How Tech Helped a Blind Man Become a Lawyer and Judge: the Literacy Journey of Dana LaMon (Edited)
Disabilities Don’t Have to be a Barrier to Literacy
Blind people can read. Deaf people can hear. Dyslexics can decipher and understand words. Today’s technology has opened up a world of hope and possibilities for people with reading challenges. They no longer have to be labeled or cast aside as they were decades ago.
It’s a new day for literacy equity and justice. Literacy is available to all. Well, not quite. There’s still a lot of illiteracy in the world. But devices used to help people read have become more widespread. For example, the blind can read text with the OrcamMyEye device. Neosensory devices help the deaf and hard of hearing. Dyslexics can use assistive technology such as text-to-speech scanning pen.
The 2021 calendar of world disability days are too numerous to mention, but here are a few celebrations to note that enhance literacy.
*World Blind Day, October 5–Creating awareness about eye health
*Dyslexia Awareness Month, October—Creating awareness about reading disabilities in adults and children
*World Usability Day, November 11—Creating awareness about how designers can develop products for diversity and inclusion
Let’s all be kind and considerate of people who have challenges with reading. And if you can help, please do so.
Listen to this remarkable story about a blind man who become a lawyer and judge long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990. How did Dana LaMon overcome literacy barriers to achieve his dream?
First book store to open on San Antonio’s West Side cultural districtGuadalupe Cultural Arts Center launches its Latino Bookstore
SAN ANTONIO – A historic building on the city’s West Side got a major facelift to help preserve the Hispanic and Latino culture.
On Friday, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will debut its new book and gift shop featuring Latino artists and authors.
The new shop sits on the corner of Guadalupe and South Brazos Street inside the former Progresso Pharmacy. The iconic white and black building has been transformed into the Latino Bookstore.
“Given that we are a multidisciplinary center at the Guadalupe, and we like to cover the literary arts as well, I thought it would be important to have a hub of literary, academic and children’s offerings as well,” Christina Ballí said. Ballí is the executive director of the nonprofit.
Ballí said the project started five years ago and was made possible with bond funding from the City of San Antonio of more than $1 million. Now, they’re excited to finally open to the public and get the space activated.
“Unfortunately, we have low literacy rates. Of course, it’s a book desert, just like it’s a food desert sometimes, you know,” Ballí said. “It’s a resource desert in many ways (and) in many areas, but it’s not a cultural desert. This is a culturally-rich area. So, having a Latino specific bookstore here in this area will make it even more so more of a culturally-rich neighborhood.”
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will open on a small scale on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., followed by a book reading.
The book reading will be lead by authors Carmen Tafolla and Tomás Ybarra Fausto at 6:30 p.m.. The celebration will continue across the street at Plaza Guadalupe with the 30-year anniversary performance by Guadalupe Dance Company.
Comics Promote Literacy
Holy Cow! September 25 is National Comic Book Day
There is an increased acknowledgement in the teaching and library communities that comic books and graphic novels can be a great way to get kids (and people of all ages) to increase their literacy skills. There are comic books now for almost every genre and almost every audience. ---Malea Walker, the Library of Congress
Holy cow! Ms. Walker is right. I read a lot of comic books as a child, and I believe they not only entertained me but they also helped increase my vocabulary, critical thinking, and reading comprehension.
ProLiteracy gives five ways comic books help learners read better.
Adults with low level reading skills may find comic books less intimidating than books with lots of text.
2. Reading Comprehension--Cowabunga!
Comic book readers strengthen their reading comprehension skills by following the images and the text. The sequential artwork tells the story. Many of the details are missing in comics, so the reader must interpret the story.
This is what I liked most about comic books. All those speech bubbles! Yikes! The characters didn’t talk the way my friends and I talked. It was fun to see the language and expressions they used.
Comic books have the same story elements that novels do: setting, characters, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Many comic book characters use some pretty big words. The images give visual clues to what a word means.
Celebrate National Comic Book Day by revisiting your favorite comic or watch a movie based on your favorite comic book hero. Zooom!
Listen to Sidney Keys III, a St. Louis, Missouri African American teenager, tell how he became a real-life comic book literacy hero. OMG!
How Her Family Broke the Illiteracy Chain: The Literacy Journey of Devon Moody-Graham
A house full of books, a globe, history flashcards, and an example of entrepreneurship. These are the tools that gave Devon Moody-Graham a strong foundation in reading. She cannot imagine a world without literacy. Her determination to be a lifelong learner has influenced her six children. Her business clients have taken note and followed in her footsteps. In this video, Devon proves that leaders are readers.
In this video, the Penny Press Puzzle Lady, AKA Linda M. Mitchell, will be showing you how to solve a Pairs puzzle from the Penny Press Variety Puzzles magazine. Use two sets of the same two letters to solve the puzzle. Come on! Let's shake up our brains and test our word knowledge. You'll enjoy a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and achievement after you have solved the puzzle.
When Thokozani Mkhize was growing up in South Africa in the 1990s, she devoured storybooks from all over the world. She read Chinese myths and Greek legends. There were Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and “Goosebumps” novels.
The one thing she never read though were South African stories.
“At the time I wasn’t really thinking, why do none of these characters look like me?” she says. “But as I grew up, I realized there was a gap.”
The Five Pillars of Family Literacy are evidence-based statements about literacy that have been curated from a school principal, poverty expert, renowned reading expert, economists and a social mobility study. The Metro East Literacy Project activities are based on these pillars. Let's look at Pillar Five.
Children who grew up in a home with more than 500 books spent three years longer in school than children whose parents had only a few books. Also, a child whose parents have lots of books is nearly 20 percent more likely to finish college…Even a relatively small number of books can make a difference; a child whose family has 25 books will, on average, complete two more years of school than a child whose family is sadly book-less. --Research in Social Stratification and Mobility study (Elsevier)
I visited a lovely teen mom on one of my parent educator visits. She invited me upstairs to see a closet that was packed with designer baby clothes her friends had given her at the baby shower. Sadly, no one thought to give her books to read to her infant son. Books are the best gifts the baby could have received. The clothes sure were cute, but they would not help the baby's brain development like books would do. I made sure to give the mom baby books on my next visits.
Another time I visited two polar opposite homes of two-year-olds. One family had an entire living room wall lined with bookshelves from floor to ceiling. I noticed many different genres of books. They also had a low shelf of children's books their two-year-old daughter could reach. Across town, another family I visited did not have any books in the home. The only printed material I noticed was a cereal box. The young mom sat on the couch with her infant son on her lap. The grandmother, mom's two-year-old son, and her young adult brother were all gathered in the living room playing a video game. That day I witnessed two contrasting home literacy cultures. What might be the educational outcomes of these two-year-olds?
Simply having books in the home does not guarantee that a child will grow up to be successful in school and in life and gain social mobility. There are a plethora of other factors that influence life outcomes. But why not stack the odds in the family's favor by adding books to the home whenever and however possible? What does a family have to lose? Who knows what possibilities and potential will be unlocked when the parents not only read to the children but also read for themselves? If the research says having books in the home is beneficial, why not try it? It could be an empowering move that transforms the whole family culture.
Is the school to prison pipeline for real? It was for Milton Rucker. He wasn’t a good reader when he was a kid. He dropped out of high school and chose a life of crime. In this video, Milton talks about the consequences of choosing "criminal thinking" over school. But things changed for him as he embraced literacy in prison.
No one is marching in the streets to protest one of St. Louis’ biggest problems — even though the area’s crime rate, employee pool and health outcomes are all affected.
But it’s a hard truth: St. Louis schools struggle to teach kids, especially Black kids, to read. In some city schools, fewer than 10% of third-graders test proficient in reading.
But it’s not just schools in poor neighborhoods.
Literacy StatisticsCurated from www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html
According to the literacy fast facts from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), literacy is defined as "using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential."
"One measure of literacy is the percentage of adults who perform at four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. In each type of literacy, 13 percent of adults were at or above Proficient (indicating they possess the skills necessary to perform complex and challenging literacy activities) in 2003. Twenty-two percent of adults were Below Basic (indicating they possess no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills) in quantitative literacy, compared with 14 percent in prose literacy and 12 percent in document literacy."
Literacy statistics worldwide