Sunday, August 31, 2014

Literacy – Spanning the US: Solano Co CA :: Arlington Heights IL :: Stockton CA :: Midland Co TX

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Solano County Counsel Dennis Bunting wins prestigious award for lead paint fight
The Reporter: 8.25.2014 by Melissa Murphy

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In other action, Supervisors will consider a recommendation from the Department of Library Services for the county to recognize September as Adult Literacy Awareness Month and honoring the Library's Literacy Services for 20 years of service to adults the county.

The California State Library is sponsoring a state-wide campaign, staff explained. In 1984, the California State Library began sponsoring library literacy programs in an effort to combat adult illiteracy throughout California. Solano County received a start-up grant in 1994 to offer these adult literacy services to residents.

Approximately 20 percent of the adult residents in Solano are considered functionally illiterate. This number equates to approximately 60,000 adults. Another 32 percent are considered marginally illiterate, bringing the total of adults who struggle with reading to more than 50 percent of the adult population.

On Sept. 8, International Literacy Day, Library Literacy Services will host an informational and interactive display in the lobby of the Solano County Administration Center from 8 a.m. to - 5 p.m. Adult learners, volunteers and staff will be on hand to talk about the work of the program and to increase awareness of adult literacy issues in the community. A program at 9 a.m. in the multipurpose room will feature California State Librarian, Greg Lucas, who will speak about his work with the State Library and the campaign to eliminate adult illiteracy statewide. Adult learners, Velma Benson and Yolanda Sixto, will talk about their literacy challenges and successes. Literacy volunteer and county employee, Elaine Pulido, will round out the agenda with her personal story of her role as an adult literacy tutor for over seven years. READ MORE !

Volunteer tutors boost reading skills
Chicago Tribune: 8.25.2014 by Tracy Gruen

Each year, hundreds of adults learn how to read or become better readers through the Read to Learn program offered by Township High School District 214's community education department.

Last year, 357 people volunteered to be tutors and 515 students participated in the program.

"Every student has an individualized lesson plan," said Rhonda Serafin, manager of adult education and family literacy. "It's based on the learners' reading level and based on their interests and some of their needs."

"We're always looking for more volunteers," she said, adding that while a training session just concluded, another will be scheduled in January.

The majority of participants speak a language other than English at home, while others might have learning disabilities or did not finish high school.

"There's a very large population of English as a second language learners in this area," Serafin said. "The learners learn how to read and get a lot of cultural information from their volunteers, make friends and learn about our community. The volunteers step into the role of a teacher and learn a lot in that role."  READ MORE !

Council: Improved library services key to economic recovery
Record Net: 8.27.2014 by Roger Phillips

It will take years for Stockton to recover from bankruptcy, but City Council members agreed Tuesday night that a vibrant library system would play a vital role in the city’s economic recovery.

Responding to public outcry, council members said the city should do whatever it can to improve library services even as Stockton struggles with post-bankruptcy economic realities likely to stretch well into the future.

The council comments came at the end of a City Hall meeting highlighted by a strong turnout of library supporters who urged Stockton officials to repair the struggling system. The shape of those reforms, however, remain to be determined.

“Literacy is really connected to our economic recovery,” Councilman Elbert Holman said. “We need to provide a clear vision as to where the library needs to go.”

The Stockton-San Joaquin Public Library system serves all of the county with the exception of Lodi and has been a casualty of Stockton’s economic hardships in the past five years.  READ MORE !

Adult literacy improves community’s productivity, safety
Midland Reporter-Telegram: 8.30.2014 by Katie PanKratz

Children of adults with low-literacy skills are far less likely to attend college or obtain a high school diploma than children of adults with average to above average skills. However, when it comes to the topic of education in America, much emphasis is placed on programs tailored to youth. In 2010-2011, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Adult and Vocational Education invested $596,120,000 in the education of roughly 2 million students — a mere $296 per student — according to the National Coalition for Literacy, while total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States during that time amounted to $632 billion — or $12,608 per student — according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Although elementary and secondary education is important, adult education tends to go overlooked and may very well be the missing link in cultivating an educated, productive and safe society.

Adult literacy not only affects the overall education of our community, but also affects our community’s productivity and safety. McGraw-Hill Research Foundation found that benefits of adult education programs include increased tax revenues, greater business productivity, decreased reliance on government financial support and reduced crime rates. Therefore, with an investment in adult education, our community stands to yield several valuable returns.
Local organizations such as the Midland County Public Library offer adults the opportunity to improve their literacy skills. The library provides information access to all people to meet their individual, cultural, educational and recreational needs.

Midland Need to Read (MN2R) is another local organization with a mission to enhance lives of Midland County adults through literacy.  READ MORE !

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