Posted by admin on 12.12.2007 at 8:37 am
NCFL challenged its hometown, Louisville, KY, to become a leader in literacy. Sharon Darling’s letter to Louisville outlines literacy statistics in Jefferson County. She points out that 27.4% of the working age population has deficient literacy skills. 47,000 adults (25+ years) do not have high school diplomas, and 21% of families with young children have annual incomes below the poverty line. As the wealth of research regarding literacy has shown (thank you NCFL, for contributing so vastly to this collection), parents’ education and income level are the most consistent predictors of a child’s success in education.
A great first step toward improving your family’s literacy success is making reading, speaking, and writing with your children a fun family routine. Verizon and NCFL’s Thinkfinity provides a variety of resources for parents who want to make reading a family event. The NCFL magazine “Cultivating Readers” is available for download or purchase. This magazine provides tips and activity ideas for parents who want to raise children who love to read. The magazine has activities aimed at children aged birth – 2 years old, 3 – 5 years, 6 – 8 years.
This holiday season, help Better World Books support National Center for Family Literacy’s efforts to improve lives all over our country by shopping at BetterWorld!
Have your say » | Tagged Our Partners, Kentucky, Louisville, NCFL, Our Partners
Posted by admin on 12.05.2007 at 11:38 am
Verizon Communications is leading the way in the development of a new and honest image for America’s most successful and profitable companies. Corporate Social Responsibility Programs are starting to becom more and more common at the largest companies in the United States. Verizon Communications has really stood out in this movement by establishing the Verizon Foundation.
“The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education through its signature program Thinkfinity.org; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery. In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation’s Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation’s largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon’s inception in 2000.” – CNN.com
I applaud Verizon Wireless and the work of the Verizon Foundation. Currently, they are in the midst of a month-long book drive where they are collecting 200,000 books to benefit at risk communities, in all of their corporate offices throughout the country. These books and this book drive will have a real impact on at-need populations.
Corporate Social Responsibility is important. The real power to “get things done,” things like ending illiteracy, homelessness, poverty, hunger, illness…the real power lies in the heart of global economic forces. Good businesses, making good money, and doing good things, is the most effective way to address a problem. We realize that here at Better World Books and it is what motivates the hard work of all of our employees. Clearly it also motivates those working with us at Verizon Wireless.
Vote with your dollar. Sign up for a Verizon Wireless plan.
For more information on Verizon Wireless, the Verizon Foundation, and Corporate Social Responsibility, please visit the following websites:
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, corporate giving, NCFL, Our Partners, verizon
Posted by admin on 11.28.2007 at 3:00 pm
The National Center for Family Literacy and McDonald’s restaurants in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties in California partnered to distribute more than 12,000 age-appropriate books in honor of National Family Literacy Day. Yay, literacy (with fries on the side)! (Original Story)
Have your say » | Tagged Impact, Our Partners, Impact, McDonald's, NCFL, Our Partners
Posted by admin on 11.01.2007 at 11:14 am
Check out the latest update from the NCFL. Did you know that today, (besides being the Day of the Dead / All Saint’s Day) is National Family Literacy Day?
In honor of National Family Literacy Day on November 1, NCFL is undertaking a variety of activities designed to raise awareness about intergenerational learning among the general public and media. The results will further increase the understanding that literacy is the foundation for success in our families, schools and communities.
Here are just a few ways NCFL is celebrating:
A new, free, parent-friendly magazine called Cultivating Readers: Making Reading Active and Fun is being unveiled. Written by NCFL with funding from Houghton Mifflin, the magazine provides effective and easy strategies for promoting reading throughout a child’s early years. It includes activities for parents of children ages birth to two, three to five, and six to eight, plus tips on selecting age-appropriate books. Visit Cultivating Readers at the NCFL website for more information and to download this great resource, which will help parents nurture a lifelong love of reading in their children.
The company that has served billions and billions is now serving a steady diet of family literacy in Southern California. On November 1, NCFL will partner with 600 Southern California McDonald’s restaurants to bring parents and children together to learn and support each other to improve their reading, writing and thinking skills. Following a book reading, NCFL and McDonald’s will team up to distribute books to each family in attendance and provide parents with tips on ways to improve their family’s literacy skills. In addition, McDonald’s will feature family literacy on its tray liners and bag stuffers.
Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, will announce its support of NCFL and launch a new product, My Word Coach (for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems), in New York City on November 1. A nationwide online contest, the “Great American Word Challenge,” will pit city against city to measure their greatness not by the height of their skyscrapers but by the depth of their vocabularies. The city that gets the highest cumulative average score takes the title and the prize, which includes a Ubisoft donation of Nintendo DS units and My Word Coach games to local NCFL learning centers. Log on to Great American Word Challenge for additional details.
Posted by admin on 10.29.2007 at 10:10 am
The following is an official release from the NCFL in regards to our visit to the Santa Rosa school this summer:
In August, a team of eight Better World Books staff, along with NCFL Senior Director Emily Kirkpatrick, Development Specialist Andrea Peters, and Training Specialist Kim Jacobs, helped the Santa Rosa Family and Child Education (FACE) program get ready to welcome students for the new school year.
The FACE program, sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Education, offers educational services to American Indians on 39 reservations. Santa Rosa serves families on the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Arizona. NCFL has provided training and technical assistance to the FACE program since its inception in 1991. Better World Books was already familiar with the FACE program after donating thousands of books to all the sites last year. Many programs used those books for incentives, prizes, gifts, and to build classroom and school libraries.
This summer, Better World Books staff were ready to get their hands dirty—literally. They helped prepare the Santa Rosa dorm for students, mowed and raked, cleaned graffiti off playground equipment, set up computers, and distributed additional donated books. They also had an opportunity to observe the opening days of the program.“In addition to being able to really get to see and understand the FACE program in action and better appreciate NCFL’s role in helping to architect the program, we all had the chance to pitch in and help get the Santa Rosa School itself “in shape” for the opening day of school,” said Better World Books CEO David Murphy. “We were humbled by the experience.”
FACE staff were appreciative of everyone’s efforts. “Without the help of this team,” said Sister Val Beuke, the Santa Rosa FACE coordinator, “our room would never have been so perfectly ready for the little ones.”
Read more about the NCFL-Better World Books partnership.
Posted by admin on 10.22.2007 at 8:05 am
Below is the transcript of a speech by Sharon Darling, the President of the National Center for Family Literacy, at the Verizon Literacy Summit at Georgetown University.
This resulting podcast was originally broadcast on October 11, 2007 from 1:50pm – 2:15pm on the Verizon Foundation website.
Family – it provides the foundation for who we are and the inspiration for who we can be.
Parents pass along more than just eye color and other genetic traits to their children. They instill values and attitudes toward learning and education. Stronger literacy skills – across multiple generations – will benefit families, communities and the economy.
Family is the most fundamental unit in the world. Not only is it a reliable organizer in neighborhoods, communities, countries and cultures—it’s simply the most powerful force in the world. A family will make changes and tackle even the most daunting challenges because of the instinctual commitment family members have for the unit to survive and thrive.
We’re here today to talk about the drivers of literacy in our community. Using that analogy, the family is the pace car. It determines how fast and how far we go – and it has the power to unleash the possibilities that education provides.
Education begins with literacy. So to improve, refine and transform education, we must first begin with literacy – and the challenges low literacy presents. I believe that [the] barriers to literacy are a multigenerational problem that need a multigenerational solution.
Today, I will focus on three principles:
First, family is a fundamental driver of education. Consider these statistics:
• Students spend five times as much time in communities and with their families as they do at school;
• The greatest predictors of a child’s future success in school are the parents’ income and education – two factors that are inextricably linked;
• Children from professional families will hear 32 million more words by age four than children in welfare families; and
• Studies have found that during the school year, advantaged and disadvantaged children learn at about the same rate. But during the summer months when schools are closed, home and peer influences reassert themselves. At the end of the summer, advantaged children actually score higher on a standardized test than they did when the summer started, while disadvantaged children fall further behind.
Those statistics show it is clear that parents are not only a child’s first teacher, but also his or her most effective one. Yet that teaching relationship is threatened by the fact that 34 million U.S. adults struggle with reading and have such low literacy levels that reading a newspaper or filling out a job application is nearly impossible.
The cycle is then repeated in the next generation because parents who are not literate tend to have children who struggle academically and don’t achieve literacy proficiency in adulthood. Those adults aren’t prepared for a 20th century economy, much less ready to keep pace with the global competition of the 21st century or provide important guidance to their children.
Secondly, global forces are causing the composition of the American family and that of our world competitors to change. Many global populations are expanding while the American population is contracting — except for the immigrant population. We must educate all immigrant families to ensure the U.S. continues to be a player on a global basis.
In addition to the changing composition of the American family, we are impacted by our relationship with families across the world. For every 120 babies born in the U.S., almost 500 will be born in China and more than 700 will be born in India.
And it isn’t just the contrast in quantity that’s startling. In terms of brain power, the top 25 percent of China’s population in terms of I.Q. is greater than the total population of North America. In terms of output, the number of American 18- to 24-year-olds who receive science degrees has fallen to 17th in the world. The U.S. ranked 3rd three decades ago.
We must find a way not just to compete by today’s standards but to envision tomorrow’s possibilities so we can anticipate and prepare for them. That means equipping our new American family to compete with large and smart global families.
Third, we must recognize that addressing literacy cannot be a stagnant process. To effectively increase literacy levels in this country, our approach must reflect new innovations, the changing demographics of families and the priorities of a globally competitive nation. Albert Einstein said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
By the year 2010, the top 10 jobs that will be in demand didn’t even exist just three years ago. Tomorrow’s worker will have had 10 to 14 jobs by age 38. To prepare tomorrow’s workforce, we truly must institute lifelong learning. Success simply can’t be measured by what we know, but how quickly and easily we are able to learn.
To reverse the stubborn challenge of underachievement and low literacy in our families and communities, we must utilize the tenets and tactics of the new economy — research, innovation and technology.
Today, there is a second layer of skills that our daily routines depend on — whether we’re stopping at the ATM, using the U-Scan at the grocery store, pausing a program with our TiVo or leaving a voicemail. Just as we all need to be able to find information in the newspaper, we also need to be able to locate it online. Just as we need to be able to compose a letter, we need to be able to set up an e-mail account. Just as we need to be able to communicate, we need to be able to process enormous amounts of information.
Once again, the family will be our pace car. The nation cannot speed down the information highway if it is leaving families behind. We simply won’t get where we want to be -if we don’t place families out in the lead.
It’s easy to think that technology literacy starts with the generations of tomorrow. But today’s so-called digital natives are being prepared for the future by their parents, their teachers and their community leaders — many of whom are digital immigrants.
This is why [the] NCFL and Verizon have created the first national award to recognize programs that demystify technology for parents and bridge multigenerational learning through technology. The Tech Savvy Award is showcasing how technology applications can span both socio-economic gaps and age gaps. Because of this award, I can personally attest to the fact that there are many exciting examples of how families, schools and literacy programs are employing technology in our pace car.
But these pioneering approaches are not enough.
Today, we must all commit ourselves to approaching literacy not only in the context of — but also with a commitment to — seizing the power of new opportunities brought forth as a result of globalization and technology. Later in this Summit, we will be unveiling a new tool that leverages the power of technology to help programs institutionalize practices that are proven to bring about literacy achievement for students.
Households have power to drive literacy and education more than ever due to technology. The challenge before us is harnessing and tapping into the learning opportunities and styles within families and households, so they truly can compete and thrive in the global marketplace.
The American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler said: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
That has never been more true for the literacy field, as well as for those we serve.
Have your say » | Tagged Our Partners, NCFL, Our Partners, podcast, Sharon Darling, summit speech
Posted by admin on 10.03.2007 at 8:46 am
Join the most creative and progressive leaders working to integrate families, communities and education at the 17th Annual National Conference on Family Literacy: “Literacy Grows Families and Communities.”
The event, a signature activity of the National Center for Family Literacy, is the largest and most comprehensive conference for educators, community leaders, philanthropists and government officials dedicated to family literacy.
Session topics will highlight innovative approaches to helping families achieve their goals through literacy. Speakers will include Loriene Roy, American Library Association; David W. Murphy, Better World Books; Dorothy Kauffman, Center for Applied Linguistics; Peter DeBenedittis, author and consultant; Karen L. Mapp, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Faith Rogow, Insighters Educational Consulting; Christopher J. Lonigan, Florida State University; and Cristina Jose-Kampfner, Latino Health Access.
The Conference will be held March 29 –31, 2008, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Online registration is available now! Brochures will be mailed in October. Visit www.famlit.org/conference for details.
Have your say » | Tagged Our Partners, conferences, NCFL, Our Partners, partner updates
Posted by admin on 09.25.2007 at 9:12 am
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Santa Rosa School on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in the Sonoran Desert.
I was thoroughly impressed with the FACE program; it’s an innovative concept, bringing children and their guardians to the school together. Parents and Grandparents could work on projects in one classroom, ultimately working towards getting their GED, while the children would work and play in another classroom. All throughout the day, they had prearranged times for the children and their guardians to come together and the kids could immediately show what they were learning. This approach that promotes education and family togetherness at the same time seems destined for success, making it enjoyable for all to come to the school daily.
Posted by admin on 09.17.2007 at 1:56 pm
I’d like to weigh in briefly on the BWB trip to Santa Rosa School on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in the Sonoran Desert. As stated in some of the previous blog posts, The National Center for Family literacy organized this trip, and we were checking out one of their programs called FACE that stands for Family and Child Education.
I could tell you a lot of good information about FACE and the National Center for Family Literacy, or about this incredible woman Sister Val, but I think that’s been pretty well covered. I’d just like to touch briefly on what the trip meant for me…
The highlight for me was spending time in the first grade classroom and on the basketball court at recess. The kids on the reservation were so excited about learning, having fun and preserving their heritage. The Santa Rosa school has a big challenge that they are facing – kids are dropping out and joining gangs at a young age – however their staff puts forth an amazing effort to provide an excellent place for learning. One teacher, Coach, was the school’s IT guy, gym teacher, athletic coach taking them to games against reservation schools hundreds of miles a way. You could hear kids enthusiasm in shouting “Coach!” just as they passed him in the hall. I am grateful for people like Coach and Sister Val.
I think that it is pretty awesome that an organization like Better World Books would undertake offering employees a program/benefit that would subsidize sending them to visit the literacy programs that we are all working so hard to support. It makes perfect sense, get employees together to visit a location and get energized about our mission. As an added benefit, employees get to know each other better and become a stronger team.
Thank you to Santa Rosa School! Although technically we were the volunteers, I think that BWB employees got the most out of being there and learning about the school, FACE, and Tohono O’odham culture.
And Coach – let me know if you need some help teaching basketball to the kids…
Posted by admin on 09.13.2007 at 9:03 am
What an excellent trip! I’d never been to the Southwest before; I’d never seen any of the American deserts, or cacti growing like oak trees, or rattlesnakes (I still haven’t seen a rattlesnake) and it was all beautiful. Arizona is neat!
When we arrived at Santa Rosa Boarding School Tuesday morning, none of us had much of an idea of the sort of work we’d be doing. With students arriving the following day, we were just in time for the hustle and bustle of classroom set-up and campus preparation! We gathered in Sister Val’s room to delegate tasks and although I’m certainly not computer savvy, I somehow volunteered to set up classroom computers. Geoff and I started in Mrs. Roger’s room with a jumble of cords and computer parts and set to it. It wasn’t terribly long before another teacher stepped in to see if we could do hers as well! Only months earlier it had taken me the same amount of time to assemble my single desktop that it took us to assemble ten that day.
The downside of assembling computers is you have to play inside, and who wants that when outside looms an amazing desert sun and the possibility of critter sightings? With that in mind, Tuesday night I decided that each possible moment on Wednesday would be spent outside. So naturally on Wednesday morning when Sister Val asked what we wanted to do and “play outside!” was my eager response.
Damara and I set to work picking up the early childhood playground and were disappointed to see graffiti painted on the equipment. We went to the office to ask if they had anything to clean it with and they sent us back out with an aerosol can of paint thinner and disposable sheets that are stored and removed like diaper wipes, but are covered with paint thinner — AMAZING.
Once we set to it we saw little progress, which just fueled our need to remove it entirely. We scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. Eventually, Sarah Lynne came out to join us and we scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed. After lunch Damara and I returned for more hours of scrubbing. Hot, sweaty, tired, and SICK of scrubbing Damara sighed, “I wonder what would happen if I threw some of my water on it.” *Splash.* “OMIGOODNESS!!” we yelped as the graffiti dripped away. We were able to clear everything we’d been scrubbing away at for hours in only a half-hour! Knowing the trick, I wandered through the rest of the playground to find all those sneaky places we wrote bad words when we were kids.
Thank you, Santa Rosa Boarding School and NCFL for this great opportunity. We had a wonderful time!
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