This post is by Judy Lee of the Library of Congress.
The Library’s Literacy Awards Program recognized Literacy Achieves, Literacy Action, and Literacy Network in 2022 for their successful practices in advancing adult literacy in the United States. Representatives from each organization are featured guests in the next and final episode of the 2022-2023 Literacy Awards 5-part webinar series on April 20, 2023, from 3:00-4:30 PM EST. Register here!
What literacy skills are your adult learners focused on improving?
Literacy Achieves: Literacy Achieves was established to address the need for English literacy in Vickery Meadow, a low-income Dallas neighborhood with thousands of immigrants and refugees. Since our founding, we have expanded to two other Dallas neighborhoods of highest need.
Our innovative programs address English literacy (reading, writing, and pronunciation), childcare, school readiness, job attainment/advancement, transportation, accessing community resources (health, financial, and legal assistance), associated costs for services, and systemic inequities related to culture, race, and gender.
Literacy Action: At Literacy Action Inc, (LAI) most students enter our doors reading at a second to fifth-grade level, are unemployed or underemployed, and live below the poverty line. By enrolling in LAI’s classes, students receive education that meets them where they are, including adult basic education, high school equivalency prep, ESL, digital literacy, and more. LAI’s programs offer our students the chance to expand the possibilities for their futures, whether it’s further education, better jobs, or enhanced self-confidence.
Literacy Network: Literacy Network’s adult students are improving their literacy skills so they can start new career paths, connect to their community, or support their families. Our students work toward their goals in group classes and one-on-one tutoring programs. They increase their reading, writing, computer, and English language skills with tailored curricula and receive personalized advising support. We offer wraparound services to encourage persistence and mitigate participation barriers, all within a warm and supportive learning community.
Why is your literacy program important to the communities you serve?
Literacy Achieves: One of the primary causes of poverty is illiteracy. Our innovative approach is specifically designed to remove barriers to learning by providing convenient scheduling and locations, a concurrent children’s program to allow opportunities for parents to attend class, no cost for programming, and integrated student services led by a Licensed Master Social Worker. Literacy Achieves is the only local program offering this level of comprehensive services to immigrant and refugee families across Dallas.
Literacy Action: LAI builds better futures by teaching literacy, life, and work skills that empower adults to reach their potential and seeking to break intergenerational cycles of low literacy and poverty. Our students are 90% BIPOC, 70% women, and 50% have children under the age of eighteen at home. LAI’s programs are designed to ensure students can compete for good jobs, qualify for continuing education, support their child’s success in school, and improve quality of life.
Literacy Network: Adult education contributes to increased economic security, a deeper sense of community, and more stable lives. Literacy Network’s students share that our welcoming atmosphere and wraparound supports are important factors in their skill development. They get better jobs, support their children’s education, become citizens, and earn GEDs. One participant, whose goal is to read to his grandchildren, said: “Reading will open not only doors to things, but it opens up ideas in your own mind.”
A representative from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a 2021 Successful Practices Honoree recipient, will moderate this discussion.
The 2023 Literacy Awards application opened on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, and closed on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. The 2023 Literacy Awards winners will be announced on September 8, 2023.
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