As summer draws to a close, the Literacy Center is in the midst of planning for our most unusual—and important—year of programming yet. Because we know that COVID-19 has only deepened the disparities caused by low literacy, we have pushed hard to innovate in this new environment so that we can not only sustain our support of adult literacy, but expand and improve how we meet this crucial need in our community.
- All of our classes moved online in March, with instructors utilizing online learning platforms and Zoom classrooms to help learners develop their literacy skills. The learners in our citizenship class adapted quickly to the online format. They joined the 100 other Literacy Center learners who concluded their online classes this summer (including Pharmacy Tech in partnership with WMCAT, Construction Core with GRCC, and CNA with Goodwill).
- Our volunteer tutors have remained firmly committed to their learners during this time, setting up Zoom or phone tutoring sessions, meeting outside from a safe distance, or simply having text message conversations in English. We continue to seek new tutors, and have created new and interactive online tutor orientations and tutor trainings.
- We found innovative ways to test our learners throughout the pandemic. From meeting (at a distance) in parking lots to online proctoring to setting up protocols for safe testing in our office, we are ensuring that we are able to continue to track learners’ progress towards their literacy goals.
- Perhaps most importantly, the Literacy Center is providing instructional support to parents who are now having to support their children’s learning at home. As a recent NYT article pointed out, it can be almost impossible to help your children with schoolwork in English if you don’t speak the language yourself. Our Family Literacy Program will continue to provide English language instruction to parents within the context of the digital at-home learning that is happening in our local districts.
This work is not possible without your generous support. I hope you’ll join us for our virtual Wine & Words at 7 pm on September 24 to learn more about our literacy efforts during COVID-19. Visit our website to learn more about the event or make a donation to support our work.