Sunday, February 26, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Greenwood Co SC :: Alberta CA :: Durham NC

Program aims to reduce adult illiteracy
Index Journal: 2.15.2017 by Ariel Gilreath

About 1 in 6 adults in Greenwood County are functionally illiterate, according to information gathered for the Greenwood County Library's adult literacy program.

The library has had the literacy program since 2012, but this year, a subcommittee with the Community Indicators Project is making adult literacy its focus.

Shirley Boyce, chairwoman for the Knowledge for Tomorrow subcommittee, said when the committee decided on adult literacy as its focus, the members looked to the library because it already had a program in place.

"Our committee explored and selected adult literacy as our focus area because we were concerned about educational attainment and its impact on Greenwood County having a trained workforce," Boyce said. "Expanding the program at the library appeared to be the best way to expedite this for our county."

Prudence Taylor, director of the library and member of the subcommittee, said the residents who are considered functionally illiterate are below a second-grade reading level.

"They can't read and understand the directions on a prescription bottle -- which has an impact on health because if you don't know how to take medicine correctly, you may either take too little or too much, take it at the wrong time or not at all," Taylor said.

Many of the adults who show up to the library's classes either are not native English speakers or have a learning disability that was never diagnosed, others dropped out of school, and some graduated high school but lost their comprehension skills over time from not reading.

Since no other library in the state has a program like Greenwood's, Taylor said she had to look to California for models to base the program on, but she didn't have the staff to run it.  READ MORE @

SACF grant helps Conversation Circle
St Albert Gazette: 2.15.2017 by Scott Hayes    

For years now, STAR Literacy has been breaking down the language barriers to citizens with non-English mother tongues. It offers this vital service by connecting its clients with tutors for free. In recent years, it has also offered a casual opportunity for groups of clients to meet at the library and just chat with a tutor to help out with tricky words.

The organization recently received a grant from the St. Albert Community Foundation to help keep this Conversation Circle going strong.

“It basically feeds the program,” stated Shelley Passek, STAR Literacy's head co-ordinator.

“The reason for that is so that anyone can attend the Conversation Circle and not limit it to certain populations of people. My grant from the government of Alberta has certain parameters for people who can access tutoring through my program. If they fall outside those parameters, I’m technically supposed to charge them or not offer them the service. The grant allows me to do that.”

Currently, 24 clients are engaged with literacy tutors and another 15 are on the waiting list while eight new tutors have just received training. Attendance for the Conversation Circle has remained fairly steady with a regular group of six and numerous other periodic attendees.  READ MORE @

Literacy center supports refugees and immigrants
Herald Sun: 2.17.2017 by Hana Haidar, Durham Literacy Center

According to the United Nations Refugee agency, an unprecedented 65 million people worldwide have been forced to leave their home countries. With an increasing fear of refugees and immigrants in the United States and Europe alike, organizations like the Durham Literacy Center remain steadfast in their mission to help these displaced individuals and families to make Durham their home. A cornerstone of the DLC’s mission and values is to cultivate self-efficacy in disadvantaged individuals.

Many people across the country and around the world have criticized President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. The order bars immigration of all nationals of seven majority Muslim countries, restricts the entry of all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the United States altogether. Trump has inspired outrage, as the executive action rejects individuals from seeking security. The order bars individuals who are escaping war, violence, and persecution — violating what many consider not only a fundamental American value, but also an inherent human right — the right to self-determination.

Enrolled in the DLC’s various classes and programs are refugees from many countries including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, Thailand and most recently Syria. Forcibly displaced from their homes, these former teachers, healthcare providers, translators for the U.S. Armed Forces and war veterans attain and develop their literacy skills at the DLC. Such skills allow these individuals to not only navigate through, but also thrive, their new home environments.  READ MORE @

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