Monday, October 23, 2017

Literacy Rates Continue to Rise from One Generation to the Next :: UNESCO

Literacy Rates Continue to Rise from One Generation to the Next
UNESCO Fact Sheet No. 45:  September 2017 FS/2017/LIT/45

To celebrate International Literacy Day on 8 September, this fact sheet presents the latest available literacy data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and an overview of national, regional and global trends over the past five decades. 

The data show remarkable improvement among youth in terms of reading and writing skills and a steady reduction in gender gaps. 50 years ago, almost one quarter of youth lacked basic literacy skills compared to less than 10% in 2016. However, 750 million adults – two-thirds of whom are women – remain illiterate (see Box 1 on methodological changes). 

Renewed efforts are therefore needed to reach the new literacy target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “by 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy”. The data are available via the UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy, which features interactive maps and charts that can be shared and downloaded.

According to UIS data, the majority of countries missed the Education for All (EFA) goal of reducing adult illiteracy rates by 50% between 2000 and 2015. At the global level, the adult and youth literacy rates are estimated to have grown by only 4% each over this period.  READ MORE @

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Solano Co CA :: Athens/Clarke Co GA :: Wilmington NC :: Duncan OK

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Real stories tell real, varied successes of Solano County literacy program
Daily Republic: 9.15.2017 by Todd R. Hansen

Richard Diaz, Khatera Omari and Olivia Chavira Mercado were introduced to the Board of Supervisors this week under the singular umbrella of Solano County Library Literacy Services.

But their stories are their own, with individual goals that illustrate the varied benefits adult literacy can have on the lives of those enrolled in the program.

Omari used the program to become a U.S. citizen, while Mercado has earned a general education degree.

Diaz, who did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, used the program to overcome a lifetime of dyslexia. Now, the board was told, he “confidently reads and shares stories with his daughter, and started his own business.”

The board adopted a resolution recognizing September as Adult Literacy Awareness Month.

“Approximately 60,000 adults in Solano County are considered functionally illiterate, hindering their ability to read to a child, follow simple directions, complete a job application, or order a meal off of a menu,” the resolution states, in part.  READ MORE @

Athens-Clarke Literacy Council helps local adults earn GEDs
Red & Black: 9.15.2017 by Megan Wahn

According to Carol Rayburn Cofer, current president of the Athens-Clarke Literacy Council, about 9,000 people within the Athens-Clarke County area don’t have their GED.

“Those are people that are not able to be as actively engaged in our community,” Cofer said.

However, that bleak statistic is also the very thing that motivates Cofer and the Literacy Council she helps run.

The Athens-Clarke Literacy Council is an umbrella organization founded in 1993 with the goal to provide, promote and support learning opportunities for adults in Athens-Clarke County.

“There were different organizations that were primarily working through volunteers and trying to address literacy issues in Athens-Clarke County,” Cofer said. “We don’t deliver the literacy training ourselves; we kind of are connectors for other entities that are primarily working with volunteers to be their tutors.”

The Literacy Council primarily serves as a liaison between those providing the adult education and those seeking it, the end goal being for students to obtain their GED.  READ MORE @

Help keep Wilmington reading
Star News Online: 9.15.2017 by Editorial Board

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, and definitely not “fake news,” that people who can’t read don’t buy many newspapers.

Thus, it is altogether fitting and proper that the StarNews, which marks its 150th birthday on Sept. 23, will celebrate it by throwing a gala with the Cape Fear Literacy Council. Let’s face it -- readers are our lifeblood. They’ve made those 150 years possible. No offense, of course, to those who buy the StarNews just for the photos.

For the past 33 years, the volunteer-run non-profit has been providing free, one-on-one tutoring in basic adult literacy. Over the years, it’s added other subjects: basic math, GED exam prep, and, yes, computer literacy. Reading, however, remains the core mission.

The sad fact is, 14 percent of North Carolinians lack basic literacy skills. There are many reasons, but one clear result: People who can’t read are especially handicapped in the digital economy. They are likely to be relegated to the lowest paying jobs, and wind up as clients of public services.  READ MORE @

DALC receives grant to help operation
Duncan Banner: 9.15.2017 by Linda Provost

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries awarded a $7,888 grant to the Duncan Area Literacy Council (DALC) to support local adult literacy efforts. A $2160 grant for technology improvements has also been awarded to the local organization.

Mary Brancich, director of DALC, said the United Way agency applies for the grant every year and was pleasantly surprised by the amount. 

“Not surprised so much at the grant itself — but more so by the amount of the grant, that's almost $2,000 more than we usually receive,” she said. “I am most pleased that it was funded at all ... I was concerned about the state's budget shortfall and happy that the legislators we have, support our mission. The technology grant was the surprise! That grant was unexpected and I really didn't think we'd get it.”  

Brancich said the tech grant let them buy four laptops and a laser printer/copier.

According to the Oklahoma State Assessment of Adult Literacy, 12 percent of Oklahomans over the age of 16 read at “Below Basic Level,” with another 31 percent of adults having only the most basic reading skills. Individuals at these levels often face significant obstacles when trying to succeed in the workplace, community, and everyday life.  READ MORE @

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Health Literacy Month :: We Are The 90%

We are the 90%
Communicate Health: 5.16.2012 by Stacy Robison, MPH, MCHES

According to the most recent data on literacy in the United States, only 10 percent of adults have the knowledge and skills needed to understand important information about their health. Our access to health services and informed health decision-making are dependent on this information. So what about the other 90 percent?

We all want – and deserve – plain language information about our health! More than 3 out of 4 adults have looked for health or medical information. And 8 in 10 Internet users have searched for health information online. Imagine if all of these searches resulted in clear, actionable information – information that could be used in everyday life.  READ MORE @

Friday, October 20, 2017

Libraries Make Health Literacy Accessible For All

Libraries Make Health Literacy Accessible For All
I Love Libraries: 9.15.2017 by jfalcon

More than 90 million U.S. adults have low health literacy. Health literacy, which measures someone’s ability to access necessary health services and understand health information, is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life.

Public, school, academic and special libraries can play a key role in making health literacy attainable for all—which is why the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) are collaborating to raise awareness for Health Literacy Month this October.

Library advocates can join the ALA and NNLM in highlighting how libraries promote health literacy by signing up for their free health literacy toolkit, which provides graphics, messaging ideas and striking data about health literacy and libraries. The toolkit is part of ALA’s Libraries Transform public awareness campaign, a nationwide movement spreading the word about how libraries and library professionals transform lives.

Individuals with low health literacy skills often have higher health care costs and an increased risk of developing preventable disease. For those struggling to make sense of health information, the library is a key resource, providing free access to quality health information and databases that can improve one's quality of life.

“NNLM recognizes that people trust their libraries and want to equip library staff with the knowledge to help their users navigate locating reliable health information,” said Lydia Collins, Consumer Health Coordinator at NNLM. “This is critical so that health consumers can make educated decisions, in collaboration with their health care providers, for themselves and their loved ones.”   READ MORE @

Thursday, October 19, 2017

5 Ways to Improve Adult Literacy via Thought Co

5 Ways to Improve Adult Literacy
5 Ways You Can Help an Adult Learn to Read
Thought Co: 2.04.2017 by Deb Peterson

Adult literacy is a global problem. In September of 2015, the USESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) reported that 85% of the world's adults age 15 and older lack basic reading and writing skills. That's 757 million adults, and two-thirds of them are women.

For passionate readers, this is unimaginable. UNESCO had a goal to reduce illiteracy rates by 50% in 15 years compared to 2000 levels. The organization reports that only 39% of countries will reach that goal. In some countries, illiteracy has actually increased. The new literacy target? "By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy." You can find statistics on the organization's website:

What can you do to help? Here are five ways you can help improve adult literacy in your own community:

1 Educate Yourself by Researching Literacy Websites
2 Volunteer at Your Local Literacy Council
3 Find Your Local Adult Education Classes for Someone Who Needs Them
4 Ask for Reading Primers at Your Local Library
5 Hire a Private Tutor

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Albuquerque NM :: Plankinton WI :: PEI CAN

Literacy: Spanning North America

Local group aims to improve quality of life through Adult Literacy program
KRQE: 9.14.2017 by Katy Diffendorfer

Adult Literacy gives individuals the power to lift themselves out of poverty and provide a better life for their families. The nationally-recognized group, ‘Reading Works’ is championing the movement locally.

Reading Works is a nonprofit that provides free tutoring in reading, writing, math, digital literacy and English as a Second LanguageWATCH VIDEO

Milwaukee's effort to combat adult illiteracy
Thousands still struggle to read and write
TMJ4: 9.14.2017 by Elise Preston

As kids head back to school teachers and families are focused on making sure students grasp their work; setting them up for a successful school year and life. But, there is also a push to make sure their parents, grandparents and other adults are being educated as well.

TODAY'S TMJ4 caught up with Sonny Daniels as he worked with his tutor Kate at Literacy Services of Wisconsin.  The two have been working on spelling, reading and sounding out words for the last couple years.

“If you don't how to read or count in this world,  they gonna’ take advantage of you,” said Daniels.

As a kid, Sonny didn't grasp reading in school and dropped out. In his 30's, he’s struggled to read things like menus, signs on buildings and job applications. He would often ask for help.

“Then I would feel ashamed afterward,” said Daniels.

Sonny is far from alone. Ginger Duiven, with Literacy Services of Wisconsin, says about 500 adults a year are tutored just at one location on Plankinton.

“Students walk in the first time; their eyes are down on the floor, shoulders are slumped, and in months they are smiling. holding their head high,” said Duiven.

An estimated 60,000 Milwaukee adults can't read at a third-grade level. Much more aren't reading past fifth, seventh, and ninth grades. In the state of Wisconsin, the number jumps to one million and a half adults.  WATCH VIDEO

'I feel really proud': Former dropout wins Literacy Award, credits kids for inspiring him
Shawn Stewart dropped out of school in Grade 10
CBC News: 9.13.2017

P.E.I.'s 2017 Council of the Federation Literacy Award recipient has a message for students that may be struggling in school and are considering dropping out: never give up.

Shawn Stewart dropped out in Grade 10, but said he regretted the decision as he got older.

The father of two said he was inspired by his children to go back to school and to stick with it this time around.

"I couldn't really quit this time because there's so much on the line," he said.

"Trying to set a good example for my children."

'I feel really proud'

Stewart took about three years to graduate, starting at Holland College and then moving to Workplace Learning PEI.

"It was hard at first," he said.  READ MORE @

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Library of Congress Literacy Awards :: 2017

Library Announces Winners of 2017 Literacy Awards

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the winners of the 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards tonight at the Library of Congress National Book Festival gala.

Three organizations received awards from Hayden and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein: the Children’s Literacy Initiative; the National Center for Families and Learning; and Pratham Books.

Originated by Rubenstein in 2013, the Literacy Awards honor organizations working to promote literacy and reading in the United States and worldwide. The awards recognize groups doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, and they spotlight the need for the global community to unite in striving for universal literacy.

“Literacy is the first line of defense against so many problems—unemployment, hunger, poor health—and gives people a foundation for a brighter future,” Hayden said. “Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress is proud to honor these exemplary organizations for their continued efforts to raise reading levels. Their work is moving and truly life-changing, and it is our privilege to recognize them here tonight.”

Prizes and Recipients
David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000):
works with pre-K through third-grade teachers to improve early literacy instruction so children become powerful readers, writers and thinkers

American Prize ($50,000):
Established in 1989 by its current president, Sharon Darling, the NCFL works to eliminate poverty through educational solutions for families.

International Prize ($50,000):
Pratham Books, Bangalore, India
has helped millions of children have access to engaging, affordable, multilingual books. In order to scale the creation and distribution of multilingual content, Pratham Books launched StoryWeaver, India’s first open-source, digital repository of multilingual stories.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards program is also honoring 15 organizations for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. These organizations are:

The Asia Foundation, San Francisco
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
CODE, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
CommonLit Inc., Washington, D.C.
Reading Partners, Oakland, California
Reading Works Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico
Serve Minnesota, Minneapolis
State Library of Western Australia - Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program, Perth, Australia
Story Share Inc., Boston
Tales and Travel Memories, Elgin, Illinois
Yayasan Sulinama, Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia

Monday, October 16, 2017

2017 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovators :: Adult Learning

2017 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovators

Congratulations to ULC's 2017 Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions! We are thrilled to celebrate your work on our website, in our annual Top Innovators publication and with the press.

The 2017 Urban Libraries Council Innovations Initiative showcases programs that provide lifelong learning opportunities, meet the unique needs of diverse audiences, leverage technology to connect people with each other and vital resources and address community issues. Today, the ULC website houses more than 1,400 leading practices that reflect library missions, strategies, achievements and community contributions. We thank you for contributing to this valuable resource.

Innovations in reading and all literacies; GED/high school diploma; ESL, cultural enrichment; partnerships for adult education.

2017 Top Innovator
After Hours Computing >
St. Louis County Library, Missouri

2017 Honorable Mention 
San Francisco's First Digital Inclusion Week >
San Francisco Public Library, California

#ICTBC - Live Facebook Book Club ›
Wichita Public Library, Kansas
Food for Thought: A Cookbook Discussion Group ›
Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, Washington
Outreach to the Incarcerated  ›
Toronto Public Library, Ontario
LEARN at SAPL ESL Field Trip ›
San Antonio Public Library, Texas
Compose Yourself ›
Memphis Public Library and Information Center, Tennessee
Adult Literacy and Education Center ›
El Paso Public Library, Texas
Fun Conversation Circles for Language Learners ›
Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, Washington
Your Life's Work, Reimagined ›
Dayton Metro Library, Ohio
Community Camera Club ›
Hennepin County Library, Minnesota
Versatile Program for Digital Skills Development ›
Kansas City Public Library, Missouri
San Francisco’s First Digital Inclusion Week ›
San Francisco Public Library, California
Tech Training Certificate of Completion Program  ›
Jacksonville Public Library, Florida
Center for Adult Learning - Reinvented  ›
Jacksonville Public Library, Florida
Empowering Latinos/Reaching New Heights ›
Baltimore County Public Library, Maryland
Innovations and History of Brewing in Maryland ›
Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Maryland
Promoting Inclusion by Removing Barriers ›
El Paso Public Library, Texas

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Winnipeg MB ::Eastern Oklahoma Co OK :: Philadelphia PA :: Orleans Co LA

Literacy: Spanning North America

Adult Literacy Course Boosts Self-Esteem and Social Equality

Imagine, at age 59, being unable to spell boat, step or help. “It feels disgusting when you can’t read or write,” says Bob. “But now I’m doing something about it.”

Bob is a participant in The Salvation Army’s STages Education Program (STEP) in Winnipeg. The community-based adult literacy program is open to anyone with a low literacy level, usually below Grade 6.

“Literacy gives people a foundation where they have skills, self-worth and realize their goals,” says Carley, LEEP teacher. “Things they thought impossible become possibilities.”

The consequences of dropping out

As a teen, Bob struggled to complete Grade 7. “I was pushed to advance to the next level but felt I still needed a lot to learn,” says Bob. “I was frustrated, so I left.”

Over the years low literacy levels affected many areas of Bob’s life such as his ability to read his mail, help his children with school work or read instructions on a medicine bottle.

“I was at my last job for 15 years,” says Bob. “When they found out I couldn’t read or write, they said,  ‘Get out the door.’”  READ MORE @

Needs and Deeds: Literacy Link
News OK: 9.11.2017 by Alex Strohm

Words on a page or screen can be just that — words. It's the ability to comprehend that gives meaning.

Literacy Link is a literacy group in Eastern Oklahoma County that teaches reading and writing to adults 18 years and older with functional illiteracy.

Board member Lynn Hicks said she loved to read as a child and started as a Literacy =Link volunteer before eventually joining the board. She said teaching her students was a bright spot in her day.

“Anytime you can enhance an individual's self worth or their abilities to help themselves and their community, you're helping the whole world,” Hicks said. “It might start in tiny corners, but where else do you start?”

In a recent interview, Hicks spoke about how Literacy Link fills the gaps and encourages adults who struggle to read.

Q: What is the history of Literacy Link?
A: Literacy Link was established in June 1986 by a group of individuals who were dedicated to improving literacy in Eastern Oklahoma County. It started out with Frances Wester, a sociologist for the Department of Human Services, and Aaron Corwin, an active member in the Oklahoma State Library system. They held a meeting, and some people were interested. Literacy Link was incorporated that same year with a board, and they found a permanent location at the Midwest City Library.  READ MORE @

At 46, this Philly woman learned to read - and then published a book 9.14.2017 by Kristen A. Graham

At age 46, Wanda Steward was illiterate, and much of the world was a mystery to her.

At age 47, Steward is an author whose charming children’s story was read by actor Idris Elba as part of a global literacy campaign.

“It’s a miracle,” said Steward, of Southwest Philadelphia.

Steward always struggled in school. She tried hard, but reading did not come naturally to her. She tried to escape attention, never volunteering in class, but teachers would call on her eventually, and classmates were cruel.

“That took a toll on me — I didn’t forget it,” said Steward.

She showed up and did her work, typically scraping by with Ds every year — at Ferguson, McKinley, and Penn Treaty schools, and then at Kensington High. But by the time she had her first child at 18 and dropped out because she had no one to watch her baby, Steward still could not read.

Illiteracy complicated everything: How much water do you add to the mix when one of your children wants a birthday cake? What does that bill say? How much medicine do you give the child who has a fever?

“I would just put medicine in the cup, and give it to the baby and just pray that I did it right,” said Steward, who has five children.

So she asked someone: Were there programs to help someone like her? Through the city’s Office of Adult Education, she was directed to the Center for Literacy, a city nonprofit that helps residents bolster their reading skills — a whopping 40 percent of adult Philadelphians struggle with literacy. By this spring, Steward was enrolled in classes at a center close to her home, an eager pupil who never missed class.  READ MORE @

OCALS recognizes devoted volunteers
Daily News: 9.13.2017 by Virginia Kropf

An organization which started on a shoestring celebrated 11 years of success at its annual meeting Tuesday night at Millville United Methodist Church.

OCALS was founded by Don and Rose Ruck after they learned Literacy Orleans had closed its Albion office and it was brought to their attention that literacy needs in the county were not being met.

With only their own money and a few friends, the Rucks started seeking volunteers to build a new literacy organization in Orleans County.

They operated without a permanent home or a regular source of funding for several of those first years, relying on volunteers, money from family and friends and the generosity of local organizations which loaned them places to meet and tutor. READ MORE @