Thursday, January 30, 2014

Reading Bowl MMXIV: Seattle v. Denver

Seattle v. Denver

It's @SPLBuzz v. @denverlibrary in the Reading Bowl! Seattle Public Library challenged Denver Public Library to see which city can get the most people talking on Twitter about what they're reading: using the tags #SEAreads #DENreads and #ReadingBowl.

What's at stake: The winning library gets smug satisfaction; the non-winning library (because no library is a loser) will create a prominent display of books/movies/music set in the winning library's city.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Libraries - Share What You Know About Adult Literacy

TimetoReskill Slide Show
Share What You Know About Adult Literacy:
Libraries Invited to Provide Input
UpNext: The IMLS Blog: 1.23.2014 by mheintz
A Joint OVAE-IMLS UpNext Blog Post

Results from the latest international study of adult skills, Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Survey of Adult Skills, show that the U.S. workforce trails many other developed nations in foundational skills essential for both individuals and the nation as a whole to thrive. These skills include the ability to read, the ability to understand numbers and do math, and the ability to solve problems using technology.

The site’s many resources include:
-A consultation paper, a 10-page paper that can be shared in advance of an event to provide background on the skills issue and the framework for the National Action Plan
-A toolkit, a step-by-step guide to running a local roundtable from types of people to invite to what questions to pose
-An online feedback form (Submit comments by March 14 to be considered in the Plan.)

Learn more about the results of the study by reading Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says, a report completed by OECD at the request of the U.S. Department of Education.

Libraries play an important role in boosting adults’ foundational skills and they have the ability to offer important insights that can help shape the national action plan. Libraries can take part by hosting roundtable discussion to provide input on the plan.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

20 percent of Highlands adults are illiterate
Highlands Today: 1.15.2014 by Gary Pinnell

Are you more literate than a third grader? Thirteen percent of Americans may not be.

"There are currently more than 30 million adults in the United States whose ability to read, write, and do basic math is at or below the level of the average third grader," said a Dec. 11 Remapping Debate web story.

"I would agree," said Sylvia Turner, director of South Florida State College's Adult Education Department, "based on what I see, through the students who come to us, who don't know how to do reading and writing or math."

Literacy isn't just the ability to read basic words. The National Assessment of AdultLiteracy measures the skill to search, comprehend and read continuous texts; to use payroll forms, job applications, transportation schedules, maps, tables and food labels; and the proficiency to balance a checkbook, figure a waiter's tip, or complete an order form.

Eleven million Americans are non-literate in English, 7 million couldn't answer test questions, 4 million couldn't take the NAAL because of language barriers.

Today's digital society presents ever-larger challenges.

"The GED is comprised of more and more advanced math," said Turner. The General Education Development test includes measurements, geometry, data analysis, statistics, probability, algebra and patterns.

Eighteen percent of Highlands County's 80,000 adults lack basic literacy skills, according to the Florida Literacy Coalition's 2003 assessment. That's 2 percent better than the rest of the Sunshine State. In 13 of Florida's counties, 20 percent or more lack skills, according to the FLC's 2003 report "Getting Started in Adult Literacy."

Those are the most current statistics available from the Florida Literacy Coalition in Orlando, Turner said. READ MORE !

SOAR! literacy group to close doors Jan. 31
Salem Leader: 1.17.2014 by Marcia Walker

It looks like it's all over for SOAR!, the local organization with a main focus of helping people age 18 and over improve their reading skills in preparation for taking the high school equivalency exam.

Board members have crunched the numbers and know there isn't enough money to keep the program going. Expenses include rent, materials and salary for a part-time director.

Plans are to close the organization as of Jan. 31. Some $25,000 is needed to keep the program going for a year; $6,000 would carry it to March and its first fundraiser, a chili cook-off.

It's a decision that rankles Alice Nevels, both a board member and a tutor as well as a retired educator. Nevels pointed out that the community is losing a valuable resource, both the program and the part-time director, Erica Schmidt. Once gone, there's no getting either back, she said. Schmidt works part-time and much of her time is spent raising money; time Nevels said would be better spent working with students.

"I feel this is a program that should be using her more, not closing down and sending her packing," Nevels said. "SOAR! should be benefiting from this resource. Once gone, we won't get it back."

There is a program available to county residents that helps people prepare for the high school equivalency exam but students who end up in SOAR! don't qualify because most can't read at the required fifth-grade level. SOAR! tests them to determine their reading level then matches them with a trained, volunteer tutor who works with them one-on-one.

U.S. adult literacy stats
-14% of adults over 16 read at or below 5th grade level.
-75% of state prison inmates didn't complete high school or can be classified as low literate.
-The effects of low literacy cost the U.S. more than $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. Individuals at the lowest level of literacy have a higher rate of unemployment than the national average - 14.5% in 2011.  READ MORE !

Literacy Volunteers of Hamilton share wisdom 1.09.2014 by Amanda Ippolito

According to Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County, there are about 60,000 adults in Mercer County reading at fifth-grade level or below.

The Hamilton-based nonprofit wants to change that.

The 36-year-old organization provides free, confidential services to adults in Mercer County hoping to improve their ability to read, write and speak English. It offers individual and group lessons for adults whose native language is English, and for English speakers of other languages.

There currently are about 140 active tutors and 165 students, and 85 adults waiting for help. Group classes are offered in conversational and computer skills.

There is “never a shortage of students, always a shortage of teachers,” program coordinator Victoria Golden said.

Tutors come from “very diverse backgrounds,” Golden said, and should have a high school diploma or its equivalent. They do not need education training, a college degree or foreign language knowledge.  READ MORE !

Saturday, January 25, 2014

National Literacy Action Week (NLAW) January 27 – February 1

January 27 – February 1

NLAW is a Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education [SCALE] initiative for strengthening literacy activism. During the week, campus literacy programs nationwide join together to raise awareness about literacy and create change on their campuses and in their communities.

To raise awareness:
- Help people understand the need for literacy services locally or nationally.
- Inform your community about the importance of having adequate literacy skills, and what it means for those who do not.
- Raise awareness about your program’s activities and the essential work you do.
- Make connections between literacy and other social justice issues by demonstrating the very real relationships operating in society (e.g., literacy and racism, poverty, sexism, immigration, health needs).

To make change:
- Address a social justice issue in your local community or on campus.
- Advocate for changes in a local school.
- Lobby local, state or national elected officials to commit more resources for literacy initiatives.
- Pressure decision-makers in education (or other human service areas) to embrace policies and practices that benefit learners most and lead to greater justice and equality.

February 1, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EST)

Hunter Phillips Goodman @ 10am
the history of student-led service movements

Lucy Lewis @ 11am
her experiences with voting rights in the 1970s and now

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kate DiCamillo - National Ambassador for Young People's Literature: Jan 10

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature: 2014-15
Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo Named New National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

“Stories Connect Us” to Be Her Platform

Kate DiCamillo, Newbery Medal Award-winner and honoree, today was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. DiCamillo will serve in the position during 2014 and 2015, succeeding Walter Dean Myers. She has chosen "Stories Connect Us" for her platform. The inauguration ceremony will take place Jan. 10 at 11 a.m. in Room LJ-119 of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The theme of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances is a common thread in much of Kate DiCamillo’s writing. In her instant No. 1 New York Times best-seller “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” (2006), a haughty china rabbit undergoes a profound transformation after finding himself  face down on the ocean floor -- lost and waiting to be found. “The Tale of Despereaux"
(2003), the Newbery Medal-winning novel that later inspired an animated adventure from Universal Pictures, stars a tiny mouse with exceptionally large ears who is driven by love to become an unlikely hero. And “The Magician’s Elephant” (2009), an acclaimed and exquisitely paced fable, dares to ask the question, What if?

Kate DiCamillo’s own journey is something of a dream come true. After moving to Minnesota from Florida in her 20s, homesickness and a bitter winter helped inspire “Because of Winn-Dixie” (2000), her first published novel, which, remarkably, became a runaway best-seller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. “After the Newbery committee called me, I spent the whole day walking into walls,” she says. “I was stunned. And very, very happy.”  READ MORE !

The National Ambassador program was established in 2008
Jon Scieszka, 2008-2009.
Katherine Paterson, 2010-2011
Walter Dean Myers, 2012-2013

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Literacy - Spanning the U.S.

Literacy - Spanning the U.S.

Volunteer of the week: Phil Gladden tutors adults at Read to Succeed
Visalia Times Delta: 01.02.2014 by Teresa Douglass

Phil Gladden decided to volunteer three years ago for a selfish reason, he said.

“It looks good on an application to have volunteer time,” he said.

Since then, he’s tutored a dozen adults, teaching them how to read or work toward passing their General Educational Development Test (GED). He’s one of up to 60 volunteers who provide free one-on-one tutoring at Read to Succeed, an adult literacy center through the Tulare County Library.

More tutors are needed, said Sue Gillison, program director. Nine adults are on a waiting list for tutors. Now is the time to sign up for a one day volunteer training session.

Gladden, 48, tutors three adults three hours a week.

“[Phil] is one of our heroes,” she said. “He doesn’t know how to say no.”  READ MORE !
Adult literacy program to be introduced
Carroll County Times: 1.01.2014 by Jacob deNobel

When Karen Colvin, R.N., M.A. contacted the County Executive’s office earlier this year, she was simply looking for an opportunity to volunteer with a community adult literacy program. The next day she was contacted by Jim Fish, executive director of Baltimore County Public Library.

“Jim said to me, ‘I understand you want to start an adult literacy program,’” Colvin said. “’I told him, ‘No, I want to volunteer for one.’ He said ‘Well, we don’t have one, would you like to start one?’”

Colvin is now managing the “Second Start” adult literacy program for Baltimore County. The group, which she said will consist of between six and eight students and tutors, will meet twice weekly for 10 weeks at the Randallstown Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. They are currently searching for both teachers and students to participate in the course.

Colvin is a retired professor from the University of Baltimore. She said in the past, she volunteered for a literacy program that closed.

“I am fascinated, intrigued and motivated to help those who want to learn to read,” Colvin said. “I know there are a lot of people [who need help]. It’s pervasive.”

Colvin said she anticipates the program will begin Feb. 1.  READ MORE !

Health and literacy education offered
AltusTimes: 01.02.2014

Did you know that in 2011, Oklahoma was the worst state in the nation when it came to dental visits? Or that Oklahoma was also at the bottom of the state line-up when it came to diets that included fruit and vegetables? By the way, in 2011, Oklahoma was the 46th healthiest state when it came to health. In 2012, Oklahoma moved up to 43rd healthiest state. While 43rd is still not good, it is an improvement. Another alarming concern about Oklahoma was included in the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy. It estimated 43% of Oklahoma’s adults function with the most basic or below-basic literacy skills of reading simple everyday literacy activities. And for these reasons, the Great Plains Literacy Council wanted to address both health and literacy issues in the new year through Project HELP, which stands for Health, English, & Literacy Partnership. This grant has been made possible through the federal Library Services and Technology Act funding received through the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries Literacy Services.  READ MORE !

Clarksville Montgomery County Adult Literacy Council and the LEAP Organization collaborate to open Community Learning Resource Center
Clarksville Online: 12.30.2013 by Richard Garrett

The Adult Literacy Council partnered with the Leap Organization to develop a computer lab to aid adults and youth become more computer literate.

“We believe that higher learning in literacy, math, and other basic skills is the key to an individual’s success” commented ALC Executive Director Velma Jo Williams. “The Adult Literacy Council appreciates the LEAP Org., in storing our NetBook Computers in their computer lab and look forward in working together in the fight against illiteracy with the hopes of individuals becoming productive citizens.”

Adult Literacy Council and the Leap Organization have partnered to develop a computer lab for youth and adults.Adult Literacy Council and the Leap Organization have partnered to develop a computer lab for youth and adults.

Since 1985, the Clarksville-Montgomery County Adult Literacy Council has successfully offered free year-round tutorial services to adult learners preparing to take either the GED® Exam/HiSet or simply striving to improve their personal Reading, English, Math, and/or Basic Computer Skills.

Other services offered include the courses in ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) and ASVAB Exam Preparation (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Exam).  READ MORE !

Friday, January 3, 2014

Why no literacy programs for 30 million in US?

Why no literacy programs for 30 million in US?
Tucson Sentinel: 12.11.2013 by David Noriega

There are currently more than 30 million adults in the United States whose ability to read, write, and do basic math is at or below the level of the average third grader.

Experts in the field agree that this is a problem that could be meaningfully addressed. Doing so, however, would require aggressive, coordinated investment on all levels of government, and the federal government has not provided the necessary leadership or funding. In fact, over the last decade, federal funding, adjusted for inflation, has gone down. State governments, too, have mostly failed to respond in any way that would suggest recognition that the epidemic of adult illiteracy is an emergency.

Experts and advocates suggest a number of reasons for this political lethargy, including a tendency among lawmakers to see low-skilled adults as undeserving or beyond repair, along with unreasonable expectations of progress without first providing meaningful investment. Whatever the cause, there has not been sufficient political will to do what is necessary to help the millions of adults in the country whose lack of basic literacy skills are major obstacles to a decent life.

“An undernourished system”

The extent of the adult literacy problem in the United States was made newly clear in October when, for the first time in a decade, an international survey organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produced a comprehensive picture of adult skills in the U.S. The survey revealed not only the number of adults in the country lacking basic reading and math skills, but also that adults at the lowest skill levels were four times as likely to report poor health than those at the highest levels, a gap far larger than the international average.

While dreary, the results came as no surprise to those who work in adult education. The researchers, teachers and advocates we interviewed all acknowledged that the current system of adult basic education in the U.S. has long been unable to reach more than a fraction of the population that could benefit from its services.

Marcie Weadon-Moreno Foster, public policy chair for the National Coalition for Literacy and a policy analyst at CLASP, an anti-poverty group, said that out of the 36 million adults with the lowest skills, only about 5 percent have gained access to education programs. In other words, about 34 million have not gained access. There are waiting lists for such programs in all but one state, some stretching to a year’s time and hundreds of thousands of people.

“The number one issue is that we’re simply not providing the resources that we need to serve the students that we need to serve,” Foster said.  READ MORE !

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Banished Words List - Lake Superior State Univ

Lake Superior State University
2014 Banished Words List

After much twerking and gnashing of hashtags, the word-watchers at Lake Superior State University have released their 39th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

The list, compiled from nominations sent to LSSU throughout the year, is released each year on New Year's Eve. It dates back to Dec. 31, 1975, when former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and some colleagues cooked up the whimsical idea to banish overused words and phrases from the language. They issued the first list on New Year's Day 1976. Much to the delight of word enthusiasts everywhere, the list has stayed the course into a fourth decade.

So, dispense with the selfies, come down from the twittersphere and T-bone this
year's banish-pocalypse on steroids.  READ MORE !