In our rapidly changing world, literacy skills are needed now more than ever. Through
the State Library’s Literacy Office, we are able to support those adults and families
who want to improve their literacy skills. In this issue, you will see the positive impact
that our adult literacy program has had in communities across Illinois. You will meet an
adult learner who serves on ProLiteracy’s World Wide Student Advisory Council, which
raises awareness of the need for volunteer literacy internationally. You also will read
about the exciting and widely varying projects that took place through the Penny
Severns Summer Family Literacy Program last summer.
WINTER Literacy skills are crucial in order to be successful in today’s society. The programs highlighted in this issue
2010 are representative of our continued commitment to improving literacy in the state and supporting Illinois cit-
izens as they pave the way to a lifetime of growing and learning.
Secretary of State & State Librarian
Adult Education and Economic Growth Act
The Adult Education and Economic Growth Act guage proficiency to the achievement of a level of
(AEEGA) was formally introduced in the U.S. proficiency that will enable the adult learner to
House of Representatives in July 2009. A com- successfully transition to family-sustaining jobs in
panion bill also was introduced in the Senate. careers with the promise of advancement.
Both bills have been in development over the past
3) To develop an adult education, literacy, and
year and can be viewed online at www.thomas.gov
work skills system that coordinates and integrates
(search by keyword, bill number or author).
adult education, literacy, and workforce skills
The House bill is available as L-1 from the Links services with workforce development and post-
page of the Council for Advancement of Adult secondary education and training opportunities
Literacy’s Web site at www.caalusa.org. The across agencies and programs.
sponsors’ lay-language summary of the bill’s key 4) To greatly improve outcomes for adults receiv-
provisions and intent are incorporated. L-2 and L-3 ing adult education, literacy, and workplace skills
are the news releases issued by the House and services in terms of learning gains, acquisition of
Senate sponsors, respectively. L-4 is the Senate basic workforce skills, accelerated learning,
version of the Act. acquisition of a high school diploma or its equiva-
The Adult Education and Economic Growth Act is lent, or successful transition to postsecondary
based significantly on the recommendations of education or training or to family-sustaining
Reach Higher, America, the National Commission jobs in the workplace.
on Adult Literacy’s final report. If enacted, the
AEEGA will put the nation on the path to the kind
of coherent, connected system of adult education
and workforce skills essential for meeting
America’s 21st-century needs. The AEEG Act
states its four broad purposes as follows:
1) To increase access substantially to adult educa-
tion, literacy, and workplace skills services for
adults who have limited basic skills, lack a high
school diploma or its equivalent, or are limited
2) To create seamless pathways from adult educa-
tion and occupational skills development to post-
Jesse White secondary education or training and workforce Two brothers involved in the Penny Severns Summer
Reading Program at the Mississippi Valley Library District
Secretary of State development programs and services that help enjoy their first visit to the Collinsville Memorial Public
adult learners persist throughout the pipeline from Library. See pages 2-3 for more highlights from the 2009
& State Librarian the lowest levels of basic literacy or English lan- Penny Severns program.
2009 Penny Severns Summer Program highlights
ILLINOIS LITERACY WINTER 2010 The Literacy Office awarded 54 Penny Severns Summer Family Literacy
Program grants totaling $249,998 for summer 2009. The program pro-
motes learning during the summer months when parents and children
can learn together in a variety of educational activities. Last summer’s
projects served 1,764 adults and 3,609 children. Following are high-
Common Place, Peoria
The theme was “Get Wild About Reading! Africa!” Families read books
about the people, traditions, folktales and history of Africa.
Participants enjoyed guest speakers, storytellers, music and a Bradley
University professor who shared her experiences living in Africa. The Common Place families learned about exotic animals
Peoria Zoomobile visited with exotic animals. from the Peoria Zoomobile.
Christopher House, Chicago
The “Around Chicago, Around the World” adventure focused on local
farming culture. Families read the book Market Days and made col-
lages with their favorite fruits and vegetables. They made drawings of
all the food they saw at the local farmers market, and helped tend the
community garden across the street from Christopher House.
Pui Tak Center, Chicago
Baking workshops allowed families to read recipes and use their imag-
ination in making different kinds of cookies and dumplings. For many of
the parents, this was the first time they had made food with their chil- Families from Christopher House helped tend the com-
dren. Throughout the summer, the parents learned to be positive, munity garden.
patient and encouraging to their children.
Asian Human Services, Chicago
Growing a children’s vegetable garden was especially meaningful to
children in an urban environment. A garden journal was kept and art
projects relating to the garden were created, including a mural illus-
trating the garden’s growth.
ROE, DeWitt-Livingston-McLean, Normal
Families visited the Sugar Grove Nature Center for the first time.
Before the trip, families learned about wild animals and read Where A dad and his daughters make a “spider” using Oreo
the Wild Things Are. Parents and children enjoyed time in Imagination cookies at Pui Tak Center.
Grove where they could climb into a fort or ride the Zip-line. Families
were surprised to learn about this free educational center close to
home, and many plan to return.
Township High School Dist. 214 Community Education,
Parents looked at nutrition Web sites to create a “Healthy Recipes”
cookbook, and typed the ingredients and directions to their favorite
recipes into a Microsoft Word template. The older children conducted
science experiments using water, cola and eggs to show how food
stains teeth. They presented their findings to the younger children Children water the garden they created at Asian Human
while stressing the importance of brushing their teeth. Services.
Meet the Literacy Office staff
Secretary of State Jesse White met with Literacy
Office staff recently on programs and initiatives of
the office. Pictured with Secretary White are: (left
to right) Diane Manning, Spotlight Awards organ-
izer, newsletter coordinator and Workplace Skills
grant program assistant; Cyndy Colletti, Literacy
Program manager and monitor; Jo Anne Hughes,
Network Notes coordinator and Adult Volunteer
and Family Literacy grant programs assistant;
Beth Paoli, Resource Bins and Online Tutor
Training organizer, and Family Literacy program
contact/monitor; and Mark Shaffer, Workplace
Skills grant program contact/monitor.
Right is Dorothy Whitney,
Chicago literacy liaison
and literacy program con-
Adult learner appointed to ProLiteracy Council
Ben Bickerstaff, an adult learner from Galesburg, and with determination and hard work he eventually
Carl Sandburg College Literacy Coalition, obtained both his GED and a welding certificate. Last year, he was
has been appointed to the ProLiteracy awarded the highest annual raise ever by his new employer.
World Wide Student Advisory Council.
The primary purpose of the council is to Ben has received numerous awards for his achievements as an
give advice, input and a student voice in adult learner. He participates in several committees, including the
the work of the organization. Currently, Carl Sandburg Adult Education Student Advisory Council and New
there is a strong focus on advocacy and Readers for New Life of Illinois. He has taken part in literacy
public policy, and council members have awareness initiatives such as videos for the United Way of Knox
Ben Bickerstaff a significant role to play in this work. County campaign. He also has completed basic volunteer tutor
training and speaks to new volunteers on a regular basis.
Ben lost his job 10 years ago when the company where he worked
for 22 years moved to Venezuela. He knew that his low reading For more information on ProLiteracy, visit http://www.proliteracy.
skills and lack of a high school diploma would make finding a new org/.
job difficult. Ben sought help at Carl Sandburg College in
2009 Penny Severns Summer Program highlights (continued)
World Relief, Chicago
Families and their extended family members gathered for an intergenerational bookmaking project. The
books allowed participants to express themselves by choosing a printed word and dictionary definition
for each page and then creating designs that represented that word.
Kewanee Public Library
Families created a memory book documenting what they did during the summer program. A picture of a
tree without leaves was on the cover. The title of each book they read at school or at home was written
on a leaf and glued on the bare branches. A science project titled “Exploring Your Health” had parents
and children trace their bodies on a large piece of paper and then draw a diagram of the digestive sys-
tem on the picture. The book Young Explorers Human Body was given away.
World Relief families made an inter- For more information or to apply for grants, visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com (click Programs
generational book. then Literacy).
Libraries partner with February 26-27 — Illinois Teachers of English to Speakers of
Other Languages, Bilingual Education Convention, Naperville,
literacy programs www.itbe.org.
Final reports completed by FY09 Adult Volunteer Literacy
March 15-19 — COABE, ProLiteracy and IACEA Joint
projects funded by the Secretary of State reveal the variety
Conference, Chicago, www.iacea.net.
ON THE HORIZON
of ways in which libraries partner with literacy programs:
• 66% of all Illinois public libraries participate in Adult
Volunteer Literacy programs. March 24-27 — Teachers of English to Speakers of Other
• 597 (83%) public libraries offer the library as a tutoring Languages Annual Convention, Boston, MA, www.tesol.org.
• 566 (79%) public libraries refer prospective students April 11-13 — National Family Literacy Conference, San
and volunteer tutors to literacy programs. Antonio, Texas, www.famlit.org.
• 448 (62%) public libraries provide tours and orientation.
• 300 (42%) public libraries help advertise the literacy April 11-17 — National Library Week, www.ala.org.
• 232 (32%) public libraries house a high-interest/low- April 17 — Third annual “Celebrating Volunteers” event.
vocabulary reading collection. Contact Sherry Woodward at Waubonsee Community College,
• 124 (17%) public libraries donate a high-interest/low- 630-801-7900, ext. 4106.
vocabulary reading collection.
April 18-24 — National Volunteer Week, www.handson
About 20 percent of preschool-aged children live
in poverty and come from families where the
parent with the highest education has less than April 25-28 — International Reading Association Convention,
a high school education. Chicago, www.reading.org.
— National Institute for Literacy
More literacy event information is available at http://literacy.kent.edu/illinois/calend.htm.
St. Clair ROE begins new tutoring initiative
The St. Clair County ROE Adult Volunteer Literacy Program is work-
ing with St. Clair Associated Vocational Enterprises (SAVE) to bring
literacy to the people who live, work or train at SAVE in Belleville, The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress
which assists adults with developmental challenges. The reading promotes books, reading, libraries and literacy through its many
program began last spring and has grown to 36 participants. programs and Web site.
Students are mostly non-readers at the beginning of the program Many free games, printable activity sheets and information for
and have tutors who are upper-level adult learners who live or work parents and teachers. Some activities are available in Spanish.
at SAVE as well. St. Clair ROE’s literacy coordinator, Pam Miller, has www.usalearns.org
spent many hours training and teaching the tutors how to work with Developed by the U.S. Department of Education, this free site
the students. Classes are held twice a week with Pam starting the provides extensive resources for adults to study English or work
lesson then turning it over to the tutors. This added training and on their GEDs.
support greatly benefits the tutors. The real reward of the program
is seeing all the smiling faces after every class.
Illinois Literacy is a publication of the Secretary of State/Illinois State Library Literacy Office.
Jesse White, Secretary of State and State Librarian
Anne Craig, Director, Illinois State Library
Cyndy Colletti, Program Manager, Literacy Office
Produced by the Communications Department.
To subscribe to Illinois Literacy, call 217-785-6921 or 800-665-5576 (Illinois only), #3. Printed by authority of the State of Illinois. February 2010