Monday, December 12, 2011

Creating a Nation of Learners IMLS 2012-2016

The Institute of Museum and Library Services Strategic Plan, 2012 – 2016

Creating a Nation of Learners

U.S. museums and libraries are at the forefront in the movement to create a nation of learners. As stewards of cultural heritage with rich, authentic content, they provide learning experiences for everyone. With built infrastructure in nearly every community in the nation and dedicated, knowledgeable staff, they connect people to one another and to the full spectrum of human experience. The nation’s museums and libraries provide opportunities for powerful learning experiences that inspire people throughout their lifetimes and contribute to the civic life of our nation.

Trusted in their communities, libraries and museums play important roles in creating an informed and educated citizenry and transmitting the values of our democracy. Our role at the Institute of Museum and Library Services is to provide libraries, museums, and policy makers with the resources they need to ensure that the American ideal of open access to information and ideas flourishes, through leadership, data, analysis, and funding.

Museums and libraries help to level the playing field. They provide access to technology, strengthen community relationships, and offer an entrée to services and information that some individuals might not otherwise have. Without libraries and museums it would be more difficult, potentially impossible, for some Americans to seek employment opportunities, enhance their education, and lead healthier lives. Libraries and museums are not luxuries; they are fundamental to supporting the civic life and well-being of our nation.

Economic changes are causing reductions in all sources of public (state and local) and private (corporation, foundation, and individual) funding for libraries and museums. At the same time, public demand for library and museum services is increasing. As stressed public agencies cut back on service, communities are more fully leveraging the assets of libraries and museums and calling on them to fill the gaps by providing workforce services, afterschool programming, teacher training, and broadband access.

Although many libraries and museums are fully embracing new service opportunities, they are also facing difficult decisions. Serious questions must be addressed about how libraries and museums will continue to meet public demand. Reductions in staff have direct impacts on public service, such as reduced hours, less programming for hard-to-reach populations, and less capacity to support important learning outcomes. Changing information delivery services, new platforms, and outdated information policies are creating new challenges to provide critical materials, both print and digital, that are the foundation for all other services.

In 2010, against a backdrop of societal change and economic uncertainty, Congress passed and the President signed the reauthorization of the Museum and Library Services Act (the Act), giving IMLS unique federal responsibilities for “the development and implementation of policy to ensure the availability of museum, library, and information services adequate to meet the essential information, education, research, economic, cultural, and civic needs of the people of the United States.”

Strategic Goal 1
IMLS places the learner at the center and supports engaging experiences in libraries and museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society.

Strategic Goal 2
IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality.

Strategic Goal 3
IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum and library collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage.

Strategic Goal 4
IMLS advises the President and Congress on plans, policies, and activities that sustain and increase public access to information and ideas.

Strategic Goal 5
IMLS achieves excellence in public management and performs as a model organization through strategic alignment of IMLS resources and prioritization of programmatic activities, maximizing value for the American public.


Friday, November 25, 2011

The Little Free Library

The Art of the Little Free Library: Its Always The Season To Read

Here's Little Library #1

Little Free Libraries started in Hudson and Madison, Wisconsin.

The originators of this social enterprise are Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, both of whom have several decades of entrepreneurial and international experience. They first met in 2009 while exploring the benefits of green practices in small businesses, discovering that they shared a commitment to service and the quality of community life around the world.

The very first Little Library was built in the memory of June A. Bol. It sits in the front yard of a home above the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisconsin. As you can see, it is meant to look like a one-room school house. It's full of books about gardening and community life. Not a drop of water has trickled inside...but books have come and gone since its first week by the river.

Get the idea? Take a book, leave a book. Leave a note!

Give the gift of knowledge through reading. READ MORE !

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Love Letter to the Central Library

A Love Letter to the Central Library
Through Life’s Changes, the Downtown Landmark Remains
LA Downtown News: 11.23.2011 by Anne Marie Ruff

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - I love the Central Library. For almost two decades and through many life changes, the library has been a constant, like a good friend.

Obviously I’m not alone — this resplendent repository of art, literature and knowledge thrives on the multiplicity of people who pass through the doors and partake of what the library has to offer. I’m just one of many for whom the Downtown building has an inexorable hold.

I first met the Central Library when I was attending UCLA. Back in the days when the card catalog had just graduated to a computer, the Central Library offered books for my research papers not to be found in the URL (the decidedly un-cyber University Research Library). I found in the long block between Grand Avenue and Flower Street a safe place in an otherwise intimidating Downtown.

I know I am not alone in my passion for this place. Every day I see dozens of people, many marginalized or nearly discarded by the rest of the city, who eagerly await the opening of the library doors. In its rich rooms and elegant halls, they find refuge, rest, and who knows, maybe even help with their reading or computer skills.

More recently, I have been thrilled to know the library in yet another way. I provided two copies of my first novel — some of which was written within its walls — to the library’s fiction department. So now not only is the library part of me, but I am part of the library. READ MORE !

Anne Marie Ruff’s recently published first novel, Through These Veins, chronicles the development of a fictional cure for AIDS. All profits benefit Doctors Without Borders and the Ethiopian Institute for the Conservation of Biodiversity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Libraries Are Essential Public Goods

Why It's Time To Speak Up For Our Libraries
Huffington Post: 11.15.2011 by Andrew Losowsky

Libraries are essential public goods.

Like our public parks and museums, public libraries are free, non-commercial gathering places for everyone, regardless of income. If information is power, then libraries are the essence of democracy and freedom. In these times of economic difficulty, more people are using them than ever, to do more than merely check out books.

Yet our nation's public libraries appear to be under threat by a litany of cuts, forced upon them by state and local committees, cuts that often began before the recent economic downturn. In a survey conducted by the Library Journal, 93% of large libraries reported having laid off staff, cut their opening hours, or both. In several states, including Indiana and Michigan, library branches have permanently closed their doors.

In a new Huffington Post series called Libraries In Crisis, we'll be looking at how today's libraries are about more than books. We'll show how they can be a community resource where reliable information and guidance is provided, free of bias and commercial influence.

This occasional series will look at the economic reasons for the current situation, and its consequences throughout the country. It will showcase models for library evolution, and hear from prominent voices about what makes a viable and vital library system. READ MORE !

Read the first piece in this series, "The Death Of The Public Library?"

Friday, November 4, 2011

November - Picture Book Month

Picture Book Month is an international initiative to designate November as Picture Book Month, encouraging everyone to celebrate literacy with picture books.

Every day in November, there will be a new post from a picture book champion explaining why he/she thinks picture books are important.
We are doing this because in this digital age where people are predicting the coming death of print books, picture books (the print kind) need love. And the world needs picture books. There’s nothing like the physical page turn of a beautifully crafted picture book.

Join the celebration and party with a picture book !

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Celebrate National Family Literacy Day 2011

Today is National Family Literacy Day.

Since 1994, November 1 has been a day of celebrating the wonders of family literacy.

November is also National Family Literacy Month, so today kicks off a month-long effort to celebrate and remind people of the importance of families learning together.

Wonderopolis is taking part in the celebration with a very special Wonder of the Day: #394 What Can Children Teach Their Parents?

Family literacy is all about families learning together. Of course, that often means that it’s the parents who are teaching the children.

Most parents can tell you, though, that they’ve learned some important lessons from their children, too. It’s this interplay between parents and children that makes family literacy so powerful.

After you read the Wonder of the Day, make sure you chime in with what you’ve learned from the children in your life! Post a comment, or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

And if you’re looking for a way to celebrate literacy throughout the entire year, download NCFL’s Celebrate Literacy Calendar. This calendar offers suggestions for fun activities to do with your children each month.

Friday, October 14, 2011

3rd Annual Literacy for Life - Nevada Appeal

Literacy for Life kicks off
Nevada Appeal: 9.22.2011 by Teri Vance

The Nevada Appeal is kicking off its third annual Literacy for Life series, aimed at drawing attention to efforts in the community that promote reading.

As in years past, we will take a look at the members of our community who struggle with reading — both native and non-native speakers, children and adults — and the resources available to them.

We understand that a literate community is a well-informed and better functioning one.

This year we also will focus on the traditional reader. Whether you always have a book on your nightstand or read only the occasional novel recommended by a friend, we want you to participate.

Reading can broaden your understanding of the world and inspire you.

Don't take that for granted. READ MORE !

Singing literacy: September 23, 2011
Heather Light's sons are too young to read. But that doesn't mean the 2- and 3-year-old boys can't start learning the primary skills.

“As a teacher, I know that emergent reading begins at home,” she said. “Even if they can't read, they need to know how books work. If they're excited about it, they'll want to read once they get to school.”

That's why she takes Max, 3, and Luke, 2, to activities at the library, like the one offered Thursday at the Carson City Library.

In place of the traditional storytime, Kathryn Hill led toddlers and their parent

La alfabetización — language of literacy: September 30, 2011
Although she has lived in the United States for 15 years, Loyda Herrera hasn't needed to learn English.

“Before, I didn't worry about it,” she said in Spanish. “But things have gotten harder now. If you don't speak English, you can't find a job.”

So for the past two years, she's dedicated herself to learning the language, studying with the English as a Second Language In-Home Program of Northern Nevada.

The program, run by volunteer Florence Phillips, pairs students with volunteer tutors, often working one-on-one in the student's home.

For the love of Reading: October 7, 2011
For as long as Challen Wright can remember, he's loved books. As a child, he begged his parents to read him more than one bedtime story, sometimes negotiating up to five or seven a night.

“I really liked them reading to me,” he said. “But I really wanted to read myself.”

And as he's grown, the passion has grown with him.

Serving as a library aide at Carson Middle School last year, he learned the Dewey Decimal System. It became the perfect solution to the challenge he was having organizing his books at home.

“It's really good because now I know where each book should go,” he said.

Literacy for Life: Reading for a better life: October.14.2011
Leyco Rivas has a college degree in education management. She's worked as an elementary schoolteacher and, for 11 years, she trained and supervised other teachers with the department of education.

But all of that was in Nicaragua. When she moved to Carson City four years ago, she was turned down for a job as a dishwasher.

“I was so frustrated,” she said.

She knew literacy in her new language was the key to getting ahead.

“I believe that education is very important,” she said. “I knew I needed to learn English if I wanted to be educated here.”

Taking English classes at Western Nevada College along with weekly tutoring sessions from Carson City Literacy Volunteers, she is poised to take her GED, a requirement to enroll in college here, as well as the citizenship test. [ Series ]

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Health Literacy Month - October

Health Literacy Month

Health Literacy: Choose Your Poison
Play: Pills or Candy Game

California Poison Control System

Medications can easily be mistaken for candy.

Out of more than 4 million poisonings reported each year to poison control centers across the country, it is estimated that over 90% of them occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children under the age of 6.

The CPCS provides California residents with the most up-to-date information and 24-hour help in case of poison exposure. Pharmacists, nurses, physician-toxicologists and poison information providers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year:

1 . 800 . 222 . 1222

Text Messaging (SMS)
TIPS to 69866
in Spanish - PUNTOS to 69866

Free “Ask An Expert” on Facebook

Follow CPCS on Twitter

Monday, September 26, 2011

Literacy Tribune Newsletter: September 2011

Literacy Tribune: September 2011
The Adult Learner Network Newsletter

United Literacy, a non-profit organization, provides resources and support to adult literacy learners in the United States. Its aim is to make literacy education accessible and worthwhile for adult learners.

Main Story: A Close Look at the United States Budget
A budget is a plan. It is a plan to manage money.

A Letter to Readers
By Daniel Pedroza, President of United Literacy, Inc.
Dear Readers,
This issue of The Literacy Tribune marks our fourth anniversary. I, along with the staff and board of United Literacy, want to thank you for your support.

Organization Spotlight: Project Learn of Summit County
Project Learn of Summit County (in Akron, Ohio) is a leader in technology use among adult education and literacy programs.

Member Spotlight: Nicholas Munguia
Is learning more now than he ever learned in school.

Technology Watch: Songbird Music Player
By Daniel Pedroza, Managing Editor
Most people will agree that iTunes is one the best free music players on Mac and PCs. But Songbird is a great alternative to iTunes

The Literacy Tribune is looking for adult learner writers.
Are you an adult learner ?
Do you want to write ?
Do you want to publish your writing ?

You can write about:
Your road to literacy
Your literacy organization
Literacy resources you like
You can write book reviews, poetry, short stories
You can write articles about health, finance, or technology
You can write just about anything !

Friday, September 16, 2011

Early Education for All

Strategies for Children – Boston MA
Early Education for All

“We must invest in high-quality early education, one of the few educational strategies with a demonstrated positive effect on early literacy, as well as future academic achievement and social-emotional development. If we ensure that children in Massachusetts become proficient readers by the end of third grade, everything else on the education agenda will be easier to tackle, as will our ability to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy.”
Margaret Blood, Strategies for Children, Boston, September 8, 2011
Eye on Early Education Blog

Early Learning Matters - Video

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NCL Literacy Leadership Awards

National Coalition for Literacy to Honor Adult Literacy Leaders
PR Web: 9.12.2011

In celebration of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2011, the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) will present its 2011 NCL Literacy Leadership Awards on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM at a ceremony in the Senate Dirksen Building (SD-G50) in Washington, DC.

The awards recognize individuals and/or organizations that have made extraordinary national contributions to improving adult literacy and English language learning in the United States. The event is free and open to the public and press. Pre-registration is required.

NCL will recognize the following outstanding individuals and organizations:

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), Congressional Adult Education and Family Literacy Week champion and dedicated advocate for high-quality professional development for teachers and instructors.

Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, administrator of the national Literacy*AmeriCorps project since 2006, which serves more than 15,000 adult literacy students through more than 75 adult education programs in eight cities, including Austin, Dayton, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington DC.

U.S. A. Learns, the online interactive English language learning site, created by Jere Johnston and John Fleischman. The site is free to learners who wish to improve their literacy skills and English language proficiency through independent study. It receives more than 11,000 visitors each day.

John Corcoran, former adult literacy student, literacy champion, and founder of the John Corcoran Foundation, which supports creating a society in which each individual has the basic skills necessary to become a success in all aspects of life including education, work and community service.

Past Literacy Leadership Awards. READ MORE !

Friday, September 9, 2011

Michael S. Hart

Michael S. Hart
1947 - 2011

The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment.

A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature.

Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy.
Literacy, and the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.

Photo: Brewster Kahle's Blog

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8: Why Literacy Means Peace

International Literacy Day 2011:
Why Literacy Means Peace

September 8 is International Literacy Day.

Literacy isn't just a problem of reading or writing. It's the very foundation of peace. Discover how UNESCO's Literacy Prize Winners are laying those foundations. Literacy provides the language & reasoning skills to improve one's employability, empower women & socially disadvantaged groups, and understand values of tolerance, cohesion, and conflict resolution.

International Literacy Day: September 8

Understanding Literacy

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Executive Function and how can you help your kids develop it?

Ready for School? Executive Function = Success
Huffington Post: 8.30.2011 by Susan Kaiser Greenland

The term "Executive Function" may sound more relevant to business school than elementary school, yet it's crucial to your child's social and emotional development. Executive Function is a family of attention-related processes involved in planning and carrying out goal directed behavior. It predicts school readiness better than IQ scores and is a reliable forecaster of math and reading aptitudes. Because the regions of the brain associated with Executive Function are involved in the regulation of emotions and behavior, it's no surprise that there's good science that links Executive Function to empathy, pro-social behavior, emotional regulation, delayed gratification, and peer relationships. There's even a recent research finding that links preschool-aged children's capacities to delay gratification with higher SAT scores in high-school.

So what is Executive Function and how can you help your kids develop it? In brief, core skills associated with Executive Function are skills that children use all the time at play, at home, and in school. They require monitoring and shifting their attention, remembering information, and self-regulating. A good example of three of these skills is found in "Simon Says," a classic children's game that is fun to play and develops Executive Function. In "Simon Says," children remember the rules of the game (follow a command only when they hear the phrase 'Simon Says'); self-regulate by not automatically responding to the command (analyze it before responding); shift attention (between the command and the rules of the game to figure out how to respond); and self-regulate again (by responding only if the command included the phrase 'Simon Says').

"Simon Says" isn't the only common childhood game that develops Executive Function. Early research shows that a number of activities that most children already participate in develop Executive Function including: aerobic exercise; martial arts; dramatic play; social and emotional learning curricula; and mindfulness practice. READ MORE !

The secret of play: how to raise smart, healthy, caring kids from birth to age 12
Ann Pleshette Murphy
FAO Schwarz, 2008

Friday, August 19, 2011

Talking & Listening The Key To Literacy

Talking and listening the key to literacy
SMH: 8.19.2011 by Andrew Stevenson

WANT to learn to read and write? Perhaps you need to meet literacy's ugly sisters, talking and listening.

Too little attention is paid to the oral language skills of students, says John Munro, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne's graduate school of education. He says improving the ability of teachers to recognise kindergarten students with poor oral language skills and targeted intervention to improve them can produce stunning improvements in literacy and learning.

''Millions of dollars have gone into improving literacy but without putting in place the oral base, then it's almost wasted,'' Professor Munro said. ''For some reason speaking and listening has been seen as the ugly sister of reading and writing. But it's actually the foundation.'' READ MORE !

Listen to an interview with Dr Munro on ABC-Australia

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book
Annie E. Casey Foundation

The 22nd annual KIDS COUNT Data Book profiles the status of children on a national and state-by-state basis and ranks states on 10 measures of well-being.

Over the last decade there has been a significant decline in economic well-being for low income children and families. The official child poverty rate, which is a conservative measure of economic hardship, increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2009, essentially returning to the same level as the early 1990s. This increase means that 2.4 million more children are living below the federal poverty line. Data also reveals the impact of the job and foreclosure crisis on children. In 2010, 11 percent of children had at least one unemployed parent and 4 percent have been affected by foreclosure since 2007.

“In 2009, 42 percent of our nation’s children, or 31 million, lived in families with incomes below twice the federal poverty line or $43,512/year for a family of four, a minimum needed for most families to make ends meet,” said Laura Speer, associate director for Policy Reform and Data at the Casey Foundation. “The recent recession has wiped out many of the economic gains for children that occurred in the late 1990s.

Nearly 8 million children lived with at least one parent who was actively seeking employment but was unemployed in 2010. This is double the number in 2007, just three years earlier. The news about the number of children who were affected by foreclosure in the United States is also very troubling because these economic challenges greatly hinder the well-being of families and the nation.” READ MORE !

Monday, August 15, 2011

Poverty Troubles Even the Best Readers

Double Jeopardy:
How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
Annie E. Casey Foundation: April 2011

Students who don’t read proficiently by 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers, according to a study over time of nearly 4,000 students nationally.

Poverty compounds the problem: Students who have lived in poverty are 3 times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time than their more affluent peers; if they read poorly, too, the rate is 6 times greater than that for all proficient readers, the study found. For black and Latino students, the combined effect of poverty and poor 3rd grade reading skills makes the rate 8 times greater.

Poverty troubles even the best readers: Proficient 3rd graders who have lived in poverty graduate at about the same rate as subpar readers who have never been poor.

The findings include:
- 1 in 6 children who are not reading proficiently in 3rd grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate 4 times greater than that for proficient readers.
- The rates are highest for the low, below-basic readers: 23% of these children drop out or fail to finish high school on time, compared to 9% of children with basic reading skills and 4% of proficient readers.
- Overall, 22% of children who have lived in poverty do not graduate from high school, compared to 6% of those who have never been poor. This rises to 32% for students spending more than half of their childhood in poverty.
- For children who were poor for at least a year and were not reading proficiently in
3rd grade, the proportion that don’t finish school rose to 26%. That’s more than 6 times the rate for all proficient readers.
- The rate was highest for poor Black and Hispanic students, at 31 and 33% respectively—or about 8 times the rate for all proficient readers.
- Even among poor children who were proficient readers in 3rd grade, 11% still didn’t finish high school. That compares to 9% of subpar 3rd grade readers who have never been poor.
- Among children who never lived in poverty, all but 2% of the best 3rd grade readers graduated from high school on time.
- Graduation rates for Black and Hispanic students who were not proficient readers in 3rd grade lagged far behind those for White students with the same reading skills.

Kids Count
A national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the United States

Friday, August 12, 2011

Classroom is Obsolete

The Classroom Is Obsolete: It's Time for Something New
EdWeek: 7.29.2011 by Prakash Nair

The overwhelming majority of the nearly 76 million students in America’s schools and colleges spend most of the academic day in classrooms. That’s a problem because the classroom has been obsolete for several decades. That’s not just my opinion. It’s established science.

The debate over education reform has been going on for longer than anyone can remember. Relegated previously to arguments between policy wonks, questions about how we should reform our nation’s schools have now entered the public consciousness in a very real way. The global financial crisis and our economic woes have collided with increased mainstream coverage of our failing educational system. The Obama administration has joined the chorus of critics and rolled out numerous reform measures.

Lost in all this hand-wringing is the most visible symbol of a failed system: the classroom. Almost without exception, the reform efforts under way will preserve the classroom as our children’s primary place of learning deep into the 21st century. This is profoundly disturbing because staying with classroom-based schools could permanently sink our chances of rebuilding our economy and restoring our shrinking middle class to its glory days.

The classroom is a relic, left over from the Industrial Revolution, which required a large workforce with very basic skills. Classroom-based education lags far behind when measured against its ability to deliver the creative and agile workforce that the 21st century demands. This is already evidenced by our nation’s shortage of high-tech and other skilled workers—a trend that is projected to grow in coming years.


Those who are intrigued or skeptical about the notion of education beyond classrooms may want to start their own research with some of the thought leaders in this arena. The School of Environmental Science in Apple Valley, Minn.; the Minnesota New Country School in Henderson, Minn.; the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul, Minn.; Forest Park Elementary School in Middletown, R.I.; Duke School in Durham, N.C.; Learning Gate Community School in Lutz, Fla.; Hellerup School in Copenhagen, Denmark; Wooranna Park Primary School in Victoria, Australia; Australian Science and Mathematics School in Adelaide, Australia; and Discovery 1 School in Christchurch, New Zealand, are just a few great non-classroom-based examples of schools. (In the interests of full disclosure, I need to note that my firm—and I personally—worked on several of these school-design projects.) READ MORE !

. . . in related news

Sir Ken Robinson

Internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. Keynote Speaker - California Library Association Conference: Nov 12

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms: April 13, 2011

Schools Kill Creativity: TED 2006

Bring on the Revolution: TED 2010

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Secret He Tried To Hide: Can't Read

Vero Beach man, 52, learns to read after being illiterate throughout life
After working at Parent Construction for three decades, his boss tutors him after discovering his secret
TCPalm: 8.09.2011 by Janet Begley

Sam Bristol has a good life — a high school diploma, good career in construction and nice family with a wife, children and grandchildren.

But like one in five Indian River County residents, Bristol, 52, had a secret he desperately tried to hide throughout most of his life: Bristol can't read.

Hard to imagine? Think about the disadvantages of a life without literacy. Writing down directions, reading a medicine bottle and filing income taxes are impossible without being able to read. But for Bristol, whose own mother was a substitute teacher in Georgia, the embarrassment he felt was something he carried throughout his adult life.

"When I was at Vero Beach High School, they put me in special education classes," said Bristol. "I was making A's and B's in special education, but that's only about the third grade. I could read little stuff but I couldn't break down big words into syllables, so I really never learned to read."

But sports proved to be Bristol's saving grace, even though he left home at age 16.


After Bristol graduated, he was hired by local general contractor, Parent Construction, where he's worked for 33 years, doing mostly carpentry and general construction work.


Merry Parent, who co-owns Parent Construction with her husband Paul, is Bristol's boss, and a formidable woman who doesn't take no for an answer. When Parent discovered Bristol's reading problem, she was determined to help him. For the past year, the pair has been reading together twice a week, using materials from Literacy Services of Indian River County.


The National Adult Literacy Survey shows Bristol is not alone when it comes to lacking basic reading skills. About 30 million adults, or 14 percent of Americans, can only perform simplistic activities such as signing a form. An additional 63 million, or 29 percent, have only basic literacy skills, which would be necessary to read a television guide to find a specific program. READ MORE !

Monday, August 1, 2011

State of Learning Disabilities 2011

The State of Learning Disabilities 2011
Facts, Trends and Indicators
A biennial publication of the National Center for Learning Disabilities NCLD

2.5 million public school students—or about 5% of all students in public schools—were identified as having learning disabilities in 2009 and were eligible to receive educational assistance under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

■ The number of school-age children with learning disabilities who receive these Federally-authorized special education services escalated rapidly during the late 1980s and 1990s. However, during the last decade (2000-2009) the number of children identified as LD in public schools has declined by 14%.

■ Males comprise almost 2/3s of school age students with LD who receive special education services.

■ The cost of educating a student with LD is 1.6 times the expenditure for a general education student. This is dramatically less than the average cost for all students with disabilities, which runs 1.9 times the cost for a general education student.

■ In 2008, 62% of students with LD spent 80% or more of their in-school time in general education classrooms. In 2000, that figure was just 40%.

Students with LD are retained in grade much more often than those without disabilities. In addition, they are involved in school disciplinary actions at a muchhigher rate than their nondisabled peers.

■ Only a small percentage—estimated at between 25% and 35%—of students with LD are being provided with assistive technology to support their instruction and learning.

■ The high school dropout rate among students with LD was 22% in 2008, down from 40% in 1999.

■ More students with LD are graduating with a regular high school diploma—64% in 2008—up from 52% a decade earlier.

■ Students with LD go on to postsecondary education at a much lower rate than their nondisabled peers, and of those who do, few seek supports in college and few earn undergraduate or advanced degrees.

■ In 2005, 55% of adults with LD (ages 18-64) were employed compared to 76% of those without LD, 6% were unemployed vs. 3%, and 39% were not in the labor force vs. 21%.

■ Few adults with LD access workplace accommodations or understand their rights under disability anti-discrimination laws.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Council of the Federation Literacy Award

Bus driver shares inspiring literacy story
CBC News: 7.28.2011 by

Michael Moore kept the seriousness of his reading problem hidden for years but now the Winnipeg Transit driver is getting national attention for starting a new chapter of his life.

Moore is one of 14 recipients this year of the prestigious Council of the Federation Literacy Award.

The 52-year-old man describes himself as someone who slipped through the cracks of the school system with low marks in English. He scraped by with grades not much more than 50 per cent and never read a book from cover to cover.

He developed day-to-day strategies to cope, often saying, 'you do it, I've forgotten my glasses.'

To become a bus driver at age 25, he orally memorized all 75 rules and regulations. He also kept his shortfall a secret at work by not applying for promotions.

But with children, and faking his way through reading to them, Moore finally decided he needed to get help and get the monkey off his back. READ MORE !

. . . . in related news:
Toronto: Library cuts will happen ‘in a heartbeat,’ Doug Ford says

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Who's in the Queue? Public Access Computers

Who’s in the Queue? A Demographic Analysis of Public Access Computer Users and Uses in U.S. Public Libraries Institute of Museum and Library Services
Research Brief No. 4, June 2011

The demographic analysis in this brief dispels some myths about the beneficiaries of public access computer services in U.S. public libraries. Public access computer users largely resemble the general public in terms of age, education, and even in the overall level of home computer and Internet access.

• The fact that many different people report that they are able to fulfill a wide variety of information needs is a clear indication that public libraries are providing much more than basic technology access

• Substantive uses of public access computers mirror the needs people have at different stages of the life course. Young people identify education activities as their main use, people between the ages of 25 and 54 identifying employment activities as their top use, and people 55 and older reporting health and wellness research as the main public access computer use.

Charts included:
Age Comparison
Education Attainment
Public Access Users by Home Access Type
Rank of Public Library Internet Use by Subject Area
Rank of Public Library Internet Use by Subject Area and Home Access Type
Top Substantive Uses of Public Access Computers by Age Category

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plain English

New Law Calls for Writing in Plain English
The Times in Plain English Version: 6.1.2011

President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act into law in 2010. A federal agency published rules on how to implement the law in April 2011.

The federal instructions are six pages long. It states: As defined in the Act, “plain writing is writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and consistent with other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience. Such writing avoids jargon, redundancy, ambiguity, and obscurity.”

Most professionals in the government said it would take years to make the law work. They said writing rules requires precise language. Courts look at the meaning of words. Simplifying the writing may make it difficult to understand exact meaning.

Others say that bureaucrats write for other bureaucrats, not for the public. Critics say that language written for the public to understand must be clear. Full Story: The Washington Post READ MORE !

Friday, July 8, 2011

Literacy Tribune Newsletter: July 2011

Literacy Tribune: July 2011
The Adult Learner Network Newsletter

United Literacy, a non-profit organization, provides resources and support to adult literacy learners in the United States. Its aim is to make literacy education accessible and worthwhile for adult learners.

Main Story: Labels, Learning Disabilities, and Reading
- Do people say you have a “Music Disability” because you can’t sing very well . . .

A History Lesson: Songs of Patriotism
- It’s July, and the start of some of our nation’s most beloved customs – picnics, barbeques, parades, fireworks, and outdoor concerts.

Member Spotlight: Gloria Murray, Guest Writer & Learner
- My speech is called “Ideas on ALLI.”

Organization Spotlight: Literacy Volunteers of Tucson (LVT)
- The year was 1961. Betty Frey, an educator in Tucson, Arizona, went to talk with her assistant pastor about what she could do to help the community.

Technology Watch: What to Do After Buying a Brand New PC Laptop
By Daniel Pedroza, Writer and Learner
- Just bought a new laptop? Wondering what you have to do before you can use it?

The Literacy Tribune is looking for adult learner writers.
Are you an adult learner ?
Do you want to write ?
Do you want to publish your writing ?

You can write about:
Your road to literacy
Your literacy organization
Literacy resources you like
You can write book reviews, poetry, short stories
You can write articles about health, finance, or technology
You can write just about anything !

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Budget Cuts - Libraries Under Siege

Budget cuts force libraries to re-examine roles
Google News: 6.21.2011 by Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — A century after the nation's library building boom, public libraries are under siege: plunging tax revenues are forcing closures and staff cutbacks, while e-readers and the Internet can make a library seem quaint as a place to find a book or do research.

Yet amid severe cutbacks, libraries are finding novel ways to generate money and are rebranding themselves as crucial employment resources for people without computers and as community gathering places that cannot be easily replaced.

"If there's any silver lining in the downturn for libraries, it's that it has really forced us to look at new ways of doing business," said Audra Caplan, president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association. "We can't depend solely on tax dollars anymore."

Library directors are responding to the dwindling support from local governments by charging for premium services, selling passport photos and joining with DVD retailers to offer commercial movie-rental boxes in exchange for a cut of the sales. In the most extreme examples, some communities have decided to privatize library operations.

On Thursday, the American Library Association meets in New Orleans to begin its annual conference and will address the funding crisis and ways to maintain services.
There's no question libraries face an uncertain future. A 2010 survey by Library Journal showed that 72 percent of surveyed libraries said they faced budget cuts in the previous year, while 43 percent said they had made cuts to staffing. Nearly one in five respondents expressed pessimism about the future of libraries.


"Libraries are everything — opportunities to come read, better yourself, find out what's going on. But these days, it seems no one really cares about all that," said Charles Holt of Denver, a 50-year-old out-of-work cook who walks daily to a library to pass the time and search for a new job.

These days, Holt is walking farther because his closest library branch is now open just four days a week. Budget cuts in Denver threaten to shut his branch and up to half the city's library branches permanently.

He said even in his relatively low-skill field of commercial cooking, he needs the Internet to find work.

"Not everybody has a computer," said Holt, who said even some unemployment benefits require online applications. READ MORE !

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

American Commons Photographing Public Libraries

An American Commons
Photographing Public Libraries
Across the Nation
6/24 – 8/15/11

Follow Robert Dawson and his son Walker across the United States as they photograph public libraries in some 22 states: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and New England.

This project is a photographic survey of public libraries throughout the United States. There are over 17,000 public libraries in this country. Since I began the project in 1994 I have photographed hundreds of libraries in nineteen states. From Alaska to Florida and from New England to California the photographs show a vibrant, essential yet threatened system.

The modern library in the computer age is in the midst of reinventing itself. What belongs in a library? In what form do we want to preserve information and culture? More books are being published than ever before yet library budgets are shrinking. More is also being demanded of our libraries as they move beyond being centers for books to becoming centers for community. People without homes often find libraries to be one of the few safe places as homeless shelters are cut back. Access to the Internet is increasingly necessary to function in our society and many people have only the library to connect to the web. READ MORE !

Examples of earlier work 1994 – 2011

Founder and co-director of the Water in the West Project
Instructor of Photography at San Jose State University
Instructor of Photography at Stanford University

Friday, June 10, 2011

Teach Reading Without Using Labels

Teach reading without using labels
Sign On San Diego: 6.10.11 by John Corcoran

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As children, we were taught those words. But as adults, we know that words and labels can and do hurt. One such label is “learning disability.”

Like the thorn in the lion’s paw, which others cannot see but the lion feels sharply, the pain caused by being labeled “learning disabled” cannot be discounted. Others may say the label is harmless, or that it is meant to be helpful in the allocation of educational resources. But that label, often given in childhood, can cause pain and shame into adulthood.

Coined in 1963 by Samuel Kirk, who was then a professor of special education at the University of Illinois, the term was first suggested to concerned parents as a means of describing “their children who had disorders in development of language, speech, reading and associated communication skills.”

Before the 1960s, terms that had been used by the medical and education community to describe these children included “brain damaged,” “minimal brain dysfunction,” “mentally retarded” and “emotionally disturbed.” Many parents embraced “learning disabled,” swallowing the psychological placebo in hopes it would make everything all better. But it has not.


So what term should we use? How about “Susie” or “Jimmy”? Call each learner, child or adult by his or her name. Then identify their individual challenges with reading through diagnostic testing. Based on the results, prescribe the evidence-based treatment.


It’s time to stop looking at learners with difficulties as disabled. They are “learning able.” I know because of my personal experience. If I had been in elementary school in the early 1960s, I would have been branded with that new label of “learning disabled.” Instead, when I was a little boy growing up in the 1940s, I was put in the “dumb row” because I was among the many children who had difficulties learning how to read and write.

The term “dumb” stuck with me until I learned to read at the age of 48. Finally, as an adult, I found a teacher who knew how to teach me. She gave me a battery of tests that diagnosed my difficulties (a severe auditory discrimination problem was the main one) and recommended proper treatment and instruction based on the findings. Never was I considered learning disabled by that teacher. She believed I was able to read with proper instruction.


The way forward is clear. We have the research and the science to teach all learners. This is the level playing field that produces equal opportunity for all. Let’s do away with the labels and see each other for who we truly are: learning able. READ MORE !

Corcoran is a literacy advocate and author of “Bridge to Literacy: No Child – or Adult – Left Behind” and his autobiography, “The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read.” He has served on the National Institute for Literacy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Next Literacy - Mickey McManus, MAYA Design

TEDTalk - Innovate: Education -- The Next Literacy
Huffington Post: 6.7.11 by Mickey McManus, CEO-MAYA Design

What if there were a basic literacy beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic that we missed, or that wasn't necessary until this moment in our history?

What if that new literacy were the organizing principle between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and SEL (social, emotional learning)?

What if it could help the least among us leapfrog over the mainstream? What if it could help build collaborative, resilient, creative, & critical thinkers in an age of exponential change? READ MORE !

For more information check out LUMA Institute.