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 !

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