June 2022

Literacy Delaware Newsletter
From the Desk of the Executive Director
I can hardly believe it is June and on the 30th we close out another year! This year has once again been proven to have ups, downs, flips and cartwheels. If I could even do a cartwheel, I would do a line of them celebrating the wonderful staff who hold down the fort and work tirelessly getting the job done. We welcome our newest member of the team Leslie McGowan as Operations Coordinator. Leslie is quickly learning about adult literacy and all the parts to our organization. One of the initiatives she is working on currently is an AmeriCorps program. Stay tuned to hear more in September.

Another significant moment was our virtual Adult Literacy Action Forum, May 3rd with four national leaders in adult foundational education which you will read more about in this newsletter.

But the most meaningful moments of all for our organization are the stories you read about our amazing learners who have many talents and interests. We should take pride in helping them gain the skills to excel in all they do. I say WE, because ours is a WE operation. Without the commitment of our volunteers, dedication of our Board of Directors, and the support of our donors, Literacy Delaware would just be a fleeting thought. As always – Thank You for believing in the power of literacy to “open minds and change lives”.

Have a wonderful summer!

Welcome New Staff Member - Leslie McGowan
Leslie McGowan joins Literacy Delaware as Operations Coordinator. In this new role, Leslie will facilitate new initiatives and partnerships while managing overall operations to increase our organizational capacity. Leslie spent the last six years at West Chester University in the College of Education and Social Work directly working with the undergraduate and graduate Social Work departments. She supported the field education office and coordinated departmental and college-wide assessment and accreditation efforts. Prior to her work in higher education, she spent 13 years with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware where she coordinated volunteers and interns to support youth programming throughout the state.

Leslie earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and her master's degree in Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs and a certificate in Educational Technology from West Chester University. She is passionate about increasing access and removing barriers to education and is looking forward to advancing the critical mission of Literacy Delaware.
With YOUR help we can achieve our goal of
a more literate Delaware!
Thank You!!
Teaching in English - Learner Laura
Laura has always enjoyed working with young children. In her native Venezuela, she taught young students with special needs. Here in the United States Laura capitalized on her skills by working at the Latin American Community Center (LACC) preschool for eight years. While she loved the work, especially teaching basic English to her young students, she was working in a completely Spanish-speaking environment.

Perceptively, Laura recognized the importance of being able to speak English and decided to take steps to improve her abilities. “If I live here, I’m supposed to speak English” she asserts. “It was hard for me to find people who speak Spanish like at the doctor or at a store or pharmacy. I need to communicate in the language spoken here.”

Deciding she wanted to get a job at an English-speaking school, Laura learned about Literacy Delaware from a friend at work who explained that the program would assign her a tutor to work with her one to one. Laura and her tutor Kathryn began their studies together virtually, during the pandemic.

A dedicated student, Laura has really enjoyed working with Kathryn. “I love her! She always finds a way for me to improve. I never stopped since I started.” Through her work with Kathryn, Laura’s English improved to the point where she felt sufficiently confident to apply for a job in the Red Clay school system, as a paraprofessional for their preschool program.
Her efforts were rewarded. Laura explained that she went on the interview, they liked her, and offered her the job. She was so pleased! Now she works in an entirely English-speaking setting teaching her students things like colors and numbers and letters all in English. “I help the teacher in the classroom with activities for the children, decorating the classroom and I have to go to meetings.”

Despite her success to date, Laura intends to continue to work with her tutor to improve her pronunciation, listening and vocabulary. “Sometimes I’m afraid someone doesn’t understand me, but I guess they do because they answer everything I say.” Improving her reading comprehension is also a goal for Laura: “I have a new reading comprehension book to use with Kathryn and it’s going well.”

“I’m grateful to be working with my tutor Kathryn” says Laura. “Not everyone has this opportunity. I tell my friends to get into the program because it’s really good. It’s a great opportunity to learn English.” Congratulations, Laura, and continued success in your new role!
Learner Accomplishments!
Congratulations to learner Maria who is reading in English!

Maria began reading her first book in English, borrowed from the library! Great work, Maria!

Well done learner Kevin for resolving an issue a call to customer service!

Kevin held a phone conversation in English with a customer service representative to fix a problem with the key fob on his van. The issue was resolved and Kevin felt very accomplished by this task. Bravo Kevin!
Way to go learner Deron who is keeping a reading journal!

As a way to keep track of his progress, Deron recently began keeping a daily reading journal, noting something he reads each evening. Fantastic, Deron!
Adult Literacy Action Forum
As I look back over the past two years I think wow, what a difference a pandemic makes. Our first Adult Literacy Action Forum took place on May 3, 2022. Four experts in the field of adult foundational education donated their time and expertise to participate. One participant shared with us, "I loved the webinar; every speaker had such valuable info to share, and it was packed full of plans to move forward. Haven't been a part of such a worthwhile meeting in a long time!". Adult Literacy, our challenges and responses to those challenges, took center stage. Over 70 participants from various organizations including philanthropy, Delaware libraries, healthcare, other non-profit organizations, DE Department of Education, volunteer tutors and Literacy Delaware Board Members attended the forum. Our speakers, Rebecca Dyer: Barbara Bush Family Literacy Foundation, Michele Diecuch: ProLiteracy, Eric Nesheim: Literacy Minnesota, and Dr. David Rosen: Open Door Collective discussed the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy released in 2021.

“Low literacy exists everywhere, it matters, and it can be addressed at a systemic level, but the solutions have been undervalued, underfunded, and under-researched” observed Rebecca Dyer.
If all US adults would be able to read proficiently (on or above the 6th grade) our country would see dynamic changes like never before. The economy would generate 2.2 trillion dollars per year, poverty would decrease, positive health outcomes would prevail, children would succeed in school, and we would experience social justice and racial equity. That’s the power literacy holds.

We have an opportunity in Delaware to make a lasting impact within our state. Being formed at the national level, the Adult Literacy and Learning Impact Network (ALL IN) will drive the implementation of the initiatives set forth in the plan. Literacy Delaware has a chance to be part of this national network because in part of our involvement in the Communities of Excellence Collaborative. Delaware Libraries are the backbone organization and the perfect partner in these endeavors.

Literacy Delaware is ALL IN. Delaware Libraries are ALL IN. Are YOU ALL IN?

Please visit https://tinyurl.com/mrxut6um to view the forum slides and https://tinyurl.com/yfc4f2ew to view a recording of the forum.

If you have trouble accessing these links, please email admin@literacydelaware.org

Summer Family Literacy Program Grant
Literacy Delaware and the Frankford Library were recently awarded a grant from the Delaware Library Association to help fund a joint Summer Family Literacy Program. The program will build on last year’s summer program and is based on the Delaware libraries summer reading program "Oceans of Possibilities". The program will run for seven weeks during July and August at the Frankford Library.
Parents and their school aged children will participate in fun activities designed to help them learn.

The Delaware Library Association promotes the profession of librarianship, advocates for library services, and works to increase public awareness of the value and impact of libraries.

Thank you, Delaware Library Association, for helping us offer this summer program to families in Sussex County.

Did you know Literacy Delaware has a Facebook page?
Please "like” us on Facebook and share our posts to help us spread the news!
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adults in need in Delaware.

Thank You!
Literacy Delaware, Inc.
P.O. Box 2083
Wilmington, DE 19899 | literacydelaware.org | 302.658.5624