Sunday, October 9, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Garland Co AR :: Sonoma Co CA :: Brunswick Co NC

Literacy council to host folk-concert fundraiser
Arkansas Online: 9.18.2016 by Jillian McGehee

More than 10,000 people in Garland County are functionally illiterate, meaning they can not read at a fifth-grade level, said Laura Lee Williard, executive director of the Literacy Council of Garland County.

The council working to improve literacy statistics in the county. The first step, Williard said, is awareness.

After a period of inactivity, the council has new leaders including Williard, who joined the board last year in June. Now that things are running more smoothly, we are asking the community to get involved, she said.

The first fundraiser the council has sponsored in a long time is titled Literacy, Libations & Lyrics and will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at Whittington Place, 301 Whittington Ave. in Hot Springs.

“It’s more like a ‘friendraiser’ as we want to spread more awareness about what we do and our important role in Garland County,” Williard said.

The Literacy Council of Garland County tutoring services are confidential and free and include one-on-one tutoring as well as online resources and distance-learning programs, Williard said.

The organization also serves those who are learning English as a second language. Other initiatives include the PALS Program (Parents Affect Literacy Skills), a two-hour workshop designed to educate parents on how literacy skills are developed and what they can do outside the school day to help their children build literacy skills.

Michael Garstecki, president of the Literacy Council of Garland County’s Board of Directors, said the biggest hurdle the organization faces is that many people don’t know they exist.  READ MORE @

After 30 years, Sonoma County Library’s adult literacy program marks milestone
Press Democrat: 9.18.2016 by Christi Warren

Jeffrey George was 7 and a middle child among 11 siblings when his mother abandoned their family in their home city Port of Spain, capital of the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

His father was imprisoned two years later. When he was 12, with only his grandmother and older siblings left for support, he dropped out of school and “hustled,” catching fish, running a fruit stand and dancing on the streets for change.

He left his English- and creole-speaking country at 18 and worked as a musician, traveling around the world. But he couldn’t read or write.

In restaurants, he’d wait for friends to order and follow their lead, unable to make sense of the words on a menu. When asking for directions, he would use landmarks and businesses to navigate instead of street signs.

“I was ashamed,” he said.

For 30 years, a popular program run through the Sonoma County Library has been working to bridge the literacy gap for adults who have struggled to get by without a basic knowledge of how to write and read English. George entered the program two years ago.

In a world evermore reliant on instant communication over a wide array of digital platforms, literacy remains one of the key determining factors of economic wellbeing, both on a individual and national scale, studies show.

The nearly 20 percent of Americans who fall below basic levels of reading comprehension are more at risk of “academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime,” according to the Department of Justice.  READ MORE @

Brunswick County inmates get literacy tutors

The Brunswick County Literacy Council, a nonprofit that works to improve lives by providing literacy skills for adults, is partnering with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office to help inmates prepare for their GED tests.

Literacy statistics indicate that one in 4.5 adults in North Carolina lacks the literacy to write a job application or read a book to a child. Illiteracy can lead insecurity and a lack of success in all arenas of adulthood, including parenting, education and employment.

Four years ago, the BCLC approached the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office about a proposal to extend its services, specifically GED (General Education Development) tutoring, to county inmates, since a GED testing program can often serve as a positive step for inmates.

Among state prison inmates, data suggests that two-thirds have not complete high school. With a prison record and no diploma, few potential jobs are available for them upon release. After careful consideration, Sheriff John Ingram and his team agreed that the in-jail GED preparatory program could serve as a valuable way to restore inmates to be productive citizens.

Brunswick Literacy launched its inmate GED tutoring in June 2012 to help prepare men and women to successfully pass the GED exam.  READ MORE @

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