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Libraries for Literacy. Bethany Terry, VITAL Coordinator False. Literacy rates are in decline Most learners in adult literacy programs start out as non-readers Adults use many strategies to conceal their lack of education

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Libraries for literacy

Libraries for Literacy

Bethany Terry, VITAL Coordinator

Fact or fiction


  • Literacy rates are in decline

  • Most learners in adult literacy programs start out as non-readers

  • Adults use many strategies to conceal their lack of education

  • Most adult literacy learners are dyslexic

  • Literacy problems affect 47% of the US population




Fact or Fiction?


Components of adult literacy

  • Reading – “functional literacy” is the level at which people have enough reading ability to function in their daily lives.

  • Writing – the ability to write whatever is necessary in clear and reasonably accurate prose

  • Math – the ability to perform the math operations needed for everyday life (do taxes, percentage for tip, balance checkbooks, make change)

  • ESL – the ability to read, write, speak and listen in the majority language

Components of Adult Literacy

Assemble a planning team

Some groups and individuals you might encourage to participate include:

  • Libraries

  • Local government

  • Social service providers

  • Schools and other educational programs

  • Law enforcement

  • Health providers and community health programs

  • Employers and other members of the business community

  • Labor unions

  • Representatives of community institutions, service organizations

Assemble a Planning Team

Assess the need

Explore a number of sources of information:

  • Census data and other statistical records.

  • School systems - dropout rates and numbers of students in special education and ESOL or bilingual programs.

  • Human service agencies and health providers - those unable to fill out forms, those who avoid or have obvious trouble coping with printed material, etc.

  • Community focus groups.

  • Key individuals and formal or informal groups rooted in the community.

  • A Quick Guide to Community Literacy Needs Assessment

  • National Assessment of Adult Literacy

Assess the Need

Make a plan
Make a Plan

VITAL Tutor Learner Agreement

VITAL Tutoring Report

Program management1

  • Board of Directors (Library based programs)

    • Legal and fiscal responsibility

    • Policy approval

  • Literacy Advisory Board

    • Responsible for program operations, including planning, fundraising, community outreach, etc

    • Policy development and recommendations

Program Management

Program management2

  • Literacy Coordinator & support staff are responsible for:

    • Learner outreach and recruitment

    • Assessing literacy skills Learner Inventory and Bader Report

    • Matching tutors and learners

    • Developing curriculum & resources VITAL Tutoring Resources

    • Evaluating and reporting progress

    • Volunteer recruitment, training and

Program Management

Program management3

Program Management