WBEZ | literacy http://www.wbez.org/tags/literacy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en “State of Literacy Symposium” strives to improve literacy http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-18/%E2%80%9Cstate-literacy-symposium%E2%80%9D-strives-improve-literacy-113834 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/books flickr faungg&#039;s photos.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than half of public school students in the city, 54 percent to be exact, don&rsquo;t meet reading standards for their grade levels. And the stats for adults are also sobering: 3 in 10 adults in Chicago are reading only a basic level.</p><p>It&rsquo;s numbers like those that were the spark for Chicago first-ever &ldquo;<a href="http://chicagoliteracyalliance.org/a/events/state-of-literacy-symposium/">State of Literacy Symposium</a>,&rdquo; which takes places Thursday. We speak with two literacy experts who are involved in the event. Stacy Ratner is the co-founder of the <a href="https://twitter.com/ChiLiteracyAlli?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Chicago Literacy Alliance</a>. She was just named one of five Chicagoans of the Year by Chicago Magazine, which dubbed her &ldquo;the reading rebel.&rdquo; And Becky Raymond is executive director of the <a href="https://twitter.com/ChiCityLiteracy">Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition</a>.</p></p> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-18/%E2%80%9Cstate-literacy-symposium%E2%80%9D-strives-improve-literacy-113834 Global Activism: 'A Better Life for Kids' in Ghana http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-better-life-kids-ghana-112972 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ga-better life.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">We catch up with global activists, Shelley Nizynski Reese and Jen Ciok. At least twice a year, Shelley travels to Ghana to teach orphans. Shelley&rsquo;s group,&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-87b2bba9-dcee-7424-8503-236e3c71dca8"><a href="http://www.abetterlifeforkids.org">A Better Life for Kids</a>,&nbsp;</span></em>and Jen&rsquo;s group,&nbsp;<em><a href="http://twitter.com/ACTforEducation">Aiding Children Together (ACT)</a>,</em>&nbsp;have been partnering to help children in Ghana get food, medicine, and education. For our Global Activism segment, Shelley and Jen will tell us about their new programs like, &lsquo;Eggs for Kids&rsquo;, to give protein and hope to Ghanaian schoolchildren. They&rsquo;ll also talk about how a listener heard them on&nbsp;<em>Worldview</em>&nbsp;and wrote a song&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mccrackenmiddleschoolkid">(&ldquo;Shine a Light&rdquo;)</a>&nbsp;to support their work.</p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/224334373&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="942px"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><div><strong>EVENT:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/golf-for-ghanas-orphans-2015-tickets-17608210632">Golf for Ghana&#39;s Orphans 2015</a></strong></div><div><p>Thursday, September 24, 2015 11:30AM-5:00PM</p><p>Bloomingdale Golf Club</p><p>181 Glen Ellyn Rd, Bloomingdale, IL</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 09:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-better-life-kids-ghana-112972 Global Activism: 'ConTextos' finds the good in violent El Salvador http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-contextos-finds-good-violent-el-salvador-112164 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GA-ConTextos.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-cdf0efc7-d9dd-8dbb-a7b5-5af3d50420b2">Because Chicagoan and Global Activist, Debra Gittler, &nbsp;wanted to &ldquo;create conditions on-the-ground through literacy education, opportunity and advocacy&rdquo; to help children in Central America thrive, she started the organization <a href="http://contextos.org/">ConTextos</a> and moved to El Salvador. For our Global Activism segment, Gittler is back from El Salvador and will update us on her progress since expanding her mission to work with prisoners in El Salvador&rsquo;s criminal justice system.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207688530&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 28 May 2015 09:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-contextos-finds-good-violent-el-salvador-112164 Global Activism: Keeping kids in school in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-keeping-kids-school-india-110625 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ga-pratham.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>According to UNICEF, in India, more than 70 percent of children drop out before finishing school. <a href="http://www.prathamusa.org">Pratham USA</a>, co-founded by Yogi Patel, is dedicated to youth education, literacy and vocational training in India and it reports that over half of India&rsquo;s children in the 5th grade can&rsquo;t read at a 2nd grade level. We&#39;ll talk with Raj Rajaram, president of Pratham USA, about the work they&#39;re doing to try to improve education and opportunity for children in India.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Pratham USA Chicago Walk-a-thon:</strong></p><p><strong>Walk or Run For Literacy</strong></p><p><strong>Sunday, August 17, 2014, 9:00 AM</strong></p><p><strong>Harms Wood Forest Preserve (Grove 3), Morton Grove, IL</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160137303&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-keeping-kids-school-india-110625 Global Activism: 'ConTextos' aiding children in Central America through literacy education http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-contextos-aiding-children-central-america-through-literacy <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GA-debra_gittler.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5ec3e45c-419f-6c53-a54b-a65dded641a7">While Central American children flood into the U.S. to escape crime &amp; poverty, Chicagoan Debra Gittler works to create conditions on-the-ground through literacy education, opportunity &amp; advocacy, that she hopes will help these children thrive and keep them in their home countries. Debra moved to Central America to start <a href="http://contextos.org/">ConTextos</a>. The group says &ldquo;[We do] more than just develop the mechanical skills of sounding out words. We encourage kids to think deeply, to be curious, and to question their environment.&rdquo; For <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism">Global Activism</a></em>, Gittler tells us how her work is spreading across Central America.</span></p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-5ec3e45c-4188-13cc-6742-dee95fbd88c5"><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/159145115&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Just the other day, I was at a school in Usulutan, one of the areas of El Salvador that has had an explosion of violence post the gang truce. I sat with Manuel, a first grader, who told me: &quot;I have lots of family in the United States,&quot; he explained. &quot;Cousins and aunts and uncles. But I want to stay here in El Salvador. I like my school.&quot;</p><p>When we asked Debra to tell us about the importance of her work, she wrote:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">I want to emphasize the relevance of our work in Central America, especially given the refugee kids at the border. To emphasize that the reality is, these kids have access to schools, but no education; ConTextos changes that. We are growing throughout the region and looking for greater support in our hometown here in Chicago. Those kids at the border... those are the same kids that we serve.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Just the other day, I was at a school in Usulutan, one of the areas of El Salvador that has had an explosion of violence post the gang truce. I sat with Manuel, a first grader, who told me: &quot;I have lots of family in the United States,&quot; he explained. &quot;Cousins and aunts and uncles. But I want to stay here in El Salvador. I like my school.&quot;</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Before ConTextos, Manuel had no books and his entire experience was copy and dictation. He went to school four hours a day. Now, his school is open to him all day long, he has access to books and other materials, and he has real conversations in his classroom. We read a book called &quot;Where are the Giants&quot; about hidden magic in the world. Manuel says to me (I&#39;m translating): &quot;You know--and this isn&#39;t in the news, but it&#39;s true-- I&#39;ve heard that there are fairies in Mexico...&quot;</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">I asked his teacher about Manuel. She said that before, she used to scold him for his imagination. Now she encourages it. Her students are encouraged to think and imagine and explore. Classroom attendance is up.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">And this school is in the midst of gang territory. MS 18 is scribbled on the walls of the school. Manuel&#39;s photo is below.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">It&#39;s important to realize that even though we are a literacy organization-- and the only org in the region with the goal and implementation in multiple countries; whereas Africa and Asia have multiple orgs addressing the lack of resources and training across countries, Central Am/ Latin Am have NONE-- we go far beyond just teaching reading.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">At one of our schools--an area of extreme poverty where most live as subsistence farmers-- the school ran out of space for their school garden. &quot;Why can&#39;t we plant on the roof?&quot; asked one of the 5th graders. At first, the teacher balked that it was a ridiculous idea. Now they are growing basil and mint on their roof. The teacher explained: &quot;by changing how we teach-- asking questions, encouraging the kids to question-- we&#39;ve seen changes in how they approach life.&quot; These kids live in areas with plenty of problems. With ConTextos&#39; intervention, they&#39;re encouraged to think about those problems.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">That school was one of our first schools. There&#39;s now 13 schools in their network. Kids read at a &quot;1st world&quot; level. The Ministry uses the schools as models for teacher development.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-contextos-aiding-children-central-america-through-literacy Global Activism: Bookwallah update on bringing books to Orphans in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bookwallah.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Seena Jacob is founder and CEO of <a href="http://www.bookwallah.org">Bookwallah</a> Organization. &ldquo;Bookwallah&rdquo; is a Hindi word that means &ldquo;book peddler.&rdquo; Her group works to give books and provide quality libraries to orphans in India. Seena is just back from India to give us an update.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123417608&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Seena on why this matters to us:</p><p>&ldquo;Why is this important, especially to people who may feel they aren&rsquo;t directly impacted? The world is globally connected and we learned that particularly during the Great Recession. But, if you know a child has suffered or has endured hardship such as HIV, abuse, living in brothels and you have a chance to make a difference in their lives -- bring hope, happiness, and smiles -- through the simple gift of a book-- does it matter where they live? A child is a child no matter where they live in the world. But, there are truly global challenges such as 793 million people who cannot read, 143 million orphans in the world who have undergone some major things in life. A [dollar] can go a long way in the developing world. So, to know that you can make a difference, be spiritually fulfilled in changing the life of one child, opening their world, should be a great motivator, particularly during this holiday season.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 09:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 Teacher brings library close to home for her Little Village neighbors http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/teacher-brings-library-close-home-her-little-village-neighbors-106825 <p><p>The enclosed porch behind Rachel Perveiler&rsquo;s Little Village apartment is crammed with shelves stuffed with books and games. It&rsquo;s also filled with children from her neighborhood.</p><p>Perveiler&rsquo;s porch is the meeting place for &ldquo;La Biblioteca del Personas,&rdquo; or the People&rsquo;s Library. Meeting here has become a weekly ritual for Perveiler and the children in her neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;Okay boys, are you turning in books?&rdquo; Perveiler asked brothers Joaquin and Jose Camacho.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to still keep this one, but I&rsquo;m returning this one back.&rdquo; Joaquin said.</p><p>&ldquo;Okay, go ahead, put it back,&rdquo; Perveiler said.</p><p>As the children looked through the shelves, pulling out books, Perveiler asked 9-year old Jaylene Rios what she thought of her most recent selection.</p><p>&ldquo;Did you like Charlotte&rsquo;s Web, or no?&rdquo; Perveiler asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh yeah. I&rsquo;m barely right there,&rdquo; Jaylene said, as she pointed to a place toward the beginning of the book.</p><p>&ldquo;The first chapter? Okay, so you liked it?&rdquo; Perveiler asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah,&rdquo; Jaylene said.</p><p>Since the library began two years ago, the teacher said she&rsquo;s watched the kids develop what she hopes will become a life-long reading habit, and she&rsquo;s seen their reading skills improve.</p><p>She points to Jaylene, who started with Frog and Toad are Friends and has now moved on to Charlotte&rsquo;s Web.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen their interests grow,&rdquo; Perveiler said. Rather than just coming over because I&rsquo;m here and I&rsquo;m a new person, they come over actually to check out books, and they want to get a new book or they want to get a book that they know their friend just read.&rdquo;</p><p>The library began when the 23-year-old moved to Little Village back in 2011 to be close to her first job as a special education teacher at nearby Finkl Academy.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Porch%20Library%202%20-%20Rachel%20and%20Joaquin%281%29.JPG" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="Joaquin Camacho talks with Rachel Perveiler as she checks in books. Perveiler uses a spiral notebook to keep track of what books are currently checked out. (WBEZ/Rebecca Kruth)" />Perveiler was moving into her apartment when some of the neighbor kids saw her carrying boxes.</p><p>&ldquo;They offered to help carry the boxes in. When they found out they were children&rsquo;s books, they were curious to see why [I had] all these children&rsquo;s books,&rdquo; Perveiler said.</p><p>The books were for her classroom, but since it was still summer, the kids asked if they could borrow them. They sat on her porch, read the books and returned them the same afternoon.</p><p>Word about the books soon spread in the neighborhood, and the children began coming to Perveiler&rsquo;s regularly. As the library evolved, the group members decided they needed to have some rules and expectations for members. They even developed a pledge, which greets visitors as they enter the library.</p><p>Joaquin Camacho, 9,&nbsp; read the hand-lettered poster out loud.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;As a member of the library, I pledge to be a role model. I promise to [show] respect and responsibility,&rdquo; Joaquin said. &ldquo;I promise these in the name of leadership, because the world needs leaders.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Before they can use the library, kids must also complete a special task. Each new member makes a bookmark to take home. After a week, they have to bring it back to Perveiler in good shape to prove they&rsquo;re responsible. If it&rsquo;s ruined, they have to do it again before they can check out a book.</p><p>Today, the library has around 500 books, mostly donations from friends and family. But, as Joaquin said, not all of the books come from outside sources.</p><p>&ldquo;My brother, Jose, and I are going to make a comic book, The Adventures of Big Fist and Lightning Man,&rdquo; Joaquin said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to put it in the library with the other comics.&rdquo;</p><p>The library doesn&rsquo;t just have books for children: Leslie Luna, 9, said her father uses the library to improve his English.</p><p>&ldquo;He talks Spanish, and so he&rsquo;s practicing his English,&rdquo; Leslie said. &ldquo;When he was in Mexico he almost dropped out of school, because he needed to work for his family, so he didn&rsquo;t get to do a lot of education in his life.&rdquo;</p><p>Leslie said she chooses books for the two of them to read together. &ldquo;I like to help him, a lot,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>When Perveiler isn&rsquo;t available at the makeshift library, her boyfriend, Michael Aumiller, helps fill in. He said he&rsquo;s also the unofficial homework helper.</p><p>&ldquo;They have limited access to internet and that sort of thing, so they like to borrow my encyclopedias. I&rsquo;ll flag things down that are important,&rdquo; Aumiller said.</p><p>Aumiller said in neighborhoods facing challenges like Little Village, it&rsquo;s important to have an involved</p><p>network of neighbors.</p><p>&ldquo;Since the library started, I&rsquo;ve noticed we just have a greater sense of connection to the community,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I just think that is something that is very important to the overall health of Drake Avenue.&rdquo;</p><p>As for Perveiler, she hopes that sense of community spreads to the kids, along with improved literacy skills.</p><p>&ldquo;I would like to see their interest in reading and their interest in each other socially, as friendships in their community, continue to grow,&rdquo; Perveiler said. &ldquo;If the space remains on the back porch always, that is perfectly fine with me.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Rebecca Kruth is a WBEZ Arts and Culture Desk intern. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/rjkruth" target="_blank">@rjkruth</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 03:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/teacher-brings-library-close-home-her-little-village-neighbors-106825 Global Activism: Bookfriends International delivers books to kids in Africa http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookfriends-international-delivers-books-kids-africa-104971 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bookfriends_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wauconda couple Steve and Paulie Kutschat have a deep love for books. After a trip to Africa, the Kutschat&rsquo;s founded <a href="http://www.bookfriends.org/">Bookfriends International</a>, a nonprofit providing educational resources to secondary school-age children in Africa.</p><p>Bookfriends gives children text books, library books and reference materials in short supply. Donated books come from middle schools, high schools, libraries, individuals, book drives and book publishing companies.</p><p>&ldquo;It is not our goal to change their culture, their ideas or background. We are simply providing the student&rsquo;s opportunity through books to see the rest of the world,&rdquo; the Kutschats say.</p><p><em><strong>You can meet Global Activists like the Kutschat&#39;s at the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/air-events-6th-annual-global-activism-expo-102172">2013 Global Activism Expo</a>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 16:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookfriends-international-delivers-books-kids-africa-104971 Literacy and adult education in North Lawndale http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/literacy-and-adult-education-north-lawndale-101983 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/IMG_0969.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>On August 24, the Barber Shop Show joined forces with Front and Center to talk low literacy and adult education in North Lawndale.&nbsp;In the Great Lakes region, one third of adults are low-literate. This means they have trouble with ordinary tasks like filling out a job application.</p><p>When hard times hit the region, North Lawndale is hit harder. The unemployment rate in this neighborhood is about three times the city&rsquo;s average. Almost half of families here live below the poverty line.</p><p>When it comes to getting more North Lawndale residents employed and lifting their earning potential, the key may be improving literacy.&nbsp;Raising adult education levels seems like a clear-cut way to increase employment and earnings. But making it happen isn&rsquo;t easy.</p><p>To find out more, Richard Steele and Kimbriell Kelly spoke with Nicole Hicks, a woman who recently overcame her fear of being the oldest person in class to earn her GED at age forty.</p><p>Later in the show, we heard from employer Mark O&rsquo;Hara. A GED and solid reading and writing skills are a requirement at his company. We learned about his challenges finding workers with the skills to kill bugs, and how his company, Andersen Pest Solutions, aims to address the skills gap.</p><p>After that, we were joined by Darren Tillis and Tameeka Christian with the North Lawndale Community Action Council on Education. Darren and Tameeka are working to improve parent engagement in North Lawndale schools. Key to their strategy is increasing literacy.</p><p><em>Every Friday, Vocalo.org heads to Carter&#39;s Barber Shop in North Lawndale for the live broadcast of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vocalo.org/barbershop-show/" target="_blank">The Barber Shop Show</a>. &nbsp;Hosted by the Chicago Reporter&#39;s Kimbriell Kelly and WBEZ&#39;s Richard Steele,&nbsp;The Barber Shop Show is a weekly dose of real talk, straight from the shop floor.</em></p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 14:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/literacy-and-adult-education-north-lawndale-101983 Teachers engage teens with realistic fiction, 'street literature' http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/teachers-engage-teens-realistic-fiction-street-literature-99695 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/teen_reading_flickr_holtsman_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Front and Center visited classrooms around Chicagoland to hear what gets teens excited about reading.</p><p>Amy Correa teaches sixth and seventh grade at Agassiz Elementary School in Chicago. She thinks the classics are important, but is worried that the new <a href="http://www.corestandards.org/" target="_blank">Common Core</a> standards emphasize this type of literature too much. She says her students gobble up realistic fiction novels, and they can learn how to model behavior by reading stories about teens in tough situations. Listen to Correa&#39;s classroom and hear more about how she gets kids excited about reading:</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1339608200-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Amy%20Correa%20WEB.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Mike Henry is a literacy coach and teacher at Reavis High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois. His approach to getting high school students excited about reading relies on student choice in reading materials. He says giving students options of realistic fiction gets them more engaged in reading. Listen to Henry&#39;s classroom and hear more about how he gets reluctant readers to build up their reading stamina:</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1339608220-3" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Mike%20Henry%20WEB.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 15 Jun 2012 08:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/teachers-engage-teens-realistic-fiction-street-literature-99695