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Literacy Programs Can Alter 'Tragic' Stories

September 05, 1993

* Your article "Recycler Overcomes Tragedies" (Aug. 10) fails to point out that there is help and hope for business people like Doug Feller who have reading difficulties.

Last fall the city of Santa Clarita began a free adult literacy service through the Valencia public library. The service was begun through a federal Community Block Development Grant, which the city received in recognition of the fact that one out of every five adults needs help with reading and writing.

As a former literacy outreach specialist for the County of Los Angeles Public Library, I have met many adults in Santa Clarita who are now improving their literacy skills through the Valencia public library. Over 40 volunteers have been trained to tutor these adults; some are awaiting students.

I tutored an adult who had cerebral palsy and who had never gone to school. We worked on her reading, writing and arithmetic for a year and a half. She is now functioning with these skills on her own.

Please be part of the solution and encourage adults who need help with reading to call their local library or the Community Access Library Line at (800) 372-6641 for information. To simply describe these people as "tragic" is to ignore the more than 20,000 adults who are instructed through California libraries' literacy services each year.

PATRICIA SMART

Burbank

Smart is literacy project coordinator for the Burbank public library.

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