Sunday, May 29, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Oakland MI :: Suffolk VA :: Chicago IL :: Baldwin, Whitehall Co PA :: Madison WI

Food fest and collector car show to benefit literacy group
Daily Tribune: 4.25.2016

Some 170,000 adults in Oakland County alone cannot read – which makes it harder to find gainful employment or build a legacy for generations to come.

Rectifying this epidemic has been a lifelong pursuit for Robert Gaylor, the 1984 founder of Oakland Literacy Council (OLC), the county’s only organization offering free, one-on-one literacy tutoring for adults age 18 and older.

The Oakland Literacy Council helps nearly 600 people every year learn to read. Every adult who comes to the program, whether an American native or foreign-born, is paired with a volunteer tutor. They meet weekly, focused on a goal of achieving literacy ease.

Illiteracy prevents people from getting a job because they can’t fill out an application. They can’t read signs. One student came to OLC because she couldn’t figure out which bathroom to use in a restaurant and had to wait outside the doors to see whether a man or woman emerged.

An estimated 60 percent of prisoners in U.S. jails read below a 6th grade level. It is nearly impossible to change one’s life path without the tools most Americans take for granted – a basic mastery of communication skills is a crucial key to success.  READ MORE @

Teach someone to read

Just about anyone who’s actually reading this newspaper would recognize the importance of the ability to read in modern society. But simply being able to keep up with current events through the newspaper is only a small part of what makes reading so important. From being able to follow a recipe to reading a map to understanding the instruction manual of one’s car, reading is a vital skill that makes life more livable.

It’s surprising, then, that one in six adults in Suffolk reads below a fifth-grade level. That statistic comes from Jessica Reitz, tutor coordinator for the Suffolk Literacy Council, an organization founded on a desire to stamp out illiteracy in the city.

The organization was honored recently, by extension, through an award given by the Pilot Club of Suffolk to Louise Ross, who has been tutoring reading students here for a couple of years since her retirement as a teacher and a nurseREAD MORE @

Erie House Program Bridges Language and Culture Divides
Erie House: April 25, 2016

Jubilar, the Spanish translation of retire, is derived from the Latin root jubilo. And seeing as jubilo denotes an “exclamation of joy”—think jubilation or jubilee
the Spanish translation seems more appropriate for the occasion. It is, after all, an opportunity to explore new places, try new things and meet new people.

So when Barbara Reed retired from a career working in the nonprofit sector, she was eager to take advantage of the new season of life she had entered. “One of the things I wanted to do was learn Spanish a bit more,” she says. Reed explains that she liked the idea of learning the language, and she knew it would open a new world for her both at home and abroad.

That journey began at Erie Neighborhood House after she received a referral during a trip to the dentist. “My dental hygienist speaks Spanish, and I told her I was trying to improve my Spanish skills,” she recalls. Familiar with Erie House, the hygienist encouraged her to explore volunteer opportunities there.

Reed first connected with Susana Ortiz, community literacy program coordinator at Erie House, and soon thereafter began tutoring and leading conversation groups in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.

Ortiz’s program is funded by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Adult Volunteer Literacy Grant and taps into a strong volunteer network to provide individualized instruction and support to adult learners.  READ MORE @

Saving stories: Book project gives voice to refugees' history, culture
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 4.29.2016 by M. Thomas

Sometimes a project launched with one intent takes on a life of its own and becomes meaningful beyond expectation. That’s what happened with “Saving Stories,” which began as an aid teaching English as a Second Language in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District and now has the potential to become a national model.

The project collects stories, folk tales, songs and poems from refugees who have resettled into the district and prepares them for publication as bilingual books. Eight of the manuscripts are ready for print and four of those have been published. They premiered March 21 during an event that drew more than 100 to the Whitehall Public Library.

“It started as a way for my students to learn English easier and faster,” said Renee Christman of Whitehall, who teaches English as a Second Language at Paynter Elementary School. “It’s become a wonderful way to acknowledge the language and culture of our residents.”

Ms. Christman knew that people literate in their native language more easily learn a second one. Before resettling in the U.S., many refugees spend years in camps, which often lack educational opportunities, and she saw the book project serving the added purpose of renewing native literacy while familiarizing participants with English. READ MORE @

Literacy Network launches capital campaign - WISC-TV3: 5.03.2016 by David Dahmer

More than 55,000 adults who live and work in Dane County face major challenges with literacy. A high percentage live in poverty and those challenges with literacy hold them back from advancing in their jobs and in their lives and keeps them from increasing their contributions to their family and this community.

Literacy Network is a non-profit organization founded in 1974 in Madison. Staff, teachers, tutors, volunteers and donors work together to help adult learners improve their literacy in Dane County. They served more than 1,000 adults last year with the help of more than 800 volunteers who gave 30,000 hours of time. But Literacy Network Executive Director Jeff Burkhart knows they can do so much more.

On April 28 at their annual Reading Between the Wines fundraising event, he announced a new capital campaign that will bring Literacy Network into a newer, larger building and help them serve more people.

“Our campaign has raised about $1 million so far,” Burkhart tolds Madison365. “With this new push that started at Reading Between The Wines, we hope to raise another $2 million that will pay for the building’s renovation, technology installation and upgrades, and organizational capacity.  READ MORE @

Saturday, May 28, 2016

National Literacy & Library Events :: June 2016

National Literacy & Library Events: June 2016

Literacy & Library Events & Conferences
- Local, California and National -
the Southern California Library Literacy Network
for more information

June 02+ Adult Education Research Conference, North Carolina
June 03+ LearningCities 2040, Glasgow Scotland
June 09+ Children’s Literature Assoc Conference, Ohio State University
June 09   National Celebration of Reading, Library of Congress Washington DC
June 11   National Medal for Museum and Library Service, White House 11a
June 12+ National History Day Contest, University of Maryland
June 13+ Health Literacy Leadership Institute,Tufts Univ School of Medicine
June 14   X-MEN: APOCALYPSE 7p
June 16   Book Summit 2016, Toronto
June 23+ American Library Association, Orlando FL
June 25   FINDING DORY 10a
June 26   Global Education Day Denver CO

Thursday, May 26, 2016

National Library Literacy Action Agenda :: Literacy Through Libraries

Literacy Through Libraries

ProLiteracy and the American Library Association Office of Adult Literacy, Diversity and Outreach Services have partnered to further efforts outlined in the National Library Literacy Action Agenda, a resource to help libraries implement processes for institutionalizing adult literacy initiatives.

Through March 2017, this project will include working with three diverse libraries and providing them with training and resources to create personalized action plans for serving their community’s adult learners.

The goal is to help libraries across the country create personalized action plans for serving their communities’ adult learners.

This next phase of the project will pilot resources at three public libraries and guide sites in developing and implementing individual Action Agenda initiatives. ALA and ProLiteracy will use the pilot findings to refine the instruction, guide the curation of resources and develop an electronic learning/sharing forum (listserv). The outcome will be a Web-based training with supporting resources to encourage public libraries in meeting adult literacy needs.

Pilot sites will receive a $5,000 stipend and funding to cover project travel. They will be expected to participate in an assessment of community literacy needs, complete two online courses, take part in monthly conference calls with a national advisory group, and travel for a meeting of the pilot sites.

Action Agenda Format

The Action Agenda is organized into priority areas identified by the Community of Practice:
 ­ Collection Development
 ­ Technology and Digital Literacy
 ­ Collaboration and Strategic Partnerships
 ­ Professional Development and Graduate Education
 ­ Community Planning and Program Evaluation
 ­ Raising Awareness and Influencing Policy
 ­ Sustainability

Each priority area section lists outcomes supported by concrete action recommendations. The supporting resources section lists additional resources for each area.

ALA Conference
June 26: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
According to PIAAC, one in six American adults struggles with basic literacy. Public libraries help meet this need through services such as high-interest, low-level collections and tutoring. The Adult Literacy through Libraries Action Agenda guides libraries in this work. ALA and ProLiteracy received funding from IMLS to develop an openly accessible training and resources based on the Agenda’s recommendations, with the help of three pilot libraries and an advisory committee of leaders in adult literacy.
Kristin Lahurd: Literacy and Diversity Officer, American Library Association
Alicia Suskin: Project Manager, ProLiteracy

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Wichita TX :: St Joseph Co IN :: Massachusetts :: Dane Co WI :: Hastings NE

Teaching money literacy
Times Record News: 4.20.2016 Opinion|Wichita Adult Literacy Council Column

One of the Wichita Adult Literacy Council's (WALC) services is a financial literacy class we provide as part of our partnership with Workforce Solutions and the North Texas Area United Way. It might seem strange that teaching money skills would have any connection to reading skills, but actually they have much in common. Many of us consider ourselves to be savvy when it comes to handling money. However, we all know, work with someone, or have a relative who is not always making ends meet. This person has what we consider bad habits — overdrawn accounts and uses check-cashing services. Those who have a credit card (or two or three) might say, "I'm short right now so I'll just put it on the card and pay it off next month." But is this really a good idea or a bad skill for money management? It has been interesting to have this discussion with the students in the class. Most of the Workforce clients comment that if they don't have the money now, they sure won't have it when the credit card bill is due. In fact, many of them are in their financial straits because of poor money decisions.  READ MORE @

Area programs a response to link between literacy, incarceration
WSBT-TV: 4.21.2016 by Alex Elich

Research shows a link between illiteracy and incarceration. In fact, 85 percent of juvenile offenders have problems reading. Unfortunately, experts say this is the case in our area.

The Nation Center for Education Statistics estimates that 8 percent of people 16 and older in St. Joseph County lack basic literacy skills. Programs in our area are stepping up to do something about this and they seem to be working.

It starts early. Reading, math, overall literacy.

"It helps connect them," says Gladys Muhammad, director of the Charles Martin Youth Center.

Which Muhammad says opens so many doors, and prevent kids from being locked behind bars.

"If the situation arises where they are not able to get an education they will resort to other things and they call it a pipeline to the system," said instructor Huddah Faham.

Directors at the Charles Martin Youth Center started the Augustus F. Hawkins Literacy Program because of the alarming correlation between illiteracy and incarceration.  READ MORE @

Mass. Literacy Hotline helps adults further their education
Woburn Daily Times: 4.22.2016 by Ryan LaRoche

With 1.1 million workers in Massachusetts having less than a high school diploma and/or limited English skills, many can’t compete in the state’s rapidly changing economy. Plus, many adults with low literacy skills are half as likely to vote compared to their more educated neighbors.

For residents of the Middlesex readership area who fall into those categories, or who simply seek Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs, the Massachusetts Adult Literacy Hotline has you covered.

The hotline, funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and administered by World Education, is a statewide service that provides free information and referrals to adult learners and people interested in volunteering in ABE programs. The database includes more than 300 programs statewide offering programs in ABE, Adult Secondary Education (High School Equivalency), ESOL (English as Second Language), Native Language Literacy, Family Literacy, Transition to College, Distance Learning, and Citizenship.

Learners can also use the hotline for prep classes for the High School Equivalency exam (HiSET), which has replaced the GED.  READ MORE @

Help expand Madison's capacity for adult literacy education 4.23.2016 by Jeff Burkhart executive director, Literacy Network of Dane County

Each time I hear a story about learners at Literacy Network, I’m reminded of why I am here. I’m reminded of why I started on this journey as a literacy volunteer more than 20 years ago. I have found inspiration and hope in the hundreds of adult learners I’ve met over the years.

My first learner, Juan, had three children and three jobs. He struggled with English, but managed to improve his skills, get more pay and help his children in school. Janie was dyslexic, had just escaped an abusive relationship and was trying to raise her two young daughters. Corinne, despite her low English language skills, eventually got herself on a career path in nursing.

Literacy is about access. Literacy is about dignity. It is about supporting one’s family. It is about achieving the dream of a better life.

More than 55,000 adults in Dane County struggle with literacy. That’s one in seven adults in our community. That’s enough to fill more than three Kohl centers.

The vast majority of adult learners live in poverty. Many have goals of gaining skills to better support their families. Many want better access to health care.  READ MORE @

Literacy program empowers many motivated students
Hastings Tribune4.23.2016

One classroom in Hastings boasts always having students who are eager learn no matter the day or the subject.

The Hastings Literacy Program provides adult education in the areas of English language, math, reading, General Education Diploma test preparation and civics.

“The adults that are here to learn English as a second language are here of their own free will, which I really like to stress,” said Anne Cannon, coordinator of the program. “They want to learn English. That is why they’re here.”

All programs at the Hastings Literacy Program are completely voluntary. Cannon said most students come in because of their desire to learn and improve their personal situation.  READ MORE @

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Masters of Disguise :: Seeds of Literacy

Masters of Disguise
Seeds of Literacy: 2.29.2016 by Alexandria Marshall

Have you ever met someone and knew they were struggling in life with low literacy skills?

You probably don’t think that you have. Yet 36 million adults are estimated to have less-than-basic literacy skills, while almost 30% of adults have numeracy skills that max out at counting and basic arithmetic.

So how is it possible that so many millions of Americans have such low literacy and yet no one sees it?

The answer is that you likely have looked into the face of low literacy and just didn’t know it.

“Low literacy adults are masters of disguise,” wrote ProLiteracy President and CEO Kevin Morgan during a recent Reddit Ask-Me-Anything session on adult literacy. “You can work with someone, know a family member or friend and never suspect they have low literacy skills.”

He’s absolutely right. Perhaps the reason people often have a hard time realizing the extent of the adult literacy problem in America is that we don’t see it — or, at least, we don’t think we see it.

Low literacy isn’t physically obvious, and from a lifetime of dealing with it, adults adapt to hide it. They develop tactics to divert attention away from their struggle and to cover up their inability to read well, or read at all. They may enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to read and fill out forms for them, or they may recognize things by sight and iconography instead of by word. Having low literacy doesn’t mean a person isn’t smart, and their ability to employ such tactics speaks to how resourceful they are.

Low adult literacy is also not a problem we, as a society, really look for. How often do you meet an adult and ask yourself if they know how to write a sentence or multiply numbers? We make assumptions that adults already know how to read and write proficiently, and easily accept the disguise put on by low-literate adults.

But to the tens of millions of low-literate adults, their struggle is anything but invisible.

We’ve probably all met a low-literate adult. They are our family members, our coworkers, even our teachers. When they reach out for help — because it’s truly never too late to gain vital literacy skills — we need to be there to reach back.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Salinas CA :: Pickaway Co OH :: Salem OR :: Richmond CA :: NJ

A place of learning for everyone
Salinas Californian: 4.09.2016 by Juan Villa

Diego Guzman works for his uncle’s landscaping company but has dreams and aspirations of someday working in the music industry.
-Before that can happen, the 20-year-old Salinas resident who recently moved back from Mexico wants to complete the high school equivalency exam.

Guzman is doing just that with help from the Salinas Public Library Literacy Center.

“I’ve been a singer and composer since I was a kid. I’ve really liked that since I was 8 years old, so I’d like to work in that field someday,” Guzman said in Spanish. “A lot of people tell me it’s too difficult to achieve, but I love it and it’s something I want to do. It’s a lot better getting paid to do what I love.”

The literacy center offers classes in things like high school equivalency, computer literacy training, citizenship and adult basic education. It also offers early literacy playgroups for parents and their children.

Individualized or small group instruction through the literacy center is available at the three Salinas Public Library locations: John Steinbeck, Cesar Chavez and El Gabilan.
“It’s gone well. I’m going over things I knew and learning new things,” said Guzman, who is also taking an English class. “It’s hard sometimes, but you just have to practice to understand it well.”  READ MORE @

Literacy Council to close doors in Circleville
Circleville Herald: 4.09.2016 by Amanda Plotts

After 29 years of service, the Pickaway County Literacy Council (PCLC) will be closing its doors due to funding issues. The closure is slated for the end of this month. Coordinator Katherine Robb said the majority of funding for the facility came from the United Way of Pickaway County. The Circleville Presbyterian Church provided PCLC office space and computer access, while additional backing came through donations and grants. At one point, PCLC received government funding but Robb said that ended nearly 10 years ago. “The last five years we knew it was inevitable as funding kept decreasing,” Robb said of the closing. PCLC provided services to people who needed help with reading and math skills. The organization also conducted family literacy programs in many schools to encourage parents to read with their children. The PCLC is made up of one paid staff member (Robb). All tutors and board members are volunteers.

“Over the 29 years, it’s safe to say we’ve helped several thousands of people through various services offered,” Robb said.  READ MORE @

Mid-Valley Literacy Center helps adults learn
Statesman Journal: 4.12.2016 by Natalie Pate

Can you name three homophones?

How about "ate" and "eight," "ant" and "aunt," or "male" and "mail"?

Homophones are words that sound the same when pronounced, but have different spellings and different meanings.

These nuanced differences probably come naturally to those who were born and raised speaking English. But for those who learn English as a second language, understanding homophones and other parts of speech can be difficult.

Adults who are learning English as a second language — or third, fourth, sixth or 11th, for that matter — can work with tutors at the Mid-Valley Literacy Center in Salem to learn these things and more.

The Mid-Valley Literacy Center trains volunteer tutors to provide literacy-based classes. The center recently moved to the East Salem Community Center, 1850 45th St. NE.

The center can also help students obtain their GED, begin nursing courses, or take classes on business management.  READ MORE @

Richmond Public Library helps adults complete their high school diplomas
Richmond Confidential: 4.12.2016 by Isara Krieger

Lorena Gonzalez didn’t start high school just to drop out two years later. She wanted to be a nurse. But before her junior year, at age 18, she gave birth to a baby girl and stopped going to class. “Work was what I had to do, you know, being a single mom,” Gonzalez said.

Now she’s 34, and after getting married, raising two children, leaving San Francisco for a house in Richmond and finding work that she loves case-managing foster youth, Gonzalez is determined to finish what she started 19 years ago. “I just feel like it’s my time,” she said.

Through its Literacy for Every Adult Program (LEAP), the Richmond Public Library is now offering scholarships for adults to complete a Career Online High School Diploma course. While LEAP has offered GED courses for years, a high school diploma course is less focused on one big test – like the GED – and more on helping people complete something they might have previously started and have wanted to finish. The GED has also moved in the direction of college readiness in recent years, but people looking to enter the workforce might prefer a high school diploma.

Gonzalez and a young client of hers that she brought along are among the program’s first class of accepted scholarship students. Israel Clarke, a 22-year-old Richmond resident, is the third. Clarke attended Pinole Valley High School. During her junior year she started a job at Starbucks. “I was so eager to become an adult,” Clarke said. “I was 18 at the time and I thought I could work and go to school full time. And I just, you know, found out that it doesn’t work that way.” Clarke tried a different online diploma program but it was still too much. “You really have to commit a lot of time to school and, at the time, money was more important,” said ClarkeREAD MORE @

Literacy New Jersey helps adults become U.S. citizens
My Central Jersey: 4.16.2016 by Jessica Tomkins, Literacy New Jersey

Last year, 196 Literacy New Jersey students became citizens, registered to vote and voted for the first time, becoming more active in their communities.

For Chin Vivian Hsieh, who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan seven years ago, one of most intimidating experiences in her new homeland was simply walking into a store and approaching the checkout counter.

“I was scared. I thought they were saying ‘What are you doing?’” said Hsieh, 53, of Edison. “They were saying ‘How are you doing?’”

It was that small misunderstanding – just one word – that kept Hsieh her from venturing out most days.  VIDEO