Sunday, May 8, 2016

Literacy – Spanning North America: Franklin Co PA :: Atlantic City NJ :: Regina SK :: Racine WI :: Memphis TN

Pa. literacy council fights 'a bigger problem than most people want to acknowledge'
Herald Mail Media: 4.02.2016 by Jennifer Fitch

Sonny Force turns in his homework assignments more dependably than the junior high school students Don Hallock taught for years.

“I’m used to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds. I’ve adjusted well to (teaching) a 72-year-old,” Hallock said.

Hallock and Force were brought together by the Franklin County (Pa.) Literacy Council as tutor and student. Force is studying math, history and reading in his quest to obtain a GED six decades after he dropped out of high school.

He is one of 60 people enrolled in the program, and there's a waiting list behind him. That's why the literacy council is searching for more volunteers like Hallock, a retired teacher who started volunteering his time about five years ago.

“There are lots of people out there who are not literate and could use our services. We always have more students than tutors,” said Franklin B. Thomas, program coordinator.

Citing statistics that one in five adults in the United States are not literate past an eighth-grade level, Thomas said his organization's clients are generally U.S. natives who didn't finish their K-12 education and immigrants whose primary language is not English.  READ MORE @

Teaching people to read boosts economy, nonprofit director says
Press of Atlantic City: 4.03.2016 by Maxwell Reil

Pamela Grites, 68, of Absecon, has been working for nonprofits for almost 25 years. At the Literary Volunteers Association Cape-Atlantic, she focuses on finding volunteers who can tutor locals in reading — something she said is a necessity not only in South Jersey’s economy but throughout the country.

Q: How did you start your career in nonprofits 25 years ago?
A: I responded to an ad in the paper that said the “hardest work you’ll ever love,” and it was a like a throwback to the Peace Corps ads and I replied. I was a coordinator for the Literacy Volunteers Association and became executive director. And we had tremendous success in fundraising and were featured in Parade magazine. Because we were so successful in fundraising by the end of the ’90s we bought a building as our office. And when I returned two and a half years ago, we paid it off and I felt very strongly about the mission.

Q: What does the LVA offer, for those who are unfamiliar?
A: We train volunteers to be tutors for low-level-literacy adults and those who need to learn English. At this point in time, a vast majority of students are speakers of other languages and need to learn to speak English to be fully employed and take a part in the American dream. Tutors and students meet just about any time of the day or night — mostly in public spaces like libraries.

Q: What other programs does your association offer?
A: Part of the curriculum we provide is health literacy and financial literacy. Students need to learn how to describe to doctors what hurts. And it’s basic, but it really is critical for positive health outcomes for their children, and the same with financial literacy on how to budget, how to save, how to plan. We also have a citizenship class for people who want to become American citizens. We also teach job-readiness skills that is integrated into the tutoring, and that was certainly a big need after they closed all of those casinos.  READ MORE @

Newcomers waiting two years to get a tutor
Leader Post: 3.04.2016 by Pamela Cowan

Nearly 300 refugees and immigrants are waiting to be matched with tutors at the Regina Public Library so they can begin literacy lessons and start a new chapter in their lives.

“Since December, we have matched just over 100 brand-new tutors with learners,” said Alice Samkoe, literacy programming supervisor with the RPL. “We only have three staff, so it has been really, really busy and we are still hard at it because we had 300 people come forward to volunteer.”

Volunteers can train to be tutors through in-class training at Literacy Services or take an online course, which is being used across North America.

Many volunteers prefer the online course because it can be done at home and at their convenience, Samkoe said.

She noted the online course is available to everyone in the community.

It might be particularly useful for those who have sponsored Syrian refugees or teachers with immigrant students, Samkoe said.

“They don’t have to tutor for us to use the online course,” she said. “We created the course to increase the capacity of the community to help itself … If you wanted to go on to help your neighbour, you’re welcome to do that.”  READ MORE @

Racine Literacy Council adult learner receives award
Journal Times: 4.07.2015 by Racine Literacy Council

Literacy tutors, learners and advocates from around Wisconsin will be honored April 11 during Wisconsin Literacy’s Celebration of Literacy in Madison.

One of the nine to be honored at the celebration is Esteban Cruz from Racine. He was nominated by staff from Racine Literacy Council for the Outstanding English Language Learner of the Year award. Esteban and the eight other winners were chosen by Wisconsin Literacy Inc., a Madison-based nonprofit that links 77 community-based literacy agencies throughout the state that teach people how to read or to speak English.

The Outstanding English Language Learner of the Year Award recognizes the achievements made through literacy of an adult learner who is a non-native speaker of English. Esteban was nominated for this award because of his hard work and dedication to his education at Racine Literacy Council.

He has been a very committed learner since 2009. For five of those years, he and his tutor Patricia Cook have worked on building his confidence at work, being more active in his children’s school, and in being a better advocate for himself and his family. As a result of their work together, Esteban has received substantial raises at work due to his improved English skills. His employers seek his input on how to improve the workplace and they trust him to work independently.  READ MORE @

Literacy Mid-south Holds Flash Mob
Memphis Flyer: 4.07.2016 by Richard Alley

With hundreds of people gathered on the Greensward at Overton Park last Saturday, it was difficult to tell how many were there solely for the fourth-annual Literacy Mid-South Reading Flash Mob. Yet mixed in with the Frisbee throwers, the sun worshippers, the pet owners, and protesters was a healthy gathering of book lovers.

"Originally we came up with this idea when the flash mobs were really big," Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, says. "There was a reading sit-in elsewhere as a protest, and I thought, 'Well why not just do some shared reading experience for people?' So we got in touch with the Overton Park Conservancy and got the permit, and it's just the perfect place for people to come and read. People are always out here reading anyway, so it's just capitalizing on what's happening here already."

Literacy Mid-South was set up in the southwest corner of the lawn with a tent and tables full of books for children and adults free for the taking. On the northern end, a steel-fence barricade was erected to keep protesters and zoo parking separated. Uniformed police stood in clusters on the far side of the fence in that dog-eared, wheel-rutted corner as one of their helicopters kept watch from the sky.  READ MORE @

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