Right on time

Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In this day of the Internet, smartphones and text messages, most folks probably think that illiteracy in Suffolk is a thing of the past, a problem that should have been left behind with the city’s industrialization — or at least by the time schools were integrated. Indeed, most folks would be surprised to learn that one in six Suffolk adults lacks basic functional reading skills.

The Suffolk Literacy Council was founded in 1987 to help build a community where illiteracy no longer stands in the way of a good job or a good book, where parents and grandparents can read bedtime stories to their children and grandchildren.

Through one-on-one tutoring of those who need basic instruction in reading, writing and math and individual and group instruction for those learning English as a second language, the organization is improving the community by helping those who live here in Suffolk become more able to be engaged in what takes place here. The ability to read English gives people a chance to learn more about the place where they live and the opportunities it holds for them, and on a more basic level it helps enable them to take hold of those opportunities.

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With a variety of programs available for those who need various kinds of basic help, the council and its volunteer tutors make a difference in the lives of many people here in Suffolk.

That’s what makes the support the organization recently received from the Birdsong Trust such a blessing. With its donation of nearly $7,000, Birdsong is helping the council buy new equipment, new materials and a new curriculum that should make reading even more accessible and interesting for adult participants.

Considering that the number of students served by the literacy council has more than quadrupled in recent months, the extra support is not just much needed, but it is also right on time.