After working with hundreds of students in improving literacy in Waukesha County, Wisconsin for the past twelve years, I am thrilled to work with a fabulous Board of Directors to elevate literacy to a whole new level!
When I often tell people what it is I do (Improving Literacy), many people often will say,
“Wow! I cannot imagine not being able to read.”
Reading is just a part of literacy. Literacy is much, much more.
I spent years recruiting, supporting, empowering and mentoring refugee, families, children, adults and English as a second language students. Many of these students can read, write or speak at an adequate level.
According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), people at an intermediate reading level (44 percent) can read “moderately challenging” information.
But can they perform at their highest potential? Do they know their highest potential?
Someone who is able to read moderately challenging information can still have literacy issues that prevents them from:
Passing an assessment to get into a technical college or occupational certificate program
Researching health-related information
Writing a persuasive letter to an employer, landlord or case manager
Organizing materials to study effectively
Students, at this level, may not feel they fit into other literacy programs, or they have taken all the classes in other programs and still have literacy goals to meet. Many have good jobs and don’t have time for classes or just need help with one aspect of literacy.
Literacy For All is about Redefining, Reshaping and Rethinking Literacy. We want to help people with unique literacy needs to provide people with advanced, competitive literacy skills. Of course, we will help people improve to basic literacy skills through one-on-one tutoring, but providing advanced literacy skills will be our niche.
There are many people who are literate, yet still may have some aspect about literacy which holds them back.
I am nearly done (I think) with my doctorate, have two masters degrees, am a published writer and type at nearly 80 words a minute. I would say I am literate.
When recently interviewing for a fundraising position, however, I showed my prospective employer my grant writing portfolio. She followed up with asking, “Can you do pivotal tables……?”
After googling pivotal tables in my car five minutes after the interview, I just groaned.
I just cannot get around not knowing Excel. It seems to be a requirement for every job.
Also, at my previous job, I had a new boss who wanted everything done in Excel. I often would avoid embarrassment by saying:
People who cannot read at all often use those same excuses I have made about using Excel. For me, my lack of literacy skills was (I mastered a bit of it!) being illiterate in Excel. Furthermore, I am hearing from others that my work performance and personal life will be so much easier if I know Excel. I, however, do not even know Excel enough to know how it can even help me.
I do not even know my fullest potential.
By Redefining, Reshaping and Rethinking literacy, we can help everyone improve their unique literacy skills to interpret, understand and comprehend information effectively in our communities.
No matter how many literacy organizations there are, there is always a need to improve literacy. When I recruited students at schools, food pantries and employment agencies in Waukesha County, the waiting list was flooded with people wanting to learn. I believe that one agency is not enough to meet this need. We will also serve students in the Milwaukee suburbs and other communities who need our services.
Therefore, by enthusiastically recruiting, empowering and working with new students in different communities, Literacy For All is here for everyone.