Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Victoria TX :: South Bronx NY :: Florida

Knowledge Bowl combats illiteracy in community
Victoria Advocate: 2.17.2017 by Laura Garcia

H-E-B manager Samantha Forrest enjoys teaching customers about beer and wine.

But in her free time, twice a week, she teaches adults how to read.

Forrest volunteers as an English as a Second Language tutor for the Victoria Adult Literacy Council.

She used to tutor at a Houston organization years ago, but recently decided to become a tutor again.

"Because of the current political climate, I realized I need to do something good for people," she said. "You can donate money, but really, donating time is so valuable."

Last year, the council served more than 350 students on a budget of about $80,000 that covers several programs and a part-time administrator.

The council is in the fifth year of the Family Literacy In Practice, or FLIP, program, which runs once a week during the school year at Victory Christian Life Center.

Last week, a new program started at Hopkins Elementary providing both parent classes, children homework support and book-of-the-week activities.

Tutors like Forrest help students improve their reading skills, but also gain the confidence to apply for college or for a higher job position.

"I think the biggest challenge is establishing a relationship so that they can ask me questions," she said.  READ MORE @

WFUV: 2.20.2017 by Shannon Meehan

The South Bronx, a vibrant neighborhood of working families, faces a literacy crisis that is affecting most of the area’s residents. Despite efforts by nonprofits and reading programs, the South Bronx has one of the lowest literacy rates of all five boroughs, intertwining with incomes in the South Bronx. Both facets remain low.

Strides to break the cycle of illiteracy are being made in the South Bronx, though progress has not advanced enough. It still has among the highest levels of poverty and unemployment of all 59 of New York City's Community Districts, according to a 2016 report by South Bronx Rising Together (SBRT), a group linked to increasing educational success for students in the South Bronx.

“It’s not that some people can read, while other people simply cannot read, end of story,” says Elizabeth Clay Roy, chief of staff at Phipps Neighborhoods, a social service nonprofit, and co-director of SBRT. “It’s that many people can read, but have trouble deciphering a complex letter or phrase.”

The ability to read and write, beyond the most basic level, required for daily living and fulfilling job responsibilities is defined as functional literacy. Functional illiteracy can lead to not having a job or not having a well-paying job, at least.  READ MORE @

Jeb Bush, authors tout literacy at annual event in Bonita
News Press: 2.17.2017 by Ryan Mills

Ruben Renteria wants to start his own business. He wants to get his GED.

But most of all, Renteria wants to help his four children with their homework.

Renteria, 42, didn’t speak or read English when he immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1996. Last year he and his wife, Tania, began taking classes through Food Brings Hope, an English literacy program near their Volusia County home.

The program is funded by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

“I came to the United States for a better life, to bring a better future for my children,” Renteria, a plumber’s helper, told more than 500 people who attended a VIP reception for the 17th annual Florida Celebration of Reading on Friday.

“My family is the reason I am in the program to learn English,” he said.

The Florida Celebration of Reading was founded in 2001 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba. The annual event has raised more than $26 million for his mother’s foundation, according to the organization.  READ MORE @

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