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 @

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