June 27, 2012

Calling all Central Texas Social Service Provider Teams!


You are conducting an intake with a potential new client for your social service program. Let’s call potential new client, Bob. As you describe the services available for Bob and the process for determining eligibility, Bob returns your questions and comments with blank stares, silence, and rolling of eyes.

Not so unusual, you may say.

You try to read Bob’s mood and body language and decide to move along with the intake. Bob nods his head in affirmation when you ask if he is interested in the program you are describing, so you ask him to fill out a very basic intake form. Suddenly Bob becomes very chatty, changing the subject from the topic at hand. As he chats away, you detect a sense of urgency in his voice. You begin to wonder if he was even listening to the last 30 minutes worth of information you explained to him- he is now talking about an entirely non-related event. He doesn’t pick up the pencil you set down in front of him. You notice he hasn’t even turned the intake form around… when you have handed it to him upside-down….

As a social service provider, you would probably consider a variety of possible explanations for Bob’s behavior. But I’m curious…was literacy one of the factors you considered? (I know- probably obvious, since this post is on a literacy coalition blog.)

In fact, literacy is very likely to be a barrier for many of the people who cross our paths. 1 in 5 Central Texans are like Bob, unable to read or write well enough to fill out a basic job application.
So where do you come in? You may think, “Well I’m not a teacher…the last book I read was in the 10th grade…who am I to talk about literacy with my clients?”

In response, the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas has designed a special training for our local social service teams. As part of our ongoing Literacy Illuminates campaign we want to arm social service teams with the tools to identify low literacy and connect clients to literacy services in the community.

This will be a 30 minute workshop we can offer at your next staff meeting and it will cover the following information:
  •  Defining literacy
  • Why is literacy so important?
  • About the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas
  • Types of literacy services
  • Literacy Illuminates campaign and providers’ roles
  • Identifying clients who are low literate 
  •  Connecting Clients with Literacy Services (How to use LCCT hotline and online searchable database)
Trainings will begin in July! If you would like to sign up your team of 5 or more providers, or if you would like more information about this workshop, please contact Emily at epulley@willread.org.

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