Adults Celebrate Learning with Stories About Literacy

By Michele Farrell
Senior Library Program Officer

Being able to read and write is something that most of us take for granted. But, for 32 million Americans, this is not the case. Many who lack these skills don’t know where to look for help. Some find out about assistance through word of mouth from friends, others see advertisements that have been placed in their community by libraries and literacy providers. Once they do locate assistance, their lives are changed for the better.

In Oklahoma, the Department of Libraries works with the Literacy Resource Office to help adults obtain these skills. Their collaborative works resulted in a publication called “Celebrating the Journey,“ a compilation of the writings of the adult learners who received instruction in reading and writing. Each learner was invited to submit an original story of up to 300 words, and tutors or program representatives were asked to review the writing for editing. The tutors assist with correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

The latest issue, volume 8, contains 99 stories from 16 library and community-based literacy programs and adult learning centers. There are many stories of hope and inspiration like that of Steve Hohler, whose story, “New Confidence,” gives you a real sense of the challenges you face when you can’t to read.  He received his training through the Miami Public Library Literacy Program. As he says in the story, “I can read the words to the hymns at church. I used be so self-conscious about this, but I don’t have to fake this anymore. You can hear me sing out, not like I used to, mumbling or using other words.”

Sister Maria D. UgbeThe Bartleville Public Library provided training for Sister Maria D. Ugbe, an immigrant who arrived here from Nigeria eight years ago, and who hopes to become a U.S. citizen. She wrote in her story, “My Companion Word: Coraggio,” ’Life is lived by courage. Each one of us sees the world through a unique lens. Unfortunately, that is why not all can survive. We need to be there for one another to have coraggio (courage) and not give up

Authors will be attending their book signing on September 21 at the Fall Literacy Conference held in Norman and hosted by the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition. If you would like to read more from this publication click here to be inspired.

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2 Responses to Adults Celebrate Learning with Stories About Literacy

  1. IMLS says:

    Thanks, Marcia! Congratulations on the great work that Miami Public Library is doing for adult literacy in Oklahoma.

  2. Marcia Johnson says:

    I am the director of the Miami Public Library in Miami, Oklahoma. It was delightful to read this post about the Oklahoma Department of Library’s publication “Celebrating Your Journey.” This is one of many ways ODL helps our literacy learners. We have our learners read their stories from this publication aloud at an annual recognition ceremony. It is very powerful. I took the opportunity to print this post and pass it on to Steve Hohler and his tutor. Steve was so surprised and proud to see himself quoted.