The Redlands Adult Literacy Program recently published Our Stories, A Collection of Writings, Volume 3, which includes writings from adult learners enrolled in the Redlands Adult Literacy Program. Over 40 adult learners and tutors contributed written works for the anthology. These works focused on the learners’ journeys to literacy, personal reflections, family and friends, memories and adventures, and reflections about books the learners had read. This year, a special chapter entitled ‘Pandemic Reflections’ was added to the anthology providing an opportunity for authors to share the impact that the pandemic has had on their lives.
Diane Shimota, adult literacy coordinator, shared that the anthology “provided an opportunity for adult learners to write stories from their hearts, choosing just the right words to express themselves, and then to share those stories with the broader community.” Previously, the Redlands community would be invited to a “Celebration of Authors” event, where adult learners would read their works to an audience that included their families and friends. Because of the social distancing requirements caused by the pandemic, this year the Library recorded authors reading their stories, so that the whole community could experience the joy of hearing the works of adult learners who are working to improve their literacy. You are invited to view these remarkable videos which are posted at www.akspl.org/literacy.
This anthology’s pandemic reflections were especially heart-felt and relevant as everyone continues to adapt to changes caused by the pandemic. Several learners wrote about the losses they had experienced, like the inability to see family or gather in large groups, supporting children with online school, learning how to meet with tutors remotely, and adapting to wearing face masks.
Author Martha Torres wrote an especially poignant account of what it was like when her sister was diagnosed with the COVID virus in her story Terrible News. She described the anguish she felt when she was unable to be at her sister’s side and the joy she experienced when her sister recovered. Also in the pandemic chapter are a series of six-word stories, written by tutors and learners, who described a pandemic experience in six words. Marisela Casillas wrote this six-word story: “I enjoy seeing my family more.” Six-word stories are fun to write and capture experiences succinctly – you may want to write a six-word story of your own!
In addition to stories on the pandemic, several learners wrote about their journeys to literacy. Cinderella Tran, in The Literacy Path, wrote in detail about how she felt coming to the library to ask for help with her reading and writing. She recalled her first contact with the program, what it felt like to meet and work with her tutor, and how her life changed after she attended literacy computer classes and learned how to use the internet. Cinderella shared that the knowledge she has gained was a “treasure that all of her tutors have given [her].”
Copies of volumes 1, 2, and 3 of Our Stories, A Collection of Writings are available for checkout at A. K. Smiley Public Library. We encourage you to take a moment and read about the fascinating lives of adult learners.
To help adults who want to improve their reading and writing, the Redlands Adult Literacy Program relies on its wonderful volunteer tutors. If you are interested in becoming a tutor, please contact Diane Shimota, adult literacy coordinator, with the Redlands Adult Literacy Program at (909) 798-7565 ext. 4138 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 the Redlands Adult Literacy Program. The program is free and tutoring can be scheduled at the convenience of the adult learner and tutor.