Sunday, May 25, 2014

Literacy – Spanning the US: Escondido CA :: Binghamton NY :: York PA

Literacy: Spanning the US

Poway woman overcomes lifetime of reading difficulties for son
After a lifetime of struggling to read, it was Dr. Seuss that was the breakthrough for Denise O’Neal.
Pomerado News: 5.2014 by Emily Sorensen

O’Neal had a secret she’d kept for her entire life — that she struggled to read. Growing up in San Diego, attending school in the 1970s and 80s, her reading difficulties were overlooked by teachers, who passed her from grade to grade without doing anything to help her with her growing illiteracy.

“[Schools] didn’t have the help then that they do now,” said O’Neal, who attended a private elementary school before her family moved to San Diego. “I don’t know if it was a learning disability, I was never tested. Teachers gave up on me and passed me, saying I would be the next teacher’s problem.” Though she attended extra tutoring for reading at her private elementary school, there were no such programs at the public schools she attended later.

O’Neal was supposed to graduate in 1988, and though she walked the line with her classmates, she didn’t receive her actual diploma because she failed state assessment test required for a student to graduate. It took nine years for her to finally pass the reading comprehension section of the test. “I don’t know if I passed due to sheer dumb luck or what,” said O’Neal.

Still, she managed to continue her life despite her lack of reading skills, working jobs that didn’t require a lot of reading, said O’Neal.

When her son, now 11, was a toddler, she finally realized the extent of her reading problems. “I was trying to read him a Dr. Seuss book, and I kept stumbling over words,” said O’Neal. “My husband suggested I get help with my reading.”

O’Neal found a program at the Escondido library that would help her, and after taking a reading assessment test, discovered she tested well below the high school level.  READ MORE !

Literacy Volunteers Help Illiterate Adults
Binghamton Homepage: 5.07.2014

There's an organization in town that's been helping people become better readers for 47 years.

Literacy Volunteers of Broome Tioga Counties works with adults who can't read or write, as well as those with low literacy issues or English as a second language.

Literacy Volunteers has an office inside the Broome County Public Library on Court Street in Binghamton.

The organization also provides basic math and computer courses.

1 in 5 Americans have literacy issues. People who have trouble reading often feel a great deal of shame.

Executive Director Jane Clair recently spoke with the Binghamton Noon Rotary Club about the agency's services and its need for volunteer tutors.

"Maybe hiding it from your family and loved ones even. Certainly from your employer, if you're lucky enough to have employment. And, as we all know, for people who are unemployed with low levels of literacy, applications they must fill out on-line. I mean there are just so many impediments in everyday life for people with literacy issues," said Clair.  READ MORE !

The York County Literacy Council needs tutors to change lives
York Dispatch: 5.07.2014 by Eyana Adah McMillan

The York County Literacy Council needs people who are willing to learn how to change another person's life.

The council has a waiting list of 41 people who want to improve their reading, writing and speaking skills, said Rita Hewitt, the agency's community relations manager.

Tutors are needed to teach them, she said.

The volunteer tutors would meet with a student once a week for up to two hours in a public setting arranged by the literacy council.

The literacy council has 200 tutors. Last year, they served close to 1,000 students ages 18 and up, Hewitt said.

There are about 40,000 functionally illiterate adults in the county, she said.  READ MORE !

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