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 @

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