Adults come to us because they’ve identified that they lack the skills they need to reach their goals.English Langauge Learners (no longer called ESL) comprise about 75% of those we serve. Other 25% are native English speakers who, for one reason or another, did not do well in the public schools.
We offer a variety of ways to learn.ELL classes are held at times that do not conflict with the University’s and Mid-State Technical College’s classesLearners can be matched with trained volunteer tutors to receive 2 hours of individualized assistance each weekLearners can come to our Tutor/Learner Resource Center in downtown Stevens Point to use proven computer learning programs.
At one time we described our goals as helping parents read to their kids, or being able to talk to their child’s teacher.Now we emphasize that we are an Employment Development Agency. We build skills that help learners get jobs or better jobs.There is a direct correlation between a person’s literacy level and their income.When our learners earn more money we all win.Message to students about why our classes are free....Story of “Bill” Employers have also partnered with us, in our Rural Literacy Project... (next slide)
You might not think of literacy when you see this photo, but there definitely is a connection.
PCLC Rural Literacy Project began in August 2008 as a pilot program on the Feltz Family Farm in Stevens Point. Goal to pair English instruction for employees and Spanish instruction for farm owners to improve communication and employee self-sufficiency.At first students were unable to speak more than 20 words. Now read and comprehend short newspaper articles, children’s books and are more comfortable communicating outside of the workplace.Mastitis story....Story of germs, viruses, Swine Flu...
Based on the success in the pilot program, Paragon/Paramount Farm invited the PCLC to begin a similar program on site at the Russet Potato Exchange in Bancroft.38 Hispanics and 12 English speakers began. 30-35 consistent learners since January 2009.Increased empathy, sense of respect, willingness to try new laguage.“Communication is essential in not only everyday life, but to the success of a company. This program has helped us to bridge that gap, and for that we are grateful. Thank you for offering this program.” – Lori Patoka, Human Resources Assisant.Story of “say something in English”...Visit from Shawano County Literacy Council
For the past 2½ years I have worked with a group of Hmong elders who want to learn English and become US citizens.Some had never had the opportunity to attend school in their home country. Last fall I asked the students to write something in English. “I can’t remember anything.” “I don’t know what to/how to write.”Next class, posters and wrote on board: My name is Sarah. I am from the United States. I am American. I am a mother. I have two children. I have a daughter. My daughter is Lauren. I have a son. My son is Andy. I am a teacher. I have blue eyes. I have brown hair.”Eager to write. Project....each gave oral report.
Learning answers to 100 civics questions for citizenship test. “”What ocean is on the East Coast of the US?” “Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.” “Name one state that borders Canada.”Map with longitude and latitude lines.United Way and Sentry—globe in classroom.Why it is night time in Laos when daytime in Wisconsin, why it is warmer in places nearer the equator, how and why the seasons change, the moon cycle, etc.
People used to talk about “illiteracy” Thought of issue as can or cannot read and write.Instead, now recognize it is a spectrum of abilities.More proper to speak of “low literacy levels”Next topic really helps us to understand that we are somewhere on the spectrum, that we are not here to serve someone else who has a problem.
Health care is a hot topic these days. But this might surprise you.According to the American Medical Association, LITERACY LEVEL is the strongest predictor of a person’s health.Certainly a few of these are interrelated, most people unfamiliar with the topic of health literacy would not guess the correct answer.
90 million people in the United States, nearly half the population, have difficulty understanding and using health information. As a result, patients often take medicines on erratic schedules, miss follow-up appointments and do not understand instructions like, “take on an empty stomach.”
Filling out forms (ER no forms to fill out/all verbal)SignageRead charts on OTC meds (big difference between T. and t.)When stressed, revert to first language – ONCE daily can look like 11 daily in SpanishDrug information sheets, insurance forms, etc.
Thanks to a grant from the Saint Michael’s Foundation, PCLC has been incorporating health literacy components into its ELL classes and tutors have been trained to use this with learners.
Commercial about asking questions (many questions for waiter, but none for doctor)At an English class last fall a student announced that two married classmates were absent because one had problems with high blood pressure and had been in the hospital. All knew the words, but no one understood them.Why didn’t the pills he took make him better right away (they didn’t seem to work)? How do you catch high blood pressure?
Dr. John Vernon of the Department of Health Policy and Management researched the cost to the state of Wisconsin due to low health literacy. According to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAALS) only 12% of the surveyed adults were judged to have proficient health literacy. Individuals with limited health literacy reported poorer health and were less likely to use preventive care. (Nielsen-Bohlman, Panzer and Kindig, 2004)Individuals with low levels of health literacy were more likely to be hospitalized andhave bad disease outcomes. (Baker, et. al., 2002)Inpatient spending increased by approximately $993 for patients with limited health literacy (Howard, 2004)Adults with low literacy have average per capita medical expenditures that are approximately twice (196%) as much as the average cost for the entire population.Low-functional literacy may have been responsible for an additional $32 billion to $58 billion in healthcare spending in 2001. A substantial pat of these expenditures is financed by Medicaid and Medicare. (Friedland, 2002)Estimated anual cost of low health literacy to the U.S. Economy was $106 billion to $238 billion (Vernon et. al., 2007)1.6 million adults in Wisconsin have Basic or Below Basic Health Literacy.Cost to Portage County is more than $1,000 for every person in our county each year! 68,940,866 / 68,744
We may be fooled into thinking that literacy is not a big issue here—after all this is a university town, most of the people we know are well educated…2003 NAALS study: 7% of Portage County adults (age 16 years and older) lack basic prose literacy skills7% of 51,487 is 3,814. Seating capacity of Goerke Field is roughly $3,500 (because a few hundred stand at some events)Last year we served 160 adults—we’ve got a long way to go!
Tutor training every Monday evening in March. Held in spring and fall.
News and Views of the Portage County Literacy Council
News & Views<br />of the <br />February 2010<br />
Our mission: <br />To help Portage County adults develop basic math and English literacy skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency and community integration.<br />
Which is the strongest predictor of a person’s health?<br />Age<br />Race<br />Ethnicity<br />Income<br />Employment Status<br />Education Level<br />Literacy Level<br />
Health Literacy is…<br />“The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic information and services needed to make appropriate decisions regarding their health” <br /><ul><li>Institute of Medicine</li></li></ul><li>
“While English class may conjure up the memory of diagramming sentences or spelling bees for some of us, for our adult learners this spring it included strapping their teacher to a backboard and learning what happens when you call 911 as they simulated a car crash with volunteer EMT’s at the library…”<br />An excerpt from our June 2009 newsletter<br />
Refer a learner to the PCLC<br />Volunteer to be a tutor<br />Be a tutor recruiter<br />Purchase a Grandma’s Hmong New Year book<br />Support the local United Way<br />Volunteer for a committee or event<br />Become a fan of our Facebook Cause<br />Read our blog<br />Sign up for our newsletter<br />Make a secure donation online<br />How you can help<br />
For more information <br />Sarah Halstead, Executive Director<br />Portage County Literacy Council<br />1052 Main Street, Suite 104<br />Stevens Point, WI 54481<br />(715) 345-5341<br />email@example.com<br />pocolit.org<br />pocolit.wordpress.com<br />to view this slideshow, visit<br />Slideshare.net and search for <br />Sarah Halstead<br />