Monday, August 16, 2010

Workplace Literacy

Improving literacy can save lives in the workplace – literally
The Conference Board of Canada
News Releases 11-10: July 21, 2010

Employers are more confident than workers or labour representatives in the ability of employees to understand health and safety policies, according to survey results published in What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Literacy’s Impact on Workplace Health and Safety by The Conference Board of Canada.

“This gap in perception creates the potential for accidents in the workplace to occur. Because employers are confident in their workers’ literacy levels, they are less likely to see the need for training to upgrade employees’ knowledge and understanding of health and safety practices,” said Alison Campbell, Principal Research Associate.

Many employers create manuals and other documents to set out health and safety practices, but relying on written materials leaves organizations open to the risk that their employees may not be able to read and understand them. When incidents occur, the typical response is to review policies and practices – rather than verifying whether individuals have the literacy and basic skills to fully understand or follow set procedures.

“Without even realizing it, some individuals with low literacy skills put themselves, their co-workers and the public at risk,” said Campbell.

The report summarizes the results of a two-year project for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, including a literature review, national survey, interviews with stakeholders and case studies.

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The report outlines seven steps to take as an organizational action plan:
1. Review past incidents through “a literacy lens”
2. Review organizational health and safety policies and practices
3. Examine policies and practices from the perspective of an individual with lower literacy levels
4. Brainstorm solutions to help users understand health and safety documents
5. Measure and track health and safety incidents and improvements
6. Recognize outcomes
7. Reward efforts to improve literacy skills.

. . . . . a site of related interest:

Workforce Competitiveness Collection
National Institute for Literacy
Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS)

The August edition features the Workforce Competitiveness Collection, which covers Workforce Education, English Language Acquisition, and Technology. Each month, Collections News features one of the three LINCS Resource Collections – Basic Skills, Program Management, and Workforce Competitiveness – and introduces research-based resources that you can use in your adult basic education and family literacy programs and classrooms.

What’s New in the Workforce Competitiveness Collection?

The products, materials, and papers in the Workforce Competitiveness Collection can introduce you to strategies useful in building students’ Eng¬lish language skills; provide information on integrating technology into your program; and help you develop effective, work-focused programs. Additional work-focused resources, organized by career clusters or oc¬cupational categories, can be found in the Career Pathways Instructional Materials Library. You also can subscribe to online topical discussion lists to interact with experts, ask questions, and share ideas with colleagues. Subscribe to the National Institute for Literacy Online Discussion Lists.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Reading

Fun, Sun and Good Books: UT Experts Say Summer Reading Keeps Skills Strong
Tennessee Today: July 21, 2010

To children, the summer slide means water, garden hoses and slippery plastic sheets. To teachers, the “summer slide” is the noted decrease in reading skills after a vacation without books.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen have completed a three-year study showing a significantly higher level of reading achievement in students who received books for summer reading at home.

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According to the professors’ research, the summer reading setback is the primary reason for the reading achievement gap between children who have access to reading materials at home and those who do not. Students who do not have books at home miss out on opportunities to read. Those missed opportunities can really add up.

“What we know is that children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development while kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency,” Allington said. “This creates a three to four month gap every year. Every two or three years the kids who don’t read in the summer fall a year behind the kids who do.”

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Their study ran three years from 2001 to 2004; the students chose their books; and targeted students in first and second grade at the beginning of the study.

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“Research has demonstrated that choice makes a very important contribution to achievement,” said McGill-Franzen.

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“We found our intervention was less expensive and less extensive than either providing summer school or engaging in comprehensive school reform,” Allington said. “The effect was equal to the effect of summer school. Spending roughly $40 to $50 a year on free books for each child began to alleviate the achievement gap that occurs in the summer.”

To get books into the hands of all children for summer reading, Allington and McGill-Franzen suggest keeping school libraries open during the summer break, sending books home with the students, and building on children’s prior knowledge by providing books on pop culture and local animals and habitats. READ MORE !

The researchers’ study will be published in the fall issue of Reading Psychology.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Love My Librarian 2010

I Love My Librarian Award

Nominate your favorite librarian in your favorite library !
Nominations for 2010 are open through September 20.

There are nearly 123,000 libraries nationwide, and librarians touch the lives of the people they serve every day. The award encourages library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. We want to hear how you think your librarian is improving the lives of the people in your school, campus or community.

Up to ten winners will be selected this year and receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and $500 travel stipend to attend an awards reception in New York hosted by The New York Times. In addition, a plaque will be given to each award winner’s library.

The award is administered by the American Library Association with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times.

Nominate a librarian in a:
School Library
Public Library
College, Community College, University Library

Follow 'I Love My Librarian' on Facebook for updates on the award throughout the nomination process.

See the 2009 winners here.