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 »

Literacy: just words?

April 6, 2009

Hi friends! This is Yashna, visiting guest blogger, and DLC fan for life. 

I got inspired to blog here today because a a blogger friend of mine told me about this very interesting blog called Capitol Words. 

This is from their About page:

“For every day Congress is in session, Capitol Words visualizes the most frequently used words in the Congressional Record, giving you an at-a-glance view of which issues lawmakers address on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Capitol Words lets you see what are the most popular words spoken by lawmakers on the House and Senate floor.” 

So, I searched for some of the words I care most about. I searched for farmworkers for my new job at the National Farm Worker Ministry (we support farmworkers as they organize for justice).  And of course, I searched for ABEliteracy, GEDESOL and ESL. You can search for only one word at a time so I couldn’t type in “adult literacy”. 

These movements that I care so much about, just boiled down to a few words in Congress, proves to be not so important to our leaders. Over the last two years these words were mentioned: 

ABE 46 times nationally (0 times in NC)
Literacy 405 times  (12 in NC)
GED 24 times (0 in NC)
ESOL 7 times (0 in NC)
ESL  13 times (0 in NC)

as compared to: 

Oil 8442 times

I believe this is an accurate reflection of how our congress views the importance of Literacy Education. So how do we change this? How do we bring not just the words, but the movement of Literacy Education to our chosen leaders? I am not sure of the answer. If you have any ideas, please share them here. 

Thanks again for doing the great work you do. To me, your effort is more then just words.

A New Day

October 24, 2008

Hello DLC-AL Community,

Today is my last day at DLC. I have spent 3.5 joyous, challenging and amazing years with y’all- and I am so grateful for each moment.

Thank you for changing my life. Yes, that’s right- you have changed my life. You have had an influence on me that I will never forget- thank you. I think that’s what the DLC is about- changing lives.

I especially want this to be shared with our extraordinary DLC-AL students and tutors. You have changed my life. That’s right- each day that you showed up to class, you changed my life. Each day that you learned or taught another sound, another word, another tool- you changed my life. Each day that you worked all day, or all night, and still did your homework or made your lesson plan, and showed up to class- you changed my life.

So, dear students- if you can change my life….I know that you can change your life. I know that you are changing your life, and for that, I thank you. I thank you for honoring yourself to make a difference in how you experience the world.

It’s a new day. Every day is a new day. Fresh start. New beginnings.

With Peace and Gratitude,


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.

Alfred, a 70 year old man chooses to enroll in kindergarten, rather then an AL program, to learn how to read. Very sweet story.

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”)


We have heard it a million times before, living in the USA means that we get a voice for our future. So, please use this powerful voice in support of Adult Education programs in this country.

This email came to me through the NCCCS. It speaks specifically to ESOL programs, but definitely influences the world of Adult Literacy as well! At DLC, AL works closely and in partnership with our ESOL community.

Click on TAKE ACTION, and submit your zip code, it sends you to a very easy form where you can fill out an email to send to your local representatives.


TESOL Action Alert!

Help support resources for adult ESL and K-12 ESL educators!

Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Strengthening Communities through English and Integration Act!
As all ESL educators know, immigrants to the United States have made significant economics, social, and cultural contributions that enable the country to better understand the rest of the world. A new bill introduced both in the House and Senate honors those contributions by providing immigrant families access to critical assistance such as English language and civics education. The Strengthening Communities through Education and Integration Act will help immigrant communities become a more integral part of the American fabric and maximize their social and economic contributions. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) in the House and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the Senate will:
  • Increase resources for adult education by codifying English literacy and civics adult education programs and creating a new appropriation for these programs.
  • Increase the authorization for Even Start Family Literacy programs to $350 million.
    Provide resources for expanded learning time programs for English language learners in middle and high school.
  • Create a $1,500 tax credit for teachers of English language learners and a deduction for their certification.
  • Create a 20% tax credit to employers that expend their resources to provide English language instruction and GED training.
  • Make grant money available to states to establish New American Councils that bring together business, faith, civic, philanthropic, non-profit and education stakeholders to create and implement immigrant integration programs.
Urge your members of Congress to support this important initiative by asking them to co-sponsor the Strengthening Communities through Education and Integration Act!

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?