Sunday, January 8, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Springfield MO :: Kenosha WI :: Worcester MA

“Now, I can read bigger words. ... I can pick up a menu in a restaurant and read it."
News Leader: 12.08.2016 by Jennifer Moore

Buying a can of green beans at the grocery store has always been a challenge for 41-year-old Ryan Rounsavill.

“I’d find the aisle of canned goods, but then I had to search the cans for pictures and clues,” he said.

Assembling cabinets at the plant where he worked, Rounsavill relied solely on diagrams.
And following someone’s driving directions almost always got him lost.

“I knew my letters. I knew the alphabet. I could read some two-letter and three-letter words like ‘cat’ or ‘dog.’ But that’s it,” he said.

He also sees letters and numbers reversed; a sign at the gas station reading $1.53 per gallon may appear to him as $3.15 instead.

Rounsavill recalls a teacher pulling him out of his second grade classroom and telling him he’d be switching schools. He needed a special education class, and his school’s classes were full. He was shuffled to several different schools, he said, even though his parents remained in the same house. His childhood was one of chronic loneliness.

And despite the fact he could barely claim a first-grade reading level, Ryan Rounsavill was awarded a high school diploma alongside his peers.

“Because I was in special classes, I did not take English classes. I took no history. No science. [In high school,] they sent me to shop classes and I was in work programs for the other half of the day,” he said.

Fast-forward to last year, when he was laid off from his job. He learned he qualified for workforce =development classes.

“Could they help me learn to read?” he asked the human resources staff member. He’d always tried to be upfront with his employers about his illiteracy, he said. His wife had filled out his job applications.

He enrolled in an adult literacy class at Ozarks Technical Community College.  READ MORE @

Literacy council celebrates students’ success
Anthology feature adult learners’ works
Kenosha News: 12.10.2016 by Christine A. Verstraete

Buttons were bursting with pride Saturday as a dozen Kenosha Literacy Council students read their published essays as part of the annual anthology release and winter celebration held at the Woman’s Club of Kenosha.

The 15th annual KLC anthology showcases nearly 60 stories written by adults enrolled in the literary program.

“Every year we have a different group of students with different stories,” said KLC Director Cheryl Hernandez. “The book is always a collection of the hard work of the students, tutors and staff.”

This year’s anthology includes essay based on three themes: “Be Inspired,” “Celebrate Good Times” and “Exploring My Community.”

They were written by adult learners from Asia, Europe and Mexico who are working to improve their English reading and speaking skills, along with U.S. students who want to improve their skills for work or to get their GED.

“The students are so inspiring,” said program coordinator Cassie Christianson. “They really want to make you want to do more in your everyday life. You can do anything, but you need to read and write.”  READ MORE @

For new English speakers, newspapers a path to fitting in
Telegram: 12.11.2016 by Cyrus Moulton

The class was originally inspired by a trip to a recycling facility.

But today, participants in the Reading Your Local Newspaper course at Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester are inspired to take trips to free concerts and Starbucks, saying they feel more integrated into the community as a result of the course.

“The newspaper is good for us because it is included information about everything,” said student Gabriel Hanjar, 61, who originally lived in Syria but now lives in Worcester.

Student Agueda Rivadeneyra, originally from Mexico, agreed.

“In my country, I didn’t read a newspaper,” said Ms. Rivadeneyra, 57, of North Grafton. “Now I can read a newspaper and books and can read in English ... you find news about Worcester, my community in Grafton and the international news.

Teacher Celeste L. Steffancci was at her local recycling facility when she saw a copy of a 1987 publication by the Telegram & Gazette titled “Life Skills in the News.” Looking through the booklet, she realized that it would be a great basis for the English as a Second Language classes she taught with Literacy Volunteers. The organization approached the Telegram & Gazette to solicit donated papers and is finishing its first semester this month.

“We try in all classes to teach things that are practical, what they can really use,” said Ms. Steffancci, 64. “Anything that can help them feel more integrated into the community. I think that when they know what’s happening in the city, even in terms of politics or just local stories or things like the Brown Bag concerts, something that they can participate in, I think the more they do, the more they want to do and I think, like a couple of students said, they gain confidence.”  READ MORE @

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