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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Finding the Best Ways to Combat Adult Illiteracy

Earlene McMichael, WMUK

Kalamazoo Literacy Council Executive Director Michael Evans says adult literacy touches issues such as workforce development, education and health. 

A symposium is being held at Western Michigan University on Friday to examine best practices in adult literacy. The Kalamazoo Literacy Council is one of the event’s sponsors. Research shows about 13% of the adult population are struggling to read. The Literacy Council is helping about 400 readers. But Evans says “to make a statistical difference we really feel we need to be helping about 2,500 people and more.” Evans says that means finding more partners to work with to expand services.

Evans describes the symposium at Western Michigan University as a “one day opportunity to get into a deep discussion about adult literacy.” Evans says he hopes that will lead to conversation about the solutions to adult literacy.

Interview with Michael Evans - web version

  Teaching needs to be tailored for adult learners, says Evans. He says some may want to pursue an academic credential. But Evans says some may want to improve their reading to help their children. He says others may need help with basic reading such as bills and other documents.

Evans says it’s important for many agencies, other than the literacy council, to work on adult literacy. He says that should include workforce development agencies, employers and health care institutions. Evans says it’s important that people know that there is a free service available to help them with adult literacy.

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