"My experience at the Literacy Council has been really good because I found nice people that make me feel important. They took the time to explain things to me carefully, slowly, and with respect.” - Maria
R&B singer Dee Dee Sharp and multi-award winning recording artist David L. Cook presented Story Time for Children at the Literacy Council on August 30, 2014. Each read stories to students' children. In partnership with Union County Public Library, the Literacy Council has offered a series of summer classes for mothers and their school-aged children since 2010. Story Time for Children, sponsored by the Artists Music Guild (AMG), continued our new initiative to provide more family literacy activities.
Ms. Sharp performed November 15 at the AMG Heritage Awards Music Awards. The AMG honored the Council with service award nominations in the categories of Education and Humanities.
Education programs that help people move beyond low literacy are important for national workforce readiness, as well as for individuals’ ability to get and keep jobs that pay sustaining wages. (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)
Addressing workforce development in Union County, the Literacy Council has sometimes partnered with businesses to offer tutoring to employees on the work site. In academic year 2013-2014, such a partnership began with Wingate University. Two tutors each teach about six students a week. This technique engages students in dialogue, helps build confidence, and supports a shared sense of community.
At Wingate, the students are learning English as a second language. "Wingate University is grateful for the fine work of our Hispanic employees. We feel that learning to communicate in English will make their lives better in many ways. We appreciate the fine work that the Literacy Council continues to provide to our region." - Dr. Jerry McGee, President, Wingate University
In FY2013-2014, a volunteer started an ongoing small group that meets weekly at the library in Monroe to practice computer skills. Focusing on additional technology-based initiatives for workforce development, other tutors and staff:
At Brown Creek Correctional Institution in Polkton (Anson County) in 2013-2014, we facilitated one-on-one literacy instruction. The program is funded by private donations. Thirteen inmates trained as tutors taught 24 inmates. Through this program, inmates acquire reading and writing skills that will help them return to civic life.
Our fourth Summer Literacy series welcomed 17 mothers and 30 children in Summer 2014. Teaming with Union County Public Library staff, our ESL staff showed parents how to read to their school-age children. Due to the enjoyment and attendance of this project and students’ goals to help their children with homework, we are expanding curriculum to include more instruction suited for parents and children learning together.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our community and expand individual potential by teaching adults and families to read, write, speak, and understand the English language.
The Council equips beginner reader adults to become the parents, workers, and community members that they aspire to be through improved literacy. In 2013-2014:
Our 2013-2014 Annual Report provides more information about our service to 198 adults who received 17,120.75 hours of free, basic literacy instruction. Thank you for your donations of time and resources!
In the (most recent) 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 11% of Union County’s then 106,416 population scored Below Basic in prose or could not be tested due to language barriers (US Dept of Ed). In Monroe, 12% of adults 25 years or older held less than a 9th grade education (2010 US Census). Most of our ESL students did not complete high school. Of the Adult Basic Education students who entered our program in FY2011-2012, 80% pre-tested at 0-3rd grade.
Latinos continue to be the fastest growing population segment. The number of school age Latino children in Union County grew 46% from 2005 to 2008. In Monroe schools, Latinos are the largest segment of students and account for 47% of the enrollment (United Way of Central Carolinas).