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VOL. 126 | NO. 236 | Monday, December 05, 2011

Literacy Mid-South Receives $200K

By Aisling Maki

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The Plough Foundation has awarded Literacy Mid-South a $200,000 grant to help update its Adult Learning Program and re-establish the Smart Memphis Coalition, a literacy outreach program that provides training and technical assistance to more than 100 literacy organizations in the Greater Memphis area.

The grant will be used to develop, pilot and evaluate the programs, as well as provide operational support for three years while Literacy Mid-South establishes long-term funding sources for them.

“With an estimated 130,000 adults in Memphis who are unable to read well enough to fill out a job application, read to their children or follow directions on a prescription bottle, the need for our services is great,” said Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South. “The Plough Foundation’s generous support will allow Literacy Mid-South to implement new and more effective learning practices within our curriculum, as well as enhance our reach for sharing these best practices with other learning organizations.”

Literacy Mid-South’s current adult learning curriculum is based on a model from the 1980s that’s now being replaced nationwide with more progressive methods for adult learning. These newer methods focus on a more exploratory, experiential approach in which both the facilitator and student share knowledge and perspective on a topic to appreciate a broader perspective.

The ultimate goal is to move away from a service delivery model to a partnership with the learner.

With the help of expert consultants, Literacy Mid-South will implement this new method, develop new curriculum and modify its volunteer training program accordingly. The organization will also package the new curriculum to share it with literacy organizations across the Mid-South through the Smart Memphis Coalition.

Smart Memphis Coalition plans to further develop ongoing training programs and capacity-building workshops, and create resource connections for literacy learning organizations through networking lunches, citywide reading campaigns and an annual literacy conference.

The Plough Foundation is a private foundation established in 1960 by Memphis entrepreneur Abe Plough, founder of Plough Inc. The foundation focuses on providing aid to charitable organizations that benefit the greatest number of people in Memphis and Shelby County.

Literacy Mid-South aims to teach clients basic reading and comprehension skills. The nonprofit is dedicated to increasing child and adult literacy through adult learning, advocacy, research, family literacy workshops, community-wide reading initiatives, and resource development.

Visit www.literacymidsouth.org for more information.

The Daily News is a supporter of Literacy Mid-South.

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