Thursday, January 27, 2011

Family Literacy Day: January 27

Family Literacy Day: January 27

To raise your child to be a reader, start early
Times Colonist: January 27, 2001 by Dave Obee

Once upon a time, it was possible to find success with only rudimentary reading skills. But those days are gone.

Strong reading skills are critical for a successful, full life. Literacy needs to start at an early age and real progress must be supported by parents, grandparents and other responsible adults.

That might seem obvious to you, but you can read.

Too many adults don't have that ability, and that puts their own children at a disadvantage. If children don't see their parents reading, and if parents are not reading to them, they are less likely to develop the essential skills.

The Raise-a-Reader program, sponsored by the Times Colonist and other PostMedia newspapers, notes that more than 40 per cent of Canadian adults have literacy skills below the level needed to succeed. A lot of children are at risk.

That's why we are celebrating Family Literacy Day today. Yes, hundreds of special days are declared every year by all levels of government -- but this one really matters. The benefits of literacy pay off for decades.

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The theme this year is "play for literacy," and it's meant to reinforce the idea that literacy can be developed in many different ways. It's not just about reading books to children -- although that certainly helps. The seed of literacy can grow through singing to children, playing games with them and even helping them to colour.

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Don't miss it. And don't miss a chance to read to your children, your grandchildren or even the neighbour's kid. They need it. READ MORE !

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

America's Most Literate Cities: 2010

America’s Most Literate Cities, 2010

Drawing from a variety of available data resources, the America’s Most Literate Cities study ranks the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the United States. This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources.

Top 10 Cities1 Washington, DC
2 Seattle, WA
3 Minneapolis, MN
4 Atlanta, GA
5 Pittsburgh, PA
6 San Francisco, CA
7 St. Paul, MN
8 Denver, CO
9 Portland, OR
10 St. Louis, MO

Bottom 10
66 Glendale, AZ
67 Santa Ana, CA
68 Long Beach, CA
69.5 Corpus Christi, TX
69.5 El Paso, TX
71 Arlington, TX
72 Anaheim, CA
73 Bakersfield, CA
74 Aurora, CO
75 Stockton, CA

Worrisome Trends
Looking back over eight years of the America’s Most Literate Cities rankings and focusing on the data that drive the rankings, President Miller sees worrisome concerns.
~ the decline of newspaper readership
~ continuing erosion of book purchasing
~ bookstores are also disappearing.

Public Libraries a True Bright Spot

Of the data he has tracked over the life of the rankings, Miller finds that the one bulwark sustaining American literacy is the public library. “In terms of accessibility and usability, libraries remain vibrant. Even in these economically embattled times, many cities appear to be providing their citizens with rich resources for developing and maintaining literate behaviors,” Miller notes.

The across-the-board-average for library branches per person remains virtually unchanged. Circulation has actually increased from 6.8 to 7.17 per person during that time. Some cities, most notably St. Paul, Boston, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, increased in both number of branches and circulation, posting numbers three to five times higher than such other cities as Detroit, San Antonio, and Santa Ana. READ MORE !

Dr. John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, is the author of this study. Research for this edition of AMLC was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Public Policy and Social Research at CCSU.

The original study was published online in 2003 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How Libraries Can Help Adult Learners Improve Literacy

Get Literate: How Libraries Can Help Adult Learners Improve Literacy
Reading, Writing, & Education: 2011

Education – even free public education – is an investment. With a family, mental or physical issues, or a job already underway, many adult learners simply may not have had time or the resources to invest in improving their literacy. Fortunately, there are ways for adult learners to work on their literacy levels while still working, taking care of a family, or dealing with a learning difference. The ability to read literature, communicate clearly, and think critically can open the doors of opportunity for those adults who have struggled to break even.

One of the best ways to improve your literacy is to make visits to the public library a habit. The American public library system is a wonderful democratic institution, as it allows all community members access to books, music, film, records, computers, and the Internet – all for free. Often there are community events held in the library as well, such as book reading groups or book-a-thons. Sign up for a group, or get a reading partner to help you stay accountable. Set goals to read a few books a month, even if they are children’s or young adult books. The goal is to read literature that challenges you to think, but don’t overwhelm yourself so much that you get discouraged. Plan a visit to the library each week, and spend a couple hours browsing as well as reading. Try not to grab a stack of books and then head for the door; linger a while. The presence of other readers is encouraging.

If libraries are not your thing, you can use various Internet programs and websites to help you improve your literacy. You can search online for word games, such as Scrabble or Scattergories. There are also literacy support groups and ESL classes that you can sign up for. And once you have seen improvement in your literacy level, perhaps you could mentor someone else who is struggling with literacy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Literacy Tribune: January 2011

Literacy Tribune: January 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:
Which Came First: Reading or Writing? by Bud Pues
What does the word “read” really mean?

A History Lesson:
Franklin D. Roosevelt by Alison Werner
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often known simply as FDR, was born in Hyde Park, New York, on January 30, 1882, to a wealthy family.

Member Spotlight:
Taking That First Step: Milton Whitley
Admitting you need help with anything is hard. Asking for help can be even harder. But making the decision to ask for help can change one’s life, as many adult learners have discovered.

Technology Watch:
Dropbox by Daniel Pedroza
Ever wonder what would happen if your computer was stolen or damaged? How would you recover your files? Dropbox is a great option for protecting your computer files.

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 !