Sunday, February 23, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Literacy integral to economic development
Lompoc Record: 2.16.2014

Lompoc has deemed economic development as a top priority. Illiteracy is a root cause of economic and personal decline.

Here are a few statistics on the impact of illiteracy on economic costs. Three out of four individuals on welfare are illiterate. More than 60 percent of those arrested are illiterate. According to Pennsylvania’s Washington County LiteracyCouncil 2003 research “adult illiteracy costs society an estimated $240 million each year in lost productivity, unrealized tax revenue, welfare, crime, and poverty.”

And to see our literacy program’s impact locally, witness Lompoc resident Jacova Palacios’ success story.

After completing the Library Literacy Program, Jacova has been able to read and comprehend financial and legal documents allowing her to purchase a home. Her new skills also led to her researching businesses plans, applying for the necessary licenses, and starting a child care business she now runs from her home in Lompoc. A relatively small investment in literacy pays huge returns.

While the City Council agreed to fund the Lompoc Literacy Program until June 2014, no one proposed a viable solution for the continuance of this vital program. The suggestions offered by the council members were all valid and should be explored: 1) research additional partnerships with other local literacy organizations and programs, 2) find new donors from those already supporting these other programs, and 3) request the library board of trustees to review the literacy program’s placement as an adjunct program rather than an integral program of the Lompoc Library’s general funding.

While no long-term solutions were presented, it is still important that the city consider designating some of our tax dollars specifically for the literacy program as this reflects a strong community support for the program making it more appealing to grants and donors.  READ MORE!

Wooster program tackling local illiteracy
Daily Record: 2.02.2014 by Linda Hall

A retired Wayne County Schools Career Center teacher has a new mission -- working toward conquering a sobering local illiteracy rate in her new role as the Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) coordinator.

An educator for 31 years, Chris Boyan began tackling her new job as ABLE coordinator in August; she has already made a comprehensive presentation to a local service organization outlining the problem and what she believes is the solution to illiteracy.

"It's an invisible problem," she said, fearing the solution also is not as highly visible as it should be. It's the reason she wants to spread the word about ABLE, which has been helping people move beyond their academic limitations.

Boyan said the government has defined functional illiteracy as the inability to manage daily life and work activities because of insufficient reading and writing skills.

Boyan provided statistics showing about 20.7 percent of 18-24-year-olds in Wayne County have no high school diploma or certificate; nor do 15.3 percent of adults 25 years of age and older. Illiteracy and dropping out of high school are often intertwined problems.

But Boyan countered, of the overall 11.9 percent of all Wayne County residents who don't have a high school diploma or credential, this past year "we only worked with 358 people."

In her opinion, "we're not getting through to the crowd we need (to reach with) the solution," Boyan said.

It's not just a local problem, but a nationwide one, she pointed out, presenting data illustrating the staggering consequences of illiteracy.  READ MORE !

Nonprofit fights low literacy rates in Montgomery County
Your Houston News: 2.17.2014 by Stephanie Buckner

The issue of low literacy rates has been a long-standing problem in the United States for many years.

According to the United States Census Bureau, as the population of an area becomes more diverse, the literacy rate becomes considerably higher

It is the main goal of the Literacy Volunteers of America to decrease the growing amount of illiteracy within the American population.

In Montgomery County, the nonprofit organization has several volunteers who support the needs of those wishing to increase their rate of literacy for any reason that they may have.

“We really cater to each individual’s personal needs,” said Shelley McCoy, who is one of the volunteers for the organization in Montgomery County. “Some people want to expand their knowledge to advance in their careers and some people just want to be able to speak to their family. Everyone learns at a different rate and everyone learns differently.”

McCoy is a retired educator, and while many of the literacy volunteers do have education in their background, it is not a requirement as a volunteer.

“Educators and non-educators both make excellent tutors,” said McCoy. “Teaching was always a real high for me. When you see someone - as an adult learner or a child learner — when you see them really get it, that’s when you know that you’ve done your job.”

The mission of the Literacy Volunteers of America program is to “engage, educate and empower” the community in an effort to fight poverty and improve the overall quality of life for those who seek their assistance. The adult literacy program teaches people to read, write and speak English, all free of charge.  READ MORE !

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