Saturday, September 16, 2006

New Literacy Group in Central Oklahoma | Well Read: New coalition targets illiteracy problem
FOR 137,000 Oklahomans, the simple task of reading a newspaper or filling out a job application is anything but easy. Maybe they can read a book from the children's section of the library. But they can't read well enough to function in everyday society, obtain a well-paying job or in some cases obtain the medical or other types of assistance they need.
Today, a group of well-meaning community and state leaders are launching the Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition with the goal of decreasing illiteracy in the city area. Their goal is admirable, but it will be tough to achieve.

For months, several people have been meeting about ways to get the community involved. They include representatives from the Junior League of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, RSVP of Central Oklahoma and Community Literacy Centers, with additional support from the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

"We know that direct literacy services providers are working diligently to alleviate this problem, reaching only a small percentage of the people who want to learn to read," said Betsy Mantor, president of the Oklahoma City Junior League. "We have to come up with a way to reach more people, provide better resources and build up capacity for providers."

The coalition will use task forces to develop a plan to improve literacy rates. We urge those involved to be aggressive in their efforts to help their fellow Oklahomans but not to cast the net too wide. With limited financial resources, money and effort must be spent effectively. Whether that means a focus on children, high school dropouts or a segment of the adult population, the task forces should decide. We commend them in advance for their work and look forward to a strategic plan that will help improve the lives of those who struggle daily with illiteracy.

No comments: