Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Cleveland OH :: Provo UT :: Westminster MD

Literacy In The News :: Spanning the US


Virtual Tutor Wins Most Treasured Volunteer Award from Community Solutions
Seeds f Literacy: 11.01.2020

Julie Rea was excited to become a tutor and a simple Google search brought her to Seeds.

“I think working with a student one-to-one, where you can really understand what they need to know — and how they learn— is incredibly effective,” she said.

But Seeds closed shortly after she completed Tutor Training. She never had a chance to tutor onsite.

Still, Julie Rea has become a household name for students and staff alike. Determined to make a difference, she was one of the first volunteers willing to tutor virtually and was a pioneer in the Virtual Classroom, eager and available to help.

Technology has proven to be a difficult adjustment for many students and tutors. But Julie was a champion of virtual learning and her enthusiasm encouraged others tutors to participate. Her comfort with technology puts students at ease and she is able to troubleshoot any tech difficulties that arise during lessons.

She developed and presented more than 20 lessons which are now available in the Seeds archives for students to review at any time. The majority of them cover math concepts.

Julie’s efforts at Seeds during the pandemic, and her deep respect and empathy for the students, earned her a Most Treasured Volunteer award from The Center for Community Solutions.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 10
Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 14-15 yrs. old
(Ninth to Tenth graders)


Project Read Shares Success Stories
Daily Herald: 11.06.2020 by Genelle Pugmire

The ability to read and write are everyday skills that most people take for granted. For some residents and neighbors those skills are nonexistent.

Those who lack reading and writing skills are typically ones who also miss out on good employment opportunities or just communicating with friends.

Project Read, a nonprofit organization that helps with adult literacy education, can help those who can’t read and write. Through volunteer tutors, they build a bridge to help them to better function in life.

With all of the extra issues that have been a part of 2020, Project Read continues to have successful students.

One student identified as Kenia has taken advantage of what Project Read can do and is reaping the rewards.

“Kenia’s positivity and desire to improve are contagious. She studies diligently and is even excited to take tests because she likes seeing her results and knowing how she’s improved,” said a Project Read report released Friday.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 10
Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 14-15 yrs. old
(Ninth to Tenth graders)


Literacy Council 

Carroll County

COVID-19 Drives Implementation Of Virtual Learning For Literacy Council
Baltimore Sun: 11.09.2020 by Rebecca Arenson-Rachlinski

Since 1979, the Literacy Council of Carroll County has helped adult learners reach their personal educational, career, and life goals. Personalized programs and tutoring are tailored to the needs of each learner, with topics ranging from English, math, citizenship, writing a resume, and financial literacy, to preparation for licensing exams (such as the written portion of the Commercial Drivers License).

All materials and tutoring are free. Our clients are referred to us by our community partners and also self-refer, and have a wide range of education and skill levels. Some students are working on boosting their academic skills in math and reading. Some English language learners are starting with basic spoken English, while others have more advanced skills.

The hallmark of our program is the confidential, in-person, one-on-one tutoring provided by our volunteer tutors. As with other education programs, the pandemic threw a wrench into our learning model. The health concerns and restrictions meant that our tutor-learner teams could not meet in person. Clearly it was time to implement a virtual learning model. Our challenges included: 1. A focus on printed/paper based academic materials, 2. The tutors' and learners' technological skills and comfort levels, 3. Learners and tutors without internet and/or computer access, and 4. A lack of resources to purchase the needed equipment.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 10
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 14-15 yrs. old
(Ninth to Tenth graders)

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

31 Days, 31 Lists Returns! ▬ SLJ

31 Days, 31 Lists Returns!


SLJ: 11.30.2020 by Elizabeth Bird 

I am pleased to announce that in spite of COVID-19 doing its best to remove the memory of physical galleys and ARCs from our collective consciousness, I was able to work on these lists all the year. I definitely missed things. We all did! How could we not? But thanks to the efforts of my library’s 101 Great Books for Kids committee, I have a pretty good sense of the year. I’ve seen beautifully written, horribly depressing middle grade novels galore (more than usual, I think). The physical abuse of girls? Everywhere! Picture books, on the other hand, couldn’t be sunnier, though many tackled serious issues with aplomb. I don’t envy the Newbery/Caldecott/ALA YMA committees this year one smackerel. However, I bet they’ll all do a stand up and cheer job.

Starting tomorrow, here are the lists I’ll be releasing.
All 2020 titles. All good as gold.

December 1 – Great Board Books
December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations
December 3 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books
December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds
December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books
December 6 – Funny Picture Books
December 7 – CaldeNotts
December 8 – Picture Book Reprints
December 9 – Math Books for Kids
December 10 – Bilingual Books
December 11 – Books with a Message
December 12 – Fabulous Photography
December 13 – Translated Picture Books
December 14 – Fairy Tales / Folktales / Religious Tales
December 15 – Wordless Picture Books
December 16 – Poetry Books
December 17 – Easy Books
December 18 – Early Chapter Books
December 19 – Comics & Graphic Novels
December 20 – Older Funny Books
December 21 – Science Fiction Books
December 22 – Informational Fiction
December 23 – American History
December 24 – Science & Nature Books
December 25 – Unconventional Children’s Books
December 26 – Unique Biographies
December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books
December 28 – Nonfiction Books for Older Readers
December 29 – Older Reprints
December 30 – Middle Grade Novels
December 31 – Picture Books

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 12
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 17-18 yrs. old
(Twelfth graders)

Monday, November 30, 2020

National Literacy & Library Events ▬ December 2020

National Literacy & Library Events
December 2020

Christmas Book Flood Iceland

Dec. 01      2021Lollies’ Laugh Out Loud Book Prize UK
Dec. 01      Parent and Family Engagement Conf VIRTUAL
Dec. 01      TASH Conference VIRTUAL
Dec. 02      LRA National Reading Conference VIRTUAL
Dec. 04      Latinx KidLit Book Festival VIRTUAL
Dec. 05      International Volunteer Day
Dec. 07      Letter Writing Day
Dec. 07      Hour of Code Global
Dec. 10      Human Rights Day
Dec. 10      Rutgers Conference Reading & Writing VIRTUAL
Dec. 12      Impact Education Conference VIRTUAL
Dec. 20      Poet Laureate Day
Dec. 21      Crossword Puzzle Day
Dec. 21      National Short Story Day (UK)
Dec. 24      Jolabokaflod Christmas Book Flood Iceland


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Wilmington NC :: Farmington ME :: Carlsbad CA :: Hopkinsville KY

Literacy In The News :: Spanning the US


The Ripple Effect
Wilmington Biz: 10.31.2020 by Danielle Saintard Valiente, Board Member-Cape Fear Literacy Council

I know you have heard the saying it only takes one seed...

Sometimes, we feel if we plant many seeds, but only one grows, then it was worth our time, patience, care and effort. The CFLC plants many seeds, and those seeds are monitored and cared for until they flourish, but what happens after they flourish? Oh, please do tell!

My husband Jean-Pierre was that one little seed. He moved from Santiago, Chile to Wilmington in 2006. He was 26 years old, raised in a Spanish-speaking household and attended a French school, but did not know any English. Actually, JP had failed English in elementary school, but here he was, moving to the United States as an adult, with no knowledge of the language.

When JP was in Chile, he was a successful personal trainer managing a fitness facility. He was competent, educated and intelligent. However, when JP came to the United States, he felt incompetent, uneducated and unintelligent. His employment opportunities were difficult because he was unable to communicate. He was depressed and discouraged, so he sought for help. He found free English classes at the CFLC, which he attended during the day, while he worked as a bus boy a night- a job that did not require him to speak.

After taking English classes for several months, JP was able to start working in gyms once again, but he was told he needed to shadow other employees and work unpaid until he improved his English. Even though he had the experience and the skillset, without knowing English, he felt he was being demoted for being less competent. The language barrier became a dream barrier.

JP remained consistent with his English classes at the CFLC so that he could work with clients again, giving him his career back, but in the United States.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 8
Reading Level: standard / average.
Reader's Age: 12-14 yrs. old
(Seventh and Eighth graders)



Literacy Volunteers Hold Annual Meeting, Recognize Contributions Of Volunteers, Donors
Daily Bulldog: 11.01.2020

Literacy Volunteers of Franklin and Somerset Counties held their 2020 Annual Meeting open to the public on Oct. 28. It was produced using “smart” television technology and the internet in all three of their learning center locations - Farmington, Livermore Falls, and Phillips - and following the Maine Center for Disease Control guidelines. This enabled participants to attend virtually as well as in person. There were 22 people in attendance.

The meeting featured poetry readings from four of this year's poetry contest winners: Margaret Bremner, Katrina Machetta, Nancy Romines-Walters and Anna Crockett. Annual business was conducted and members of the community were recognized with the Hope, Health and Happiness Honors.

“Pillars of Support” Honors went to United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, Franklin County Adult Basic Education, Spruce Mountain Adult Basic Education, and the Maine Humanities Council for their partnership in achieving the LVFSC mission (to empower adults through tutoring in reading, writing, math, technology, and ESOL and promote literacy in the community).

“Community Connectors” Honors went to volunteers who gave invaluable time, energy, ideas, courage, and tenacity to utilize their literacy work to strengthen the bonds of community. Collectively, they keep the learning going: mailing teaching packets, sorting and delivering books, trying new teaching tools and digital platforms, teaming to build programming, creating videos to share, making sure learners can get to class, and staying in touch. They are Rita Cantor, Becky Jasch, Emily scribner [sic], Dan Palmer, Maggie Davis, Brianna Rush, Elizabeth Cooke, Marlene Bryant, Danielle Hamlin, and Susan Thorson.

“Learners who Lead” Honors went to students who use their courage, tenacity, creativity, and passion to keep the learning going, despite many odds, and they are Brittanny Savage, Dorothy Richard, Lorrie Chicoine, Anna Crocket, Cindy Welch, and Matilda Holt.  READ MORE ➤➤

Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 14
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 21-22 yrs. old
(college level)



The Benefits of Reading in Difficult Times
Learning Connection: Oct/Nov 2020

Let’s face it— times are tough, and many of us may struggle to find a healthy coping mechanism to reduce our stress. The good news is, there are proven, research backed benefits that show reading may help!

Reading has been found to:

• Strengthen connectivity in our brains

• Increase our ability for empathy

• Increase vocabulary

• Fight age-related cognitive decline

• Reduce stress

• Promote a good night’s sleep

• Provide a healthy escape that may alleviate depression

• Increase life expectancy up to two years

So next time you’re feeling a little “blue,” grab a book and take your mind to a healthier space.

Introducing News Crew

Join us at our weekly News Crew meeting, Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Zoom. Here, with Library Assistant Sandra, we will discuss current events and articles from News for You, a publication with easy-to read news stories. READ MORE ➤➤

Readability Consensus
Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 8
Reading Level: standard / average.
Reader's Age: 12-14 yrs. old
(Seventh and Eighth graders)



Literacy Council To Have Virtual Community Reader Day
Kentucky New Era: 11.04.2020 by Tonya S. Grace

Organizers of Christian County’s annual Beverly Whitfield Memorial Community Reader Day wanted to find a way to offer this year’s event in spite of the restrictions of COVID-19.

They found it online, with a format that will feature 12 volunteers from the community reading two different books live on the Christian County Literacy Council’s Facebook page.

“We want to encourage children to read, (for) their curiosity to be peaked as well as (for) their parents and anyone around them just to encourage reading,” noted Francene Gilmer, the council’s new executive director who was hired in August to lead the organization.

Gilmer said the council wanted to be able to offer something for youth this year, and she noted that hosting a virtual event was the next best thing to having the in-person program.

“We invite anybody to check out our Facebook page,” the director said, noting that people can find information about the council, get book recommendations and tips for family reading.

She observed that the digital platform is another way to use the council’s services, and Gilmer added that members hope to pick back up with their larger team of reader volunteers in 2021.  READ MORE ➤➤

Readability Consensus
Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 15
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: College graduate

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Literacy Awards Online Best Practices Conference 2020 ▬ Library of Congress

Literacy Awards Online Best Practices Conference 2020

Literacy Awards
Library of Congress

Library of Congress: November 2020

Learn and Share with Library of Congress 2020 Literacy Award Winners and Best Practice Honorees, November 19-20

Over the course of two afternoons, we will celebrate the five 2020 award winners and 15 Best Practice honorees, and host interactive conversations between them and members of the Literacy Awards Advisory Board. The conversations will address a wide range of topics from bridging the digital divide to family engagement and more.

Together, we will focus on identifying and sharing best practices both before and during COVID-19.

Welcome and Special Congratulations

The Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden; Director, Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement, Shari Werb; as well as the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group, David M. Rubenstein welcome attendees to the 2020 Annual Best Practices Conference and congratulate the 2020 Library of Congress winners and Best Practice Honorees.

Literacy Blanket Poem

The U.S. Poet Laureate emeritus and current Literacy Awards Advisory Board member Juan Felipe Herrera reads the poem he wrote in honor of the 2020 Literacy Award recipients.

A conversation with The Immigrant Learning Center

2020 American Prize recipient Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate emeritus and Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board member, interviews Denzil Mohammed, Director of The Public Education Institute, The Immigrant Learning Center.

A conversation with the International Rescue Committee’s Pakistan Reading Project

2020 International Prize recipient Allister Fa Chang, Former Executive Director, Libraries Without Borders and Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board member, interviews Sanna Johnson, IRC Regional Vice President Asia, and Dr. Naeem Sohail Butt, Chief of Party, IRC’s Pakistan Reading Project.

2020 David M. Rubenstein Special Response Awardee as well as recipient of the 2017 American Prize Dr. Ernest Morrell, Professor, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame, Director, Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education and Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board member, interviews Dr. Joshua Cramer, Executive Vice President, National Center for Families Learning.

2020 David M. Rubenstein Special Response Awardee as well as past recipient of the 2017 International Prize Dr. Chantal Francois, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Towson University and Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board member, interviews Suzanne Singh, Chairperson, Pratham Books.

2020 David M. Rubenstein Special Response Awardee as well as past recipient of the 2014 David M. Rubenstein Prize and 2013 Best Practice Honoree Meg Medina, 2019 Newbery Award winner and Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board member, interviews Christabel Pinto, Senior Director, Room to Read’s Global Literacy Program.  WATCH 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Listening is the Black Sheep of Language Learning Skill ▬ Transparent Language

Listening is the Black Sheep of Language Learning Skills

Listening Skills
Transparent Language: 7.30.2018 

When learning a language, there’s one skill that’s more neglected than the others. It’s underestimated both in terms of its complexity and its utility. It’s less glamorous than speaking, and more difficult to master than reading. Listening, unfortunately, is the black sheep of language learning.

A recently-posted discussion thread on Quora began with the question, “Why is listening so difficult for people studying Spanish?”.

Although, in this case, the question was posed by a learner of Spanish, the sense that listening is a far more difficult skill to master than reading is a feeling shared by many language learners across the full spectrum of languages, and for good reason.

Why do language learners struggle with listening more than other skills?

The problem comes in the fact that even though listening, as a skill, is much more complex than reading, most classroom-based listening activities fail to move beyond the kinds of highly simplified and inauthentic representations of spoken language that mask most of those complexities.

A survey of the skill level descriptors for the receptive skills of reading and listening across a number of the most reputable proficiency scales, including the CEFR, ACTFL, and the ILR, would seem to suggest that there is very little difference between these two skills. Consider, for example, the following can-do statements from the CEFR’s self-assessment grid for level A2.

Reading A2

I can read very short, simple texts.

I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters

Listening A2

I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).

I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements

One could almost get the impression that listening is just reading done with the ears, rather than with the eyes, when nothing could be further from the truth. The problem with these proficiency descriptors, and others like them, is that they focus more on the ways that listening and reading are alike than on the ways that they are different. This tendency to downplay the unique challenges of listening has led some to refer to listening as the red-headed stepchild of language proficiency.

Is listening really all that different from reading?

A good illustration of just how much more complex and demanding listening is than reading can be found in the news ticker that crawls across the bottom of the screen on most cable news broadcasts (sometimes called a chyron).

There’s no way to re-read or pause when listening in real time.

The fact that the text moves across the screen at a rate that can be challenging even for some native speakers, let alone non-native speakers, and then disappears into the ether never to be seen again, makes this kind of reading a significantly more challenging undertaking than reading the exact same information would be if it were encountered as static text on the page of a newspaper, where it can not only be read at a pace that is comfortable for the reader, but where it remains available for re-reading or review as the reader works their way through the text, constantly self-monitoring for correct understanding of the author’s communicative intent.

There are no visual clues (spaces, punctuation, etc.) when listening.

Now, let’s try to imagine how the experience might become even more challenging if we were to modify our crawling news ticker to reflect another way in which the spoken word is different from the written word by removing the capitalization, the punctuation, and all of the spaces between the words.

Listeners are exposed to many different accents, voices, and ways of speaking that aren’t present in the written word.

Let’s add another wrinkle to our scrolling news ticker by changing the block print to messy handwriting to simulate the differences in the regional accents and idiosyncratic vocal qualities of the various speakers we listen to on a daily basis.

Listening and speaking are inseparable skills.

When most people think about learning another language, speaking seems to be the skill that first comes to mind. We ask people how many languages they speak, not how many languages they read – and certainly not how many languages they can listen in! When we think about traveling to a foreign country, the first thing many of us think about buying is a phrase book that will teach us how to order dinner in a local restaurant, ask for directions, or talk to shop vendors in the market.

How can you improve your listening proficiency?

While there are no silver bullets that will suddenly or magically simplify the task of listening in another language, there are several practical strategies that can help to build this essential skill.  READ MORE ➤➤


Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 14
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 21-22 yrs. old
(college level) 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Native Educators Say Thanksgiving Lessons Can Be Accurate, Respectful, And Still Fun — NEA

Native Educators Say Thanksgiving Lessons Can Be Accurate, Respectful, And Still Fun—

An Indigenous Peoples'
History of the United States
for Young People

NEA: 11.11.2020 by Sabrina Holcomb, NEA Ed Justice

Dr. Star Yellowfish has a challenge for America’s schools and educators: whether you’re teaching tots or teenagers, celebrate your best Thanksgiving lesson ever by teaching an accurate history of the holiday.

Thanksgiving is a great entry point for learning about the culture of America’s first people, says Yellowfish, Director of Native American Student Services for Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) and a member of the Keetowah Cherokees.

Teaching truth, and learning from it, helps us honor all of our students and build stronger relationships with each other says Yellowfish, who shares tips and resources to help educators get started.


What are some meaningful ways educators can teach their students about Thanksgiving?

1. Replace “Indians” and “Pilgrims” with more specific names: Wampanoag and English or Separatists. As responsible educators, we need to encourage our students to use more accurate terms.

2. Tell the story of the Wampanoag, who were instrumental in helping the English survive. It’s important for students to learn that Wampanoag still exist today.

3. Research Native tribes in your area and invite them to give a lesson at your school. There are over 500 tribes spread throughout the U.S. If you don’t have tribes close to you, build partnerships with Native American organizations and local museums and universities.

4. Focus on the importance of the harvest with young students. Teach them about the role of the three sisters—corn, beans, and squash—in Native cultures.


Based on 7 readability formulas:
Grade Level: 10
Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
Reader's Age: 14-15 yrs. old
(Ninth to Tenth graders)