environment, guided by lead researcher Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Audible Television and Decreased Adult Words, Infant Vocalizations, and Conversational Turns” was published in the June 2009 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

“We’ve known that television exposure during infancy is associated with language delays and attentional problems, but so far it has remained unclear why,” said Christakis. “This study is the first to demonstrate that when the television is on, there is reduced speech in the home. Infants vocalize less and their caregivers also speak to them more infrequently.”

The study looked at infants aged two months to four years old; a total of 329 children were studied. The children wore a small, business card-sized, two ounce digital recorder on random days monthly for up to two years. A specially designed vest with a chest pocket held the recorders at a specific distance from the mouth, and captured everything the child said and also heard during continuous 12 to 16 hour periods. The recorders were removed only for naps, baths, nighttime sleep and car rides. A speech identification software program processed the recorded files to analyze sounds children were exposed to in their environment, as well as the sounds and utterances they made.

Measurements in this study included adult word counts, child vocalizations, and child conversational turns, defined as verbal interactions when a child vocalizes and an adult responds to them vocally (or vice versa) within five seconds.

The study found that each hour of audible television was associated with significant reductions in child vocalizations, vocalization duration, and conversational turns. On average, each additional hour of television exposure was also associated with a decrease of 770 words the child heard from an adult during the recording session. This represented a seven percent decrease in words heard, on average. There were significant reductions in both adult female and male word counts. From 500 to 1,000 fewer adult words were spoken per hour of audible television.

“Adults typically utter approximately 941 words per hour. Our study found that adult words are almost completely eliminated when television is audible to the child,” added Christakis. “These results may explain the association between infant television exposure and delayed language development.” Christakis further adds that this may also explain attentional and cognitive delays, since it has been posed that language development is a critical component of brain development in early childhood. READ MORE !

Tips and resources for parents and caregivers:

For babies:
~ Avoid TV for babies under age two.
. . . Choose activities that promote language development and brain growth such as talking, playing, reading, singing and enjoying music.

For children over age two:
~ If you allow TV time, choose age-appropriate programs.

. . . Involve older children in setting guidelines for what to watch. Use guides and ratings to help, but beware of unproven claims that programs or DVDs are educational. Even cartoons produced for children can be violent or over stimulating.
~ Limit TV time to no more than two hours per day. Less is better.
~ Keep TV off during meals.
~ Set “media-free” days, and plan other fun things to do.
~ Avoid using TV as a reward.
~ Turn off TV when a chosen program is over.
~ Don’t leave TV on as background filler or while engaging in other activities.

~ When no one is actively watching, turn TV off.
~ Watch TV with your child.

. . .Talk about what you see and engage with your child about the content.
~ Keep TVs out of bedrooms.

TV Turnoff Network: Turnoff Weeks 2009
April 20th - 26th & September 20th - 26th

Monday, June 1, 2009

Early Childhood Education - Preschool

Closing the Gap on Early Childhood Education
Merced Sun-Star: May 30, 2009 by Steve Kang and Sheilon King-Brock

Just a few weeks ago, UC Merced's graduating class of 2009 cheered as first lady Michelle Obama congratulated them and encouraged them to "be the realization of our dreams and the hope for the next generation."

It was a proud moment for Merced County and the San Joaquin Valley, and a time to reflect on what we can do to ensure more students reach graduation day.

A new report by the RAND Corp., a nonprofit institution whose mission is to help improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis, confirms that we must start early to ensure that children have the opportunity to graduate from college and go on to successful careers.

RAND's California Preschool Study has important implications for corporations and higher education, particularly as people search for ways to turn around the economic crisis.

RAND's study finds that too many children are entering school without the basic early reading and social skills that prepare them to learn and succeed.

By third grade, almost two-thirds of children are not proficient in English language arts and 42 percent are not proficient in math.

That gap is even larger for low-income, Latino and black children, and English learners, and this "readiness gap" is evident by the first day children enter kindergarten, RAND finds.

UC Merced and AT&T, two of Merced County's largest employers, would benefit from a pool of employees who have had access to the foundation for learning that high-quality early childhood education provides.

The good news is that high-quality preschools can help bridge the readiness gap and prepare children for school and work place success.

In fact, high-quality preschools build those very skills -- early literacy and higher-order thinking -- that are critical to education and preparing an effective work force.

Longitudinal research shows that high-quality early learning programs can increase high school graduation rates by 20 percentage points and also boost college graduation rates.

Quality early learning programs provide a $7 to $17 return on investment in the form of reduced spending on remedial education, public assistance and crime, and increased tax revenues.

The bad news is that California's early childhood education system is complex, fragmented, underfunded and unable to serve the kids who need it most. Only about half of low-income children are in preschool, compared to 80 percent of children whose families make more than $100,000, according to RAND. READ MORE !