Sunday, June 28, 2015

Literacy – Spanning North America: Claremore, OK :: Racine WI :: Coaldale, AB Canada

“The literacy program has helped me a lot. I think it’s a very good program for people that come from other countries and don’t have English as their first language. I spoke some English when we came to Canada from Mexico in 2004 but when I started tutoring through the literacy program, my writing and my speaking has improved a lot,” said Froese, adding she is grateful there is such a great program for people that need help in English.  READ MORE !

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Literacy – Spanning the US: Florence AL :: Camden Co NJ :: Norwood MA

Volunteering is foreign and strange to many of our English as a Second Language adult students whom we serve in the literacy program. Their countries and cultures do not have the luxury of promoting the practice. I tutored a Korean woman who was anxious to bring the idea back to her country.  READ MORE !

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Libraries Serving Summer Meals

Summer Meals
Libraries Create Community Connections by Serving Summer Meals
Cities Speak: 5.29.2015 guest post by Patrice Chamberlain,

Recognizing the need in their communities, public libraries across the country are addressing the summer nutrition gap by serving summer meals alongside summer reading and enrichment programs.

Summer is right around the corner, yet in many low-income communities, this time of year can leave children with limited access to learning opportunities, few safe places to gather and without access to the free or reduced-price meals they received through their school lunch and breakfast programs.

In California and across the nation, a growing number of public libraries are teaming up with city agencies, schools and community-based organizations to ensure that low-income youth stay healthy and engaged when school is out by serving summer meals alongside library summer reading and enrichment programs.

Why Public Libraries?

Libraries are community hubs: trusted, safe spaces that provide an engaging, welcoming environment for community members of all ages. Library summer reading and enrichment programs keep kids engaged and combat summer learning loss. In addition, access to computers and the Internet are a crucial resource for families with limited access to technology at home. Interaction with library staff and opportunities for social engagement can also be invaluable to families. Librarians can help guide reading choices, serve as positive role models and connect families to community resources.

Recognizing the need in their communities, libraries across the nation are stepping up to address the summer nutrition gap. In California, the number of libraries serving summer meals has increased dramatically, from fewer than 15 library branches in 2012 to more than 90 this summer. In 2014, nearly 65 libraries served more than 88,000 summer lunches to kids in high-poverty neighborhoods.  READ MORE !

by County

Monday, June 15, 2015

Why Public Libraries Matter It’s time for America to stop starving its libraries of funding :: The Nation

Why Public Libraries Matter
It’s time for America to stop starving its libraries of funding.
The Nation: 6.04.2015  by Katrina vanden Heuve

There are more public libraries in America—some 9,000 central buildings and 7,500 branch locations—than McDonald’s restaurants, making them one of the most ubiquitous institutions in the nation. Far from serving as obsolescent repositories for dead wood, libraries are integral, yet threatened, parts of the American social fabric. Libraries, after all, are truly democratic spaces where all are welcome and where everything inside is available to everyone. Few American institutions strive for “equity of access,” a core principle of the American Library Association, and even fewer pay more than lip service to the idea that services like the Internet are necessary aspects of life that simply must be made available to all members of society. But despite their impact and import—much of it hidden from people of means who can independently (and often expensively) secure for themselves those services provided by the library—America is starving its libraries, cutting off millions of people from the stream of information that, like oxygen, powers the development and basic functions of society.

In response to a 2010 story by Chicago’s Fox affiliate, “Are Libraries Necessary, or a Waste of Tax Money?”, Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library Mary A. Dempsey explained, “There continues to exist in this country a vast digital divide. It exists along lines of race and class and is only bridged consistently and equitably through the free access provided by the Chicago Public Library and all public libraries in this nation. Some 60 percent of the individuals who use public computers a Chicago’s libraries are searching for and applying for jobs.” It might be amusing to quip about musty, 19th-century-era card catalogs and smudgy, analog newspapers racked on giant spindles, but the access to contemporary society that public libraries provide is deadly serious.  READ MORE @

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Literacy – Spanning the US: Napa Co CA :: Flora IL :: Placer Co CA

Rocklin and Roseville Today:
General guidelines in our country suggest that children should have 1000 stories read to them from start to finish before they begin kindergarten.  Reading one story every day for 3 years, for example, adds up to more than 1000.  Parents who cannot read to their children start or continue the multi-generational cycle of not being able to read and passing along the burdens that come with that cycle.  READ MORE !

Monday, June 8, 2015

$7 Million Adult Literacy XPRIZE : : Barbara Bush Foundation

$7 Million Global Competition to Transform the Lives of Low-Literate Adults

The $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a competition challenging teams of developers (software, game and app), educators, engineers and innovators to create mobile literacy learning applications for the adult learner.  The finalists teams’ solutions must demonstrate that they can substantially improve the literacy proficiency of adults reading at or below a third grade level, as measured by the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), within a 12-month period.

5 Finalists teams will be chosen. Each finalist team will then test its mobile software solution with 1,000 field participants.  Read the Guidelines.

Field participants will be recruited across two demographics:
1.Native English language speakers 18-64 years old
2.Non-native English language speakers 18-64 years old

The final five solutions will then be entered into a Cities Competition. Cities will compete to encourage the greatest percentage of their low-literate residents to download and use the solutions over a six-month period. The winning city will demonstrate the greatest percentage of application downloads among its low-literate residents.

The $7 million will be awarded as follows:
Grand Prize: $4 million will be awarded to the team with the best performance across all adult learners, over the yearlong field test.
Bonus Prize: $1 million ($500,000 each) will be awarded to the two teams with the best performance in each target demographic (native English speakers and non-native English speakers).
Advanced Market Commitment:  $1 million to be split among all finalist teams that advance to the Cities Competition.
Cities Competition:  $1 million will be awarded to the city that encourages the greatest percentage of its adult learners to download and use any of the finalist solutions over a six-month period.

Teams will compete in a multi-stage competition that tests for:
•Ability to measurably increase the literacy level of low-literate adults within 12 months.
•Creation of a design that is easy and accessible for use on a mobile phone so that learners can access it and operate it from anywhere, anytime.
•Software curriculum that is engaging, relevant and attuned to the needs and interests of the adult learner.

XPRIZE believes that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere. Game, app, and software developers, coders, educators, and innovators from all over the world are invited to form a team and register to compete.

Teams will be responsible for funding their own solution development costs. Expenses for the on-site, in-cities test stage of the competition are included as part of the competition and covered by XPRIZE.

•Entries will be evaluated during the first-round down-select process based on the following criteria: Learning, Design and Technology.
•Judges will also assess the background research and quality of explanation of the design.

The $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a 48-month competition launching June 8, 2015.

The competition consists of 2 phases:

Team registration is open at launch, June 2015, and closes 6 months later, December 2015.
Solution Development begins once registration has closed and continues for 18 months.
Month 24 - Solution Development concludes.
Month 28 - Field testing begins.  Finalists’ solutions are deployed among approximately 5,000 low-literate participants for use over a 12-month period.
Month 39 - Field testing ends and judging begins. Field-testing results are analyzed to determine the winning team(s).
Month 42 - The winning team(s) will be announced and prizes awarded at an award event.
Phase 1 will last 42 months.

Upon awarding of the Team Solutions phase, cities across the country will simultaneously launch their education and outreach campaigns encouraging their low-literate residents to download and use any of the solutions that met the competition’s minimum performance benchmarks. At month 48, the judging panel will determine the city that provided these literacy solutions to the greatest percentage of their low-literate residents.
This phase will last 6 months.

- More than 36 million U.S. adults lack basic English literacy.
- Low-literate adults have difficulty reading a child a bedtime story, reading over the counter medicine labels, completing a job application, opening a bank account, navigating healthcare forms, tax forms and more.
- Economic studies show that even a one percent rise in literacy skill scores can increase labor productivity by as much as 2.5 percent, boosting output by as much as $225 billion.
- Improving adult literacy could save the country an estimated $230 billion in extra healthcare costs.
-More importantly, the legacy of low-literacy continues through generations, limiting opportunities and trapping whole families in a cycle of poverty.
-In fact, a mother’s literacy level is the single most accurate predictor of a child’s future educational success and poverty level.  READ MORE !

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Literacy – Spanning the US: Durham NC :: Aurora IL :: Branch Co MI

Adults beat embarrassment, succeed
Herald Sun: 5.14.2015 by Cliff Bellamy

From the time she was a child, Valery Gregory had trouble with reading, but she did graduate from high school because of her excellent comprehension skills. Her father had always encouraged his children to go to college, but her limited reading skills held her back.

When she came to Durham from Philadelphia, “I had reached a point where it was more important for me to succeed than it was to be embarrassed by being a poor reader,” Gregory said.

Gregory, an adult literacy student at the Durham Literacy Center, spoke at the center’s annual breakfast Thursday.

“I am 64 years young. I have always wanted a college education,” Gregory told the audience. While in high school, a counselor told her she could go to college, but her family resisted. “I graduated from high school with no plan,” she said. She became pregnant, and spent years providing for her son.

When she returned to Durham, she wanted to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, but was told she needed to improve her reading skills. She finally got connected to the Durham Literacy Center, and, after being put on a waiting list, enrolled in one of the center’s classes for intermediate readers. The tutors at DLC “greeted me as if I was an intelligent human being,” and made her feel welcome, she said.  READ MORE !

Aurora literacy program helps immigrant women master English
Chicago Tribune: 5.15.2015: by Kalyn Belsha, Aurora Beacon-News

On Wednesday afternoon in the two-story red brick building behind St. Therese School in Aurora, Maria Valerio stood in a circle of women seated on couches and folding chairs. She pulled out a letter she'd written to her literacy tutor, Jamie Kaisershot.

Pinned to Valerio's chest was a white silk flower corsage, a marker of her graduation from a three-year program at the Dominican Literacy Center a nonprofit that pairs immigrant women with volunteer tutors as they learn to speak, read and write in English.

Valerio, who lives in Montgomery, wanted to learn English so she could help her 6-year-old son with his homework and understand what she's reading in stores and at the doctor's office. She and Kaisershot, of Aurora, often practice reading children's books together so Valerio can go home and read them to her son.

"Thanks for every day you made the sacrifice to come and devote your time for me to learn," Valerio read aloud in English. "I want you to know that your sacrifice was not in vain. I cannot repay your sacrifice. I can only say thank you."

Valerio attended 90-minute one-on-one sessions each week from September to May. The program enrolled 188 students and 160 tutors this year, all of whom are women. Forty students graduated this past week.

The hope is that when students graduate from the program they'll come back to practice their conversation skills or go on to study more at a community college in the area. After being in the program, students often test into a higher-level literacy class and have a better chance of succeeding because they are familiar with the structure of adult education.

Most women enter the Dominican Literacy Center with relatively low education levels from their home country — the average is about six years.  READ MORE !

Branch County Literacy Council expands outreach
The Daily Reporter: 5.21.2015 by Spencer Lahr

“Nobody wants to admit they can’t read, there’s always an excuse,” she said. “Gently say we have an organization to help improve your reading skills … don’t say teach you to read, but enhance or improve reading skills.”  READ MORE !