Tuesday, August 30, 2016

National Literacy & Library Events :: September 2016

National Literacy & Library Events
September 2016

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

Sep. 06    #ReadABookDay
Sep. 10    Autism Sensory Friendly Films KUBO 10a
Sep. 11+ Get Outside the Lines, Libraries Reintroduced  #GetOTL
Sep. 13   Roald Dahl Day
Sep. 13   Autism Sensory Friendly Films SULLY 7p
Sep. 15+ ALSC National Institute, Charlotte NC
Sep. 17   Curiosity Day with Curious George
Sep. 18   Read an eBook Day
Sep. 24   National Book Festival, Wash DC
Sep. 24  Autism Sensory Friendly Films STORKS 10a
Sep. 25  Banned Book Week

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Columbia SC :: Lee Co IL :: San Bernardino Co CA ::Franklin Co PA :: Madison WI

Reading program keeps incarcerated mothers involved in their children's lives
Live5 News: 8.01.2016 by Michal Higdon

A program in the Midlands is helping incarcerated mothers in prison stay connected with their children. According to the South Carolina Department of Corrections there are about 1,400 women incarcerated in the state and about 80 percent of them have children.

So the initiative called a Mother's Voice, was started in the state.

This initiative provides incarcerated mothers with recordable books suitable for toddlers and young children. Mothers record their own voice as they read the book, then give the book to their child or children to keep and listen to over and over again.

The overall mission of A Mother’s Voice is to connect children with their incarcerated moms through reading with the objective to reinforce bonds between mother and child, increase mother and child communication through reading, and improve literacy skills of both the mother and the child.

"It's so meaningful. It's that thing that hasn't happened and we want to make sure that the mothers and the children stay in touch no matter where they are,” says Camden Councilwoman Laurie ParksVIDEO

Tutors VITAL to Sauk program's success
As GED, ELS classes ramp up, help sought in Twin Cities
SaukValley: 8.03.2016 by Christopher Heimerman

As a bilingual administrative assistant with Lee County Health Department, Laura Moreno knows many folks who could use a free English as a Second Language course. She also knows that, regardless of heritage, a lot of folks could use some help getting their GED.

And she knows just how good it feels to help folks better themselves.

She knows all these things because she’s been there, done that.

Two pivotal programs at Sauk Valley Community College, Project VITAL (Volunteers in Teaching Adult Literacy) and Adult Education, helped Moreno, 25, learn English when she emigrated from Mexico in October 2010, then get her GED and help others follow suit.

When Moreno’s sister, Mirna Cabrera, persuaded her to move to Sterling, she knew little to no English. She’d left Universidad Autonama De Chihuauha in Mexico during her third semester of studying international relations, only to start over, more or less, at Sauk.

“It was exciting, because I knew I’d learn a new language,” she said. “But it was hard and scary. I knew I was going to be behind. I knew I was going to have to start over.”

Moreno’s not the only on who’s felt that way.

Emily Kruger, Sauk’s adult literacy outreach coordinator since January 2015, said she’s been approached this summer by numerous students looking for tutoring, many of them fluent only in Spanish. She’s got a decent stable of tutors in Dixon, but needs help in Sterling and Rock Falls.

“Tutors are the backbone of our entire program,” Kruger said. “If we don’t have our volunteer tutors, we don’t have a program.”  READ MORE @


Group aims to promote literacy in community
Public Opinion: 8.10.2016 by Vicky Taylor

The Franklin County Literacy Council is urging area residents to follow the path to literacy and to help others do the same.

Thomas said nearly one in five Franklin County residents needs help in basic reading, math and computer skills, putting the region at greater risk for poverty, domestic abuse and poor health.

Improving literacy helps the economy, lowers health care costs and reduces crime, he said.

That involves more than just teaching people to read, he said.

The Literacy Council does its part by offering tutoring classes for adult students enrolled in adult basic education classes who need basic literacy skills, and classes for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, as well as offering employability training.

The employability training program is designed to help with math, basic computer skills and reading and writing in the workplace.

To make it run, Thomas said the council needs the help of a large number of volunteers passionate about helping others who can give between three and five hours a week of their time to the cause of literacy.  READ MORE @

Madison woman uses Literacy Network services, becomes MPD officer
NBC15 WMTV: 8.10.2016 by Meredith Barack

As a child, everyone dreams about what they want to be when they grow up, and for one Madison woman, her dream job was finally in reach.

But it would take the help of a local non-profit to make it a reality.

"Since the age of 8, I've always wanted to be a police officer. But not just a police officer, I wanted to be an officer with the Madison Police Department."

Growing up on the east side, Lyjya Miles said it was the positive impact from the officers in her neighborhood that inspired her dream.

"It was the things that the Madison Police Department did for me that I don't think the officers realized they did that affected my life and helped me become who I am today."

But finally becoming an officer didn't come easy. Initially, Miles didn't pass a test given to MPD applicants.

"When it comes to things like reading, speed reading, that's kind of where I struggled a little bit, but that's definitely where the Literacy Network came out and helped me."

Like the new Literacy Network building, at the corner of S. Park St. and Dane St., many of the people who seek out their services are a work in progress.

"There's 55,000 people here in Dane County who could use our services. Right now, we're serving about 1,000 students each year, and really it's not enough," said Jen Davie, Literacy Network's development director, "we've got to be able to serve more. We have to be ready for them, which is where this building kind of came into play."  VIDEO

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Fort Worth TX :: North SC :: Upshur Co WV :: Fon du Lac WI :: Ozaukee Co WI

Literacy Connexus worker honored as volunteer of the year
Baptist Standard: 7.26.2016 by Ken Camp

Pam Moore never expected statewide recognition for her work as a literacy ministry volunteer. Until a few years ago, she never gave literacy much thought.

Moore, a member of First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove, has volunteered more than five years with Literacy Connexus, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission. Literacy Connexus offers training and resources for English-as-a-Second-Language and literacy ministries. Moore—who edits Literacy Connexus newsletters, writes content for its website, submits grant applications on its behalf and provides technical support for its conferences—will receive the Volunteer of the Year Award from Literacy Texas at the statewide organization’s annual conference, Aug. 2 in San Marcos.

“Pam has endeared herself to volunteers by sharing timely information and encouraging stories to undergird our mission of helping churches help persons with literacy needs,” said Lester Meriwether, executive director of Literacy Connexus. “She is an invaluable team member and is very deserving of the recognition of Literacy Texas’ award.”  READ MORE @

'We give them wings':
The Challenge Center prepares residents for better jobs, quality of life
T&D: 7.29.2016 by Tad Mitchum

The Challenge Center for adult literacy, also known as the North Family Community School, has a long history of helping area adults improve the quality of their lives and job opportunities through education.

Founded in 1993 by Sandy Sigmon in honor of her father, the center has been in several different locations over the years. Its new headquarters is at 4589 Savannah Highway in North.

Currently, The Challenge Center and its staff are preparing for the 2016-2017 academic year. Visitors are greeted by decorative butterflies on the walls throughout the building that have special significance.

“We believe that, as teachers, we have two choices concerning our students. We can push them down with dogma or we can give them wings so they can soar to success,” Sigmon said, alluding to the symbolism of the butterflies. “We want them to soar.”

Sigmon said most of the services offered at the center are free, but added, "We do have some costs that must be covered."  READ MORE @

Upshur County resources address illiteracy
WDTV: 7.28.2016 by Renata Di Gregorio

Sometimes the first step to accomplishing something is asking for help and knowing you're not alone. The Upshur County Literacy Volunteers director says one in five adults in the county can't read above a fourth grade level. As the director searches for more tutors, 5 News dove into the situation to see how bad it is and what's being done about it.

Director Erin Richardson says the problem in the county is great and people are also great at avoiding it. She's seen her students get around illiteracy by talking into smartphones and having the phone write in text.

"The problem with that is that they can't fill out a job application," she said. "Because they can't read 'what is your name?'"

Applying for and being qualified for jobs is the end objective for the county's Adult Learning Center. But the first step in getting there is being able to read and write. The adult education resources in the county work separately, but also refer students to each other. However, one instructor says the hardest part for people is walking through the door.

"They realize that we're going to be able to offer them something to overcome that obstacle," said Tammy Shreve, Adult Education Instructor at the Adult Learning Center. "They begin to relax and they begin to understand that this is something that they can do."

Both Shreve and Richardson have personal stories to back up that it's doable and that it doesn't matter what got someone into the situation where they can't read or write. Richardson says they tutor people from sixteen years old to in their eighties. Recently one woman who started under a fourth grade reading level tested three grade levels higher by the end of the year.  VIDEO

Language skills: Fond du Lac Literacy Services honors long-term tutor, sets annual fundraisers
Fon du Lac Reporter: 7.31.2016 by Taima Kern

The average length of time that a volunteer tutors with the literacy program is 1.92 years. Marguerite Soffa is an outlier on that graph and was recently honored by Fond du Lac Literacy Services for her tenure of more than 30 years as a volunteer tutor with the organization.

Soffa, 91, tutored several people in her three decades, but she predominantly worked with a single tutee, Mary. Together the pair read books, worked on vocabulary, spelling, grammar and composition and completed workbooks provided by Fond du Lac Literacy Services.

“I found it rewarding,” Soffa said of the experience. Their favorite educational method was the reading of novels and books, and as such, Soffa was always on the lookout for good option to introduce Mary to.

“I remember one time we chose ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’” said Soffa. “I selected it because Scout (the main character) was telling the story, and Scout is a child, so the language wouldn’t be too difficult. But, of course, I was wrong,” Soffa said, laughing. “But it was a good experience for her, I think.”

Soffa worked with other tutees during her time with the organization, including one which she remembers was nearly impossible to teach.

“I asked the organizers if they could find me someone else, because I (was) not able to get through to her. Years later we passed on Merrill Avenue and she stopped me and said ‘Do you know why you couldn’t teach me? I was dyslexic.’”  READ MORE @

Nonprofit literacy program educates Ozaukee inmates on job readiness
Journal Sentinel: 7.31.2016 by Patrick Thomas

The classroom Patty Puccinelli teaches in is much different from the one she envisioned when she was earning her PhD in English from St. Louis University, where she also taught for 11 years.

Puccinelli no longer teaches college students. She took a break from teaching to become a full-time parent, moved to Milwaukee, and when her kids got older started looking for part-time work. She started teaching night classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and in 2013 heard about the Ozaukee County Jail Literacy Program.

"At first, I was a little hesitant. It was unnerving to have the doors slam with such force, but I really enjoy interacting with the students," said Puccinelli, who teaches a variety of classes to the inmates in the program.

"Many of the students did not experience much of any success in school, but in our program, because we can teach them individually based on their specific needs, they succeed."

Located in the jail itself, the small nonprofit literacy program aims to help inmates learn skills to get a job, improve their literacy and achieve their GED or HSED. It is the only private agency in Wisconsin that provides education at the jail level.

Since 1992, 297 students have graduated from the program with either a GED or HSED. More than 900 students have taken classes.  READ MORE @

Thursday, August 18, 2016

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans :: NBC News

Get LIT(erature): Supporting a Lifelong Love of Reading
NBC News: 8.13.2016 by David Johns  and Andrene Jones-Castro

Growing up as a little Black boy in Inglewood, California, books provided me with opportunities to escape the jungle I called home.

I encountered new places and characters in the pages of my favorite novels, which were quite different from my childhood neighborhood. Literacy helped me find words to express my feelings, birth new ideas, and make sense of the loneliness and isolation that comes with being the only black boy in a classroom.

I saw myself in characters like Richard Wright's "Bigger Thomas" or in the young James Baldwin struggling to find self in the pages of "The Fire Next Time." I became acquainted with places I longed to explore. Developing a love of reading was much more than learning ABCs and sounding out words. Reading affirmed certain aspects my identity and equipped me with tools for success.

My journey is not unique. Many African Americans share their love of reading in their lives—both personally and professionally. For African American families, creating and supporting children's lifelong love of reading has lasting impacts.

To maximize literacy development and in support of multiple forms of literacy for Black children in the 21st century, The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans supports The U.S. Department of Education's efforts to encourage everyone to #ReadWhereYouAre.  READ MORE @

David J. Johns is the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Andrene Jones-Castro is a graduate intern at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and is a doctoral student studying education policy at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

National Value of Volunteer Time 2015 :: $23.56 per hour

National Value of Volunteer Time: 2015

Estimated Value of Volunteer Time for 2015: $23.56 per hour

The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 62.8 million Americans, or 25.3 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $184 billion in 2014.2 For the latest information, please see www.volunteeringinamerica.gov.

For more information on the economic impact of nonprofits by state, please visit our state profiles portal.

Value of Volunteer Time by State 2001-2015.pdf

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Springfield MO :: Guilford Co NC :: Ridgewood NJ :: Fayetteville NC :: Calaveras Co CA

Literacy non-profit needs volunteers to help meet growing demand for services
KY3: 7.05.2016 by Shayla Patrick

The latest study by the U.S. Department of Education finds roughly 32 million adults in the United States can't read, that's just under 14 percent of the population.

"Every basic function in life requires the ability to read. To drive a vehicle you need a drivers license, to fill out a resume, to take a prescription," said Eva Patterson, Executive Director for the Ozarks Literacy Council.

"We often take reading for granted, but an individual who can't read doesn't have access to basic things in life," she explained.

The Ozarks Literacy Council was created to help get people in this demographic back on track. They pair clients with tutors who work with them to increase reading levels.

"I have to say that I admire the people that come here and have the courage to admit they can't read. It's a difficult thing to admit that," said Holloway.

Vickie Holloway is a volunteer tutor with Ozarks Literacy Council who says she's amazed by what the learners achieve.

"Probably the most rewarding thing is when you see someone struggle with something that's very difficult for them and that moment when the light bulb comes on and they realize, I can read this word," Holloway explained.  VIDEO

If You Can Read, Volunteer! Literacy Tutors Needed
WFMYNews: 7.06.2016 by Lauren Melvin

If you can read, you can volunteer! You can help your community when it comes to literacy.

Reading Connections, the largest community-based adult literacy agency in NC, needs literacy tutors!
=The agency provides free literacy services to adults in Guilford County who wish to improve their basic reading skills through trained volunteers working as one-to-one tutors and small group instructors.

Around 1 in 5 adults in Guilford County – about 75,000 individuals – lack the basic skills to fill out a job application or read a children’s book. Another 25 percent cannot read at a high school level. Adults with low literacy are more likely to be unemployed and to live in poverty.

Reading Connections provides programs focused on basic reading and writing, math, GED preparation, essential employment readiness skills, basic computer use, family literacy, and English skills for speakers of other languages.  VIDEO

Ridgewood Library ESL tutors earn Adult Literacy awards
North Jersey: 7.15.2016 by Alexandra Hoey

Ridgewood residents Linda Keesing and Kathy Garden were among the eight English as a Second Language (ESL) tutors honored at the 28th annual Adult Literacy Awards Ceremony on June 16, hosted at Bergen Community College.

In the ESL program, volunteers serve as tutors to teach new citizens or visitors from other countries basic English speaking skills. Although Garden has been an ESL tutor for 30 years and Keesing, three years, both women exuded the same passion and dedication to teach and learn from their students.

Keesing knew three years ago, after retiring from her 22-year-long career in education, that she wanted to tutor. Friends who participated in the program spoke highly about their experiences, but especially as a former educator, who at one point also taught high school level Spanish and French, Keesing wanted to continue teaching in any capacity.

Tutors do not need to have a background in teaching nor do they need to be bilingual, but for Keesing it certainly helped.

Since then, she’s worked with at least 15 students.

A majority of Keesing’s students range in the intermediate level, so her classes, which are usually composed of five students, are spent increasing vocabulary words, teaching idioms and getting her students comfortable with speaking conversationally.  READ MORE @

Meet Susan Keels:
This literacy instructor builds more than sentences
Fay Observer: 7.16.2016 by Alicia Banks Staff writer

There's something Charles Roberts, 65, forgot to master in his youth.

It wasn't a sport or playing an instrument.

For the Fayetteville native, it was reading.

He dropped out of school when he was 16 before working at and retiring from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

"I was able to get around it because they needed someone with a strong back," Roberts said through a sheepish laugh. "But it has been a struggle, and it was hard. You're going to come across something where you're going to have to read and know what you're signing. I had to trust people I was dealing with."

In 1994, Roberts started attending night classes to improve his literacy.

He read at a second-grade level.

Working made sticking to the routine difficult. That changed in 2013 when he met Susan Keels. She's an adult literacy volunteer and an English as a Second Language tutor at the Fayetteville Urban Ministry. She also oversees the center's front desk once a week, answering calls and questions.

Roberts credits her with knowing the definition of two words he always heard: travesty and analytics.

"She's a real nice person, and she cares," Roberts said. "I had to learn to read as an adult so it's harder, but I've come a long way with her."  READ MORE @

Retired prison warden revives adult literacy program
Calaveras Enterprise: 7.25.2016 by Isabella Cook

Phil Gutierrez, 59, a retired prison warden, is going back to his early professional roots as the man hired to revive Calaveras County’s adult literacy program.

Gutierrez began working as the literacy coordinator in May, replacing former coordinator Pat Ross, who left in February. He said that the months without a coordinator brought much of the program to a standstill.

“I think the people probably stopped going because they thought it was gone,” said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez previously worked as a Spanish literacy instructor for the Federal Correction Institute in Arizona. His first literacy group was comprised of Cuban inmates who had been thrown out of their country by Fidel Castro. Gutierrez went on to become education supervisor at the Federal Corrections Institute in Dublin for eight years. There he worked exclusively with women.

“To this day, when people ask me what my hardest job was, I’ll say working with the women,” he said.

Gutierrez was promoted out of education and worked as a warden for the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville for several years.

At 57, Gutierrez retired and moved to Valley Springs to be closer to his children and grandchildren. He saw an advertisement for the position of literacy coordinator.

“I hadn’t worked with education in 30 years,” he said. “I jumped right back in.”

Based on a 2003 survey, the National Center for Educational Services estimated that 9 percent of Calaveras County adults could not read or write.  READ MORE @