The City Council proclaimed September 25, 2022 Adult Literacy Day in the city of Redlands, recognizing that adults who improve their literacy skills can advance their employment, further their education, and help their children in school. Through the proclamation, the City Council commended the efforts of the Redlands Adult Literacy Program’s adult learners, volunteers, and community partners. By improving their reading and writing, adult learners can provide a better future for themselves, their families, and their community.
In honor of Adult Literacy Day, the Redlands Adult Literacy Program invited the Redlands community to hear adult-learner authors read their works that were recently published in the fifth volume of Our Stories, A Collection of Writings. In this volume, adult learners wrote about their journeys to literacy, important memories, joys, dreams, everyday annoyances, and reflections on books that they had read. This volume also included collaborative stories from children who participate in the family literacy program and poetry from computer and conversation classes.
Over 150 learners, tutors, their families, and community members gathered on September 25 to celebrate the learners’ works. Adult Literacy Coordinator Diane Shimota, Library Director Don McCue, and Mayor Paul Barich welcomed the attendees. Mayor Barich emphasized the importance of the Redlands Adult Literacy Program and the value it brings to the entire community.
The core principle of the Redlands Adult Literacy Program is to assist learners in reaching their reading and writing goals by working with a tutor one-on-one. This goal was beautifully reflected in Darcel Cannady and Briseiry Roque’s anthology submission, Two Voices, which emphasized that tutor-learner teams have much in common and much to learn from each other. After the celebration, Darcel and Briseiry expressed their appreciation to all the people who made the author celebration possible. This was the first adult literacy event they had attended, and they both felt like they were part of a community of supporters.
Author Rossy Le joined the literacy program in 2022 and worked with her tutor, Sharon Regalado, to write two stories for the anthology. At the event, she was very excited to see the community of adult literacy tutors and learners that she had joined, and to read her story, Mochi’s Rat, aloud. She was nervous about reading, but found confidence and assurance through the process. Afterwards, Rossy observed that all the authors who read their stories did so with confidence that they gained through improving their literacy.
Author Magdalena Rebollar read her story, My Dream to Improve Myself, which included her experience of being unable to get an education in her home country because her family was too poor. Now that her children are older, Magdalena can meet with her tutor to learn reading and writing skills that will enable her to complete her education. She is grateful for the support of her tutor, Lauri Jones, whose patience and guidance makes this learning possible.
Seventeen additional authors read their works at the author celebration. After hearing their works, attendees commented on the authenticity of the stories and the value that sharing their stories brought to the community. Community representatives Rebecca McCurdy, President, Friends of the Library, Kate Pretorius, Library Trustee, and Toni Momberger, Executive Editor, Follow Our Courts, spoke about their literacy experiences and the courage it takes, as an adult, to work on this vital skill.
We invite you to read Our Stories, A Collection of Writings. All five volumes are available in the Adult Literacy collection at A. K. Smiley Public Library. To purchase your own copy of the anthology, search for ‘Redlands Adult Literacy Program’ at Amazon.com. You are also invited to watch the recordings of the adult-learner authors who recently videotaped their works. These recordings will be available at www.akspl.org/literacy in October.
After the event, one tutor said that if she wasn’t already a tutor, she would be signing up to become one! The Redlands Adult Literacy Program relies on its wonderful volunteer tutors to provide free instruction in reading and writing. The next volunteer tutor orientation is Wednesday, October 19, at 6:00 pm in the Library Assembly Room. If you are interested in learning more about the Redlands Adult Literacy Program and becoming a tutor, please call Diane Shimota, Adult Literacy Coordinator, at (909) 798-7565 ext. 4138 or email email@example.com. If you know of someone who needs help in reading and writing, please encourage them to take the first step in changing their lives by contacting Diane Shimota. All literacy services are free and confidential.