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David Mazor started his "Reader to Reader" program by trying to determine which town in which state was the poorest; then he called up the school librarian there and offered free books. This was eight years ago, and according to the Christian Science Monitor, the program based on the campus of Amherst College is still going strong and benefiting thousands of students across the U.S.
The Bromley Times reports: Mr. Dodds said the star spoke very movingly to the audience in the O2 Arena in South-Easton London about her father, telling them he was the most intelligent man she knew but that he had never learnt to read.
He said: "She told us she decided when she had money that's what she wanted to do with it, make reading accessible for all. I am very passionate about that and have spent my whole career promoting the joys of reading. "I'm not sure people are aware of just how much she has done for literacy in the USA but her scheme is in 40 States and that's quite amazing" said Dodds.
Karen Schneider on why we’re passionate about “kids” learning & reading:
Reading — deeply, truly reading — is a wonderfully subversive act, one that undermines everything we are told about learning in this society. The world tells us that learning happens in boxes approved by government (school) and business (the commercial world). We are plopped in chairs for twelve or sixteen years and told how to think, and during that time and for the rest of our lives we are bathed in messages designed to shape our thoughts and actions.
Research into teachers' reading habits by the Centre for Literacy and Primary Education (CLPE) has found that many do not regularly read children's literature, and tend to choose books from a narrow band of authors.
The research was undertaken as part of the Power of Reading programme, which was launched by the CLPE in 2005 to increase children's and teachers' enjoyment of reading. The schools questioned for the research were among 300 that have been involved in the Power of Reading project.
At age 19, Yohannes Gebregeorgis borrowed a soft-cover romance novel entitled "Love Kitten" that changed his life forever. Born in rural Ethiopia to an illiterate cattle merchant who insisted upon his son's education, Gebregeorgis had seen a few books in school. But it was the experience of having a book of his own that sparked a lifelong commitment.
Today, at 56, Gebregeorgis is establishing libraries and literacy programs to connect Ethiopian children with books.
It's never too late.
This article from the Southern Illinoisian tells the inspiring story of Jerry Mezo who learned to read at age 61.
Mezo was one of ten honored in Springfield a Spotlight on Achievement award from Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and David Bennett, executive director of the Illinois Press Association.
The door to literacy opened late for Herrin resident Mezo; crossing that threshold, the impossible suddenly became so very possible. "When you can't read, you have to depend on everybody else. I was lucky to have gotten on at Maytag when I did because if I had to try to get a job like that now, I wouldn't make it. I couldn't fill out an application, couldn't take the tests. I was always afraid I would get caught," Mezo said. "But now that I can read, I've finally got some independence. I've got confidence that I never had. My life is a lot better. I don't have to hide anymore."
Even in this island paradise, it's important to make time for reading...and turn off the TV sometimes.
More than 250 parents and children crowded into Kualapu’u Elementary School’s cafeteria to participate in the final session of the Read Aloud Program (RAP) on Thursday. Jed Gaines, founder of Read Aloud America in Hawaii, hosted the event. This is RAP’s second year on Molokai; the program consisted of six sessions and has helped to improve the quality of family life in the community.
Claudette Ka’ahanui regularly attended RAP and said her children have started reading much more. “It’s unbelievable what this program has done for my kids,” she said.
Ka’ahanui said RAP has encouraged her to read to her children. “I never did,” she said, adding she often found herself too busy with work. “This has really brought me to realize that I need to make time. You have to fit it into your schedule, whether you’re working or not. It’s only to benefit the kids,” she said.
Another parent, Amethyst Tuisamatatele, brings seven of her children to RAP sessions. Tuisamatatele said she hardly went to the library, but because of RAP, she now pays a visit at least once a week. She said a big change in her family is the recent restriction of the television, which has resulted in her children finding more productive activities to participate in.
“Nice believe that by introducing citizens to the basic rules and institutional features of a democratic political system, through democratic managed community libraries, helps in building the people’s trust in the system.
“The community must democratically elect people who will oversee the library, and then they should come with a constitution which will regulate the operation of the library. If all these seemingly small things are properly followed, democracy becomes institutionalised at the grassroots,” says Chikafutwa.
The huge information campaign and an incentive program are casting American taxpayers up to $1.5 billion. And it's illuminating to put the government's $1.5 billion allocation in perspective. Consider: The proposed 2009 federal budget for adult basic and literacy education is $574.6 million. The Rural Development program has approved 85 loans totaling $1.68 billion since 2002 to help fund broadband infrastructure rollout in underserved areas. Is nationwide availability of speedy Wikipedia queries as important as delivering Ryan Seacrest digitally to your living room?
See Also: IMLS Budgets [PDF]