The Literacy Communicator
Volume 12, Number 1 Winter 1997
In this issue:
Whole New World
GED® on TV
OLN Project to Address
Award Nomination Form
Annual Meeting Form
Since the publication of our last newsletter, we have received major contributions from
Chase Manhattan Mortgage
Ohio Newspaper Association
We thank these and all other donors who have made the Ohio Literacy Network a continuing reality.
The project began its investigation three years ago when over 1500 adult learners were asked to provide their perspective on National Education Goal Six:
"By the Year 2000, every adult American will be literate and possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship."
Specifically, adults were asked to express what having the knowledge and skills to compete in the global economy means to them, what competing in a global economy means in their community, what exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship means to them, and what they would need to be able to do to exercise their rights of citizenship.
Four fundamental general purposes for learning emerged from the survey. Respondents said they wanted to be able to access information to orient themselves in their work; to have a voice that others would listen to; to act on their own without help from others; and to know what they need to learn to do to be successful for the future.
Following the analysis of input from surveyed adults, “role maps” were constructed containing broad areas of responsibilities and key activities. The role map for the worker contains four areas of responsibility: doing work; working with others; managing the work context; and planning and directing personal and professional growth.
Examples of activities within these areas are listed below:
Doing work includes organizing, planning, and prioritizing work; managing work processes and resources; using technology; taking responsibility for work quality and results; putting ideas and directions into action; meeting new work challenges. Working with others includes communicating with others inside and outside the organization; assisting others; negotiating differences; directing and motivating others; teaching and developing others; and developing relationships. Managing the work context involves activities such as using organizational goals, performance, structure, culture and values to inform actions and employing information on industry trends and competitive forces to guide activity. Planning and directing personal and professional growth includes planning and renewing career goals; basing planning on labor market information; finding and getting a job; learning new skills; and balancing and supporting work, career, and personal goals.
Grants have been given to organizations and projects throughout the country, including the Ohio Literacy Resource Center, to develop content standards and performance measures within these areas.The OLRC will work with the states of Maine, North Carolina, Virginia, and Vermont to develop employee standards and performance indicators. Each state will focus on a different industry sector--Ohio will focus on heavy industry. Retail, health care, and metals manufacturing industries will be studied by other states.
OLRC plans to hold six structured feedback sessions with workers in manufacturing companies across Ohio. The first three sessions will involve groups of 8-15 workers who have been identified as "high performance" workers. They will be asked to give feedback about the role of the worker in broad areas identified above. A second set of worker group sessions will be held to identify knowledge, skills, abilities and characteristics needed by workers to perform the activities identified earlier.
The outcome of this stage of the project will be a customer driven framework that defines the scope and content of adult education. Once that framework is in place, work will begin on development of content and performance standards for the field of adult literacy.
becoming literate is like living in a whole new world; we live in a whole new world where the jobs and tasks of modern life require a comprehensive literacy including much more than reading and writing; and a literate world would be a whole new world, with lower crime rates, higher employment rates, and fewer people on welfare.
What does the NIFL hope will result from the campaign? It believes that the general public will become "better versed on literacy issues so that it can become the driving force behind the expansion of all literacy efforts." NIFL hopes that the business community as a result of the campaign "will be moved to reallocate dollars to on-site literacy training programs," and "become allies in efforts to lobby policy makers on literacy research and program issues." Further, it is hoped that the campaign will "inspire policy makers to develop policies to support programs and research that improve literacy."
A series of television and radio public service announcements and other promotional items will be produced around each of the three sub themes. A limited number of media kits also will be produced which will include items such as camera-ready ads, copies of the PSAs; and so on. Information kits will also be available including items such as
information about the NIFL; fact sheets on topics such as family literacy, literacy and corrections, literacy and welfare; case studies on successful partnerships; and a feedback form.
The first public service announcement is scheduled for release in March. It will be targeted to the general public and include a traditional approach of adults telling "why literacy is important in their lives." The message will invite individuals interested in finding out more about literacy to call the national literacy hotline in Lincoln, Nebraska, which the National Institute for Literacy now operates. Individuals who call the number will receive the information kit mentioned above. Although the campaign is not intended as a recruitment campaign, personnel at the national hotline will refer callers interested in enrolling or volunteering in a basic or literacy education program to state or local programs.
The second set of announcements scheduled for a June release will target elected officials. The third and final set of announcements will be released in September in conjunction with International Literacy Day and will be aimed at the business community.
According to Carolyn Staley, Deputy Director of the National Institute for Literacy, print materials will be produced that will allow local programs to insert their name and number. The Ohio ABLE program will arrange for programs that desire these items to receive them.
The bookmarks contain the work of syndicated cartoonists--Peter Guren, Chuck Ayers, Tom Batiuk, Mike Peters, and Chip Sansom. The bookmarks are aimed at potential volunteers and carry the "We're all in this together," message on the front. Some key facts about literacy are contained on the back.
Posters with the same theme also are being produced and will be made available to libraries, businesses and retail establishments. For more information about this project contact the OLN.
Results of a recent Emory University/UCLA study reported in the December, 1995, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, underscore the extent to which many patients are handicapped in their ability to understand medical directions because of their low literacy levels. The study results indicate that 41.6% of patients could not comprehend directions for taking medication on an empty stomach; 26% were unable to understand information regarding when their next appointment was scheduled; and 50.5% could not understand a standard informed consent form. These problems were particularly apparent among older patients.
Other studies have also confirmed that pertinent health- related information is not written at a level that is accessible to adults with low literacy skills. For example, a study reported in the March 1994 issue of Pediatrics magazine indicates that the average reading level of parents of young children is the seventh or eight grade, but 80% of pediatric materials intended for use by parents are written at the tenth grade level or above.
While low literacy function is detrimental to the health of individuals, it also has an economic cost. As indicated in Patient Care, October 15, 1996, patients with a third grade reading level or less have an average health care cost approximately six times higher than those individuals with better skills.
Clearly, a need exists to create awareness among primary care physicians of the extent of the communication problem that exists between medical professionals and their patients who lack literacy proficiency. The Ohio Literacy Network is undertaking a project to do just that. Information about this issue will be produced and disseminated to primary physicians.
Outside funding is currently being sought to underwrite costs for the project. As planned an information packet will be produced containing items such as guidelines for communicating with individuals with limited literacy skills, a listing of easy-to-read health resources, and information about adult literacy programs available in communities throughout Ohio.
In both Dayton and Athens, extensive use has been made of televised ads promoting the series. The major targets for GED® on TV instruction are adults who have difficulty attending GED® classes due to childcare responsibilities, lack of transportation, or work schedule conflicts.
Television ads were purchased in late December and early January during daytime programming (talk shows and soap operas) in both media markets to reach these targets.The television campaigns have been supplemented with print recruitment material distribution. In Dayton, for example, flyers have been sent home with school children. Pertinent agencies also have been made aware of the projects. Inquiries have been received from JOBS programs, churches, employers, juvenile courts, and others.
As of this writing, 363 inquiries have been received from viewers in the WPTO\WPTD viewing area, and 274 calls from residents within WOUB\WOUC's viewing area. Seventy-five percent of calls from southwestern Ohio and 68% of calls from southeastern Ohio are from women.
Overall, 41% of callers report that they are currently or have previously been enrolled in or attended a GED® or ABLE class. Twenty percent of callers report having taken either the GED® practice test or the GED® test previously.
The GED® on TV projects represent collaborative efforts involving the above mentioned television stations, OLN, Project READ in Dayton, the Central/Southeast Regional Resource Center in Athens, and local literacy providers. The projects have been made possible through grants from the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio University. VISTA volunteers at the OLN and Project READ in Dayton have contributed the major portion of staff time to the project.
The GED® on TV series will continue through November on WOUB\WOUC in Athens and through July on WPTO\WPTD in Dayton.
NIFL-ESL (National Institute for Literacy)
Focus: Adult ESL Literacy
To subscribe: e-mail:
Type e-mail message: subscribe nifl-esl yourfirstname yourlastname
(leave subject line blank)
Focus: Family Literacy
To subscribe: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type e-mail message: subscribe nifl-family yourfirstname yourlastname
(leave subject line blank)
NLA: National Literacy Advocacy
Focus: Advocacy, Policy, Legislation
To subscribe: e-mail:
Type e-mail message: subscribe nla
(leave subject line blank)
Focus: Workplace Literacy
To subscribe: e-mail:
Type e-mail message: subscribe nifl-workplace yourfirstname yourlastname
The book is published by Neal Schuman Publishers. Information about it may be obtained by calling 1-800-584-2414 or (212) 925-8650 or fax toll free 1-800-584-2414.
For each nominee, attach a 500 word or less explanation of why you are nominating the individual. Indicate the impact his/her activities have had. Submit this form and narratives to: The Ohio Literacy Network, 1500 West Lane Avenue, Columbus, OH 43221, or fax 614-486-1527, by July 15, 1997. If you have any questions, call 614-486-7757.
Paid Staff Nominee
Heather Smith also will serve at the Clermont/Brown County Literacy Council, using her writing skills to help her home community. Originally from Georgetown, OH, she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from New York University, graduating cum laude. She looks forward to having such a challenging job before continuing on to graduate school.
Libraries, literacy programs and agencies such as the Department of Human Services, the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services, and the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction utilize this directory for referrals. Therefore, it is important that we maintain accurate, current records of adult basic literacy programs available in the state.
Please help us provide an accurate and current resource for everyone.
Andy Hartman, director of the National Institute for Literacy and other National Institute for Literacy officials have been invited to provide a national perspective of the project and to discuss future programmatic implications.
The OLN Annual Meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn East in Columbus Ohio on Friday, September 12, 1997.
More details about the meeting will appear in the next issue of the Literacy Communicator and OLN MemberNews.
OHIO LITERACY NETWORK 1997 ANNUAL MEETING
September 12, 1997
Holiday Inn East
$35 for OLN Members
Please make checks payable to the Ohio Literacy Network. Send your check and registration form to the
Questions? Call 614/486-7757.
Return to the OLN main page.