Sunday, February 12, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Rocky Mount NC ::Chautauqua Co NY :: Ontario CA

Groups aim to improve adult literacy rate
Rocky MountainTelegram: 1.29.2017 by Amelia Harper

People who travel to a foreign country with a different language often struggle because they are not able to read and comprehend the words around them — however, in the Twin Counties, an estimated 30,000 adults cannot read English at a basic level.

Some of these people struggle because English is not their native tongue. Yet even more are English-speaking residents who lack the basic literacy skills that are necessary to function effectively in today’s society. The Twin Counties Literacy Council estimates that 16 percent of adults in Nash County and 25 percent of adults in Edgecombe County are functionally illiterate.

Thomas Currier, director of the College and Career Readiness program at Nash Community College, said adult literacy issues are a community concern because they affect the ability to find employment.

“We define adult literacy as the ability to read, write and speak in English, and compute and solve problems at level of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential,” Currier said. “Historically, adult literacy has been viewed in terms of the amount of educational preparation needed for entry-level employment.”

Jerry Harper, director of the College and Career Readiness program at Edgecombe Community College, said adult illiteracy can have an impact on families and the community as well.  READ MORE @

Growing number seeking help at Literacy Volunteers translates into success, progress for our community
Observer Today: 1.29.2017 by Nicole Gugino

The gift of literacy is one that keeps on giving; beyond the student, it impacts the whole community.

Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County has made transforming individuals and communities through the doorway of literacy its mission. Now, with a grant from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, it can do even more.

Positive ‘passions’

Director Julie LaGrow explained the grant is for translation assistance by higher-level students. The money goes toward gift cards to thank the students.

Ana Julia Carrion is one of the higher-level students helping translate for lower-level learners as part of the grant.

A volunteer tutors a student at Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County.

She started in the program a year ago knowing very little English, but back in Puerto Rico she earned a bachelor’s degree in education and taught kindergarten and first grade.

“One of my passions is working with kids” she said.

Carrion added the grant program has allowed her to pursue another of her passions — helping others

“It feels great to help. One of my passions is helping people and I know what I’m doing with Julie is something positive,” she said.

Carrion helps Literacy Volunteers and other nonprofits with translation services, phone calls and presentations to community groups. LaGrow said she also helps with outreach to let people know about the programREAD MORE @

Muskoka filmmaker searching for adults improving their reading skills
North Bay Nipissing: 1.30.2017 by Doris Villemaire

Have you ever thought about how any times a day you read? I don’t mean reading a book. There are many other ways we don’t realize we are using the reading skill.

A few examples are reading the road signs, a newspaper, a map, the phone book, bus timetables, mail, recipes, your computer, report cards and grocery lists.

If we can read well, it is difficult for us to grasp what it feels like to not be able to read. Low literacy has a direct impact on families’ community life and the workplace. The sense of shame often is associated with an inability to read and it means life is incredibly challenging. There are many adults who feel trapped by lack of reading skills, who feel unable to take advantage of options to address their skills deficit. Low adult literacy disadvantages individuals, which often leads to social exclusion and financial hardship.

My father, Clarence Brazier, was illiterate most of his life.

Many adults, who cannot confidently read, find they are ill-equipped to effectively support their children’s education and development. Reasons may vary as to why adults are lacking in important literacy skills. They might include poverty, dysfunctional families, parents with little schooling or parents who speak another language at home and learning disabilities when not diagnosed early enough. No matter what the reason, there is help out there for you who have slipped through the cracks. Adult literacy groups are confidential and free.

I am speaking from experience about adults who go through life and cannot read. My father, Clarence Brazier, was illiterate most of his life. He had to leave school to help on the family farm after his father became blind. Clarence was embarrassed and humiliated and had to quit many jobs when it was discovered he could not read. Fortunately, when he married my mother, life became a little easier, as she did all the reading for him. However, when she passed away, my father was lost — he lived alone and could not read. Clarence Brazier, was illiterate most of his life. Talk about ambition.

To make a long story short, we contacted the Muskoka Literacy Group, I became his tutor and he did learn to read at the age of 93. He was thrilled, happy and no longer embarrassed to talk about his past secret of illiteracy. He went on to enjoy 13 years of reading from age 93 to 105. READ MORE @

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