Sunday, October 30, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Oklahoma City OK :: Pittsylvania Co VA :: Lake Co CA

Seventh annual Scrabble Showdown promotes literacy in OKC
OU Daily: 9.29.2016 by Allison Weintraub

The Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition will host the seventh annual Scrabble Showdown tonight with the goal of increasing literacy awareness.

The Scrabble Showdown is Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. in the Castle Falls Event Center on North MacArthur Boulevard in Oklahoma City. There will be three levels of competition this year: Novice, Intermediate and Advanced/Club.

The Novice division will play in two-person teams. Intermediate players can choose to play solo or in a team. Advanced/Club players follow the North American Scrabble Players Association rules and compete one-on-one.

Mary Surbeck, one of the founders of the OKC Metro Literacy Coalition, said the alliance between Oklahoma City and the Literacy Coalition helps many across Oklahoma. This year's Scrabble Showdown will educate individuals about the coalition and its services, Surbeck said.

“We have people from social services calling to find out how they can help their clients get literacy help," she said. "We have people calling ESL for language help, for children’s tutoring, for adult tutoring. It runs the gambit.”

The coalition is always looking for student volunteers, Surbeck said.

“There’s so much that they could do for both children and adults and people who speak other languages," she said.

Jane Douglass coordinates the literacy program for the Pioneer Library System, and said their program works a little differently than the OKC Metro Literacy Coalition. She also encouraged students to apply to tutor in their program.  READ MORE @

Virginia man shares story on learning to read to inspire others
WSET: 9.30.2016 by Valerie Bragg

A local man is sharing his story in hopes of inspiring others. He wants you to know just how important reading is, especially since this is Literacy Week.

The American Library Association says 30-million people in the US struggle with basic reading and writing. Curtis Calloway was one of them until he started to learn.

"It was hard,” he said. “You have to keep pushing yourself. You just can't give up." As a small child, =Calloway went to school. But, at a young age his life changed. "My father died when I was 12 and I had to quit school, help my mother on the dairy farm,” Calloway said.

Now at 64, he's determined to learn how to read all because of his grandchildren.

"I got one [that’s] four, one's two, one is finished school and then I have two more in elementary school,” he said.

Calloway is just one of the success stories the Pittsylvania County literacy program sees. The program is made up of volunteers.  READ MORE @

Lake County Literacy Coalition helps change lives; group's major fundraiser takes place Oct. 9
Lake County News: 10.03.2016

With the Lake County Literacy Coalition’s major fundraiser, the Vineyard Run for Literacy, right around the corner, some people might be asking, “What does this organization do for residents of Lake County?”

Since 1986, the coalition has raised money to support the adult literacy programs run by the Lake County Library.

The program recruits and trains volunteers from the community to work one-on-one with individuals who need help to improve basic reading, writing and comprehension skills.

“Over the years, the literacy program has trained well over 1,200 tutors who in turn helped more than 2,100 learners,” said literacy coordinator Ginny DeVries.

This tutoring is free to all Lake County residents, age 18 and older.

Many college students take advantage of this free tutoring service, especially first year students. They learn how to succeed in taking tests and improve note taking ability.

One client willing to share his story was Jason Martinez. He passionately wanted to be a chef, but his reading and writing skills had been a problem when it came to passing the exams at the culinary arts class at Yuba College.

He and his tutor met regularly for 17 weeks, and with that help, Martinez received an “A” in his culinary arts class, and soon became a full-time cook at Running Creek Casino.

Tutors are available to assist learners on an individual basis at the county library (and other) locations, at the Hill Road Correctional Facility and in preparation for GED testing.

In addition, if an adult learner has young children, the whole family is eligible for services under the Families for Literacy Program.  READ MORE @

Friday, October 28, 2016

National Literacy & Library Events :: November 2016

National Literacy & Library Events :: November 2016

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

Nov. 02+ NAEYC Annual Conference LA CA @NAEYC
Nov. 02+ Natl Black Storytelling Festival Conf Philadelphia PA @NABStalking
Nov. 03+ ALER Conference Myrtle Beach SC
Nov. 04+ @ReadWriteAct Virtual Conference
Nov. 04+ Young Adult Services Symposium Pittsburgh PA @yalsa
Nov. 05+ @NatlJumpStart National Educator Conf Dallas TX #JSNEC16
Nov. 08+ @AaaceTweet Conference Albuquerque NM
Nov. 09+ @CAELnews Conference Chicago IL
Nov. 11+ National Quality Education Conference Houston TX @ASQ #ICQS2016
Nov. 11+ @YALLFest Charleston SC #YALLFest
Nov. 12+ Book Riot Live NY NY
Nov. 12    Autism Sensory Friendly Films TROLLS 10a
Nov. 13+ Global Education Conference  Cyberspace @globaledcon #globaled
Nov. 14+ American Education Week  @NEAToday #AEW2016
Nov. 15   Autism Sensory Friendly Films DOCTOR STRANGE 7p
Nov. 17+@LernUpdates Conference Baltimore MD
Nov. 17+ National Council of Teachers of English Atlanta GA @ncte
Nov. 17   National Writing Project Conference Atlanta GA
Nov. 18+ ACTFL Convention Boston MA @actfl  #ACTFL16
Nov. 19   #Tellabration - Saturday before Thanksgiving  @NSNstorycon
Nov. 24+ Jewish Book Month @JewishBook
Nov. 26   Autism Sensory Friendly Film FANTASTIC BEASTS ... FIND THEM 10a
Nov. 29   Autism Sensory Friendly Films FANTASTIC BEASTS ... FIND THEM 7p
Nov. 30+ LRA National Reading Conference Nashville TN
Nov. 30+ @TASHtweet Conference St. Louis MO #2016TASHconf

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Rapid City SD :: Tuolumne Co CA :: Provo UT

Local man overcomes illiteracy at 57
Rapid City Journal: 9.27.2016 by John D Taylor

Paul “Pancho” Torres, of Hot Springs, is a very brave man.

For most of his adult life, Torres hid the fact that he could not read or write. He went through South Dakota’s school system, into the military (National Guard) and worked at a number of jobs passing as someone who was literate.

However, in 1988, when he faced a decision to continue this charade or admit that he was illiterate, he finally faced his fear of being ridiculed and fessed up. It only took a lifetime of trauma, a messy divorce, unemployment, alcoholism and a kind hand on his shoulder, coupled with an understanding person who could help him attached to that hand, to bring about the big change that opened the world of reading and writing to him – but it happened.

And now, he wants to get a message out to anyone else who may not be able to read and write. That message is simple: People who are illiterate should “…hold their head up and be brave and admit they need to learn this skill, that it’s important to know how to do this.”

There were job applications to fill out with this, and Torres recalls sitting at a table not knowing what the job application said, being sweaty and nervous that his secret would finally be revealed when someone would tell him to hurry up and complete the forms like his co-workers were doing. He said he felt really stupid for holding up the process.

That’s when a woman from the state Job Service came over, put a gentle hand on his shoulder and said she could help him if he needed help. Torres admitted to her that he could not read or write. So she filled out the application for him and suggested he go to the Library to find help. That is where he discovered the Literacy Council, he says.  READ MORE @

Tuolumne library offers help to readers

Can you imagine what it’s like to not be able to read?

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy estimates that there are 3.4 million adults who read at or below the basic literacy level in California. These adults are unable to read medicine labels, election ballots or even bedtime stories to their children.

In an effort to help erase adult illiteracy, the Tuolumne County Library offers free one-on-one tutoring for adults who need help with reading, writing, mathematics and high school equivalency test skills in advance of taking the test.

“There are myriad reasons why people who have reached adulthood may not yet have learned to read,” says a Tuolumne County Library release. “Often problems started before age 4, such as frequent moving as a child, overcrowded or underfunded classrooms, or childhood health problems that precluded the person from learning how to read.”

“Since the literacy program was created in 1997, we have helped more than 1,410 area residents learn to read,” the release continues. “Last year alone, we helped 65 adults and provided 1,300 instruction hours in the community. This service is staffed by more than 20 volunteer tutors who meet with their students at least once a week. Together they work toward helping learning adults achieve goals that will enhance their lives.”

“Adults who have not yet learned to read often suffer low self-esteem, believing they have failed and are beyond help. To help combat these anxieties, our volunteers work with students individually, adjusting teaching techniques to fit the individual.”  READ MORE @

Project Read tests local adults with spelling bee
Daily Herald: 9.27.2016 by Shelby Slade

The tension in the Provo City Library Ballroom was high Tuesday as the announcer read off the proper way to spell the second word in Project Read’s spelling bee.

“K-Y-P-H-O-S-I-S,” the announcer said as the audience punctuated each letter with cheers of excitement.

The word, which means an excessive curvature of the back, was the hardest word the participants had seen at that time, but it had nothing on the final word of the day: wallydraigle.

While the spelling bee was lighthearted and fun, Project Read Executive Director Shauna Brown said it’s all for a good cause.

The spelling bee, which is in its 10th year, gives Project Read a chance to raise money and awareness for adult illiteracy. They strive to teach reading to adults that never learned how to do so.

“It’s a systemic problem and if we eliminate it, we eliminate so many other problems,” Brown said. -=“People who struggle with literacy don’t just struggle with literacy.”

Valerie Curtis, who went through the program, said learning to read really changed her life. Before she learned to read, she struggled at work, had issues teaching her children and faced many challenges most people wouldn’t imagine.

“It was very difficult for someone who was afraid to buy fresh vegetables because I couldn’t figure out how much it would cost at the check stand,” she said.  READ MORE @

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Libraries 2016 - A portrait of those who have never been to libraries :: Pew

Libraries 2016
3. A portrait of those who have never been to libraries
Pew Research Center: 9.09.2016 by John B. Horrigan

Nearly half (48%) of Americans visited libraries in the past year. Roughly a third (32%) say they have used libraries at one time or another, though not in the past 12 months. Additionally, one-in-five (19%) say they have never visited a public library or a bookmobile. This has been a persistent trend in Pew Research Center surveys for five years, and we consistently see patterns in who these non-users are and how their views about libraries differ from more recent library users.

Those who have never been to a public library are more likely to be male (24% have never been to a library), ages 65 and older (26%), Hispanic (32%), black (28%), high school graduates or less (29%), or living in households earning less than $30,000 (27%). At the same time, the data show there are members of other demographic groups that have had no direct experience with libraries, including: 11% of those with college degrees and 12% of those in households earning $75,000 or more. Additionally, one-in-six parents of minor children (17%) say they have never been to a public library.  READ MORE @

3. A portrait of those who have never been to libraries

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Humboldt Co CA :: Oxford GA :: Porterville CA

Volunteer tutors help local learners gain reading, writing skills
Times Standard: 9.24.2016 by Heather Shelton

September is National Literacy Month, four weeks set aside to promote the importance of reading and writing skills throughout the country.

On the North Coast, staff and volunteers with the local Humboldt Literacy Project are working each and every day to teach adults in the county the literacy skills they need to succeed on the job, at home and in the community.

“We’re focused on one-on-one tutoring (of the) English language for adults,” Humboldt Literacy Project Executive Director Emma Breacain said.

The Humboldt Literacy Project — which opened in 1985 — has about 80 trained volunteer tutors and 80 adult “learners” that get together regularly to work on literacy skills. Currently, Breacain said, nearly 14,000 adults in Humboldt County are functionally illiterate — reading below a fifth-grade level.

Learners — like tutors — come to the Humboldt Literacy Project from different backgrounds and range in age from 18 to over 80. Some have learning disabilities; others fell through the cracks of the educational system. Some suffered economic hardships and worked instead of going to school; others suffered traumatic brain injuries that robbed them of their literacy skills.

“It’s really everything you could possibly think of,” Breacain said. “I have met people, both native English speakers and ESL (English as a Second Language) students, who aren’t totally competent on alphabet letter recognition and I have ESL students who are illiterate in their native language as well as English … You can be a doctor or a lawyer from another country and you come here and you don’t speak the language and you’re basically starting over until you get your English under your belt … I have people who are working at a high school or college level who need to improve their composition and their comprehension. I get everybody all over the map. If you want help with your reading and writing, then probably this program is for you.”

Learners also come to Humboldt Literacy Project for many reasons, she said. Some want to work toward a better job. Others want to be able to help their kids with schoolwork. Some want to improve their lives in general.  READ MORE @

Adult literacy volunteer tutors are honored at luncheon
“I tell the kids you can journey anywhere in the world you wanted to go. All you do is pick-up a book
Covington News: 9.26.2016 by Sandra Barnes

For Ann Stokes, learning to read has been exciting because she has been able to read the Bible daily.

“The most important thing I wanted to learn is reading the Bible,” the 65-year-old Covington resident said. “I understand it and read it all the time.”

Stokes began taking literacy classes and working with a one-on-one tutor a decade ago. “The Lord told me it was my time! It makes my day.”

The literacy class she takes that has enabled her to finally read the Bible is one of two offered through Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Oxford. Mary Jo Roberts, of Oxford, is one of the tutors working with adults learning to read. In fact, she is Stokes’ tutor.

“It’s really helped her confidence and self-esteem,” Roberts said. The former teacher, Roberts, said she began volunteering to contribute to her community and “to keep my brain active.”

The two women were part of the “Celebration of Literacy/Work Force Development” held Wednesday at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) to honor adult literacy volunteers.

Laura Bertram, Executive Director of the Newton County Community Partnership, announced that Newton Family Connection, GPTC’s adult education program, the Covington Housing Authority and Action Ministries are partnering to promote literacy in the county.  READ MORE @

Improved learning center good for the community
Recorder: 9.26.2016

On Friday, city leaders and civic leaders gathered to officially open the greatly enhanced Adult Learning Center.

The City Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program has been given a new home, more space and now offers even more opportunities for adults who cannot read or write to learn these needed skills.

The city has moved the learning center to the building across the street from City Hall at 15 E. Thurman Ave., above Hoagie’s restaurant. The city purchased that building a while back and decided it would be a great location to expand the adult literacy program.

The center has operated out of the city’s library for years, but never really had a place of its own. Adults wishing to learn to read, had to sit in a corner of the library with their tutor. It was not always the most conducive place.  READ MORE @

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Levels of Health Literacy :: Health Literacy Month

The Levels of Health Literacy [Infographic]

October is a month with many awareness campaigns attached to it. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month, Down Syndrome Awareness month, Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness month, Eye Injury Prevention and Awareness month, and Health Literacy Awareness month.

Wait…what was that last one? Health literacy?

Health literacy, according to the definition coined by the Institute of Medicine, is “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” The NNLM expands upon this definition:

“Health literacy is not simply the ability to read. It requires a complex group of reading, listening, analytical, and decision-making skills, and the ability to apply these skills to health situations. For example, it includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctor’s directions and consent forms, and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems.”

You may be thinking that health literacy isn’t much of a problem; everyone can follow a doctor’s instructions, right? You’re wrong. Research shows that an estimated 36% of American adults would have trouble with, or be unable to, understand the instructions printed on a prescription medication bottle. Around 89% would have trouble understanding healthcare insurance forms. Limited health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes and higher health care costs. We’ve created the following infographic to help illustrate the problem.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Petaluma CA :: Little Rock AR :: Humboldt Co CA

Petaluma program promotes a path to scholastic success
Petaluma 360: 9.25.2016 by Hannah Beausang

Petaluman Rebeca Gutierrez has long dreamed of obtaining a degree in child development, but her path to success has been riddled with struggles.

Gutierrez grew up on a ranch near Valley Ford before getting married at 17, just after she graduated from Petaluma High School. She enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College in 2009 before getting pregnant with her first son, taking a year off from school and then dropping out for another semester after the birth of her second son. She returned to the community college, but was again knocked off course when she had to travel to Mexico with her family after an accident that ultimately claimed mother’s life last year.

Gutierrez said juggling her aspirations of getting an education and launching a career working with children while taking care of her two sons on a limited income proved to be a struggle, and she found herself immersed in grief from her mother’s death.

She said it wasn’t until staff from the North Bay Children’s Center connected her with Literacyworks Center at the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma campus that she was able to dedicate herself more fully to pursing her goals. The center, which operates under the umbrella of Literacyworks, a longstanding Petaluma nonprofit, supports underserved adults with financial awards, mentorship and coaching to help select students overcome barriers that may stand in the way of getting an education.

Gutierrez is one of the 86 “low-income, low-literacy and highly-motived” adults currently enrolled in the program, and the students, who range in age from 22 to 60, each receive between $750 and $1,000 a semester to help bridge the gap in paying for books, transportation, childcare or technology for education, according to Chris Schultz, the center’s director.  READ MORE @

Literacy Action raises money for program, recognizes tutor
NWA Online: 9.25.2016 by Kimberly Dishongh

Shine a Light on Literacy, a birthday celebration for Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, was held Sept. 16 at Next Level Events.

Kathy Rateliff was given the Bridget Fennel Farris Outstanding Tutor Award for the work she and a group of women from Westover Hills Presbyterian Church did teaching reading and creative writing to female inmates of the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility.

"The jail has been an eye-opener for all the little old ladies who go there," said Rateliff, who in her acceptance speech shared stories about female inmates who are reading two classic novels per week, thanks to volunteers' help and encouragement.

Other nominees for the award were Dr. William Cochran, Horace Smith, Karyn Hunter, Jean Moffett and Scott Savoy.

Farris was a longtime tutor and Literacy Action board member who died in June.
Farris' sons, Matt and Greyson, presented the award, along with their uncle, Tom Fennel, Bridget Fennel Farris' brother. Fennel and his band, the Jellies, played during the event.

Tutor Horace Smith told the group that volunteering with Literacy Action is "an opportunity not just for the students to learn from the tutors but for the tutors to learn from the students." Many of the adults who seek help from the tutors speak little or no English but have cultural knowledge to share with those willing to learn, said Smith, encouraging everyone in the room to consider helping. "You feel good -- not about yourself, but about life. It's one of the more difficult things you will do, but it is also one of the more satisfying."  READ MORE @

Local woman learns literacy skills
Times Standard: 9.24.2016 by Heather Shelton

Like many learners who come to the Humboldt Literacy Project, Elida Rojas wanted to improve her reading and writing skills so she could help her young child when he started school.

“I need to know how to do the homework from school with my son — and later when somebody else comes new to the United States … I want to be able to help them,” Rojas said.

The 30-year-old Eureka resident moved from Oaxaca, Mexico, to Humboldt County 13 years ago to live near her older siblings. She was 16 years old at the time and spoke very little English.

“My father told me when I come in young to this country, it’s easier to learn the language, but you know when I came here … I (didn’t) go to school. I started to work … I needed to pay rent,” she said.

Though Rojas did enroll in an adult education program, it wasn’t until she contacted the Humboldt Literacy Project four-and-a-half years ago that she was able to focus fully on learning English.

Rojas first heard about the nonprofit organization — which has been matching adult learners with trained tutors since 1985 — from a visiting nurse when she and her husband were expecting their first child, Edwin.  READ MORE @