09 Apr Adult Literacy at SBPL
The Santa Barbara Public Library is so much more than just an open space filled with books, it is now a hub for social services available to all ages in the community. The Adult Literacy Program, run by Devin Cahill the adult education librarian, is made up of volunteer tutors that help people in the community who are working as native speakers of English and are struggling with their literacy. Inspired by the San Francisco Public Library’s “Fog Readers Program,” the SBPL models this program using the Orton Gillingham curriculum which is designed for people with dyslexia and trains tutors how to use these tools for struggling readers. The degree of investment in training, the number of resources available to us to use and the ongoing support of Cahill sets this program apart from others. Tutors get to know the learners one-on-one to determine exactly what they need and design the tutoring from there.
This video highlights the story of Kubra Mashal, a college professor who immigrated from Afghanistan to continue her career in academia in the United States. Her experience in the program has made her more confident in her English as a native speaker and has noticed a visible improvement in her conversation skills over time. Her story showcases how the program is really designed to make people more confident in themselves and their abilities in reading. Whether it be for academic success or just for personal success, this program makes its members feel like they are a part of the community.