Letters to the editor

Nov. 02, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

Tutoring makes a difference

Perhaps the quizzical signs have caught your eye.  First, gibberish; now paper doll cut-outs labeled “Passed / Failed.” 

This campaign draws attention to a distressing problem: childhood illiteracy.  The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress found 66 percent of North Carolina 4th graders “below proficient” in reading.  For African American students, the number was 84 percent; for Latinos, 80 percent.  Struggling readers drop out of school in droves.  85 percent of juvenile offenders have reading difficulties; prisons are filled with non-readers. 

A Chapel Hill non-profit, the Augustine Literacy Project, has taken aim at this, overcoming it one child, one tutor at a time.  Founded in 1994 at Holy Family Episcopal Church, the Project trains and supports volunteer tutors who provide free, long-term, one-on-one instruction in reading, writing and spelling to low-income students.  Research-based methodology, a committed, caring relationship and the intensive training and support of ALP is a powerful, effective antidote to a debilitating problem.

Augustine tutors undergo rigorous training (70 hours, including practicum), then teach 60 lessons to an Augustine student in the school of their choice.  Lessons last 45 minutes,  twice a week.  ALP serves disadvantaged students in 124 locations across the Triangle; replication chapters train tutors in 11 other cities. 

Augustine tutors can mean the difference between prison and productivity.  To know the joy of teaching a child to read, take an ALP tutor training course.  To register, call 919-408-0798 or email augustine@chfnc.net.  Experience the truth of our slogan: “Tutor one child. ~ Change two lives.”

Debbie McCarthy

Executive director, Augustine Literacy Project

Bittnerness, anyone?

So laced with bitterness toward white America was Leonard Pitts'  Oct. 26 commentary on the film "12 Years a Slave," that some points of rejoinder are in order.

(1) Historically in Africa, white slave traders acquired black slaves from brown Muslims, who had bought them from black tribesmen who had conquered the tribes of the enslaved.

(2) Today in Africa, the happy descendants of those who escaped the slave trade cope with crushing poverty, female genital mutilation, genocide and slavery, too.

(3) Historically in America, slavery was ended through the insistence of the white majority, at a great sacrifice of treasure and of lives.

(4) Today in America, the enormous expense in welfare and law enforcement caused by the miserable social performance of blacks results in white Americans and their children living a full notch below what they have earned. 

Bitterness, anyone?

Frank Hurley

Chapel Hill