FLC’s New Women’s Health Curriculum Wins National Award

Women's Health

The Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) is proud to announce that its health literacy curriculum, Women’s Health: A Special Addition to Staying Healthy, received the 1st place award for Reads-Easy™ in the National Health Literacy Innovators contest.

The Health Literacy Innovators Awards, a national contest to reward organizations and individuals for their commitment to excellence in plain language and health literacy principles, is sponsored by Health Literacy Innovations, creator of health literacy resources and the Health Literacy Advisor, the nation’s first interactive health literacy software tool.

Women’s Health won the ReadsEasy™ Publication award, which emphasizes the use of plain English, proper graphics and a proven reading level of 6th grade or lower determined by industry assessments.

The Women’s Health curriculum covers topics including menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, breast and reproductive cancers, sexually transmitted infections and domestic abuse. The student guide is loaded with photographs, illustrations and easy-to-read charts; the teacher guide includes practice dialogs and enriching class activities.

FLC is truly honored by this award and shares it with the great team of people who developed the curriculum.  FLC hopes this award will help raise awareness about women’s health and the availability of this free resource.

That’s right – FREE!!  Women’s Health, and its sister publication, Coping With Stress, are special additions toStaying Healthy: An Enlish Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living. Staying Healthy is the core health literacy curriculum FLC developed in 2008 with support from the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education.

As some of you may know, Staying Healthy is the central component of FLC’s health literacy initiative which, through the support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, provides health-education resources for local adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and family literacy programs.

Florida adult ESOL programs can order FREE copies of Staying Healthy, the award-winning Women’s Health and Coping with Stress curricula from FLC by clicking here.  Each of these publications is also available as a PDF here.

Literacy Ambassador Program Highlights

Speeches, presentations and interviews, oh my!

The Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) recently held it’s annual Literacy Ambassador Program in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla.  During this 1.5-day training, adult learners participated in activities relevant to preparing speeches, presentations and interviews.  Now, Florida has 9 new Literacy Ambassadors that will be working hard to promote the importance of adult and family literacy!

Established Literacy Ambassadors Monica Nelson & Nelson Pino guided the adult learners through several lesson plans and tactics they can use to prepare for speaking engagements and media interviews.

Monica Baxley & Nelson Pino

Tammie Fields, WTSP Weekend Anchor

Tampa Bay’s Channel 10 TV anchor, Tammie Fields, visited the Ambassadors during their training and provided information on what it’s like to work with the media.  She also gave program representatives tips on gaining the attention of TV media professionals.  These tips included:

  • Send information to the media via email (using the “Contact Us” page of the website v. calling the newsroom)
  • Provide a hook – explain what makes your news/event important, timely and worth covering.  This can include an Ambassador’s peronal story/experience.
  • TV coverage requires video – it’s helpful if you have something (i.e. an event) that can be filmed or someone that is passionate about  your cause that can provide an interview with emotional appeal.  If going the interview route, offer to coordinate the interview for the reporter.

FLC couldn’t be more proud of the Literacy Ambassador class of 2010!  These students have accomplished amazing feats during their time in Central- and South Florida-based literacy and adult education programs.  We are excited these students are motivated to take on new leadership roles within their organizations and will be sharing their success stories, in their communities, to promote the adult literacy cause.

Literacy Ambassadors Class of 2010

Training Highlights from “Teaching with Cultural Differences in Mind: A Women’s Health Curriculum for Adult Learners”

Dr. Heide Castaneda

Dr. Heide Castañeda is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida, and many tutors, program managers, and health professionals were lucky to attend her virtual training: “Teaching with Cultural Differences in Mind: A Women’s Health Curriculum for Adult Learners.”

Below are some of the key points from the virtual training from Dr. Castañeda:

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions. Low health literacy skills, however, are not limited to those with cultural differences. Almost nine out of ten adults in the US may lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease!

My virtual training stressed the importance of cultural sensitivity in adult literacy classrooms. Cultural self-assessment is a vital component and by understanding your own cultural biases you can gauge the degree to which you effectively address the needs and preferences of culturally diverse groups—without this process, you may risk offending and/or confusing your adult learners.

Below are a few questions to ask yourself in order to heighten the awareness and sensitivity to the importance of cultural diversity.

Using this kind of “checklist” can improve your instruction in diverse classrooms:

  • I avoid imposing values that may conflict or be inconsistent with those of cultures or ethnic groups other than my own.
  • I understand that the perception of health, wellness, and preventative health services have different meanings to different cultural groups.
  • I screen books, movies, and other resources for negative cultural, ethnic, or racial stereotypes before using them.
  • I understand and accept that family is defined differently by different cultures (e.g. extended family, fictive kin, godparents).
  • I understand that age and life cycle factors must be considered in interaction with individuals and families.

Using the Women’s Health: A Special Addition to Staying Healthy curriculum, we then explored cultural differences in various health topics. Pregnancy and childbirth, for instance, are events of major significance that are heavily influenced by culture and tradition. For example, in the United States, birth is a highly medicalized process and many women value the use of technologies such as ultrasound and genetic testing, although this may not be the case for other cultures. In some cultures, women will even avoid even talking about the baby to avoid eliciting envy or bad luck.

Cultural differences extend into postpartum care, and in some traditions women are expected to stay secluded or confined to the home for a month after birth, avoid cold foods and washing their hair.  Cultural factors impact other dimensions of women’s lives, such as the intensity of menopausal symptoms, which has been shown to vary cross-culturally and between ethnic groups.

Cultural self-assessment should be an on-going process, going beyond the discussion of sensitive issues like pregnancy or menopause. We, as instructors, must be interested, open-minded, and respectful of all cultures and ask intellectually curious questions. We must not assume that members of a cultural group share the same beliefs, and we must be cognizant of our own cultural traditions in order to avoid passing judgment or suggesting that practices are harmful.

Did you miss the virtual training, and want to know more? Catch it in its entirety here.

Interested in ordering the Women’s Health curriculum? Check out the Florida Literacy website.

Health Literacy Partnerships Training Opportunity

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, the Florida Literacy Coalition‘s health literacy coordinator, Naomi Soto, will be at the Leon County Health Dept. in Tallahassee, facilitating a training for health literacy educators and health professionals about the power of partnerships in health literacy education.

Staying Healthy

The workshop will emphasize the importance of localized partnerships between libraries, community-based organizations and healthcare professionals.  The training will include an overview of the freely available Staying Healthy curriculum and its additions Women’s Health and Coping with Stress. The workshop will also highlight hands-on classroom activities and leave time for discussion and idea sharing. All participants will also receive a free copy of the Staying Healthy curriculum.

Two trainings will be offered (both trainings will cover the same information):

  1. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9
  2. 3-6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9

**Three CEUs will be offered for all nurses who attend! 

The Florida Department of Health Women’s Health Program will be giving away health materials for community-based organizations to use in their health literacy outreach efforts.  The materials offered will cover the following topics: Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Teen Health and Development, Parenting Skills, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health and more.  All items will be given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.

There is no cost to attend this training opportunity, but registration is required.  So tell all of your friends about it!

Training Venue: Leon County Health Dept., 872 W. Orange Ave., Tallahassee, FL  32304.

Have questions?  Call Naomi Soto at FLC – (407) 246-7110 ext. 209, or send her an email: soton@floridaltieracy.org. More information about FLC’s health literacy initiative is also available here.

This is a collaborative learning event brought to you by the Florida Literacy Coalition and the Florida Department of Health Women’s Health Program with space allowance from Leon County Health Department – Office if Minority Health.  This workshop was made possible through the generous support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.

Essays Wanted for the 7th Annual Adult Learner Essay Book

The Florida Adult and Family Literacy Resource Center is proud to announce the launch of the Annual Adult Learner Writing Campaign.  Students from throughout Florida are invited to submit original short stories, poems or autobiographical narratives to be included in a published book that will debut at the 2011 Florida Literacy Conference.

The purpose of this book is to allow adult learners the opportunity to build confidence while also improving their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.  Organizational representatives can also use this book as a way to promote the positive influence their program has within the community.

Adult learners and their tutors/teachers are encouraged to work together in writing, typing, editing, and submitting a written piece. We ask that completed essays be submitted along with the completed online form.

Submissions should be no longer than two pages (500 words). Space in the book is limited and entries will be edited for readability. Authors can choose to remain anonymous or have a short bio included with their submission.  Only one submission per adult learner is allowed. Each author who is included will be invited to the Florida Literacy Conference and will also receive a free copy of the book. Free copies of the book will also be made available to all literacy organizations.

So what are you waiting for?  Get started with some great writing resources & helpful websites listed here.  Last year’s  book, My Way, is available on the FLC website in PDF format and can also be used for reference.

Deadline for submissions: Friday, Feb. 25, 2011

If you have questions about this opportunity, please contact Quizaira Recio at the FLC office via phone, (407) 246-7110, ext. 201, or via email, recioq@floridaliteracy.org.

Happy writing!!

Tutor/Teacher Virtual Training, Oct. 21, Focuses on Teaching Women’s Health

Teachers and tutors working with adult learners may often encounter diverse cultural practices and concepts. That’s why FLC has decided to offer this training.  It will introduce anthropological approaches to health and culture and explore ways teachers and tutors can be aware of and work with differences within the context of a women’s health curriculum.

The Florida Literacy Coalition recently developed Women’s Health, a Special Addition to Staying Healthy. Curriculum topics include female reproductive changes, pregnancy, breastfeeding, breast and reproductive cancers, and domestic abuse. And, all participants will receive a free student guide upon completion of the training evaluation.

Fee: Free. Please share this opportunity with your fellow tutors and teachers.

You can participate from the comfort of your own home or office. All you need is a computer with speakers and Internet access.

How it works: We will send you a web address (URL) when you register.  Approximately 5-10 minutes before the workshop is scheduled to begin, you simply go to that URL, enter your full name, and click “Login” for the session.

Heide Castaneda, PhD, MPH

Presenter:  Heide Castañeda, PhD, MPH is a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida. Her primary research interests include immigrant and refugee health, social inequality and medicine, and health policy.

To register for this free training opportunity, click here.

Contact Naomi Soto, Health Literacy Coordinator, with any questions.  She can be reached via email: soton@floridaliteracy.org, or via phone: (407) 246-7110 ext. 209.

FLC Issues Call For Presenters

It’s that time again!!

The Florida Literacy Coalition is now accepting conference session proposals for the 27th Annual Florida Literacy Conference: Open Books Open Minds, which will be held May 4-6, 2011, at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary (in Lake Mary, Fla.).

This is the perfect opportunity to share your wisdom, techniques, research and promising practices in adult and family literacy with other professionals from across the state and beyond (we have teachers come from as far as Canada – cool, eh!?).

The deadline to submit your proposed session is Thursday, Dec. 16.  Proposed sessions will be selected based on the information you provide.  Since we try to offer new sessions each year, please note that if you have previously presented your proposed session, it should still be relevant, timely and updated with fresh material.

Submitting a proposal is easy!  Simply click here and fill out the online form.  Once you have submitted your proposal, you will be given the option to receive an email copy for your records.  *Remember: the information you provide (as it appears on the form) will be used in the final conference program.

FLC will confirm receipt of your proposal submission within 3 business days, and will provide final notification on the status of your proposed workshop by Friday, January 28, 2011.

Any questions regarding conference proposals can be sent to conference@floridaliteracy.org.

We thank you for your support, and your enthusiasm for professional development and continued education.  We are looking forward to another stellar conference and the advancement of adult education, literacy and family literacy throughout Florida.

Celebrate Adult and Family Literacy in Florida This Month!

September 8th is International Literacy Day, and Florida Governor Charlie Crist has again extended his support by signing a proclamation recognizing September as Florida Adult & Family Literacy Month.

The Florida Literacy Coalition is again partnering with the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Parks Service to recognize and celebrate this worthy cause.  However, we’ve added an extra element to the partnership this year – five regional community events to promote adult and family literacy.  These events will take place at state parks in the following cities:

  1. Tallahassee, Sept. 8 at Maclay Gardens.  For more information call: (850) 245-9670.
  2. Jacksonville, Sept. 11 & 12 at Talbot Island State Park
  3. Apopka, Sept. 11 at Wekiwa Springs State Park
  4. Sarasota, Sept. 11 at Oscar Scherer State Park
  5. Hobe Sound, Sept. 11 at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

These events are being organized by local planning committees comprised of area adult education and literacy programs, libraries, the parks and other community stakeholders.

Many of our literacy programs in areas other than those listed above are also celebrating Literacy Month!  Click on the links below to learn more about additional literacy celebrations throughout Florida!

We hope you will attend one of the events referenced above to help recognize the importance of adult and family literacy in Florida.  One in five Floridians is functionally illiterate.  This means they cannot read their mail, complete a job application or read a book to a child.  For more literacy stats, click here.

If you know of other Literacy Month celebrations, let us know about them in the comment section below.

ITT-Technical Institute Celebrates Writing Champions

This week FLC received a fantastic email from the literacy program at ITT Technical Institute – Miami.  We are so glad these amazing students are being recognized for their success.

The email below, from Ida Tomshinsky, the Learning Research Center Librarian at ITT-Tech, has been shared with her permission.

Dear Bryan,

On August 21st 2010, we had the 3rd Annual Tech Fest event.   The ITT Writing Champions Award Presentation was a part of this event. We ordered sashes for all three participants, invited their families, and presented the “My Way” essay books in front of a big crowd of our student-faculty body and their family members. All three students were from the Criminal Justice Program at ITT Tech Institute in Miami.

Please enjoy the pictures from the event. Lucia Ruiz on the first picture.

Lucia Ruiz

Diane M. Bazail on the second picture.

Diane M. Bazail

Diane, Ida Tomshinsky, the Librarian who coordinated this event, and Amilkar Borge on the third picture.

Diane, Ida Tomshinsky and Amilkar Borge

Amilkar Borge gives his speech in this picture.

Amilkar Borge

And finally, the crowd!!!

Thank you for being a part of our Literary event! 

My Way, the 2010 collection of essays from Florida’s adult learners is available in PDF format online or by order from FLC.

FLC sends congratulations and much applause to the Writing Champion award winners and wishes you all the best for future success!

If you have exciting things happening in your program, let FLC know about it on our Facebook page, or send us an email at info@floridaliteracy.org!

Dedicate 20 Minutes Each Day To Family Literacy

School has started again and the concerns for “summer slide” may be diminishing, but it’s important to keep families reading together each day.

As literacy tutors, teachers and administrators we eat, sleep and breathe reading, and we need to make sure the students and families in our programs are doing the same.

The rule of thumb is to read with your family for 20 minutes daily.  It’s a manageable amount of time for most families and it doesn’t have to be done in one sitting!  Sometimes it is helpful to break the reading up by book, for younger readers, or by chapter for older children.

Check out this quick benefit breakdown discussing The Power of 20 Minutes a Day if your students need some convincing.

Jennifer Perez, a Tampa-based teacher & tutor, has also generously shared one of her favorite family reading techniques with us – The Family Reading Bug – and has also adapted it for the classroom.  Additional family literacy resources can also be found on the FLC website!

Do you or your students have great ways of fitting 20 minutes of reading into every day?  If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.