Sunday, December 31, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Craven Co NC :: Solano Co CA :: Falls Church VA :: Ashland Co OH

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.     

52 Faces of Community: Keith Merritt
Army veteran volunteers with the Craven Literacy Council
New Bern Sun Journal: 11.06.2017 by Todd Wetherington

Keith Merritt has a long history of volunteer work in southeastern North Carolina, one that stretches back to a meeting with his future wife in 1999.

“We were working in Kinston doing flood relief work after hurricanes had come through,” he said. “I was living in Fayetteville and she was living on the Outer Banks. We both had a strong calling; to me it was God saying ‘Come here.’”

Merritt said he gained an appreciation for the importance of volunteer work at a young age.

“Early on I saw my parents and grandparents helping others,” he remembered. “I never really had a desire to make a lot of money but volunteering is something that fulfills me. It really makes me feel good — not the volunteering but directly helping others.”

After serving 28 years in the Army, Merritt said he wasn’t sure what to do after returning to civilian life. When he moved to New Bern in 2001, he found what would turn out to be a second career in volunteer work.

“After a career in the Army where I gave to serve the country, here I want to help everyone become a more productive citizen,” he said. “As soon as we moved to New Bern, we were invited into prison ministry, so we’ve done that for 16 years at two different prisons every week, Greene Correctional in Maury and Pamlico Correctional in Bayboro.”

Merritt also became involved in the Craven Literacy Council, where he has served as executive director and, most recently, board chairman.

“There’s a very significant hidden literacy problem,” he said. “Probably 40 percent of the population of Craven County has literacy deficiencies. Illiteracy, both with reading, with mathematics, with computers, to simple things such as reading prescriptions. There’s a significant literacy problem in the county and surrounding counties.”  READ MORE >>

Fundraiser for literacy program proves a big success
Daily Republic: 11.06.2017 by Susan Hiland

The Solano County Library Foundation’s Authors Luncheon is one of those events that packs a punch as a fundraiser to help with programs in Solano County that keep people reading.

Frances McCullogh, a retired educator, loves to read and she wants to share that love with future generations. She agreed to head the committee this year to make the event happen Sunday at The Clubhouse at Rancho Solano.

“Reading makes such a difference in people lives,” McCullogh said.

The organization for the past 17 years has pulled together some of the best writers in the Bay Area for a fundraising luncheon to celebrate their work and help bring much-needed funds to literacy programs not supported by tax dollars.

The funds raised go to Reach Out and Read, a pediatric literacy program that has handed out 219,000 books to children in Solano County;, an online homework program that helps adults and youngsters; the library’s Adult Literacy and English as a Second Language program, which provides tutoring for adults to learn to read and master the English language; and Solano Kids Read, which brings free books to classrooms.  READ MORE >>

Families Thrive with Literacy LCNV
Connection: 11.06.2017 by Roopal Mehta Saran, Executive Director LCNV

As learners in Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s (LCNV) City of Alexandria Destination Workforce class reflect on their first English literacy course experiences, one common theme is heard: literacy is a survival skill.

Each of the women in this class is a newly arrived refugee from Afghanistan, hoping to support their family and become ready to enter the workforce. Most of these students don’t write or read their native language, and none were literate in English.

After several weeks of intensive classes, these women have begun to navigate things that native English speakers take for granted: public transit routes, school forms for their children or instructions from a supervisor. While the benefit of these is immediately apparent, there are other benefits that are less obvious. Most of these students will return to a home with children, where they will reinforce their child’s education through their own newfound English. Their ability to understand English can help them get a job (or a better job), which can lift their family above the poverty line. They can begin to engage more with their English-speaking neighbors, strengthening the community. While an English class may only last for a few months, the benefits last a lifetime.

November marks Family Literacy Month, a celebration of the work of English literacy programs in strengthening learning and literacy between children and parents. Literacy is a vital part of a functioning society, and family literacy can support children and bolster their academic achievements. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves.”  READ MORE >>

Rogers gets Loudonville’s GED program running again
Times Gazette: 11.06.2017 by Jim Brewer

A little over two years ago, partly, he admitted, “to get me to do something to relieve the boredom of retirement,” Larry Rogers answered an ad for a GED instructor.

“I had extensive experience as an educator, teaching for 25 years either on a full- or part-time basis in the West Holmes School District, and the ad called for a certified teacher,” he said.

“So I answered the ad and, contingent on me recertifying myself as a teacher, was hired to teach GED (Graduate Equivalency Degree or General Education Development) classes through the Aspire, formerly known as ABLE (Adult Basic Literacy Education) program operated through the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center.”

“I have found that I really like the GED teaching,” said Rogers, a life-long Loudonville area resident.

“Basically, it involves people who want help taking on what has been a difficult challenge, completing or returning to school, and my role, as I see it, is to move them, not by pushing but rather by gently encouraging them toward that challenge in a positive direction.”  READ MORE >>

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Half of American Adults are Health-Care Illiterate

Half of American adults are health-care illiterate
Daily News: 11.20.2017 by Ariel Scotti

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that about half of the adults in the U.S. have inadequate skills when it comes to understanding their health care options and now, a new report details how greater knowledge can lead to healthier lives.

The relationship between health literacy and health outcomes is very important," lead author of the report, Stan Hudson, told the University of Missouri School of Medicine. "We found that low health literacy is a contributing factor for readmission for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”

The study, called "Improving Health and the Bottom Line: The Case for HealthLiteracy" showed how greater individual health literacy can achieve the "Quadruple Aim" or the four main goals of care — improving community health, reducing health costs, enhancing the quality of care and improving patient and provider experiences.

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates health expenditures will cost the $3.5 trillion in 2017," Hudson told the university. "We know from previous research that limited health literacy increases costs not only for the U.S. health system, but also for patients and providers. Based on cost analysis of that research, we estimate sufficient health literacy could save $105 to $175 billion each year."  READ MORE >>

Friday, December 29, 2017

5 Benefits of Volunteering via Infographic Journal

5 Benefits of Volunteering
Infographic Journal: 12.13.2017 by Irma Wallace

Did you know that volunteering is scientifically proven to make you happier? Whether you volunteer in your community, with animals or in nature, there are many benefits that come with the act of volunteerism. Check out Reward Volunteers infographic for a look into the top 5 benefits of volunteering.

It’s Good for the Community
It Makes You Happy
It Reduces Stress
It Keeps You Healthy
It Develops Professional Skills

Find Volunteer Tutor Opportunities Near You

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Delaware :: Delaware Co PA :: Coffee Co TN

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.     

In Delaware, 1 in 6 adults struggles to read
Delaware Online: 11.06.2017 by Jessica Bies

Exacerbating the fact that half of Delaware's third-graders struggle to read is another startling statistic: Nearly 1 in 6 adults are considered "functionally illiterate."

More than 36 million adults in the United States cannot read, write or do math at more than a third-grade level, according to the international nonprofit ProLiteracy.

About 11 percent of Delaware's adults lack basic literacy skills, according to a 2003 survey, the last to break the data down state-by-state. Though the data is outdated, Cindy Shermeyer, executive director of Literacy Delaware, said the First State likely mirrors the national rate, which is currently about 14 percent.

"This country has a hidden crisis of adults who can't read or do math," Shermeyer said, adding that adult literacy rates have a huge impact on third-grade reading proficiency.
"Research shows that a mother's literacy level is the best determinant of her child's literacy level and academic success," she said. "If we're really serious about improving our schools and the literacy of our children, then I think we need to seriously address what's happening with their parents and with low literacy in adults."  WATCH VIDEO

Delaware Co
Literacy Council
Honorees share the power of literacy at fifth annual DCLC gala
Delco Times: 11.04.2017

“I no longer sell the products killing our society … I am a working, productive citizen who wakes up every day to make my world a better place.”

Those were the words of Kevin Morgan as he accepted his Champion of Adult Literacy award from the Delaware County Literacy Council recently.

Morgan shared his dramatic story of transformation at the fifth annual Champions of Adult Literacy Fundraiser held by the Literacy Council Oct. 25 at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack.

Morgan described his “toxic lifestyle” of selling drugs, which led to a felony conviction and time in prison.

“Can you imagine how this story ends?” he asked those attending the event. But the story took a new direction as Morgan made the brave choice to turn his life around. “My role models shifted from street thugs to men who were leaders through positive actions,” he said.

Morgan studied for and earned his GED with the help of DCLC, which further changed his life: “Education helped me move and think differently about life decisions I once made.”  READ MORE >>

26 inmates receive HiSet diplomas
Tullahoma News: 11.05.2017 by Elena Cawley

Since the adult education program was launched at Coffee County Jail in September 2016, 26 inmates have earned diplomas through HiSET (High School Equivalency Test), according to Linda Maddox, lead instructor of the adult education program for Coffee and Bedford counties.

Maddox also serves as the women’s instructor for the jail program.

Currently, there are two classes for male inmates and two classes for female inmates, with each class consisting of 10 students.

“Because of security concerns, our limit for class is 10 students,” Maddox said.

The first class of women took their tests in January, with three women earning diplomas.

“Since then, we have had 26 graduates, both females and males,” Maddox said. “Now, we have about 40 inmates participating in the program.”

The program is offered through the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which covers expenses for instructors’ salaries.

The Coffee County Literacy Council also provides funds raised through sales at the Bookshelf in Northgate Mall.  READ MORE >>

Senators introduce bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 via District Dispatch

Senators introduce bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act of 2017
District Dispatch: 12.22.2017 by Kathi Kromer

Acknowledging the critical role of libraries as anchor institutions in communities across the nation, a group of senators under the leadership of @SenJackReed (D-RI), @senatorcollins (R-ME), @SenThadCochran (R-MS), @SenGillibrand (D-NY), and @lisamurkowski (R-AK) introduced the bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 (S. 2271).

The 2017 MLSA reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), showing congressional support for the federal agency. IMLS administers funding through the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA), the only federal program that exclusively covers services and funding for libraries. The LSTA provides more than $183 million for libraries through the Grants to States program, the National Leadership Grants for Libraries, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, and Native American Library Services.

To be clear, S. 2271 would not ensure full funding* for the programs libraries depend on. Reauthorization of the MLSA is not necessary for IMLS to receive funding: the last MLSA expired in 2016. Rather, S. 2271 would authorize IMLS to continue to exist and give direction about how the agency should operate. Passage of this reauthorization bill would signal that Congress values libraries and supports the mission of IMLS. As ALA President Jim Neal expressed it,

ALA’s Washington Office encourages you to use the action center to contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 2271. In your emails and calls to senators, tell them how LSTA funds enable your library to offer valuable services to your community. Invite them to visit your library to see for themselves the difference you are making in people’s lives. Ultimately, it is your story and your voice that will persuade your elected leaders to show their support for libraries and cosponsor the MLSA of 2017.  READ MORE >>

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What Makes Infographics So Effective in Healthcare Marketing? via Practice Builders

What Makes Infographics So Effective in Healthcare Marketing?
Practice Builders: 12.13.2017 by Alex Mangrolia

If you want to widen the reach of your brand message quickly and creatively, infographics are the answer. Infographics are all about stirring the creative storm in your coffee mug. This is because humans love visuals. Our brains like them, and they process them 60,000 times faster than plain text. However, there is more:

Not only do our brains process graphics faster than text, but we also respond to them in ways that make infographics an amazingly effective marketing tool.

Here are a few juicy stats to get you started:

> The human brain remembers 80 percent of what it sees, versus 20 percent of what it reads. So, whatever brand message your infographic is designed to deliver, your target audience will remember a lot more of it than if you simply write it down.
> Nearly 40 percent of people will respond positively to visual information rather than plain text.
> Almost 85 percent of people say color, not words, is the biggest reason they buy a product.
> Digital content marketing approaches, such as infographics, can cost 62 percent less than traditional marketing and can generate three times as many leads.

Impressive and powerful, no?

So, rich infographics produce far more positive reactions than text, which provides a strong argument for using them in branding and marketing activities.  READ MORE >>

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Mesa Co CO :: Bangor ME :: Sugar Land TX :: Somerset Co NY

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.

Library tutors introduce people to English
Grand Junction Sentinel: 10.28.2017 by Katie Langford

Grand Junction resident Valerie Domet wants to volunteer as a literacy tutor at Mesa County Libraries because she knows what it's like to feel isolated.

"When I was younger I stuttered really bad and had a hard time communicating," she said. "I found it kind of isolates you, and it's the same thing with not knowing the language."

Domet was one of eight people who attended a training on Saturday to become a literacy tutor and help non-English speakers learn the language.

James Price, head of literacy services at the library, said while the literacy program has existed for more than 30 years it has grown exponentially in the past 18 months. Student enrollment and volunteer participation have both nearly doubled, from 50 to 100 tutors and from 100 to 200 students. Price said the growth is due to increased awareness and actively working to tell people about the program.

"Our tutors are our greatest ambassadors, because they come and make a connection with a student from a culture that they have no experience with outside of these walls. Tutors go tell their friends about spending Thursdays with their Cambodian friends and teaching them English," Price said.  READ MORE >>

Statewide Conference Sponsored By Literacy Volunteers Of Bangor
WABI: 10.28.2017

Addressing educational strategies for those working with adults, was the goal of the 6th annual statewide conference sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of Bangor.

Tutors and educators from all over the state attend seminars that address the best practices, as well as strategies for adults struggling with literacy.

Organizers say the event helps prepare educators.

"36 million adults in the U.S. don't read, write, or do basic math above a third grade level . . .  WATCH VIDEO

Creating a better life through education
Fort Bend Herald: 11.01.2017 by Diana Nguyen

Meena Desai remembers when she moved from India to the United States and the only English words she knew were “yes, “OK,” “no” and “thank you.”

Paying for gas, shopping for groceries, meeting neighbors on the sidewalk was nerve wracking, the 55-year-old mother of three recalled.

Help came by way of the Literacy Council of Fort Bend, where she joined dozens of other non-English speakers improve their lives one word at a time.

In the 30 years it has been in existence, the Literacy Council of Fort Bend has improved the literacy of thousands of people — foreign-born citizens new to the country and native-born Americans who need to brush up on their English or earn their GED to get ahead in life.

Located at 12530 Emily Ct. in Sugar Land, the Literacy Council has various classrooms ranging in size, where adult students can learn basic literacy, ESL and computer skills, or prepare for their citizenship exam or obtain their GED.

In a few of the rooms, a student will learn one-on-one with a tutor. In others, an instructor will be teaching in the front of the class of a mixture of students from different corners of the world.  READ MORE >>

Author John Gill Helps Celebrate Literacy Volunteers Fall Soiree
Tap Into: 11.01.2017 by Audrey Blumberg

Language is so important to him, and he believes it is a way of forging a connection between different cultures, while creating opportunities – which is why author John Freeman Gill said he felt proud to be invited to speak at the recent Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County Fall Soiree.

The soiree, held Oct. 6, is an annual event to raise money for the non-profit organization, which pairs tutors with non-native English speakers to help them learn the language.

Gill, a former “New York Times” reporter who recently released his first book “The Gargoyle Hunters,” said it was wonderful for him to support a program that teaches new readers of English.

“I spent five years on the book, and I believe strongly in it and trying to get it into the hands of those I feel will be moved by it,” he said. “There was an added attraction here of having written a novel and caring so much about literature. Books meant so much to me growing up, language is so important to me.”

“This is a program that serves as a gateway to bring new speakers and readers of English into our language,” he added.

The soiree was held at the Bridgewater Township Library, which was turned into New York City for the evening, and included food, drinks and prizes, all to support the worthy cause.

“Every year, we work closely with our partners at the Somerset County Library System to co-host the fall soiree, which directly benefits LVSC’s free literacy programs for adults,” said Aimee Lam, executive director of Literacy Volunteers.   READ MORE >>