Sunday, July 31, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Indianapolis IN :: Temple TX :: Hendersonville NC :: Columbus OH :: San Benito Co CA

He couldn't read the recipes, now he's pastry chef for Pacers
IndyStar: 6.18.2016 by Dana Hunsinger Benbow

Alvin Clark fought through life and then? He made U.S. history as the first black Certified Executive Pastry Chef.

When they first laid eyes on him, people called him a rat. Strangers. Loved ones. Family acquaintances.

When Alvin Clark was born, he was premature and pitiful, and people said he looked like a rat.

His crib was a dresser drawer. His body so small and scrawny that his diapers were tattered handkerchiefs.

And if Clark had a rough start in life, it only got worse.

The beatings were always the same, swift and harsh. The weapon was never the same; whatever was lying around the dilapidated house in Dallas.

Clark remembers the 2-by-6 boards most vividly, the lumber his uncle would lunge at him with, in a drunken rage, and strike.

In this house, nights weren't spent doing homework or reading or learning math. In this house, nights were spent cowering in fear.

He would make U.S. history as the first black man to be named a pastry chef of the highest order, earning the designation of Certified Executive Pastry Chef from the American Culinary Federation in 1987. It's an elite honor, the baking world's equivalent to an admiral in a navy.

He would cook for celebrity royalty, the likes of Prince and Stevie Wonder and Natalie Cole. He would be called upon to bake the snickerdoodle cookies for the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. He would become the subject of a documentary.

Yet, the icing on the cake of his career would come at an NBA arena where, since 2004, he has worked as executive pastry chef for Levy Restaurants inside the Indiana Pacers' home of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Clark would achieve many of his accomplishments as an illiterate man, with just his memory and the recipes in his head — more than 600 of themREAD MORE @

Turning the pages on illiteracy in Central Texas
KDHNews: 6.24.2016 by Catherine Hosman

According to the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning at Texas A&M Education and Human Development, the illiteracy rate in Bell County is 13 percent. In the state of Texas, the rate is 19 percent.

When I first met Don Stiles, director of the Temple Literacy Council, I was immediately taken by his friendliness. When he spoke, he smiled, and he never stopped. Right off I knew I was in the presence of a man who never met a stranger.

I met him on the second floor of the Temple Public Library, where the Council is headquartered. On the way to his office he stops to say hello to the librarians. Just as we turn to go into his office he is stopped by a library patron who just wants to say hello and chat.
Stiles welcomes each person who comes into his office as if he or she were already a friend, whether it’s a new student, prospective tutor or inquisitive reporter. His congeniality is genuine and bodes well in his work where he is tasked with the responsibility of helping adults learn how to read or speak English as a second language.  READ MORE @

Undiagnosed dyslexia
From fear to confidence for literacy student
BlueRidgeNow: 6.25.2016 by Beth De Bona

Michelle Edmunds didn’t realize it, but her reading skills were at a fourth-grade level, despite the fact that she has a high school diploma.

The Tuxedo resident had never read a book before two years ago; now, thanks to tutoring at Blue Ridge Literacy Council, she’s in love with reading.

“The library is a magical place to me now. Before, it was just books,” said Edmunds, 50. “I’ve been here, but I’ve been around the world.”

A few years ago, Edmunds was working as a detention officer at the county jail when she failed to pass a certification test. Her struggles with the test were a red flag for an official overseeing the trainees; he referred her to the Literacy Council.

After testing there revealed her reading skill level, she started work under tutor Dawn Keller, who met with Edmunds at the detention center four times a week in preparation to take the tests for the job certification, but to no avail — Edmunds was let go from her job.

“I was sad at the time, but I learned from my mistakes to move forward,” Edmunds said.

A previously undiagnosed dyslexia helped to explain Edmunds' lack of skills, and since the diagnosis it’s been a full-time job for her to increase her level of literacy. It’s a job that’s had enough adventure and reward to make up for all the hard work involved.

“Before I couldn’t read a newspaper. Honestly, I just looked at the pictures,” she said. “Now I read it through.”  READ MORE @

Literacy tutor, volunteer named Columbia County Library Advocate of 2016
Columbus Journal: 6.25.2016 by Lisa Cestkowski

Mary Lou Sharpee has been teaching people how to read her whole life.

Although she retired from her job as the Columbus School District’s reading specialist in 2008, Sharpee still tutors people through the Columbus Literacy Council, a volunteer organization that works cooperatively with the Columbus Public Library. She’s also a member of the library’s Board of Trustees and works with the Root for Columbus program.

In recognition of all of her volunteer work, Sharpee was named Columbia County’s Library Advocate of 2016.

Library director Cindy Fesemyer said Sharpee was more than deserving of the award.

“As a very active volunteer herself, Mary Lou is so appreciative of the efforts of others in the community, the library included,” she said. “She has kind words, and occasionally some not-so-kind words. But she always tells it like it is.”

Sharpee was one of the founding members of the Literacy Council when it formed in the late 1980s. She’s still tutoring people who need help with reading, but these days she is also the group’s president and chief troubleshooter, making sure everyone in need of assistance gets help, training tutors and keeping the program on track.  READ MORE @

Library promotes adult literacy
BenitoLink: 6.28.2016 by San Benito County Free Library 

Many of us take our reading skills for granted. We think nothing of reading a menu at a restaurant or reading a bus schedule posted at the bus stop but what if you couldn’t read? How would you use the most basic services such as ordering at a restaurant or using mass transit? According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy completed in 2003, 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a below basic literacy level in 2003. California has approximately 3.4 million adults with below basic literacy skills. In San Benito County 19 percent of adults have below basic literacy levels. The effect on our communities is profound.

Public libraries are committed to literacy and have stepped into bridge the educational gap. For more than 30 years, the San Benito County Free Library’s Adult Literacy Program has been helping community members achieve their literacy goals.

In January 2007, the library received a grant from the California Library Literacy Services (CLLS), a program of the California State Library. The program had been changing lives both for the volunteer tutors and learners since its inception. Rebecca Salinas, a longtime Hollister resident and retired educator, has been a tutor for six years.

“I love to teach and I wanted to experience teaching adults, since I had only taught in the elementary grades," she said. "I believe education is the key to the door of opportunity and personal growth; therefore, reading is fundamental. I was fortunate that someone helped me get my education. Tutoring is a small way I can help someone as I was helped.”

Salinas is retired, but she keeps busy. “My greatest challenge is time," she said. " I am the treasurer for the Friends of the San Benito County Free Library as well as a member of several boards of other organizations.”  READ MORE @

Friday, July 29, 2016

National Literacy & Library Events :: August 2016

National Literacy & Library Events: August 2016

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

Aug 09  Book Lovers Day
Aug 09  Autism Sensory Friendly Films SUICIDE SQUAD 7p
Aug 10  Annual Picture Book 10 for 10 #pb10for10 Google Community
Aug 13  Autism Sensory Friendly Films PETE'S DRAGON 10a
Aug 16  Reading Hour, Australia 6p
Aug 18+ IBBY International Congress, Auckland New Zealand
Aug 23  Autism Sensory Friendly Films WAR DOGS 7p
Aug 26  WorldCat Birthday
Aug 27  Autism Sensory Friendly Films PETE'S DRAGON 10a

Monday, July 25, 2016

National Literacy Act :: 25th Anniversary

Literacy in Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
Robert Wedgeworth
University Librarian and Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois
Former President and CEO, ProLiteracy Worldwide

What I would like to do in these remarks is to chronicle what I consider to be some key moments in my relationship to libraries and literacy.  I also plan to assert that despite the efforts of many libraries, volunteer literacy organizations, funding agencies, and important members of Congress like the late Senator Paul Simon, these programs have not achieved the traction we expected.  In addition, I plan to suggest what may be helpful in addressing this issue more successfully and how to initiate a new agenda for literacy.  Since I am an appointee of President Obama to serve on the Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, I must declare that the opinions and judgments expressed here are solely my own.

Although I began my career in a public library, I was a cataloger and had little contact with users.  My subsequent career was in academic libraries before being appointed Executive Director of the American Library Association (ALA) in 1972.  It was at the beginning of my tenure at ALA that I became familiar with library literacy programs. Mostly I asked questions in order to understand what opportunities there were for ALA to be of assistance to literacy programs.  READ MORE @

George H. W. Bush Signs Paul Simon's Sawyer
National Literacy Act :: July 25, 1991
Published on Sep 2, 2015
Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US:Indianapolis IN :: Greenfield MA :: Suffolk Co NY :: Escondido CA :: Albuquerque NM

Urban League, Indy Reads tackle adult illiteracy issue
IndyStar: 6.17.2016 by M. Travis DiNicola, Executive Director, Indy Reads

Mark Russell’s June 15 column on the reading gap was right on. As stated in his column, 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th-grade level. For reference, at least 6th-grade reading level is necessary for filling out a job application, understanding prescriptions, cooking from a recipe or even reading this newspaper. One in five adults in our country struggle every day with the basic skills that you and I take for granted.

Many people still have a hard time understanding how a first-world country like the United States can have such low adult literacy levels. If you look at drop-out rates, it isn’t too hard to understand. There is a direct correlation between graduation rates and literacy rates. Indianapolis Public Schools had a graduation rate of 72.1 percent in 2015. What happens to that 27.9 percent? Those students who dropped out are the same people who come to Indy Reads as adults to improve their reading and writing skills.

Russell states that the current literacy rate isn’t any better than it was 10 years ago. Unfortunately, this is true. But during those 10 years Indy Reads has provided free literacy tutoring to more than 5,000 adults who want to take control of their lives. During the past five years, we have worked with an average of 1,350 adults annually.  READ MORE @

My Turn/Roberts: Joys earned at The Literacy Project
The Recorder: 6.19.2016 by Judith Roberts, Ex Dir of The Literacy Project

At The Literacy Project’s five classrooms in Greenfield, Orange, Amherst, Northampton and Ware students are taking and passing the HiSET (high school equivalency test formerly known as the GED). As the school year draws to a close, adult students are passing this high stakes test, one which they have been preparing for, in some cases years, and one which will enable them to go on to community college, vocational training and better jobs.

The 300 students who study at The Literacy Project’s five classrooms have paid teachers supplemented by over 100 volunteers across our classroom sites, all working together.

Five mornings a week, through-out the school year, The Literacy Project’s classrooms fill up with adults studying to earn their HiSET degrees. Now, as the school year rolls to a close, students are eagerly awaiting news of passing the test.

Beth, a student at the Greenfield Literacy Project classroom just passed her HiSET and plans to go to Greenfield Community College in the fall. Beth has discovered that she loves to write. Beth wrote a memoir this year titled “Family, Hard Work and Belief.” This is an apt summation of what it takes for our adult students to be successful. One student said, “The Literacy Project is like family.” In our classrooms, students do the hard work of learning with the support of The Literacy Project family and they begin to find belief in themselves. As another student said, “my teachers believed in me before I believed in myself.”  READ MORE @

Way to Go! Maria Samaritano, St. Anthony’s High School
Newsday: 6.20.2016 by Michael R. Ebert

A Huntington teen has been striving to eradicate local illiteracy by recruiting one student to join the cause from every high school in Suffolk County.

Maria Samaritano, a junior at St. Anthony’s High School, serves as a junior ambassador for Literacy Suffolk, a nonprofit that aims to improve adult literacy through trained volunteers.

In the role, Samaritano helps spread awareness about Long Island’s literacy problem and recruit adult tutors, who must have a high school diploma and attend a 12-hour training workshop. Samaritano, who said she was the nonprofit’s sole junior ambassador prior to her efforts, has recruited five other teens countywide to join her so far.

“It wasn’t until high school when I started to get more interested,” said Samaritano, 17, whose mother has been a Literacy Suffolk volunteer for over a decade. “It made me wonder about people’s lives and, if they can’t read for themselves, how could they do things like help their kids with homework?”  READ MORE @

Learning Together
California Libraries: 6.18.2016 by Lalitha Nataraj

When you help an adult improve their literacy skills, you are impacting their life in a profound way. Moreover, when one teaches...two learn.

This is a video that my library produced for its Adult Literacy program to help with volunteer and learner recruitment. It sheds light on the success stories of our lifelong learners and tutors.  VIDEO

Surveying For Illiteracy In New Mexico
KUNM: 6.20.2016 by Anna Lande

Thousands of adult New Mexicans can't read well, and because of social stigmas, they’re a hidden population. The latest data estimates adult education programs only manage to reach a fraction of those folks. But an Albuquerque literacy program is developing a method of making contact with potential students.

Andrew Torres did not know how to read for most of his adult life. He also copes with depression. Just a year ago, he felt comfortable turning to his counselor for help.

"I told him, ‘If I learned how to read, it’d help me a little bit,’ " he said, "And he says, 'You know what? I’m not leaving this office today until we find some place for you.’

”They found a literacy program called Reading Works. The months of studying have changed everything, he said. He used to feel bad when his grandson would ask him to read to him. And now …

“I try to catch him every time he’s around the house. He tries to hide me from now, because I read to him. And I’m like, ‘You wanted me to read to you. I learned how to read. Now you’re going to listen because that’s my homework today,' ” Torres said.

Programs like Reading Works face the constant challenge of trying to connect with folks who have trouble navigating in a print-oriented world. Sometimes they can find people like Andrew through referrals. READ MORE @

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Top Trending Words and Phrases of 2016: Bigly, Brexit & Non-binary

Top Trending Words and Phrases of 2016: Bigly, Brexit & Non-binary

Bigly, Brexit, and ‘Non-binary’ lead the Top Trending Words and Phrases of 2016 thus far, followed by the Prince Symbol, Zika, Gun Violence / Gun Culture, Safe Place, Heroin and fentanyl according to the current word trends in global English being tracked by the Global Language Monitor, the big data, trend tracking consultancy.

This is preliminary to GLM’s fourteenth annual Word of the Year (#WOTY) rankings that will be released on November 16, 2016.

“By the sixteenth year of the 20th century, the world was already awash in the trends that would influence the rest of the century, reaching all the way into the early 21st century.” said Paul JJ Payack, chief word analyst, the Global Language Monitor. “The twenty-first century trends that accompany these words might similarly portend far greater events than they represent today..”

Rank, Word, Commentary  READ MORE @

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: NY NY :: Ardmore OK :: Wayne/Pike COs PA :: Butte MT :: Steubenville OH

Literacy Partners Shines a Light on Parental Illiteracy With New Campaign by The&Partnership

PR Newswire: 6.08.2016

Literacy Partners, a nonprofit organization that provides free literacy classes to low-income parents, has teamed with New York-based communications agency The&Partnership to create a compelling campaign "What Kids Reads" that brings attention to parental illiteracy and how it impacts their families.

There are more than two million adults in New York City – or one in four – who are functionally illiterate and have trouble with daily tasks others take for granted, such as reading a prescription bottle, helping their child with homework, or even navigating public transportation.

"We couldn't be more honored to partner with Literacy Partners on such important life-changing work. The numbers around adult illiteracy and how it affects families is much higher than most people would think, and we hope that this campaign can help to bring about some lasting change and support for the work that Literacy Partners is doing in the community," said Andrew Bailey, CEO, North America, The&Partnership.

The campaign includes an emotional video from a child's point of view and a unique interactive digital storytelling experience. The video entitled "What Kids Read" focuses on the role-reversal that occurs when parents who cannot read have to rely on their children to do so for them. One child has to read the instructions for a prescription, while another reads an overdue rent notice. Actual students who participate in the Literacy Partners program are featured in the video, and the voiceover is read by Camille McPherson, a first-year student in the program, in an effort to highlight the strides she has already made.  VIDEO

Ardmore Literacy Leadership Recognizes Adult Learners in Ardmore, Oklahoma
Pro Literacy Blog: 6.08.2016 by Sarah Howell

I was fortunate enough to attend, the Ardmore Literacy Leadership’s (A.L.L.) third graduation event at the Ardmore Convention Center on the evening of May 26, 2016. The event recognized adult learners from various programs throughout the community. =The 2016 graduating class included 72 adults, some of whom received their GED or U.S. citizenship. Other learners recognized completed financial literacy courses, computer literacy classes, or job training programs. The learners participate in programs from five local programs: Ardmore Barbara Bush Literacy Corps, Ardmore Public Library, Grace Center, New Dimensions Literacy Council, and Southern Oklahoma Technology Center.

Drew Beard, area director of the Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was the featured speaker. Drew delivered a message of hope and encouragement. He urged graduates to use the momentum from graduation to continue their educationREAD MORE @

Carole Linkiewicz is “Tutor of the Year”
News Eagle: 6.09.2016 by Peter Becker, Managing Editor

Giving the gift of literacy to adults hungry to learn is a group of dedicated and selfless volunteer tutors whose work was recognized recently.

Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program (WPALP) honored their tutors at the annual Volunteer Tutors luncheon, held May 10 at First Presbyterian Church in Hawley. WPALP has been providing free tutoring and study materials to adults who reside in Wayne or Pike counties, since 1987.

Carole Linkiewicz of Rowlands, Lackawaxen Township was chosen by the board of directors as the 2016 Tutor of the Year for her success with incarcerated adults. Several of those students have earned a Commonwealth Secondary Education Diploma.

Representing Senator Lisa Baker was her field representative Andrew Seder, who presented the Certificates of Recognition issued by her office. Senator Baker, a staunch supporter of adult literacy education, was in legislative session in HarrisburgREAD MORE @

Never too late to learn: Butte program helps improve literacy
KXLF: 6.1.2016 by John Emeigh

As school age children are enjoying the beginning of summer vacation, there are many adults in this community that are lacking in basic reading, writing and math skills.

“Literacy is extremely important,” said Cathy Maloney, Butte-Silver Bow Superintendent of Schools. “We have children going to school to learn how to read and often times their parents can't read to them.”

This is one of the reasons why the Butte Literacy Program works to help adults of all ages to improve those skills, including helping high school dropouts achieve their equivalency degree.

“In the 21st Century, having a high school diploma is going to be an absolute minimum requirement for almost any and every job,” said Jamie Barrett, with the Butte Literacy Program.
-Stephanie Sheehy, 33, wants to attend college, but was short on her high school credits. This program has helped this mother of three children get ready to start college.  VIDEO

Renda Named to Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame
June Boomers and Beyond

Gloria J. Renda of Steubenville is among 10 remarkable older Ohioans who have been honored for a lifetime of accomplishments.

Renda was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus May 19. She joined more than 450 individuals who have been inducted since 1977.

Renda worked for 27 years as librarian in Jefferson County Schools. Through various endeavors, she has helped bring literacy to countless neighbors. Using a grant from Vista Volunteers of America, she founded the Upper Ohio Valley Adult Literacy Council in 1990 to tutor adults in reading.  READ MORE @