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BURBANK : Lack of Funding Hurts Literacy Effort

August 04, 1993|ED BOND

Joe, a 35-year-old unemployed electrician, could be learning to read twice as fast as he is now, his tutor said.

"Unfortunately, we have only one book," said Pat King, who for three weeks has been tutoring Joe through a literacy program at the Burbank Public Library. But the library is short of money, supplies and books for the Students of Adult Reading Services program started with a state grant.

The Friends of the Burbank Public Library is running a $5,000 fund-raising campaign so the program can be expanded from the 25 adults now learning to read to 125 by next July.

Joe, who is hoping to pass a high school equivalency test this month to get a job, has to share the book with King on alternate nights so that she can grade his assignments after he has completed them. He asked that his last name not be used so that it would not hurt his chances of finding a job.

"He's very good," said King, who wanted to be a volunteer tutor since a co-worker who couldn't read made her realize how widespread a problem illiteracy was. "He really wants to learn."

Donations of supplies such as paper, pens and especially new dictionaries are needed, said Patricia K. Smart, Burbank Public Library's literacy project coordinator.

The first group of tutors, who work one-on-one with the students, were trained in May and early June. The students, who must be fluent in English, range in age from 17 to 91.

Sweat shirt and T-shirt sales at the library have raised $200 for the literacy program. For more information, Smart can be reached at the library.

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