Thursday, December 18, 2014

Discovering Joys of Reading :: Ventura County Library

Discovering joys of reading
Ventura County Star: 10.10.2014 by Anne Kallas

It required some stealth, but Marie Martinez, 50, of Oak View, learned a few tricks over the years to hide her secret: She couldn’t read.

“I’d sit in the break room and wait for someone to go to the bulletin board. Then I’d ask them to read me what it said. I’d always say I was too busy eating and didn’t have time,” Martinez said. “When the kids wanted me to help them with homework, I’d tell them I was too busy cleaning or cooking.”

Now, her secret is out. But that’s OK, she said, because she’s doing something about it, and she wants others to know there’s no shame in seeking help.

Martinez goes on Wednesday afternoons to the Buena High School library in Ventura, where tutor Valerie Stachkunas, of Ventura, goes over word sounds, using colored tiles as part of a phonics lesson.

Martinez is one of about 200 people being served by READ Ventura County Library, a free adult literacy program offered at six sites throughout the county library system. The program is part of California’s Library Literacy Services, which is in its 30th year both in the state and county. The occasion was marked by Gov. Jerry Brown issuing a proclamation that declared September as Adult Literacy Awareness Month.

Carol Chapman, who runs the Ventura County adult literacy program, said most people who use the one-on-one tutoring services are “people born and educated in the United States who are dealing with all kinds of factors — emotional issues, illness, trauma.”

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“The average person who comes to this program reads at a third- or fourth-grade level. They can read, but not well enough to improve their employment status,” she said.

The people in the program tend to be very intelligent, but with some type of issue that makes reading difficult, Chapman said. READ MORE !

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