Sunday, February 2, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. & Canada

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. & Canada

Literacy Blooms In Hicksville
Anton News: 1.29.2014 by Emily Cappiello

Speaking and understanding English is something that a lot of people take for granted. Many of us were brought up speaking it fluently and learn how to become advocates for ourselves using the language. However, there are many people — from immigrants to native speakers — who cannot fully grasp English and cannot communicate their needs. Literacy Nassau is battling this problem head on, by teaming up with the Hicksville Public Library to offer its services to those in the area that need help mastering English.

Since 1968, Literacy Nassau has been helping adults who struggle with reading, writing and speaking English. The organization offers three programs: Adult Literacy Education (a one-on-one tutoring program), conversation groups, and citizenship programs.  Literary specialist Ocaria Silva says that one of Literacy Nassau’s most popular offerings in Hicksville is the citizenship programs, which are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturday. Not only does Literacy Nassau offer classes to assist those who need it in mastering English, but the organization also stands by its members in the fight to become U.S. citizens. READ MORE !

VIDEO: Abington Township Public Library offers literacy program
Montgomery News: 1.24.2014 by Jarreau Freeman

When Erika Witt, 71, retired after 41 years of teaching, she didn’t hesitate to jump back into teaching again.

Instead of teaching children, she set her sights on adult education.

It’s been more than three years since Witt became a volunteer tutor with the Abington Township Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program, and she said her time as a tutor has been “extremely rewarding.”

“[Tutoring] brings me more than I’m sure I can give [the students],” she said with a chuckle. “They are just so grateful and so eager, and it’s just a rewarding thing to [witness] for someone who is a teacher.”

The Adult Literacy Program was established in 1984 to fill a growing need in the community and surrounding areas by helping adults who could not read and write, explained Program Coordinator Rob Naborn.

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy in April 2013, 32 million adults cannot read — that’s 14 percent of the population. Another 21 percent of adults read below a fifth-grade level.

The program has grown to include English as a Second Language and GED tutoring in addition to basic reading and writing assistance, Naborn said.

With more than 100 volunteer tutors, the program services approximately 130 people a year. Many of the adults participating in the program are ESL students from China, Japan, Korea, Latin America, Russia and the Ukraine, Naborn said.  READ MORE !

Reading tutors help illiterate reach goals
Argus Leader: 1.17.2014 by Beth Wischmeyer

For almost 30 years, the Sioux Falls Area Literacy Council has helped adults learn to read but also gain the confidence to perform basic life tasks, such as filling out a job application or navigating the Internet.

Tutors last year provided almost 60 adult learners with more than 3,000 hours of one-on-one instruction to instill critical literacy skills.

Though the organization has been around for more than two decades, officials say their name is not well known and hard to remember. So, they’ve change their name to just one word: REACH.

Executive Director Paige Carda recently answered five questions about the name change.

Question: What’s the history of the literacy council?
Answer: “We’ve been around for 27 years. When it first started, they did prison ministry. One of our volunteers, who is still with us today, went up to the prison and then they worked with the inmates there. A couple of years later, they moved into becoming more out into the community. The mission has always been to teach adults to read, so that has stayed the same, and really working with whoever we come across.”  READ MORE !

Literacy helps improve family’s life
Burnaby News Leader: 1.23.2014 by Mario

For Rajeeta Samala, it was literacy that brought her family to Canada.

When Samala and her husband Jithender Reddy had their daughter Sahithi, they wanted to ensure she’d have every chance at success in her life. They even timed her birth so she’d be able to start school at the earliest opportunity.

But they couldn’t do anything about the educational system into which she’d been born. In Bahrain, where the family was living at the time, there’s limited post-secondary opportunities. In their native India, Rajeeta explains, learning is so book-based, there’s no allowance in the curriculum for social or physical development.

So in 2009 Rajeeta, a teacher, packed up her family and moved to Canada.

“We knew she’d need a good educational system,” says Rajeeta. “We wanted her to be able to apply her schooling to real life.”

While the family already spoke English, when they arrived in their new home they realized they had much to learn about Canada’s culture.

So they went to the library.

Having such ready access to so many books was foreign to them. Being able to bring them home an amazing gift.
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Sahithi says her reading skills have made her more confident and independent. Rajeeta says those traits will serve her daughter well as she finds her way in the world, assured that she’ll be able to try her hand at many things. And those reading sessions together have had a lasting impact on her own life; she’s the coordinator of the adult literacy program at Burnaby Neighbourhood HouseTo learn more about Family Literacy Day, go to READ MORE !

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