Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Santa Paula - Blanchard Community Library

Church donates its offerings to library's literacy program
Ventura County Star: August 23, 2004 by K Hibdon

Passing the plate at one Santa Paula church is helping to ensure the success of the Blanchard Library's Family Literacy: Aid In Reading program.

As part of its ongoing community outreach, the Universalist Unitarian Church of Santa Paula recently donated more than $600 to the F.L.A.I.R. program, library officials said.

In order to be a more vital participant in the local community, the church last year began designating funds collected from the "Sunday plate" on the first Sunday of each month as community service funds.

The money is donated to a different local organization each calendar quarter.

The F.L.A.I.R. and Families for Literacy programs are free and serve the entire family, said Kathryn Bornhauser, Literacy Services coordinator for the Blanchard Library.

"We teach English reading, writing, math and job market skills by providing one-to-one volunteer tutoring for adults who need instruction in all academic areas.

"We also offer computer instruction in reading, written language and math skills," Bornhauser said.

The family literacy component involves parents with children 2 to 5 and focuses on making reading a family fun activity while stressing the importance of parents as early teachers.

The library is also in partnership with the Santa Paula School District to train and provide in-school volunteer tutors for children at risk.

In addition, the library offers an English as a second language program, using small classes, tutors, and English-language tapes and computer programs.

The goal of the programs is to provide opportunities for participants to develop basic education, job-market and parenting skills that will increase their value in the work force and enhance the probability that their children will stay in school, Bornhauser added.

"It is through grants and donations such as this one just received from Universalist Unitarian Church that these programs can continue to operate," she said.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Placentia Library District

Library celebrates Seuss Centennial:
Party adds birthday cake to the menu with green eggs and ham.
The Orange County Register: March 4, 2004 by Veronica Rodriguez

With their mouths full of green eggs and ham, kids of all ages intently listened to the words of Dr. Seuss during the Seussical Centennial celebration Sunday in the Placentia Library.

The hourlong event marked the late Theodor ``Ted'' Seuss Geisel's 100th birthday and his legacy, as the famed author Dr. Seuss, for his work as a writer and illustrator of 44 children's books.

``This (event) is just an outreach for the community to get involved and understand the brains of a tremendous children's book writer,'' said Jim Roberts, literacy coordinator for Families for Literacy.

The group hosted the event, in celebration of Dr. Seuss' March 2 birthday, which coincided with the annual Read Across America event.

Families for Literacy members and volunteers were among those who read some of Dr. Seuss' most notable books, including ``Green Eggs and Ham,'' The Cat in the Hat'' and ``Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!'' to a crowd of almost 100 guests Sunday.

As readers turned pages, the children's curious voices interrupted storytellers with comments and often questioned ``Why?''

This interaction, according to Diane Martlaro, a library volunteer for four years, was a symbol of children's innocence and interest in the words of Dr. Seuss and of tremendous gratification for her service.

``When kids are asking questions, you know they're listening. They're interested. They're excited; and that is awesome,'' Martlaro said.

San Clemente resident Gloria Paoletti said she was baby-sitting and decided to bring her Placentia granddaughters -- Natalia, 11, Adriana, 9, Daniela, 6, and Katarina Balgojevic, 5 -- to the program. The oldest three are Golden Elementary School students.

``They are just enjoying the event thoroughly. ... They have had more than one serving of green eggs and ham.''

``No, two or three servings,'' interrupted Natalia as her grandmother giggled. ``Daniela had one and a half.''

Of course, the party couldn't end without a birthday cake.

Volunteers cut the cake and each child received a free copy of ``Gerald McBoing Boing,'' to encourage the continued exploration of Dr. Seuss' world full of entertainment and imagination.

Four-year-old Eliza Bruner of Placentia gets a front-row seat for the Seussical Centennial party Sunday, a Family for Literacy program at the Placentia Library. About 100 people marked the 100th anniversary of the author's birth.

Caitlyn Schrepfer, 7, of Placentia is wowed by a Dr. Seuss book being read Sunday at the Family for Literacy's Seussical Centennial at the Placentia Library.

Sunday, February 1, 2004

Riverside County Library

Reading, writing English
Volunteers help people of all ages improve their skills through programs at county libraries
Desert Sun: January 17, 2004 by Nelsy Rodriguez

Gerardo Garcia was at the Indio branch library checking out some books when he noticed a group of people practicing the pronunciation of English words.

Curious, Garcia asked what was going on. It was an adult literacy class, he learned.

The literacy classes he had been taking at College of the Desert were demanding too much from his family time, the Indio man said, so he took down the information for the free classes.

He went at night when he could spare the time and worked out the foreign words until they didn't feel so forced. He even got a little tutoring in math.

Just recently, the 35-year-old man who came from Mexico four years ago earned his General Education Development certificate.

"They help us plenty to write, read and use vocabulary," Garcia said in Spanish. "The truth is, it has helped me a great deal."

The Riverside County Library Literacy Programs offer adult literacy and families for literacy programs at 10 local library branches.

"We have everything from basic English to conversational skills," said Sherry Martinez, Coachella Valley site supervisor. "Everything from how to write a check and work with forms to map reading."

The classes are free to anyone interested and each library has its own schedule of classes.

The sessions are run by volunteers who practice reading and pronouncing words with the students on an individual basis or in a group.

The program's success is dependent on the volunteers who make it happen.

People like Sally Shampine, a retired La Quinta woman who is one of about 85 volunteers in the Coachella Valley county library system.

"I didn't want to become a couch potato," Shampine said. "I could probably have slept all day and sat at home eating bonbons but I didn't want to do that."

Shampine is in her second year of volunteering two to three times a week in the desert.

She said she's worked with children and young adults, adults and people with learning disabilities.

"It's wonderful when you see something good's happening," Shampine said.

"You just have to not have any set ideas, be flexible because things don't always go the way you thought they were going to be going."

Shampine remembered how hard it was once to teach a dyslexic student but she said volunteering fulfills her.

And she's ready to help in any way she can.

"They kind of just point me to somebody or a group of people," she said. "We talk about words and what they mean, just whatever they need me to do."

Martinez said the program recently received a grant that may make it possible to add some English as a second language classes.

That would take more volunteers too, she said.

"We can always use more to help instructors," she said.

Martinez said while a teacher works with the bulk of a class, a teaching assistant could work with three or four individuals who may be struggling.

She said this method would greatly benefit the learning atmosphere as students could get more personal attention.

Volunteers to the program undergo a three-hour training seminar where they learn the techniques used by the program.

Martinez said the lessons rely primarily on written material, flash cards and scripts students can use to rehearse conversations.

She said volunteers who have a preference as to whether they would like to work with a group or an individual are likely to be accommodated.

The classes are drop-in for both the students and tutors.

Shampine said she likes the freedom of the schedule and prefers the group setting more than individual help because it frees her from obligation.

"When you're working with someone one on one it's like a commitment that you have to be there," she said. "I might miss and feel like I'd be letting them down."

When she does go she expends her energy and patience to help people like Garcia accomplish their goals.

"With what they've shown me I've learned a lot and it helps me at work," Garcia said.

"While I have time in the evenings I'm going to keep going, and I've also invited people I know to go," he said.

The Riverside County Library Literacy Programs offer adult literacy and families for literacy programs at the following library branches: Mecca, Coachella, Indio, Thousand Palms, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs.

For information about taking a class, or volunteering to help teach one, call 342-2580

Friday, January 30, 2004

Oceanside Public Library

Oceanside READS Wins
Oceanside Magazine: Winter 2004-05

Statewide Award for Literacy

Oceanside READS, the Oceanside Public Library's Literacy program, has been named "Outstanding Literacy Program" in California for 2004 by California Literacy. At the organization's annual meeting in San Francisco, Library Director Deborah Polich accepted the award, along with a gift of $500 for books from New Readers Press.

Literacy Coordinator Sandra Phillips notes, "California Literacy is the nation's oldest and largest statewide adult volunteer literacy organization. Our program was chosen among more than 250 literacy centers statewide, so this award is a very great honor."

Sandra Phillips and Literacy Assistant Corrie Miles lead an exceptional team of more than 55 volunteer tutors; they are all passionately dedicated to their work and to promoting literacy. Carol Naegele, Children's Services Manager, who recently announced her retirement, was also instrumental in the program's accomplishments.

Together they have formed strong partnerships with the community and with local businesses such as Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, and with service clubs such as Oceanside Pacific Kiwanis. The program was recognized in part for developing innovative new literacy activities, and for providing the only literacy program in San Diego County which offers free tutoring for children in grades 1-12 in addition to adults.

Elvia, one of the adult learners, said, "Coming to Oceanside READS has changed my life. Thanks to my tutor, now I'm able to fill out job applications for employment, and I feel capable of voting in the upcoming election." More than 45 adults and 22 youth are currently being tutored in the program.

To learn more about California Literacy, visit their website at www.caliteracy.org.
To find out more about Oceanside READS or to volunteer as a tutor or enroll a learner, call 760-435-5683. All tutoring is free and confidential.