Mayor presents literacy proclamation

Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod presents the Literacy Proclamation to Penny Corell, president of Literacy Volunteers.

Through the month of September Literacy volunteers of South Sarasota County will actively participate in the 28th annual National Literacy Month to bring awareness to the fact that more than 36 million American adults struggle to read, write, do math, and use technology above a third grade level.

Literacy Volunteers of South Sarasota County is part of a national network of organizations that work every day to end the adult literacy crisis.

Through the Mayor’s office proclamation on August 31, Venice recognizes the value and contributions of Literacy Volunteers to improving the quality of life of South County residents.

“About one in six adults is still not literate,” said Penny Corell, president of Literacy Volunteers. “Here at home, in Sarasota County, 14 percent of adults 16 and older are at or below Level 1, the lowest basic literacy level. Literacy helps families be healthier and safer and provides people sustainable opportunities to support themselves through work, contributing ultimately to the economic growth of our region and our country.”

The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Literacy (PIAAC) examined the United States and 23 other industrialized countries and found the U.S. mean literacy score was below the international average, ranking 16th out of 24 nations.

Regional literacy organizations are collaborating to promote literacy in the area during the month of September 2020. Manatee Literacy Council, Literacy Council of Sarasota, and Literacy Volunteers of South Sarasota County are working together as the Suncoast Adult Literacy Alliance.

Their efforts are part of a nationwide attempt to bring attention to the literacy crisis in the United States. For nearly 30 years an alliance of literacy organizations including ProLiteracy, the American Library Association, and the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, has named September as National Literacy Month.

Literacy Volunteers of South Sarasota County is doing something about it. Since 1982, we have been training volunteer tutors to work one-to-one and in small group classes with adult learners to improve their English language reading, writing, and speaking skills.

During the coronavirus crisis, LVSSC has been re-inventing itself. Staff has learned new online meeting technology and then coaches volunteers who are teaching their adult students with Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, and other programs.

Throughout the month of September 2020, LVSSC is promoting literacy awareness through its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds and also on its website LiteracyChangesLives.org. Several local tutors and learners will appear in short video testimonials about their support of literacy.

The Sarasota Board of County Commissioners has named September “Literacy Awareness Month” in Sarasota County.

The city of Venice and the city of North Port have proclaimed September “Literacy Awareness Month.”

UNESCO named Sept. 8 “International Literacy Day”

The National Coalition for Literacy has designated the week of Sept. 20 to 26 as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

The William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library, the North Port Public Library, and the Shannon Staub Public Library will have special exhibits or displays commemorating National Literacy Month.

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