I’m re-registered as a volunteer for the Fresno Library’s Literacy Program. To be registered requires that I take an 8 hour class – which I completed today.
The class was great – the amount of available materials for students and tutors is awesome. This isn’t the “See Jane run” books of my (distant) past – this material is all geared for adult learners. It teaches without talking down.
I first got the idea to volunteer for the literacy program when I read an article about first time college students being unprepared for college. (“Sold Short” May 10, 2002, CSUF Collegian) According to that article, in 2002 84% of the entry level students failed math at a college entrance level, and 48% failed English at an entry level.
You would think that most students that failed might have been English as a Second Language kids – but 75% are native English speakers. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, most illiterate speakers dropped out of school before completing High School.
Of course, the prison population has the lowest literacy rate – more than half are functionally illiterate.
The definition of literacy has changed a bit from what I was taught 20 years ago. Besides reading, writing and speaking functional literacy now includes basic ability in math, computers and multimedia. As my literacy instructor said, the bar for literacy is continually increased.
Now I get to wait a week or three as the library system matches me to a student. I’m looking forward to it. It always makes my problems seem less when I’m helping others.