A helping hand with World Book Discover!

Despite the rhetoric not everyone gets the same chances in life.

Logo of World Book DiscoverPublic libraries have always had a role in helping to level out the playing field for those of us not blessed with position or wealth. Our goal is to support everyone in whatever endeavour they choose to undertake.

One of the new tools we have to aid us with this is World Book Discover. This product is an online reference resource specifically designed for reluctant readers, people who have learning difficulties and people with English as their second language. World Book Discover contains tools and content specifically for those who need help in reading and comprehension. It includes:

  • Easy-to-read articles on topics of interest that include reading comprehension questions;
  • An uncluttered interface and useful activities;
  • Automated translations into 30 languages;
  • Text-to-speech feature that allows users to hear text read aloud;
  • Individual accounts that allow users to save their research;
  • A section on life skills that helps negotiate financial, health, and housing issues.

Users can access this product from home with their library card and password / PIN, or in libraries from the Source or the catalogue. Its aim is to deliver information in a simplified manner to those who need it.

Have a play and spread the word!

Adult Learners’ Week – Take That First Step

As someone who doesn’t  remember a time when I couldn’t write, read and use mathematics, I find it hard to imagine how life must be if you have limited or no literacy. I’ve known adults who have hidden their lack of literacy well into their middle age, for fear of ridicule and embarrassment, but who, with support, have taken the steps to literacy and now are enjoying the freedom and excitement of even small things, such as reading the newspaper, writing emails to friends and yes, even reading the back of the cereal packet.

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope – Kofi Annan

Literacy is fundamental in our ability to interact with the world, and our prisons, for example,  are filled with those who have fallen through the literacy cracks and struggle with even the most basic levels of writing, reading and numeracy. It creates a separateness and isolates through embarrassment and usually unfounded feelings of being stupid or inadequate.

September 2- 8 is Adult Learners’ Week. The week incorporates International Literacy Day on September 8 and here at the Christchurch City Libraries, we have a wealth of resources to help increase literacy, whether you are a native speaker of English or not.

Libraries in your community are holding events during the week

You can also search our CINCH database to find community based programs aimed at improving and encouraging literacy, no matter where you are on the literacy ladder.  Your local library has easy readers aimed at adults and books that can test you and give you practice on essential skills.

Mango languageIf you are looking for ways to be a life long learner, check out the resources available at your local library and online. We also have a large number of resources for people learning English as a second language. Our Mango Languages database has lessons for Japanese, Korean and Mandarin speaking people wanting to learn English.

If you are someone who struggles with literacy in any way, there is help out there, and the first step you take will help you travel into a whole new world.

International Literacy Day – Are you feeling privileged to be reading this?

CoverProbably not a great deal, but you should.  Not because of the opportunity to sample my ever-so-sparkling prose (yeah, right!), but because far too many people in Aotearoa have difficulty in reading and understanding what they read at all.  In fact,  according to the results of  the Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey, over 40% of the adult population in New Zealand have low literacy skills.

It is hard to fully comprehend the difficulties that this large minority of people faces in dealing with the demands of everyday life.  So here’s my challenge to you on this International Literacy Day, 8 September:  stop and think about how often you rely on the written word … And how reading involves a lot more than just deciphering letters (ever felt lost trying to fill in an official form? I know I have, and I have a Master’s degree). Literacy Aotearoa has some suggestions.

So how can we help those who struggle with reading, writing and basic maths? Well, if you have taken my challenge, you are already helping: having an awareness of the issue is a great start.

If you would like to improve your literacy skills, or want to help someone else do so, try the following links.