North Carolina community college helps adults improve literacy and life skills
South Piedmont Community College’s Adult Literacy Program offers a free program to improve adult reading skills.
MONROE, NC — There is a high price tag attached to millions of Americans unable to read beyond a sixth-grade level. A Gallup study estimates that low levels of adult literacy could cost the United States up to $2.2 trillion a year.
This is because literacy is linked to personal income, employment levels, health and overall economic growth.
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Mary Ann Grochowski, or Miss G as her students call her, volunteers at South Piedmont Community College’s Adult Literacy Program to improve adult reading skills.
“When you’re 37 and you’re reading at the pre-kindergarten level, or you’re 68 and you’re reading at the second grade level, you know, somehow, you are fit, but that doesn’t mean you achieved the goals you wanted to achieve,” Grochowski said.
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Adults with literacy issues can come to campus for free and take all the time they need to learn to read.
“You’ll be surprised how many people we talk to every day and meet every day,” said SPCC Director of Literacy Services RJ Lightsey. “But when it comes to reading and understanding what they’re reading, they’re at a loss for that, but they can carry on a conversation. And what makes it difficult is when we don’t recognize those people, these future students.”
The SPCC College of Career Readiness began hosting the program in 2021. It was initially launched in the Monore region by a non-profit organization called Common Heart in late 2019. The program later moved to the college after that Common Heart has expanded its pantry network. and economic empowerment programs.
According to the US Department of Education, 54% of American adults between the ages of 16 and 74 lack literacy skills. Which means they read below the equivalent of a sixth grade level.
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In the Anson and Union County area, that number represents 30 to 35 percent of area residents, according to the SPCC College of Career Readiness.
“You know, how do you leave a note for someone?” Grochowski asked. “How do you text if you can’t put three letters together? How do you reply to a text? You know, what do you do in an emergency? How do you tell people what traffic signs are? If you don’t can’t read them and you can’t pronounce the words, it’s hard.”
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Once students leave the reading program, they can start writing a new chapter in their own book of life.
The program is free. People interested in volunteering as a tutor or registering as a student can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-290-5261.
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