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News stories tagged with "literacy"

Actor Kevin Craig West with writer Polin Prabakar as she addresses the audience. Photo: Claire Woodcock
Actor Kevin Craig West with writer Polin Prabakar as she addresses the audience. Photo: Claire Woodcock

Actors, students come together for Plattsburgh lit event

Recently, more than 100 people gathered in Plattsburgh's Strand Theatre for the "Adirondack All Write." Professional actors traveled from as far as Los Angeles to perform the works of local literacy students through "Symphony Space." Adirondack Center for Writing and the Literacy Volunteers of Essex, Franklin, and Clinton counties partnered with the New York City-based series for the event.  Go to full article
Apollonia Bingham-Bianco, at work on her first-grade knitting project: the hat. Photo: Linda Lutton/Front and Center
Apollonia Bingham-Bianco, at work on her first-grade knitting project: the hat. Photo: Linda Lutton/Front and Center

In this first grade, knitting is the focus

Most schools in the United States begin teaching students to read from the time they enter kindergarten. In fact, it's not hard to find 4-year-olds learning the letters of the alphabet and even reading easy words in preschool.

However, not every early-learner starts that way. For our collaboration on literacy with WEBEZ's Front and Center, Linda Lutton brings us the story of a school in the Great Lakes region that is taking a radically different approach.  Go to full article
Cyber-navigator Zach McMahon helps patron Charlie Brown navigate a computer. Photo: Front and Center
Cyber-navigator Zach McMahon helps patron Charlie Brown navigate a computer. Photo: Front and Center

Filling out social service forms, without digital literacy

Throughout Front and Center, our continuing collaboration with WBEZ , we've been exploring issues of literacy and how that affects people in school life and work. Usually when you hear the word "literacy" you think of reading and writing. But a new form of literacy is becoming increasingly important: digital literacy. Front and Center's Shannon Heffernan has this story about one bridge in the digital divide.

Support for Front and Center comes from the Joyce Foundation, improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country.  Go to full article
Habiba Mberwa sits at a desk at the SBCA, where she has been attending citizenship classes for five months. Photo: Front and Center
Habiba Mberwa sits at a desk at the SBCA, where she has been attending citizenship classes for five months. Photo: Front and Center

For Syracuse refugee community, literacy an important step toward citizenship

One of the first obstacles refugees face when trying to adjust to a new life in the United States is English; the language gap makes everyday life difficult. Many refugees can't even read or write in their first language and native illiteracy makes earning citizenship a very steep climb indeed. In our continuing collaboration on literacy and illiteracy with WBEZ Chicago's Front and Center project, Durrie Lawrence reports on how one refugee community in Syracuse prepares for one of the most important tests of their lives.  Go to full article
Photo: Nicholas Gunner/Front and Center
Photo: Nicholas Gunner/Front and Center

Literacy seen as key to refugee success in America

Since the founding of the United States, immigrants have played a role in creating communities. In some "rustbelt" cities, they're responsible for reinvigorating former manufacturing towns. In Buffalo, for example, more than 1000 refugees arrive every year. They are helping revive this shrinking city after a half century of decline.

Most immigrants are illiterate in their native languages, yet they are expected to learn English upon arrival. Literacy is seen as the refugees' the best chance to contribute to their new home and become successful in America. For our collaboration on literacy with WBEZ's Front and Center, Daniel Robison brings us this story from Buffalo, New York.  Go to full article

Time's running out on the old GED

39 million Americans, a fifth of the population, never completed high school, one of the factors used to measure literacy rates. Of those, only about 1% earn a GED certificate or the equivalent of a high school diploma each year. The test, which has been around since 1942, is poised to undergo major changes to prepare its recipients for a competitive workplace.

For Front and Center, Laurie Stern has this story from Minnesota.  Go to full article
A freshman is flanked by vocabulary words at Fenger Academy High School in Chicago. Photos: Lina Lutton, WBEZ
A freshman is flanked by vocabulary words at Fenger Academy High School in Chicago. Photos: Lina Lutton, WBEZ

A high school confronts its reading troubles

Earlier this week, we learned what life has been like for a man who's just learning to read and write at age 48. He remembers shame at school dances, and being shunned as "slow."

Students who can't read by the time they're in high school often have deep challenges with learning disabilities...and self esteem. By one count, as many as 70 percent of incoming high school students are behind in reading. Not a little behind, but 2 to 3 GRADES behind. It's a problem that cuts through urban and rural settings.

For Front and Center, Linda Lutton reports on how one Chicago school is dealing with the problem.  Go to full article
Photo: dolanh via Flickr
Photo: dolanh via Flickr

Can TV make kids better readers?

More than two decades ago, the Federal Communications Commission enacted the Children's Education Act. The goal was to increase the amount of children's educational programming on television.

Since then, the airwaves have offered a variety of children's television programs that aim to educate as well as entertain. Some shows even try and use television to make better readers.
But have they succeeded? For Front & Center, our collaboration with WBEZ Chicago, Anthony Martinez has the story.  Go to full article
Dave King is learning to read with the help of Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County volunteers Peter Kallas (left) and Hilarie Dickson (right). Photo: Kelli Catana, courtesy of Plattsburgh <em>Press-Republican</em>
Dave King is learning to read with the help of Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County volunteers Peter Kallas (left) and Hilarie Dickson (right). Photo: Kelli Catana, courtesy of Plattsburgh Press-Republican

Escaping a world where words are walls

By some estimates as many as one in eight American adults has extreme difficulty reading and writing. In parts of the North Country, the situation may even be worse, with one in five people struggling with basic reading skills.

As part of our series on literacy, we wanted to find out what it's like to live in a world where the written word is incomprehensible. It's a world where things as commonplace as a road sign or a restaurant menu can be baffling. It's also a world where a sense of shame and alienation are common.

Brian Mann profiled one man who's been working with Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County for three years, trying to escape that world.

Note: Brian Mann's story was produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago's Front & Center project.  Go to full article

Literacy efforts rely on volunteers

Literacy advocates in the North Country say nearly 1 in 5 adults in St. Lawrence County has a problem reading. That means things like filling out a job application or taking a driving test may be challenging, or beyond their abilities. At the same time, funding for literacy programs has dropped dramatically in recent years. North Country programs now rely almost entirely on volunteer tutors.

Anne Mazzotta wanted to get involved with literacy efforts in St. Lawrence Country after she retired as a nurse and counselor. This was about ten years ago. But she ran into a problem: In a county where around 17% of adults had problems reading, there was no literacy program. Mazzotta called Literacy of Northern New York, in Watertown. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

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