FLC & MWA present the”Everyone Loves a Good Mystery” Short Story Writing Contest

mwa-banner 2 logos

FLC and MWA Florida Chapter have teamed up to create a unique opportunity for adult learners interested in creative writing.

Mystery and suspense stories can be great motivators to get students excited about reading and writing. A good mystery can provide a launching point for a rich discussion of literary concepts like chapters, story structure, central themes, making inferences, and more.

We invite you to share this wonderful opportunity with your students. Thanks to the generosity of the Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter, selected authors will receive cash prizes.

Visit our Writing Contest Page for more information.

St. Petersburg: A City for Art Lovers

Made up of five different arts districts, downtown St. Petersburg is a mecca of restaurants, boutiques, art, and music for all visitors to enjoy.  After your conference sessions are over for the day, enjoy the nightlife and the sights that are found throughout the downtown districts.

Central Arts District st. pete district - central arts

Encompassing the 300-700 blocks of Central Avenue, you can easily enjoy a full day getting to know the city’s art hub. Lovers of art will enjoy the murals and street art seen all over the district and foodies will find restaurants to rave about. Live music can be heard at the many restaurants that line the streets like Acropolis Green Taverna, La V, and Cycle Brewing. Some of the must-sees include the Morean Arts Center, Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop (which offers glassblowing demonstrations four times daily for a fee of $8.95), and the Florida CraftArt Gallery. For those of you who want a more hands-on approach, check out the Morean Glass Studio’s Glass Experiences for the chance to create your own piece of glass art.  Don’t forget to take the trolley for a fun experience or drive.

Grand Central District st. pete district - grand central

Formed in 2001, Grand Central District is recognized as a Florida Main Street Community. Their goal is to revitalize the community through an eclectic mix of historic preservation and economic development. Purchase some books at Haslam’s Book Store, the largest new & used book store in Florida. Don’t worry about being hungry after your conference sessions are over: with multiple cuisine options in Grand Central District like Casita Taqueria, Punky’s Bar&Grill, Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria, or (swah-rey), you’ll be sure to find something that pleases your taste buds.

The Edge District st. pete district - the edge

As another Florida Main Street Community, The Edge District claims its sense of vibrancy from its pubs, clubs, galleries, and restaurants. Stop by Green Bench Brewing Company and enjoy the tasting room, where you can try over 15 different varieties as you take in the uniqueness of the décor. Continue out into their Beer Garden where the landscaped seating and covered patio provide a great place to enjoy the lawn games, food trucks, and live music on the weekends. Explore The Edge District and take painting classes, visit boutiques, and discover hand-crafted beauty products and jewelry.

Warehouse Arts District st. pete district - warehouse

The Warehouse Arts District started as an industrial zone, and because of its large spaces, artists love using this area to complete larger-scale projects. Come visit the Duncan McClellan Gallery or the Train Station Center for Clay. If you’re looking for a great way to tour the district after your conference sessions, take advantage of the WADA (Warehouse Arts District Associations) Walks. With two Walks to choose from, these self-guided tours take you through a few of the Districts must-see places.

  • WADA Walk One takes you to the Duncan McClellan Gallery and St. Pete Hot Glass Workshop, Zen Glass Studio and Gallery, Charlie Parker Pottery, The Venture Compound, and Funktionhouse, Urban Lumber & Furnishings.
  • WADA Walk Two takes you along 22nd Street South to visit Carrie Jadus Fine and Portraiture, MGA Sculpture Studio, Dazzio Art Experience, Morean Center for Clay, The Clay Center of St. Petersburg, and From Mayan Hands/New World Imports.

Peruse the Where to Visit page for the list of WADA Walk addresses along with other galleries and studios not included in either Walk list.

Waterfront Arts District st. pete district - waterfront arts

Don’t miss out on exploring the Waterfront Arts District! This district boast numerous museums such as the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Chihuly Collection, and more. The Hilton Hotel where the conference is being held is also located in this district, so attendees won’t have far to travel to visit the sights that the Waterfront Arts District has to offer. Spend your free time enjoying the nightlife, visiting museums, or simply taking a walk or watching a movie.

No matter which districts you are able to visit, downtown St. Petersburg has beauty to offer at every turn.

Deadline Extended for Florida Health Literacy Grant Applications

Deadline Extended


Health Literacy Grant Applications

Due March 21st by 5:00 pm


Florida Blue Foundation and the Florida Literacy Coalition invite your proposals. Grants of up to $5,000 will be made to support the integration of health education in adult ESOL and family literacy programs.


Applicants must be nonprofit or government-based organizations providing adult ESOL, literacy and/or family literacy instruction in Florida. Services may be delivered via classes, small groups, or one-to-one tutoring.  

Click here for the application and guidelines. Proposals must be received by March 21, 2016 by 5:00 pm.  Awards will be made in May 2016. 


If you have any questions, please contact Catherine Hearing at 407-571-9948 ext. 209 or via email at HearingC@Floridaliteracy.org.

Florida Literacy Awards Deadline Extended!

The Florida Literacy Award nominations

has been extended to Thursday, March 10th.

Do you know someone who has done outstanding work in literacy?

Please consider nominating them for one of the following literacy awards. The process is simple and should not take more than a few minutes.

Award categories include:

(1) The Outstanding Business Partner Award

(2) Mary J Brogan Award

(3) Excellence in Education Award (which includes a $2,500 grant)

(4) Flight for Freedom Adult Learner Award (which is accompanied by two round trip tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines)

This provides a great opportunity to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have supported adult and family literacy.

The awards will be presented at the Florida Literacy Conference Closing General Session Luncheon on May 6 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront.


For more information, please go to the awards webpage.


We wish all nominees good luck and look forward to reading the submissions!



Sunken Gardens

Located about 10 minutes from the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront hotel where the 32nd  Annual Florida Literacy Coalition conference is being held, Sunken Gardens is a great and easy stop to unwind for a couple of hours.

The Gardens

Pay a visit to St. Petersburg’s historic Sunken Gardens. Over 100 years old, Sunken Gardens is St. Petersburg’s oldest living museum. These lush gardens cover four acres and are a treasured piece of the city.

sunken gardens Prepare to enter a place of tranquility once you step foot in this tropical paradise. Enjoy strolling among 50,000 plants (over 500 species) and relax with the sight and sounds of birds as you explore the winding paths. With a rock garden, waterfalls, and a wishing well, Sunken Gardens is a pleasurable activity for the off-hours during your conference stay.


Sunken Gardens was originally a lake that George Turner purchased, drained, and turned into a tropical garden so captivating that by the 1920’s, he was able to turn it into a business. Turner’s family continued the tradition for three generations until the city of St. Petersburg came together to purchase the garden as a way of continuing and honoring George Turner’s original vision.

Today, the Gardens are a cultural and educational center in St. Petersburg, offering workshops and weekly events for people of all ages to enjoy. Visit the Sunken Gardens’s website  for detailed information about events.


Hourssunken gardens map

Monday – Saturday 10 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday noon – 4:30 pm

Last admission is sold at 4pm daily.


  • $10 Adults
  • $8 Seniors (62+)
  • $4 Children (2-11)


St. Petersburg: Home of the 32nd Annual Florida Literacy Conference

Registration is in full swing for the 32nd Annual Florida Literacy Conference which will be held at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Hotel  from May 4th-6th. Be sure to register now to enjoy our early bird pricing.* With hotel amenities and the many attractions St. Petersburg has to offer, everyone is sure to have an enjoyable experience during their stay.


Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront • 333 1st St S • St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Conveniently located about 25 minutes from the Clearwater International Airport, the Hilton boasts plenty of amenities.  Daily parking will be available for $6. Guests of the conference can enjoy a discounted room rate of $116 available for stays anytime from May 2nd through 9th. This room offer is only available until April 11th. Reserve your room today!

The Hilton Bayfront is located in the center of many attractions. Keep reading for a brief overview of what St. Petersburg has to offer.

*valid until March 5th

Dali Museum

dali museumGo and experience the results of a collaboration turned friendship between two of the 20th century’s world-renowned artists: Salvador Dali and Walt Disney. Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination is an exhibit that displays the world shared by these two giants of imagination.* It will take you through paintings, story sketches, photographs, audio, and more that detail the friendship and professional relationship these two cultivated. Also be sure to explore the rest of the museum during this family friendly activity.

*runs January – June

Museum of Fine Arts

Florida-St-Petersburg-Museum-Fine-Arts-Front-FacadeLocated only half a mile from the hotel, the Contemplating Character Exhibit at the museum is just one of the exhibits that will be available for viewing at the Museum of Fine Arts. Go and explore the Neoclassicist, Romanticist, and Realist art styles of the 18th and 19th centuries in an exhibit that features 150 rare portrait drawings and oil sketches of artists, their loved ones, and famous figures. It even includes portraits of George Washington and author Oscar Wilde.


If you’re looking for a meal between your conference sessions or a nice drink to end the day, Tangerine restaurant and the Dali Bar are conveniently located in the hotel.  If you’re exploring the area around the hotel and get hungry, choose from multiple restaurants such as Gratzzi Italian Grille, Z Grille, Meze 119, or Crowley’s Downtown.

                Be sure to check back for future spotlights on attractions!


Engaged Families in Florida, Critical to Student Success

Commissioner's Blog


Bringing up the next generation of leaders is a responsibility that requires the assistance of the entire community. When families, communities and schools work together, students have a much greater chance at succeeding in school and throughout life.

Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed November Florida Family Engagement in Education Month, and the Florida Department of Education (DOE) is encouraging families to take this opportunity to become more active in their child’s school and extracurricular activities. By investing more time as a unit in their child’s life, families can have a significant impact on their child’s future. These children are Floridian students today, and with family involvement, they can be state and national leaders tomorrow.

To help families achieve this goal we have developed resources to help families get more engaged. FloridaStudents.org is a great source for families to find Florida Standards student tutorials and resources that will help students succeed…

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Why Plain Language is so Important to Health Literacy

Those involved in the health field spend many years educating themselves to learn the complex health related terminologies that are foreign to the average person. As a result, there is a large portion of the population who cannot comprehend what their doctors are telling them about their health. According to the U.S Department of Education, a little over sixty percent of the population can read instructions on a prescription label. This alarming statistic shows why health care professionals and educators need to be more conscientious when explaining health related matters to their patients. The importance of being health literate can be solved by having readily accessible information to health related matters so that the average person can understand and use to make informed decisions.

The Florida Literacy Coalition held a Health Literacy Summit last year which dealt with this same issue. Plain language is clear simplified wording that acts as an initiative that emphasizes the importance of using simple words that people can understand when communicating with patients. The importance of health care professionals communicating with their patients in plain language will ultimately help with the issue of doctor to patient miscommunication.  The benefits of health care professionals using plain language will increase the percentage of people who have an intermediate or proficient health literacy level and decrease the amount of people that have a basic health literacy level.

Table 1. Descriptions of Health Literacy

Health Literacy Level Task Examples Percentage
Proficient Using a table, calculate an employee’s share of health insurance costs for a year. 12%
Intermediate Read instructions on a prescription label, and determine what time a person can take the medication. 53%
Basic Read a pamphlet, and give two reasons a person with no symptoms should be tested for a disease. 21%
Below Basic Read a set of short instructions, and identify what is permissible to drink before a medical test. 14%

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy..

The following are ways to become more health literate:

  1. Improve Communication With Your Doctors:
  • Ask your health care professional to use familiar language and write down their information.
  • Ask questions if something is unclear. Ask for written information to take home.
  1. Take action in your community:
  • Attend health education programs around your area.
  • Request that local schools include health literacy in their adult education curriculum.


Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information. Available at: http://health.gov/communication/literacy/issuebrief/ (Accessed: 14 October 2015). Inline Citations: (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)

FLC Presents the Stair Climber Challenge, a Great Way to Celebrate Health Literacy Month

Tired of not exercising because of your busy work schedule? Bring your work out to work!

In honor of Health Literacy month we have started the Stair Climber Challenge. The SC Challenge is an office wide stair climbing competition. Incentives and prizes are distributed on a weekly and monthly basis to keep participants engaged. Building staircases and Stairmasters are acceptable stair climbing methods.

Start a Stair Climber Challenge in Your Office!

If you’d like to encourage your staff to keep a healthy and fit lifestyle by building exercise into their work-day, consider starting a SC Challenge in your office. You can view our rules below and tweak to better fit your organization’s needs.

Stair Climber Challenge FLC Official Rules

Stair Climber Challenge FLC Official Rules

Benefits of Taking the Stairs:

  • Taking the stairs can make a significant contribution to the 30 minutes of exercise we all need every day.Practice - Close up of young man running up the stairs
  • The 30 minutes of physical activity we need for our health can be accumulated one stair flight at a time, spread out at intervals throughout the day.
  • Physical activities like stair climbing are a great way to cope with job-related stress.
  • Climbing just two flights of stairs everyday could result in a loss of 6lbs per year. Six flights a day could help you trim nearly 18 lbs. (results will vary based on other lifestyle/personal factors).
  • Adding stairs to your day can add years to your life. Studies show that risk of cardiovascular disease and death is lower among those who are regular stair climbers.
  • Stair climbing can also add life to your years. Those who climb stairs on a daily basis have greater leg strength and aerobic capacity, allowing them to participate more fully in a wide range of daily activities.
  • Taking the stairs is often faster than waiting for an elevator during peak usage times. Take the test and time your trip. Often for trips of 7 floors or less, the stairs are the quickest way to your destination!
  • Using the stairs requires no special skill, equipment or clothing and it burns twice as many calories as walking. So step right up!
  • Stair climbing is a ‘green’ activity; the only energy source

Share Your Results

Join us on our Facebook page and share your Stair Climber stories. Showcase your accomplishments, weekly winners, or unique climbs that made your week!

We look forward to staying healthy with you!

October is Health Literacy Month!

Health Literacy Month was founded by Helen Osborne, M.Ed, OTR/L as a way to raise awareness for health literacy issues in 1999. This year’s theme is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” You learn more about current “heroes” and nominate your own by visiting Helen’s site.

The Importance of Health Literacy
The National Assessment of Adult Literacy has showed that nine out of ten adults do not have the skills necessary to maintain health and prevent disease. Adults with low levels of health literacy are much more likely to report poor health and less likely to have health insurance.1

Health illiteracy is a widespread issue in America. The effects of health illiteracy are felt on a personal, community-wide, and national level. It is estimated that low levels of health literacy costs the U.S. economy up to $236 billion each year.1 Raising health literacy levels is a goal of many organizations throughout the national.


Working for Change: What Is Being Done to Improve Health Literacy across the Nation
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services began its Healthy People 2020 campaign in 2010. Healthy People 2020 provides “science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans.”2 Healthy People 2020 strives not only to improve general health status of the U.S. population, but also focuses on disparities and inequality in access to healthcare.

In addition to the Healthy People campaign, community based organizations throughout the nation work to improve health literacy. The CDC currently lists organizations which are working to promote Health Literacy by state. These organizations’ goals must be in line with the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. You may learn about each program by clicking on the program name in the list.

The Florida Health Literacy Initiative
Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) is proud to partner with Florida Blue to make available targeted grants to promote health literacy. The goal is to provide health-education resources for local adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and family literacy programs so that students in these programs can make informed choices about their health and nutrition.

The FLC has also offers a range of health literacy publications. Our publications include the Staying Healthy and Staying Healthy for Beginners books which you can download for free in PDF format or order hardcopies by clicking here. Companion videos are also available.


health.gov. (n.d.). Health Literacy – Fact Sheet: Health Literacy Basics . Retrieved 10 01, 2015, from Health.Gov: http://health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/factsbasic.htm

healthypeople.gov. (n.d.). About Healthy People | Healthy People 2020. Retrieved 10 01, 2015, from HealthyPeople.gov: