Saturday, April 29, 2006

READ/Orange County

Literacy groups teach with dignity
Orange County Register: April 26, 2006

Dear Abby: I have been dating a nice guy for two years. We started out as good friends and the relationship progressed from there. He's truly all that you could ask for. My dilemma is, he doesn't know how to read and write.

This is a very sensitive subject for him. He is 33 years old and works as a custodian for the school district. He earns a fraction over minimum wage and is making child-support payments.

I have been very patient with him, but any time I raise the subject of his going back to school, we end up arguing. Now he has decided to take a part-time job in the evenings - so there will definitely be no time for school. What am I to do? He thinks my pushing him to learn to read and write is about the money. It's not! He keeps saying he's leaving his reading and writing "in God's hands." How can I help him? - Wits' End in Miami

Dear Wits' End: Your boyfriend's unwillingness to reach out for help may stem from embarrassment. Please explain to him that there are programs especially for people like him, and that they are easy to access. All you have to do is call your county library and tell the librarian you are looking for a referral to a literacy coalition so your friend can learn to read. Your friend will be treated with dignity, I promise.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

READ/Orange County

Anaheim volunteer gets presidential honor
Orange County Register: April 20, 2006 by Sarah Tully

Anaheim resident Linda Kricfalusi won the President's Volunteer Service Award for volunteering 520 hours as a literacy tutor, her organization announced today.

Last year, about 20,000 people nationwide were given the award, sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and a top honor tied to the White House.
Kricfalusi, who volunteers and serves as a board member for READ/Orange County, is being recognized as part of National Volunteer Week, which starts Sunday.

Winners receive a signed letter from the president, a certificate and a lapel pin.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

READ/San Diego

50 People To Watch in 2006
San Diego Magazine: April 2006

As director of READ/ San Diego, Valerie Hardie oversees the San Diego Public Library system's innovative literacy program, which has been nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

READ is acclaimed for its successful strategies to improve language skills among the estimated 422,000 adults in San Diego County who cannot read and write well enough to get along in the business world-or even meet their own daily needs. Hardie's challenge in the coming year: to weather San Diego's worsening budget crisis and likely cutbacks in library funding while maintaining READ's excellent scorecard

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Huntington Beach Public Library

Literacy Program Helps Newcomers Improve Their English
Pacific News: March 29, 2006 by Josie Cabiglio

Immigrants to the United States often take ESL to learn to speak, yet for many, it isn’t enough. Finishing those English as a Second Language courses, some find out they cannot read or write as well as they should to get a job or to connect to fluent sons and daughters.

In other cases, even people born and raised in the U.S. do not master these skills they need to succeed. In fact, studies show that one-fifth of our adult population lack the reading capability to cope successfully as workers, parents and citizens, yet low-cost or free help is within reach.

Enter literacy.

Thanks to nearly 1,200 affiliates of ProLiteracy America, tutoring is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, offering one-on-one service by trained individuals.

Since it began in 1984, the Literacy Volunteers program at Huntington Beach’s Public Library in California alone has helped nearly 5,000 people — both American-born and newcomers from such countries as Vietnam, China, Mexico and Japan. Through the years, participants have worked with about 4,500 tutors, at times gathering in two-hour weekly sessions. There’s no charge; it’s confidential and personalized.

Another two-hour session Thursday mornings focuses on conversation, led by Caroline Fuelling. Here, Vietnamese students join in, building on what they picked up from the tutoring side. They debate cultural differences and current events, along with problems they faced, say, the previous week at the office, said Anna Combs, a literacy specialist and assistant to Rose Saylin, who runs the program.

Some mothers and fathers who go to the center have youngsters who “are pretty fluent and the parents feel lost. They want to help with homework, but can’t,” Combs said. “Kids can be very critical. Or they are embarrassed,” pushing the adults to want to improve even more, she said.

“Women come here, especially Asians, who worked hard all their lives” and once in this country, still “put food on the table and their children through college. Now they feel, ‘It’s my turn,’ “ she noted.

To qualify for most of the tutoring, students must have some proficiency in English as these are not ESL sessions, Combs said. And for the Huntington Beach program, attendees also must live or work in or near the city. They will be taught by men and women completing at least one 15-hour training session before being matched to their charges.

Only two months after taking the sessions in Huntington Beach, Hai Nguyen, who settled in the U.S. just two years ago, can honestly say his English has advanced greatly and that he feels more confident speaking, reading and writing, inspired by his tutor, Karen Kliem. READ MORE

Give A Gift
of reading and writing to adult learners in
California library literacy programs from Santa Barbara to San Diego

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Burbank Public Library

Not a trivial matter: The 10th Annual Trivia Challenge
Burbank Leader: April 1, 2006 by Lauren Hilgers

The annual Trivia Challenge hosted by the Burbank Public Library does not discriminate. It aims to stump actors, artists, businessmen and librarians alike.

"I thought it was a trivial contest," joked Gary Lamb of Burbank's Shakespeare at Play. "I know lots of trivial things."

Soon Lamb would sweat it out with the rest of the contestants onstage, his team losing their first point by mispronouncing the Garfield character 'Odie' as 'Obie'.
The contest pitted groups of three against each other -- each team is asked one question each round and two wrong answers are enough to eliminate you from the competition.

"It's nerve-racking," admitted Shauna Vaughn, a member of the team representing the Boys and Girls Club. "I still remember the question I got out on last year."

Questions throughout the night included, "What kind of animal is the Cheetos mascot?" and "What kind of meat is used in Moussaka?"

"I watched quiz shows to prepare myself," said Jim Schendel, also of Shakespeare at Play.

The event, which drew 24 teams from organizations across Burbank, is in it's 10th year. Each year the library funnels the money from ticket purchases, team registration fees and a concurrent silent auction into their literacy program.

"This is not only to raise money, but to help get the word out," explained Sharon Cohen, library services director. "We have a really successful literacy program -- but it's something you can't really put out flier or posters for because you're looking for people who can't read."

The program, which started in 1992, provides one-on-one tutoring to adults who for one reason or another never learned to read.

"It's something that, if you can read, you take for granted," Cohen said. "Admitting that you don't read is not an easy thing either."

One of the students in the program, Jerry Washington, attested to the program's effectiveness.

"When I first arrived I was having trouble reading the daily newspapers and handling my own affairs," he said. "I know a lot of people who can't read."
Washington has spent a year in the program and is now working toward getting his GED.

By the end of the night, the Burbank City Employee's Assn. took home the trophy for their trivia knowledge, unseating last year's champions, the Burbank Noon Kiwanis.

Cohen hoped everyone involved in the event left a little smarter. "It's not just a fundraising event, it's educational," she laughed. "You learn lots of trivial information."

Those interested in becoming a volunteer tutor at the Burbank Public Library's literacy program can call (818) 238-5577.

Photo: Trivia Challenge 2006 was held at the Castaway Restaurant, Thursday, an annual event to benefit Burbank Public Library Literacy Services. (L-R) Jack O'Neill, Tony Potter, Gary Lamb, and Jim Schendel.