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Adult Education and Family Literacy Week – Agustin’s Story

(This week is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. It is a week to highlight the impact and importance of adult literacy not only on the students but on their families as well. Below is an inspiring story of one adult education student from the Tri-C Aspire program.)

Agustin Torres is a former Aspire (Tri-C GED® preparation class) student who received his Official GED® diploma in 2011.  He is enrolled in the  Tri-C Mandel Scholars Academy and will graduate in spring 2018.  He will transfer to Case Western Reserve in the fall to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Humanities.

His journey to this point in his life started when his probation officer referred him to Tri-C Aspire for GED® Preparation Classes.  He attended Mr. Elliot Huff’s (An Aspire instructor) class at U.S. District Courthouse.  Although his friends and family told him that education was a waste of time, he continued to work toward his goal.  His dedication and efforts paid off because Agustin was the first student to pass the Official GED® test from the U.S. District Court House class.  After he passed the Official GED® Test, he worked part time for the Aspire program.  Unfortunately, because of family illness, he moved back to Mexico for a year and a half.

When he returned Cleveland, he knew he wanted to accomplish more in life.  He contacted Mr. Huff to ask for advice.  Mr. Huff told him that without education you will not get far in life and encouraged him enroll at Tri-C.  Agustin says that those words affected him and he decided to enroll.  He started in the ESL program at Tri-C, and then college courses.  After trying different courses and programs, he applied for the Mandel Scholars Academy.  He was accepted into the academy and loves it.

Agustin was able to accomplish his goals thanks to wonderful mentors like Mr. Elliot Huff.  Additionally, the Tri-C TRIO program ( A program that identifies students who show potential for success and provides encouragement, support, and assistance) helped him very much.  His advice to students is “Do not give up. It doesn’t matter if it is million times, but keep trying”.

He plans are continue his studies, write a book and be a voice for the less fortunate.

Learn more about Tri-C’s Aspire program here. Also be sure to keep up with Tri-C on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

What Are Your Book Recommendations?

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 What books would you recommend for others to read? Do you have a favorite book or author? We asked the same questions on September 8th in celebration of International Literacy Day.

International Literacy is a day that was created by UNESCO (United Nation Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to raise awareness about the importance of literacy. For the last three years we here at The Literacy Cooperative, along with the Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library and WKYC have conducted a social media campaign to celebrate the day. Each year we ask Greater Clevelanders to participate by posting a reading selfie with a book around a certain theme.

This year’s the theme was, “Recommended Reads.” We asked everyone to snap a picture of themselves reading a book that they would recommend others to read and then post it to their social media accounts with #CLEReads2016 and #RecommendedReads. Throughout the day we got a number of great pictures and some great book recommendations.

Cleveland mayor, Mayor Frank Jackson, recommended Listening In, The Secret White House Recording of John F. Kennedy, by Caroline Kennedy and Ted Widmer. Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish recommended, It’s All About Who You Hire, How They Lead, by Marten Mandel. We had council members take part as well. Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland recommended, A Fortune-Teller Told Me, by Tiziana Terzani. Even Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Connie Shultz took part and recommended Dark Money, by Jane Mayer.

Everyone can use a new book to read or a new author to try. Take a look at the tables below for all the book recommendations from International Literacy Day. See if any spark your interest and add them to your bookshelf!

International Literacy Day was a great day to raise awareness about the crisis in adult literacy. However, one day is not enough do justice to this issue. Being a voice for literacy, early and adult, is something that needs to be done all year long.

This week (Sept. 26 – Oct 1st) is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. It is a week to raise awareness about the need and value of adult education and family literacy.

Instead of recommending a book to others this week, try to recommend articles, blogs, websites, and research papers that focus on the need for advancing literacy. This week would be a great time to read up on adult education and family literacy; to learn why it is being done, what needs to be done, and the impact it has on every part of the community.

COABE’s (Commission on Adult Basic Education) site has some great research reports detailing the impact of literacy on the economy. They have a great section on Adult Education and Family Literacy Week with a number of statistics to share through social media and in communication to elected officials.

ProLiteracy is another site we recommend for learning about the needs and movements in adult education. Their site has a number of great resources and a number of white papers ranging in topics from “Literacy and Women’s Health,” to a “Workplace Literacy Guide.” They also have a blog where they frequently post about the impact of literacy and even student success stories.

Of course The Literacy Cooperative is a great resource that assists the community in advocating and advancing literacy.  Our website includes articles and links to the latest information and research on the best and promising practices for early literacy and adult education initiatives.  Be sure to check out our website.

Do you have any articles or website you would recommend for others to read and learn more about the importance of adult education and family literacy? Be sure to leave a comment with your suggestions below.  And be sure to share your recommendations on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with #CLEReads2016.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

In America, there are 36 million adults who cannot read or write at the most basic level. More than 60 million adults lack the basic math skills necessary to work a cash register or understand a bus schedule. Unfortunately, the federal funds budgeted only reaches 1.5 million. Adult Education is an issue that needs to be focused on now.

Next week (September 26 – October 1) is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. It is a week to raise awareness about the need and value of adult education and family literacy. This is an opportunity to elevate adult education and family literacy nationwide with policymakers, the media and the community.

The effect that an increase in adult education can have on a community is clear. Adult education gives the low literate and those without basic math skills a chance to find a job, launch a career, educate their own children and live healthier lives. The funding for adult education is a great return on investment; for every dollar invested in those services, a community gets back $60 in decreased welfare costs, tax revenue, and economic activity. It is clear that an increased awareness about the overwhelmingly positive impact of adult education services is needed.

Adult education does not only help low-literate adult to succeed and improve their lives but it also helps their children, families and communities. Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading level themselves. They are more likely to get poor grades, display behavior problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years or drop out. By working to increase awareness about the importance of adult education we can put a stop to this cycle.

Communities tend to overlook low-literate adults because their focus is primarily on children. By showing the cascading effect low-literacy in adults has on children and in consequence the community, you help raise attention and prompt action. Showing your community the positive effect increased adult education has on children as well as adults you are able to show your community that supporting adult education is crucial to building a strong and resilient community.

Next week is your chance to get involved. There are a number of ways you can bring attention to this important issue. Do you work with adult learners who have stories of success that you think others need to hear? Do you work for an adult education services agency that has helped change a number of lives? If so this would be a perfect time to share your students’ stories or your agency’s story. Nothing helps spark action more than hearing first-hand how the services have helped someone change their lives.

You can share the stories with our local newspapers, radio stations or news outlets. Develop a pitch and send it out; reporters love to promote individual stories.

Get the attention of local and state officials. Next week you can work with your students on writing letters sharing their stories with their local and state representatives asking for them to ensure that adult education is one of their top priorities.  (Find out how to contact your officials and representatives here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials). These official’s see facts and figures all the time, putting a face and story to these numbers can help drive home the point of how important adult education is and how it can help citizens succeed and a community thrive.  More importantly, your students experience civic engagement and use their writing skills to help themselves and others.

Make our community aware of the issue at hand by writing an op-ed piece. Tell our community why adult education is important, explain how it effects not only adults but children as well, share stories and develop the case for why it needs increased resources and support. A well written piece can spark not only interest but action in the reader.

Another important way to participate in Adult Education and Family Literacy Week is by sharing facts and statistics. Many people are not aware of the issue and don’t understand why funding and resources are needed. Many don’t understand that low literacy skills are directly linked to inequality, high rates of unemployment, lower income and poor health or that adults from poorly educated families are 10 times more likely to have low skills. Most do not know that a mother’s reading level is the greatest determinant to her child’s academic success. COABE and ProLiteracy’s websites have a number of statistics that you can share via your social media or through an email fact sheet. People cannot help increase awareness and thus increase resources and support if they do not understand the problem. You can help enlighten your followers and raise your community’s consciousness about the issue.

Here are some sample tweets you could use next week, be sure to include #AEFLWeek:

Join us for #AEFLWeek (Sept. 26 – Oct. 1) and help raise awareness about the importance of adult education and family literacy.

            230 billion dollars a year in health costs is linked to low adult literacy #AEFLWeek

            36 million adults cannot read at the most basic level but federal funds only reach 1.5 million of these adults #AEFLWeek

Children of parents with low literacy have a 72% chance of being in the lowest reading level themselves #AEFLWeek.

            Literacy benefits adults: Higher salaries, better job opportunities, higher savings & improved working conditions. #AEFLWeek.

            435,000 Cuyahoga County adults read at or below a seventh grade level #AEFLWeek       

            2/3 of Cleveland children are not ready for kindergarten when they enter school. #AEFLWeek

            Neighborhoods like Hough, Central & Kinsman have functional illiteracy rates as high as 95% #AEFLWeek

Adult Education and Family Literacy Week is a week to raise awareness in order too leverage resources to support access to basic education for the millions of adults who need it. Next week is a chance for you to raise your voice and to help adult education get the attention and thus the support and resources it needs and deserves.

COABE and ProLiteracy’s websites have some great toolkits and resources to help you to make the most of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. Also be sure to use #AEFLWeek to connect with a number of agencies and supporters throughout the country and to see how others are celebrating this important week.