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Alta programmes get top citation in the US 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The US Library of Congress has selected the Adult Literacy Tutors Association of T&T (Alta) for its exemplary practices from among 187 organisations in literacy education. 


The 2013 Literacy Awards Best Practices publication, released in November, named Alta along with 25 organisations worldwide for demonstrating exemplary practices implemented by programmes that address illiteracy, aliteracy, or both, in the United States and globally. 


The document stated, “Alta has demonstrated how effective a model of volunteerism can be in addressing illiteracy.” This model, over the years, has increased the volunteer capacity of the organisation and includes an annual call for volunteers from November to February, an intensive six-day literacy training course in April and May and continuous support and guidance for volunteers by Alta’s regional coordinators. 


Top winners for the 2013 Literacy Awards were selected from 28 US states and 21 countries. Among the semi-finalists, Alta was the only English-speaking organisation from Latin America and the Caribbean region to be nominated. 


The Alta programme received special mention for its culturally relevant instructional programme and its ability to leverage community resources through a cadre of more than 300 volunteers. Alta’s Chief Executive Officer Paula Lucie-Smith said the recognition is a welcome endorsement of the Alta programme and its relevance, especially as literacy is still widely seen in T&T as a children’s issue only. 


Started in 1992, the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (Alta) provides annual tutor training to 100 new volunteers and free literacy instruction to persons over the age of 16 across Trinidad. Volunteers are paired with experienced tutors to teach in community classes for an academic year after they have been taught to deliver the Alta programme. Alta has written and published its own tutor manuals and student workbooks covering local topics and issues faced by adults. 


This is the inaugural literacy awards by The Library of Congress. The Literacy Awards was established in January 2013 through sponsorship from David M Rubenstein, a major donor to the Library of Congress. Winners were announced on September 22, 2013 at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. 


The Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Literacy Awards Advisory Board comprised of distinguished individuals in the field of literacy and offered recommendations to Librarian of Congress James H Billington, who made the final selections.


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