Overcoming Obstacles To Literacy
Tackling reading problems is tough enough for many adults. But even dedicated students can find that life sometimes gets in the way of learning.
Things such as transportation, health care, child care, vision problems or hearing issues can be real barriers for students according to Sister Janice Brown.
Patricia Morton is a familiar face at Dominican Literacy Center. she works with a one-on-one tutor and was on the verge of getting her GED. Then the alternator and power steering went out on her car. She told us, “I was at my wit’s end. I didn’t know how I was going to get this car fixed. It was almost $500 and $500 isn’t just laying around.”
A special program called “Pathways to Literacy” helps students overcome some of the obstacles that can get in the way of their success.
Susie Schechter, executive director of Reading Works, says,”What this allows our partner agencies to do is when they’ve identified a learner who is coming to their program who is committed and wants to improve their literacy, we will give agencies mini-grants for individual learners so they can take care of that obstacle and stay in the program.”
Patricia got three estimates for car repairs, submitted them to Sister Janice and she received the financial help to get her car fixed. She says, “Now I’m able to come and go here, come to the school without any problems — without worrying about whether my car’s going to stop on the freeway.”
This kind of program isn’t just great for learners, it also provides an opportunity for the rest of us to help without becoming a tutor. Schechter says, “If you’re a program or an agency that has a service that can potentially help one of our learners overcome a barrier, we’d love to partner with you.”
For instance, if you offer vision screenings and glasses and want to get involved, how about offering glasses at a reduced price. Sister Janice adds, “Making connections to possible employers is another way they can be helpful. We have a lot of people like Patricia who does a great job cooking. Making some sort of connection for people in culinary arts, that’s a huge one.”
It takes courage for students to reach out for help. But Reading Works and it’s partner agencies are there for them. They just have to take that first step.
If you could use help with reading just call 2-1-1 to be referred to a literacy agency.
To find out about ways you can help erase adult illiteracy, click here.