September 20 – 26 is Adult and Family Literacy Week. AEFL week is recognized by the U.S. Congress. You can view the Senate Resolution now.
Why Should We Raise Awareness of Adult and Family Literacy?
Consider the following statistics:
- According to ProLiteracy research, only 29% of adults over the age of 16 read at the eighth grade level1 and 36 million American adults cannot read well enough to fill out a job application. Low literacy rates are linked to poverty, unemployment, crime, and higher health care costs.
- The lastest NCHEMS Information Center Educational Attainment Survey shows that Florida has one of the highest dropout rates in the nation, with 87% percent of adults between the ages of 25 to 34 obtaining a high school diploma.
- A 2010 Study by the NIH showed that “a mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income.
Statistics like these mean that issues of adult and family literacy should remain a part of our national conversation. Special events like International Literacy Day and AEFL Week help to keep adult literacy issues at the forefront.
How Can I Promote AEFL Week?
NCL. (n.d.). National Coalition for Literacy – family Literacy facts. Retrieved 9 23, 2015, from National Coalition for Literacy: http://national-coalition-literacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/FamilyLiteracyFactSheetfromNCFL.pdf
ProLiteracy. (n.d.). ProLiteracy – The Crisis – Adult Literacy Facts. Retrieved 9 23, 2015, from http://www.proliteracy.org/the-crisis/adult-literacy-facts
Governor Rick Scott recently signed a proclamation recognizing September as Florida Adult and Family Literacy Month! Take advantage of this month to promote literacy in your community. See below for events and celebration ideas!
Great Ways to Participate:
- Florida State Parks is helping to promote literacy by creating a month of family friendly special events centered on reading. You can visit the Florida State Parks Events page to find an event near you.
- Help inspire prospective students and educators by sharing your literacy success stories with us so that we can share them with the community at large. Click here to submit.
- Become a literacy volunteer and help change lives. If you can read, you can help! Call us at our hotline for more information about volunteering in your community at 1 (800) 237-5113 or visit our Directory of Volunteer Opportunities to find a volunteering opportunity near you.
- Create your own event by making the most out of the ProLiteracy International Literacy Day Toolkit’s suggested activities guide.
- Browse teaching resources on the Teaching Resources sub-reddit or join a discussion in any of the education themed forums. For a list of relevant sub-reddits, please visit our page at Florida Literacy and see the sidebar on the right side of the page.
- Share this informative graphic by UNESCO with your community on social media.
Colt Creek State park is hosting a Literacy Day Celebration on September 13th.
Do your adult learners have school-age children? FLC advocates for the effective delivery of adult and family literacy resources. Why not inform parents early about information on the new Florida Standard Assessments Test? From FCAT to the Florida Standards Assessments, parents have been left with so many unanswered questions. The Florida Standards Assessments website and the Florida Department of Education website provide free resources and information about the test. Parents can let their children take practice tests as well as review the FSA quick guide. This guide will familiarize them with the functionality of the test. Before you know it, April 2015 will be here, so teachers, advocates, tutors, and counselors, share these resources with your students to help their families succeed in school. Click on the links below for information:
Please explore FLC’s newly-released books, Staying Healthy for Beginners and the Staying Healthy for Beginners Teacher’s Guide. We are always excited about helping students in the learning process as well as providing teachers with the most current curriculum. With this health care guide, students won’t feel intimated about the learning process. They will be engaged by Staying Healthy’s basic healthcare vocabulary lists, dialogues, reading and writing exercises. Teachers will be able to teach health literacy in the simplest format for students to understand. Click on the follow link for more information: http://floridaliteracy.org/health_literacy_curriculum.html
The word active will always be linked with boys. Roughness is in their nature. They can spend six hours at the park, go home and still want to play video games. Reading seems like it’s never a part of their agenda. My husband and I often say raising our son is the perfect remedy for losing weight. He never lets us sit down. Other parents have said to me that their sons are non-stop, they don’t listen, and it’s impossible to get them to read. My response is, “Boys operate differently than girls; it’s never too late and be patient with them.”
Boys will be boys but eventually they will turn into men. Our boys need our help. They need to know they are loved and as parents, it’s our job to be there for them. They don’t need to constantly hear us YELLING at them for every wrong thing they do. Boys get discourage and need reassurance that they can do anything they put their mind to.
We need to read to them as much as they need to read to us. How can we get our boys to read if they never see us pick up a book, magazine or anything that words are attached to? How do we expect for them to become fluent readers if we don’t lead by example? Family literacy is crucial in America. As parents, we should be accountable for our actions and if we’re struggling, then we need to ask for help so we can help our children. We need to make sure a cycle of non-readers doesn’t continue. I ask that you try different reading tactics to encourage reading. I had to write my own articles just to make it fun for my son to get excited. He started to read more because I was the author.
Our boys need positive role models whether it’s a man or a woman. If they have a loving environment at home, positive words and we are involved at their school, these types of images can set the tone for a successful reader and improve a struggling one. I have all the girl power in the world, but please: “Don’t Forget Our Boys!”
There have been literally hundreds of studies aimed at determining the best means of motivating students, and probably as many self-proclaimed motivational experts as there are motivated students. One of the foremost models for enhancing students’ motivation to learn is the ARCS Motivation Model, developed in 1979 at the Syracuse University School of Education by John M. Keller, Ph.D.. In his model, Keller describes the four primary requisites for motivation, which, when properly addressed, provide the essentials that motivate students – both K-12 students and adults – to learn:
Attention Factor – Before you can even begin to motivate a student, you have to get his or her attention and stimulate his or her curiosity. This is best accomplished by offering the student something unexpected. Some professors offer examples of seemingly unrelated phenomena or concepts, and then link them back to one another in a unique fashion. Others find it effective to break the academic ice by using humor to stimulate their students’ curiosity. Whatever means of stimulating the student is most natural to the instructor is the one that should be applied. Few things will turn a student off more quickly than an instructor who forces an approach that is clearly out of his or her element. It can often be useful to introduce a guest speaker whose presentation appears superficially to be at variance with the instructor’s lessons, then to demonstrate how the seeming incongruity is not a deviation from the regular lesson theme.
- Relevance Factor – Once the student’s curiosity is tweaked, the subsequent presentations must be shown to have some relevance to the student’s interests and goals. All but the most devoted mathematicians can clearly recall the frustration they felt in grade school when they were first instructed in trigonometry, and could see no feasible reason why they would ever need the knowledge they were supposed to be absorbing. The promise of future relevance appears empty when students cannot imagine how the subject at hand will benefit them in their future endeavors. It is generally best to challenge students to come up with original examples showing how lessons are applicable and relevant.
- Confidence Factor – Give each student a clearly-defined and achievable objective to strive for in the course of his or her studies, and they will be much more motivated to put forth greater effort; digging deeply into the material. To put it simply, the students need to feel that they are capable of winning if their appetites for knowledge are to be whetted. We’ve all had at least one instructor who seemed to structure lessons and examinations to ensure that students’ grades were less than stellar. This typically translates to arrogant egotism in the students’ minds, and serves to discourage them, rather than motivating them to learn.
- Satisfaction Factor – Provide students with opportunities to creatively apply their new-found knowledge, and give them honest feedback as to how well their efforts demonstrate their understanding. Honest feedback provides objective but compassionate evaluations of their work. You certainly don’t want to be overly critical of students’ efforts, but by the same token, you don’t want to heap false praise on what appears to be a half-hearted or mediocre effort. The “reward,” should be commensurate with the effort students put-forth.
We instructors are as human as our students, and can sometimes overlook the potential
Further information on the ARCS Motivational model is available on Dr. Keller’s Florida State University web page at http://mailer.fsu.edu/~jkeller/JohnsHome/index.htm .challenges they face grasping and processing information we are so intimately familiar with. Providing the proper motivation helps bridge the gap of understanding, prompting adult students to perform at higher levels.
This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes about free background check for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id: GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.
Hi FLC Team, My name is Sharifa and I am your new part-time assistant .
“It’s a coincidence that I am working for the Florida Literacy Coalition because I am always preaching to my son about how vital reading is to his success.”
Originally from Brooklyn New York City, I have been in Orlando for over twelve years. I received my Associate of Arts in Organizational Communication from Rollins College in 2006. I decided to take some time off to raise my son, Jayson, who is now eight years old. In January 2013 I returned to college to set a positive example and to keep current on my academic and professional skills. I am currently a junior and look forward to graduating in May 2015. I am thrilled to be working with the staff at the Florida Literacy Coalition. I look forward to gaining new skills and being an asset to the organization. Last but not least, on my spare time I write poetry and I am a freelance writer for the Rollins college newspaper “The Sandspur”. Oh and my pet peeve: People who give bad customer service.
Florida Blue and the Florida Literacy Coalition are pleased to continue the Florida Health Literacy Initiative, providing grants up to $5,000 to support health literacy in adult ESOL and family literacy programs.
Low health literacy costs between $106 to $236 billion a year in the form of longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, increased doctor visits, and increased medication, according to a recent report from the University of Connecticut. Adults with low literacy levels often fail to engage in early detection and preventive health care. They also have significant difficulties navigating the health care system and following their doctor’s treatment plans.
The Florida Health Literacy Initiative provides training, resources, and funding to assist Florida ESOL and family literacy programs to integrate health education into their instruction. The objective is to help students develop basic literacy and English language skills while gaining information to make informed choices regarding their health and nutrition.
Applicants must be nonprofit or government-based organizations providing adult ESOL and/or family literacy instruction in Florida. Services may be delivered via classes, small groups, and one-to-one tutoring.
Click here for the application and grant guidelines. Proposals must be received by March 4, 2014 by 5:00 pm.
Christian Lundy was the 2013 recipient of the Flight for Freedom Award. This award honors an adult student who has demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in improvement of literacy or leadership skills. Christian began his education knowing around 10 words and having little reading skills. He worked with a tutor to improve his vocabulary, reading skills, and boost his confidence. Christian is proud to say that by working hard to improve his education he is more confident, makes better decisions, and thinks better. He can see that he will be able to meet some of the goals he has set for himself and he knows that he will become a better person. Christian’s goal was to become more independent and in furthering his education he can that he is in fact becoming more independent.
Do you know someone doing great things in literacy? Recognize the noteworthy accomplishments of individuals and organizations supporting adult and family literacy by nominating them for the 2014 Florida Literacy Awards. Nominations are now being accepted. The deadline to submit a nomination is FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14th, 2014. To submit a nomination click here.
Zelda Rogers (Florida Department of Education), Christian Lundy (Marion County Literacy Council), and Alison Hoefler (Southwest Airlines)
In everyday life, reading seems to take part in one way or another, but just how much impact does reading have on a person? The answer is quite a bit. Reading allows a person to develop fully in more ways than one. To understand the true impact of literacy in our lives we have to look at some of what reading does in our development.
Newer studies seem to suggest that reading impacts the life of a person in ways that you cannot see. For example, reading helps in the increase of connections between the different portions of the brains. As a person reads the book, the left hemisphere of the brain comprehends the words, while the frontal lobe reasons through it. It allows for smoother processing within the brain and fluidity when faced with decisions on a day to day basis. It has also been shown that reading has an impact on motor skills. Motor skills are developed throughout life, but along with reading it may be easier to enhance them.
Reading is helpful in a variety of ways from physical to mental health, but it makes it so much more important to note that many in the world do not have the ability to read (about 26% according to UNESCO). The impact of being able to read is much greater than would be perceived initially. It may be repeated frequently that much of the world’s population does not have the ability to read, but realize that illiteracy is the root to many other problems that could be solved simply by learning to read.