Illiteracy affects more than just the person who can't read. Illiteracy affects the costs of social services and has a direct effect on your taxes and your community. In Michigan it is projected that each unemployable functionally illiterate person costs the state over $500,000 in actual expenditures.
In 2010, the state of Michigan conducted a survey and found that 1 in 3 working age Michigan adults did not have the basic reading skills or credentials to get a family-sustaining job.
In the ten county Northwest Michigan area, which includes Antrim, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties served by GTALC, the proportion of dropouts and adults who have not received a high school diploma has improved. Regional statistics indicate 10% to 20% had no high school diploma in 2000, down from 30% to 40% in 1980.
Whether you know it or not, every day you interact with people with low reading skills. No single type of person is prone to reading difficulties. Through community awareness and community action we can eradicate illiteracy.
10 Signs Someone Can't Read
There are many different reasons adults in our community cannot read or are limited by their low reading ability. Following is a list of 10 signs that indicate someone may be having trouble reading:
Taking paperwork (forms, applications, etc.) home to fill out
Can't use the phone book or read a classified ad
Can't write phone messages
Using "I forgot my glasses" as a reason not to read
Can't find information on a paycheck
Has trouble understanding written medical directions
Always ordering the same item at a restaurant or having someone else order for them
Can't understand a child's report card or letters and notices from school
Looks at written information, but doesn't move his/her eyes
Having a short attention span and/or inability to focus
Tips for Tutors
Here are some tips for Tutors to promote a positive experience for both the Tutor and Student:
It is very important where you sit: choose a space where you can sit next to your student, rather than across from your student.
Be positive regarding your student's efforts. It helps to remember this is a journey for your student, not a destination.
Celebrate his/her accomplishments, both big and small.
Be flexible with your agenda: you will not always be aware of what is going on in your student's life. At some point, he/she may really need your compassion and patience.
Never use a red pencil or pen: this can be very intimidating for your student.
Limit your use of slang.
Encourage your student to keep a journal. He/she may be really amazed at the progress after only a few months (or even a year) of tutoring.
Play games like Scrabble, flash cards and crossword puzzles.
Encourage your student to practice putting things in sequence: recipes, household chores and calendar items.
Look up information together: in magazines, maps, dictionaries and phone books.
Use practical teaching aids, like store ads, brochures, menus and labels.
Your words will be long remembered: use words of praise like 'good job' and 'I knew you could do it.' Avoid the use of negative phrases like 'that's wrong.' Instead you could say 'we will come back to that' or 'can we do this another way' and 'let's try again.'
Enjoy your tutoring time together: your student will feel your encouragement and excitement in reaching new goals.