Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
As part of the Journal’s ongoing Literacy Project, we are adding to our growing list of literacy programs available throughout New Mexico. Anyone who knows of programs that we have not yet singled out is welcome to call them to our attention. Contact Rick Nathanson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mike Murphy at email@example.com.
NEW MEXICO LIONS CRANE READING PROGRAM
Operating out of the Las Cruces Lions Community Center, this is a tutor-led, computer-based program that works with children not reading at grade level and adults who desire to read more proficiently. The program is free and donations are welcome.
OPERATION KIDSIGHT INC.
This program of the New Mexico Lions Clubs provides vision screenings for kids 3 to 9 in public and private elementary schools, Head Start schools and child care centers across the state.
Studies have shown that 60% of children identified as problem learners or diagnosed with such things as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia or autism, actually suffer from undetected eye disorders.
Operation KidSight works with school nurses, teachers and parents of referred children to get these children a comprehensive eye exam. It estimates that 35-40% of referred children had never before received an eye exam.
The Lions receive grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico to cover vouchers for eye exams and glasses for eligible students 3-7, and it contracts with the New Mexico Department of Health to provide similar vouchers for young people ages 8-18 and who are not covered by Medicaid or insurance.
For information, contact Brenda Dunn, program manager, at 575-525-5631, or go online to NMLionsKidSight.com.
This program is to enhance the reading skill of adults in general, though two of the main groups it serves are people with very low literacy skills, and people who are learning English as a second language, said executive director Muncie Hansen.
ReadWest also serves people who dropped out of high school and would now like to get their high school equivalency certification but are too “intimidated” to seek it through courses at local community colleges, she said.
The organization uses trained volunteers who do one-on-one tutoring out of ReadWest’s main Rio Rancho office at 103 Rio Rancho Blvd. It also conducts some group ESL classes at Puesta del Sol and Rio Rancho elementary schools.
The program, which began in 1989 operating out of the Corrales Library, offers its services free of charge.
For information, call 505-892-1131 or go online to readwest.org.
READ “WRITE” ADULT LITERACY PROGRAM
Based out of Moriarty, this program provides tutoring throughout Torrance County to anyone age 16 and older who is no longer in school. The program is geared toward teaching English as a second language, and to English-speaking individuals who read below the sixth-grade level. Read “Write” Adult Literacy also holds GED preparation courses.
Volunteer tutors are trained via programs offered through the nonprofit ProLiteracy Worldwide, a New York organizations that supports literacy initiatives that help adults learn to read and write.
New students take an initial assessment to determine their current skill level and are interviewed to ascertain their personal goals. Students are then paired with a tutor who regularly meets with the student at the Read “Write” Literacy offices in Moriarty, in public libraries throughout Torrance County or via online audio-video sessions. Tutors track the student’s progress and formal assessments are done semi-annually or upon exit notice from the student.
The program is free to participants and the tutors are unpaid volunteers. Overhead costs are covered by an allocation from the New Mexico Higher Education Department, a grant from United Way of Central New Mexico, and other grants and private donations.
RIO ARRIBA ADULT LITERACY PROGRAM
With offices in the Española public library, this program provides free basic literacy and ESL tutoring to people who live in Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Taos counties. Student-tutor pairs meet in libraries or other public places once to twice a week.
Typically, two-thirds of the students are being tutored in ESL and one-third in general literacy, said program director Devon Hoffman.
“Many ESL students often have as one of their goals to take the citizenship test. Sometimes, they’re already citizens, so their immediate goal is just better grasp of reading and writing English,” he said.
According to the organization’s website, about 25% of Rio Arriba County residents lack basic literacy skills, 34% speak only limited English, and 80% of students active in the program for six months or more show improvement toward their goals.
The largest source of funding for the program is the state, but other sources include grants and private donations.
MENTORING KIDS WORKS NM
This program uses mostly paid, but some unpaid volunteer mentor tutors who work with elementary school kids in second through fifth grades who teachers have identified through standardized testing as reading below their respective grade levels.
The tutors are recruited from high schools and colleges and trained by Mentoring Kids Works NM and by the May Center for Learning in Santa Fe. The tutors spend about two hours a week with each kid in after-school programs.
The program is based out of Santa Fe, but also has programs in elementary schools in Taos, Albuquerque, Socorro and Española.
The mentor tutors “create an important relationship with a child, and the kids look forward to being with their mentors every week,” said program director Louise Yakey. “They are great role models for these kids. Many of our mentors are first generation high school graduates going on to college. About 80% of our mentors are bilingual. So for kids who are learning English having just come to this country, our mentors give them that one-on-one attention. They can speak to them in Spanish, and then teach them what they need to do in the assignment in English.”
For information, go to mentoringkidsworksnm.org.