Sunday, February 9, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Kenneth Baker received GED help at the library—and beat a January 1 deadline.
Sacramento LibraryPatron of the Month 1/31/2014

Kenneth Baker, 49, passed the writing portion of the General Education Development (GED) Test—the last section he needed—in December after getting tutoring at the Sacramento Public Library. On January 1, the GED changed over to a new computerized format, and any sections people had already passed no longer counted. We recently sat down with Kenneth and his tutor, Peggy Watral.

So you never finished high school?
Kenneth Baker: I dropped out in the 10th grade to help my mom. She was a single parent for me and my brother. Coming from the streets of Miami, school was the last thing on my mind. I’m a construction worker.

So you’d already passed everything but the writing section?
KB: I would have thought the writing would be easier than the math and science, but they failed me. I just knew that this time I had to do it or I had to go back and do the whole test over. Everybody was trying to get into a test in time. I got lucky and I got a spot.

Peggy got me through. When I first came in, there was no way I could write an essay. Before, it was people saying it was easy but not showing me how to do it.

She broke it down for me. Through all the years, all I learned was there are five parts, your beginning, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. I just didn’t know how to get started. Once I got the format broken down, now I see it’s easy as they say it is. All through the Thanksgiving holidays, I just took the time and wrote different essays, over and over.

It’s just something I wanted to do. I’ve never been to a prom. I didn’t get to graduate. I wanted my mom to see me graduate, but she passed away about three years ago. It’s tough stuffing 12 years (of school) into a couple years.

Peggy Watral: I was waiting in line to go to a movie when I got the call from Kenneth (that he’d passed). I was weeping, I was just so excited. It had to be the best present I got this year. (To Kenneth) What do you plan to do now?

KB: Get my doctorate (laughs)! I’m just glad I got it out of the way. I’m proud of myself. I’m happy. (To Peggy) You’re just a blessing from God. READ MORE !

Waukegan library breaks down barriers with Spanish GED
News Sun: 1.18.2014 by Judy Masterson

Gloria Velez kept hearing from co-workers at the Waukegan assembly plant where she works that she had to get her GED.

“What’s a GED?” the recent immigrant from Colombia wondered.

In one visit last year to the Waukegan Public Library, Velez, 47, the mother of a teenage son, learned that the high school equivalency diploma meant better prospects. She quickly enrolled in the library’s Spanish GED preparation course and within six weeks, she had passed all five GED subject exams in addition to a test on the U.S. government.

How did she do it?

“The instructors, my commitment and a desire to keep learning,” said Velez through a translator.

In her pre-GED life, Velez would have been satisfied with a job as a personal assistant. But now she intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work. She is also volunteering as a Waukegan library “promotoras ambassador” or outreach worker.

“The work the library is doing to put people on the path to literacy is my passion,” said Velez, who recruited her sister, who has lived in the U.S. for many years, and six co-workers for Spanish GED.

Thirty-two Spanish speakers earned a GED after studying at the library last year. Another 37, of the 98 enrolled in 2013, passed at least three of the required exams. Nearly 100 people were placed on a waiting list.  READ MORE !

Adult program teaching English and life skills enters Kansas City
Kansas City Star: 1.11.2014 by Brian Burnes

A teacher points to three rudimentary sentences, and 14 students recite.

“Hello,” they say in unison, “My name is Sam.”
They read the next sentence, “What’s your name?”

The conversation continues. The classroom, identified by a sign outside its door as Level 1 English, is in a former Catholic elementary school.

The 14 students, however, are adults enrolled in the English as a second language classes now offered by the Independence School District — in northeast Kansas City.

Since July, the district has been offering adult education and literacy instruction inside the former Assumption Catholic Church parish school, now part of the St. Anthony Church complex at 309 Benton Blvd.

This marks the first time the program has ventured into Kansas City, following 20 years of adult instruction across Independence and at one site in Lee’s Summit.  READ MORE !

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