Low Literacy in the 21st Century


One in five American adults cannot access or use the Internet.

If you’re reading this blog, low literacy is probably not an issue for you. But what about that other 20% of Americans? No Facebook? No Google searches? No online job searches? Low literacy makes it impossible for adults to participate in life to the best of their abilities.

Basic literacy skills simply aren’t enough in today’s technology-driven world. Adults need computer skills and access to technology to succeed in our society, whether they’re trying to find a job online, getting accurate health information on the Internet, or simply reading an email from their child’s teacher. Adults who lack basic technology skills are stuck at the bottom of an entrance ramp to an information superhighway thay can never reach.

Click here to read more from ProLiteracy about all the ways low literacy impacts adults.

Welcome, Winter

holly berries inwinterDecember 21 was the first day of winter, and staff here at Craven Literacy Council began our 2-week year-end break. All of us are looking forward to some time away from the office and a chance to decompress.

Of course, we plan to enjoy this time off and celebrate the joys of the season with family and friends. We wish the same for all of you, our loyal supporters. Enjoy!

Please do check back with us in January as we begin another exciting and productive year empowering adults through literacy.

Spotlight on a Volunteer

Jane Ashford teaching Craven Literacy Council is honored and fortunate to count Jane Ashford as one of our literacy volunteers. Jane’s life has been one of service to our community, most recently to the Burmese refugees who resettle in and around New Bern.

Teaching English to non-native English speakers is a natural fit for Jane’s enthusiasm for teaching and supporting self-sufficiency in individuals. Read her full profile here in the New Bern SunJournal.

Learning to Read at 48

Earl Mills is one of CLC’s biggest literacy success stories and now one of our biggest boosters. Earl raised a family and enjoyed 30 years of successful employment in New Bern, NC – all while hiding a secret from his children and his employer: he could barely read.  In his 40’s Earl finally turned to Craven Literacy Council for help.

open bookNow a published author and frequent inspirational speaker, Earl tells his story to others, vividly conveying the fear that came with hiding this secret throughout his adult life.  He also shares the sheer determination it took for him to become a reader.

Read more of Earl’s story here in the New Bern SunJournal.

ProLiteracy Awareness Campaign

ProLiteracy is expanding its efforts to spread awareness about adult literacy. On Sunday, November 8, The New York Times featured an adult literacy ad in the “Giving” section, a special section dedicated to philanthropy. This issue of The New York Times was distributed nationally to more than 1.2 million people through subscriptions and at newsstands.

See the ProLiteracy NY Times ad here.

Immigrant Runs Own Business and Earns Citizenship

tutor and Gloria
Tutor and her student, a proud new US citizen

When Gloria Aranda came to Craven Literacy Council in 2007 with a high school certificate from her native Colombia, her oral English abilities were sufficient only to satisfy basic survival needs and very routine social demands. She appealed to CLC for help communicating effectively so that she could be involved at her daughter’s school, participate in her church, find employment, and ultimately become a US citizen. Three years later Gloria’s oral skills had increased so much that she could function independently and competently in social and work situations. She is now actively involved with her daughter’s schooling and is comfortable interacting with her daughter’s counselor. Gloria understands the English sermons at her church and sings the hymns in English.

Not only did Gloria get a job – she started her own small business. Her enhanced English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills permit her to communicate with her customers by telephone and face-to-face. Gloria also worked with her tutor to learn computer and technology skills that many take for granted. She now communicates with her customers via e-mail and creates professional invoices using her new skills. Gloria celebrates other achievements such as knowing how to write checks and deposit slips as well as using the internet to check her bank account online.

Gloria continues to work with a literacy tutor at Craven Literacy Council. In 2015 she met a long-held goal of passing the naturalization test and becoming a United States citizen. She and her tutor worked diligently with the civics material provided to her free of charge. She completed her application and went through the multi-step process to becoming a US citizen. In a recent communication with CLC Gloria wrote, “My experience has been wonderful because now I can communicate better in whatever place I go. ” Craven Literacy Council celebrates Gloria’s hard work. We are thankful to be part of her success story.

CLC Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

plate of pastaTonight staff celebrates our wonderful Craven Literacy Council tutors and volunteers at a traditional pasta dinner. It’s our turn to work for all the volunteers who themselves work so tirelessly to help adults in our community build better literacy skills.

Every year we all have fun on a special evening in September. Volunteers and guests (students, spouses, friends) enjoy camaraderie around the dining table filled with salad, pasta and dessert served up by CLC staff.

During dessert CLC staff acknowledges all volunteers for the hours they have given during the year, with special certificates going to those who have logged more than 100 hours in the year.

We love out volunteers!