I’m Kinesthetic-Visual. That means I need to interact with people and things to learn and that I need to see information in diagrams or charts to be able to process it. I have learned that about myself after 31 years of life and years of schooling- and it was just reinforced and validated after I took this VARK cool quiz (link below).

I would highly recommend this quiz for tutors as a good resource.

VARK- a guide to learning styles

Here are my suggestions for tutors in visual diagrammatic list form (with interactive components in the suggestions):

1- Take the quiz yourself.
It takes 5-10 minutes.

Find out your learning styles.
The “results” part is my favorite part because they give you your results in the learning style you are (for example, my kinesthetic results page had an interactive ball I had to move to find out my results)

You may be a mix of styles, so be sure to check out each page of your result
The results page explains INPUT, STUDY TECHNIQUES and OUTPUT.

2. Try the quiz with your student.
You most probably need to read the quiz and their results to your student.
This website is NOT designed for low literacy levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Hello DLC community!

This is Yashna, visiting guest blogger, and DLC fan for life. First- I want to say that no one at DLC got me to write this. This post is a surprise to them too! I am moved to write about all this on my own.

My work with DLC has created a deep belief and passion for the importance of literacy education. Since I left DLC a year ago I have been searching for answers or truths to many things and so far this year, where ever I go (18 cities and towns in the U.S. and 2 in India), what ever I do-  the importance of literacy is a repeated life lesson– along with the importance of love (but that is a topic for another time).

Currently I am working towards building with hundreds and eventually thousands of other people towards the United States Social Forum in June 2010. I have been doing some reading and research in preparation for this because I am a bit nervous as to what strength and knowledge it would take from me and I want to be prepared. I have conjured up courage in part because of the inspiration of the everyday commitment students make by showing up to DLC.

Read the rest of this entry »

Magical Morning

September 11, 2008

It is a magical morning at LWB (our classroom site) today. Several students got here early and gathered and talked with us (staff) and each other about life and their classes. Ten minutes before their tutors arrived they started placing the letter tiles on their Wilson Magnetic Boards, and sorting through their sound cards.

It all felt magical to me because I felt a sense of pride coming form within each student. Each student was displaying pride in introducing themselves as a student of the program, they were proud to introduce their tutors, they felt pride and ownership of their learning materials. This is such a contrast to when they first come into the program and feel low self esteem and lack of confidence. When students first start classes they look insecure, and often rush to hide themselves in the tutor rooms. To see this group of students engaging with each other, not hiding, but rather being open and excited about their lives and experience here at DLC, well now, that is the magic of literacy.

Dr. Franklin

Dr. Franklin

DLC is honored to have John Hope Franklin, an outstanding man, as an Ex-Officio board member. We have been gifted with his presence in our cause of literacy empowerment. He has spoken up for empowerment through literacy and education every chance he gets.

In 2006 Dr. Franklin gave the commencement speech to Duke Undergraduates, and once again brought up the importance of literacy and being a contribution to your community. He says ” One of the most rewarding experiences you can possibly have is to guide some child or adult to learn to read and write.” Dr. Franklin goes on to tell an amazing story about a man who he taught to read and write during his time at Harvard.

This is a great speech, please take the time to read or listen to it. (For the Podcast: click on “No Ivory Tower”)


USA’s Health Literacy

July 28, 2008

“The NAAL defines health literacy as the ability of US adults to use printed and written health-related information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

“Generally, adults reporting better health achieved higher average health literacy scores. About 42% of adults reporting poor health scored at the Below Basic level and 27% of them scored at the Basic level.”

Assessing the Nation’s Health Literacy
Key concepts and findings of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)
Sheida White, PhD


So, in this study, out of all the people who reported “poor health” (as compared to fair, good, very good, and excellent health) 69% are reading at Below Basic or Basic reading levels. According to this study, 77 million adults in the USA have basic or below basic health literacy levels! This is compared to the 139 million US American adults that have intermediate or excellent health literacy levels.

Of course, these numbers and correlations are not surprising to us in the Adult Literacy community. However, this is an important study to shed light on this issue for the rest of the world. For me, it comes down to this: if adults cannot read, the health and well-being of their lives, and their family member’s lives, is significantly sacrificed!


And, if the health of your neighbors isn’t enough to convince you, then how about dollars?

“Pfizer has put out a study today with a very scary number. $236 billion. That’s the high end of their estimate for what a lack of health literacy costs the U.S. every year. The lower, more-often reported number, is $106 billion. A year.” (from Dan Blankenhorn)


This is yet another reason to support your local literacy programs! Go out volunteer, donate, advocate! By helping one person learn to read, you improve their health, and one at a time, our nation’s health.


There is an interesting debate in the NY Times about literacy and reading.

Here is a caption from their series:

“The Future of Reading

Digital Versus Print

This is the first in a series of articles that will look at how the Internet and other technological and social forces are changing the way people read.” NY Times

Exploring the questions they put forth about “what is reading?”, this article is peppered with some interesting links, video, and other multimedia presentations for you to read, watch and look into.

What about you DLC-AL community? What is reading to you? Is reading online also reading? How has reading online changed the definition of literacy for you?


Extraordinary stories are hidden behind the doors of Literacy councils. Every once in a while a story surfaces to the media.

Check out this NY Times story about an amazing one on one tutor and student in our very own Asheville, NC. Though the story has some differences to what we in the AL program at DLC are familiar with (such as a tutor who has started to loose his hearing, or working one on one with an ESOL student) many aspects of the story are so familiar (such as a student showing up to class after being awake for 20 hours because of work, or super dedicated tutors that don’t let anything stop them from helping).

Congrats to our friends at Buncombe County Literacy Council for having one extraordinary story be told!

Let’s all work towards getting these amazing literacy stories out from behind closed doors, to the top of everyone’s conversation!


Literacy Virtual Valentine

February 13, 2008

This virtual valentine goes out to my friends at Second Start Adult Literacy in Oakland, Ca. I was fortunate enough to go out and visit them on a recent trip to California for a friends’ wedding. I was inspired by their shared space with the public library and their Barton Reading resources (very similar to our Wilson Reading System!).
Most of all I was inspired by their dedicated staff. This valentine goes to you!
I could see myself and my co-workers in each staff person I met. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, and truly dedicated to their mission of helping non-readers become readers! Thank you for all you do!
Another inspiration: the Oakland Reader Publications. These books are collections of stories, poems and essays written by Adult Literacy students at various levels. Tutors: This could be the perfect valentines day gift for your student! *We also have a few copies in our AL library at LWB…come check them out!

Our partners at DSS and the Durham County Library System have asked me to spread the word about filing taxes this year because many people are eligible to get a BIG REFUND!

Earn It! Information from: EITC
Did you or your family earn less than $39,783* in 2007? If so, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when you file your tax return. The credit could give you up to $4,716!


You can find more information at DLC and local libraries.

Tutors: Please pass this information onto your students!


Soaring scores

December 17, 2007

16 AL students at DLC advanced within their reading level, or advanced one or more reading levels! Kudos to everyone for all their work in making this happen!
FK 09