Monday, January 30, 2017

National Literacy & Library Events :: February 2017

National Literacy & Library Events :: February 2017

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

Feb. 01     Global School Play Day  #GSPD2017
Feb. 01+  Mentoring Summit Washington DC
Feb. 01+  Literacy Action Week  ReadWriteAct  #NLAW
Feb. 03+  Literacy for/and Social Justice Athens GA  @Jolle_uga
Feb. 14    Book Giving Day  #bookgivingday
Feb. 16+ Learning Disabilities Assoc of America Baltimore MD  #LDAConf
Feb. 16    World Read Aloud Day  #WRAD17
Feb. 23    Digital Learning Day  #DLDay
Feb. 23+ NABE Conference Dallas TX  #NABE2017
Feb. 26+ Freedom to Read Week Canada  #FTRWeek
Feb. 27+ Intl Tech & Persons w/ Disabilities Conf. San Diego  #CSUNATC17

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Memphis TN :: New Haven CT :: Midland TX

Literacy Mid-South Building Network to Raise Reading Levels
Memphis Daily News: 1.12.2017 by  Don Wade

As a child, Knox Shelton witnessed first-hand the struggle to break a generational cycle of marginal literacy. He grew up in Jonesville, Virginia, a small Appalachian coal mining town.

“I mostly remembered the good times of being a kid,” said Shelton, who recently was promoted to the role of executive director at Literacy Mid-South

“But little memories come back that are very dark and scary, just to think of situations kids were in. I’m gonna make it sound like an awful town, but there were kids pulled out of school in first grade to work with their families.

“I knew a boy that was a good friend in kindergarten, left after first grade, and running into him in third grade, I could see what being out of school did to him. The parents maybe don’t understand the importance of school because they never finished school.”

Hear that story, and it almost sounds like Shelton knew he was destined to be in the fight for literacy as an adult. Shelton, 27, actually visited Memphis often as a child because his mother had a good friend living here. But he didn’t tell her that one day he would be leading the local nonprofit charged with improving reading levels for adults and children.  READ MORE @

New Haven adult education opportunities expand to three satellite locations for better access
New Haven Register: 1.13.2017 by Brian Zahn

Community groups that focus on adult education and fighting poverty announced Friday three new Adult and Continuing Education Center satellite campuses that are part of a series of partnerships to heed Mayor Toni Harp’s call to make New Haven a “city that reads.”ADVERTISING

Adult and Continuing Education Center Principal Fallon Daniels said the center would assign several of its educators with a “light course load” to work on location at Project MORE, Elm City Communities (Housing Authority of New Haven) and JUNTA for Progressive Action.

In February, there also will be a Newhallville satellite campus opening at the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology, according to Veronica Douglas-Givan, family and community resource coordinator for the Adult and Continuing Education Center.

Douglas-Givan said the community partnerships demonstrate how the Elm City is full of “hidden figures,” referencing the No. 1 movie in the domestic box office this week of the same name based on the real life story of three black women mathematicians working for NASA and striving against racial segregation.

“Adult and Continuing Education Center Assistant Principal and state Rep. “Toni Walker is not here today, but she said to me, ‘Remind them it’s all about access,’” Douglas-Givan said.

Douglas-Givan said the Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven reports that 30 percent of New Haven’s adults cannot read, and center staffers, including her and Walker see a lack of access to resources as a contributing factor.  READ MORE @

Midland Need to Read helping adults who are illiterate
CBS7: 1.05.2017 By Julia Thatcher

Midland Need to Read is helping adults who are illiterate. But illiterate doesn’t just mean being unable to read.

People come to West Texas from all over the world, a lot of people, because of the oil. However, not everyone who comes here knows English.

32,000 Midland residents qualify for services being offered at Midland Need to Read, but they're teaching more than just reading.

“Literacy, can include really any basic skills that make you a functional adult so in today's society digital literacy is a big part of that so computers, smart phones, and tablets also mathematics is another thing,” explained Jessica Smith, the resource development director for Midland Need to Read.  WATCH

Friday, January 27, 2017

Misunderstood Prescription Labels Lead to 7,000 Deaths a Year

Misunderstood Prescription Labels Lead to 7,000 Deaths a Year
ProLiteracy Blog: 12.30.2016 by Michele Bellso

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals are able to obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health information can be overwhelming, even for people with advanced literacy skills. Moreover, information provided in a stressful or unfamiliar situation is unlikely to be retained. The health care industry estimates that an excess of $230 billion a year in health care costs is linked to low adult literacy.

Only 12 percent of adults have a high level of health literacy, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. In other words, nearly nine out of 10 adults lack the skills needed to fully manage their health care and prevent disease. Fourteen percent of adults are considered to have low health literacy. These adults are more likely to report their health as poor, and are more likely to lack health insurance than adults with high health literacy. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes, higher rates of hospitalization, and less use of preventive services. All of these are linked to higher health care costs.

How many people (at home) mistakenly take the wrong dose of their medicine?

In 2005, Target introduced the ClearRx prescription bottles. The signature red container opened on the bottom, which allowed the label to wrap around the top, so it could be seen from above. It included a flat surface that customers found easier to read than the typical curved pill bottle, and it came with color-coded rings to help family members quickly tell their medicines apart. As anyone who takes multiple medications knows, taking the right medication at the right time is crucial to treatment and can prevent dangerous and sometimes lethal mistakes.  READ MORE @

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Durham NC :: Lethbridge AB :: Bloomington IN

Honor Martin Luther King Jr. by becoming a literacy volunteer
Herald Sun: 1.10.2017 by Lizzie Ellis-Furlong, Durham Literacy Center

It is estimated that up to 22 percent of Durham’s adults (38,000 individuals) lack the fundamental reading, writing and English language skills that they need to function well in the workplace and the community overall. According to the National Adult Literacy Assessment of 2003, these adults lack “basic prose literacy skills,” meaning they lack the reading and writing skills necessary to perform fundamental, everyday tasks such as reading a bus schedule and completing a basic job application.

Basic literacy skills are essential to earn a living wage, manage family finances, help children with homework, manage families’ health care, get a high school diploma, and succeed in post-secondary education or vocational training programs, and address other everyday challenges.

However, having a strong education is more than just basic literacy skills, it is critical to the success of our society. Martin Luther King Jr. also wrote that “It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.”

For over 30 years, the Durham Literacy Center has been committed to serving Durham residents with its four core programs: Adult Literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Youth GED and Computer Literacy. Over 800 Durham residents enrolled in DLC programs in 2016 and the agency is on target to serve at least that many again in 2017.  READ MORE @

Toastmasters, Read On team up to help immigrants
Lethbridge Herald:  1.11.2017 by Dave Mabell

It’s a real challenge for many people. Stepping up to address a crowd can create anxiety if not sheer panic.

But what if you’re asked to speak, and you’re still learning English as a second language?

That’s a challenge that’s been accepted by a growing number of immigrants and refugees who’ve come to make their home in Lethbridge. With coaching through two of the city’s long-running educational programs, they’ve developed the confidence and social skills they needed to build on the training and experience they brought to Canada.

“The people have come from almost everywhere,” says volunteer Teena Cormack, a member of a local Toastmasters club that’s collaborated with the Read On program at the public library.

After gaining a working knowledge of English, the newcomers have moved on to more advanced, one-on-one tutoring by Read On volunteers. Then they’ve taken the next step, signing up for an eight-week “Speechcraft” program offered by Toastmasters International affiliates round the world.

“It’s very intensive,” Cormack says, so participants are coached by their Read On tutor as well as a mentor from one of the city’s six Toastmasters groups.

Registration for this year’s program, starting at the end of the month, is open. Full details are available by visiting or calling – 403-380-7323 – the Read On office at the downtown library.

It’s the seventh year for the special Speechcraft project, and Cormack says it’s proven to be the key to advancement for many participants.  READ MORE @

VITAL trains new volunteers for adult tutoring
Indiana Daily Student: 1.11.2017 by Christine Fernando

For Bethany Turrentine, Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners coordinator, these women were brave and their message powerful.

Turrentine said these two speakers were representative of a larger population of Bloomington adults seeking to achieve literacy goals in reading, writing, math and English as a new language.

“There are so many adults here in Bloomington who haven’t had the same opportunities to learn that we have,” Turrentine said. “VITAL wants to help them overcome any obstacles and reach the literacy goals they set for themselves.”

VITAL offered its first orientation and training session of the year Wednesday for new volunteers. Potential volunteers have the option of helping with one-on-one tutoring or ENL groups focusing on topics ranging from history and grammar to crafting.

The orientation included an overview of the program and its history, a description of what is expected of volunteers, and a discussion of resources offered by VITAL. After orientation, new volunteers will be matched with learners in their areas of interest.

Turrentine said the efforts of these volunteers lead to direct benefits for those they help. Education can lead to new job opportunities, the ability to read to children, handling finances and earning a driver’s license. The greatest benefit, however, is something less tangible, she said.

“I feel like so many people who come to VITAL don’t have the opportunity to speak for themselves.,” Turrentine said. “They aren’t the ones speaking up at meetings or writing letters to the newspaper or voting ... We really want to try to give them the tools to use and be confident in their voice.”  READ MORE @

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Carla Hayden Thinks Libraries Are a Key to Freedom via NY Times

Carla Hayden Thinks Libraries Are a Key to Freedom
NY Times Magazine: 1.19.2017 by Ana Marie Cox

Most librarians of Congress haven’t actually previously been librarians. What’s the best preparation for this role?

There have been two other librarians of the 14 total — we’ve had historians, we’ve had lawyers — but the main theme has been an interest in ideas and knowledge and a belief in that. That’s what prepares you — to have an open mind, to want to expand other people’s interest in history and knowledge. Each librarian has been almost perfect for the time that they served. I just hope that I can keep that momentum going.

Well, it’s funny that you mention that each librarian appointed seems to have turned out, in retrospect, perfect for the time, because you’re a very particular librarian. You’re the first woman and the first African-American named to the role, and some people have called you a radical librarian.

We librarians love that. That’s against our stereotype.

Maybe I’m a romantic, but I do think of librarians as inherently radical. There’s something political about access to information.

And it has been throughout history. Frederick Douglass said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” If you can absorb information yourself and make your own decisions, that’s a freedom. And for so many times in history, being able to read and access information has been part of it, especially in my case, with African-Americans.  READ MORE @

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Boise ID :: Stanislaus Co CA :: Memphis TN

Much-loved Learning Lab marks 25 years of promoting adult literacy in Treasure Valley
Idaho Statesman: 1.02.2017 by Anna Webb

Learning Lab, a nonprofit learning and literacy center in the Treasure Valley, started with grassroots. Back in 1991, members of the Boise Junior League were thinking ahead to the new millennium, concerned about the changing nature of the workplace and the growing necessity for educated workers as jobs that didn’t require degrees and diplomas were becoming obsolete.

The Junior League founded the Learning Lab in a room at Boise Public Library. At that time, said current executive director Ann Heilman, the organization had one paid employee, four students and four volunteers. The community’s response to the literacy program, characterized by small classes and devoted volunteers, was immediate and positive, said Heilman.

“That suggested we’ve hit the sweet spot because here we are today, 25 years later,” Heilman said.

One sign of success and its role in the heart of the community? The upcoming annual fundraiser Lunch for Literacy on Feb. 3 is all but sold out with 1,000 ticket sales a month before the event.

“This is a lovely problem to have,” Heilman said.

A quarter century after it opened its doors, the Learning Lab has a bright, airy home in Garden City (308 E. 36th St.). It offers a variety of classes, including English language learning, GED prep, family literacy and more. It serves close to 400 students of all ages, has a full staff and more than 150 volunteer tutors. Many of the Learning Lab’s volunteers have stayed with the organization for more than a decade, some since its earliest years.  READ MORE @

Modesto-based literacy center needs volunteer tutors to help adults
Modesto Bee: 1.04.2017

LearningQuest – Stanislaus Literacy Centers needs 20 volunteers to meet the needs of people on a waiting list for a tutor.

“You can be part of educating an adult, which like tossing a stone in a pond will send out circles of impact to their whole family and to our community,” Executive Director Karen Williams said in a news release.

A tutor meets two times a week for about 90 minutes to help a student, 18 years or older, reach his or her goals. Many students would like to pass the test for a high school diploma. Some want to improve their reading and writing in English, and others have specific goals such as reading a book for the first time, passing their driver’s test or getting a promotion at work.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get involved with the community and help an adult learner reach a desired goal,” said Williams, who offered three examples of the students seeking tutors:  READ MORE @

Q&A with Knox Shelton 
New Literacy Mid-South director says illiteracy is a bigger problem than most think.
Memphis Flyer: 1.05.2017 by Micaela Watts

Literacy Mid-South, the nonprofit organization that hustles to provide literacy resources to Mid-Southerners regardless of age, has recently acquired a new executive director, Knox Shelton.

Shelton, who visited Memphis frequently as a child with his family, told his mother at the age of 6 that he would move to our fair city as an adult. After graduating from college, he made good on his promise and secured a job with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis.

Shelton became immediately immersed in what he describes as collaborative and innovative efforts by nonprofits all over town that had the overarching goal of addressing systemic problems among the disenfranchised.

The work of LM especially caught his eye, and when the opportunity to join the organization arose, Shelton jumped on it. The former interim and now permanent director of LM sat down with The Memphis Flyer to talk about the state of literacy in Memphis, and how he plans to continue advocating for a literate city. — Micaela Watts

Flyer: In your assessment, what is the level of literacy in Memphis, for children and adults, right now?

Knox Shelton: It's terrifying. A lot of progress is being made, but some of the most recent scores released by the state of Tennessee show that, yes, some progress is being made in some of our schools, but we are nowhere near where we need to be. For adults, I didn't realize just how many adults were struggling to read. I didn't know that one in seven Memphians were reading at or below a third-grade level. READ MORE @

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rumors of the Demise of Books Greatly Exaggerated :: Gallup Poll

Rumors of the Demise of Books Greatly Exaggerated
Gallup Poll: 1.06.2017 by Art Swift and Steve Ander

Despite the abundance of digital diversions vying for their time and attention, most Americans are still reading books. In fact, they are consuming books at nearly the same rate that they were when Gallup last asked this question in 2002 -- before smartphones, Facebook or Twitter became ubiquitous. More than one in three (35%) appear to be heavy readers, reading 11 or more books in the past year, while close to half (48%) read between one and 10 and just 16% read none.

The number of Americans who say they read no books in the past year has doubled since the first time Gallup asked this in 1978, from 8% then to 16% now, but has been fairly steady near the current level since 1990.

The results are based on an open-ended question that asked half of Americans to recall the number of books they read all or part of the way through in the past year -- the trend wording -- and the other half to recall the number of books they read or listened to all or part of the way through. Given that there was no meaningful difference in the answers, the results to the two versions were combined.

Story Highlights
•35% say they read more than 11 books in the past year
•53% of young adults read between one and 10 books in the past year
•73% prefer printed books to e-readers or audio books

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Central Coast CA :: Danville IL :: Jones Co MS

Central Coast adult literacy programs connect tutors and learners
KCBX: 12.28.2016 by Greta Mart

In San Luis Obispo County, an estimated 30,000 adults have limited literacy skills in English. In Santa Barbara County, about 18 percent of adults lack basic English literacy skills, that’s 50,000 people. And in Monterey County, according to Panetta Institute for Public Policy, 28 percent of adults - or eighty to ninety thousand people - are unable to read or understand written English.

Trying to decrease those numbers are several programs around the Central Coast, offered by public libraries or non-profits. They are all part of the California State Library Literacy Service, which partially funds the programs.

In Santa Barbara County, there is the public library system's Adult Literacy Program and the Central Coast Literacy Council, which serves Santa Maria, Solvang, Lompoc, Los Alamos and Orcutt. The Monterey County Free LibrariesAdult Literacy Program offers one-on-one tutoring or conversation groups. And in San Luis Obispo, Literacy for Life teaches 400 to 600 adults each year their English ABCs, said executive director Bernadette Bernadi.  READ MORE @  LISTEN

Connor eager to help improve lives
Commercial News: 12.29.2016 by Carol Roehm

Brandice Connor is dedicated to helping others in the community.

Connor spent two years as a crisis intervention counselor at Crosspoint Human Services, supporting individuals experiencing crisis or trauma, before becoming the literacy coordinator at Danville Area Community College this fall.

In her new role, Connor will continue to help others; this time helping individuals to gain the literacy and math skills needed to land a job or improve their quality of life.

In addition, Connor will be in charge of recruiting and training the volunteer tutors who work with the adult students to help them read, write and figure math better.

Laura Williams, director of adult education, said 85 students currently receive help through the Reader’s Route literacy program at DACC, which is entering its 32nd year.

The Reader’s Route pairs volunteer tutors with adults who are 16 years old or older and who read below the ninth-grade level, whose math skills are below the ninth-grade level or who are English Language Learners.

“It’s not just for GED students but for members of the community who need help,” Connor said of the program. “It’s for anyone in the community that needs literacy or math help.”  READ MORE @

Mississippi children aren’t the only ones struggling to learn to read
Sun Herald: 1.10.2017 by Ellen Ciurczak

When Victoria Norman was growing up in Laurel, she didn’t have anyone to help her with her homework. She and her brother were raised by her grandparents, who didn’t do much reading and couldn’t assist with her English lessons.

“I wasn’t that good in my English class,” she said. “When we had to read the stories and take the test, I would get low grades.

“I understood most of the words, but as they got bigger, it was a problem — and putting the punctuation in and the spelling.”

Norman, 28, dropped out of high school near the beginning of 12th grade when she had a child. Her literacy problems plagued her until she recently enrolled in adult education classes at Jones County Junior College. There, she got the reading and vocabulary help she needed.

“When I first came, my score was low, but when I tested on a harder book, I improved a lot and it just kept going on and on,” she said. “The stuff I know now I never even learned in high school.”

Many Mississippians never get the help Norman has received. According to the most recent figures available — from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy — 16 percent of adults in this state are illiterate. The national rate, according to a study conducted in late April by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, is 14 percent.

In Mississippi, there are few places for adults who can’t read to turn.

“There are only about 23 entities in the state who do (reading instruction),” said Caleb Smith, director of adult education at JCJC. “That includes 15 community colleges. There are a few school districts that do this around the state.”

Smith said a lack of literacy skills puts an adult at severe disadvantage.  READ MORE @