Welcome to the Winnetka Rotary Literacy Projects Blog

Our literacy committee blog shares information about our Rotary literacy projects and events associated with sharing access to the many different ways in which people read. Some access reading the "traditional" way, some have computers read books, Internet pages, newspapers, and other print material. Our goal is to make the "written word" accessible to every person of every age and ability.

Please come back to find out about our past, present, and future projects.

What is the impact of illiteracy?

Illiteracy causes more harm than merely having a reduced ability to read and write. Illiteracy causes entire families to remain isolated from the everyday fabric of their local and global communities, to remain isolated from inspiration acquired by "enough education," and to remain isolated from a means to share history beyond the reaches of their spoken word.
----Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Monday, February 25, 2008

Literacy Project Update

On Saturday, February 23, we had a Rotary literacy project volunteer update, technology demonstration, and book signing. Visitors had a chance to look at Rotarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus' new book (Creating a World Without Poverty) in both hardcover and in digital format that the computer read aloud.

Among the visitors, we had Kirk Reed, our assistant district governor. Other guests included parents, several disabled individuals, and professionals.

Visitors had hands-on demonstrations of technology that reads books, magazines (even the Rotarian), and Internet text aloud, as well as other assistive technology (tools for access). Visitors also had the opportunity to see the multiple ways in which our projects will provide digital (computer-readable) materials so that those who struggle with reading can have the same opportunities to read and learn as their peers.

If you missed this event, several more will be scheduled over the next few months. Stay tuned...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Accessible LiteracyTechnology Demonstration and Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Literacy Project Update

Meet local Rotarian and author Dr. Jeanne Beckman

What: Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Literacy Volunteers Project Update, Book signing, Technology Demonstrations

When: Saturday, February 23, 2008 11-3

Where: One Northfield Plaza, Suite 300, Northfield, IL

Special for spreading the Rotarian spirit: Bring a copy of either Muhammad Yunus book (Creating a World Without Poverty or Banker to the poor: micro-lending and the battle against world poverty) and get a free digital copy for your computer to read aloud.

Find out about

  • Technology that reads any book aloud (text to speech)
  • Technology that types whatever you say (voice recognition or “Dragon”)
  • Technology that speaks for those with delayed, difficult to understand, or absent speech
  • Technology that helps you keep track of appointments, assignments, and other important information
  • How to get technology to meet your individual needs
  • How to share technology for literacy through local and international Rotary literacy projects
  • 10% of book sales during open house will be donated to Winnetka-Northfield Literacy Project

Audience: Information for all ages

  • For more information, email Dr. Beckman at techpsych@techpsychologist.com

Excerpt from Tech Psychologist’s Guide

As you read this book

As you read this book, I also ask that you consider how you might impact others’ lives if you only had the time. It is my hope that this book will help you and your family find ways to access learning so that you will have time to more fully participate in the community, both at the local and global level.

Making our world a better place

Challenging barriers is not a pleasant stroll in the park. It drains families of energy we could spend making our world a better place. When families work together, the likelihood of creating change increases significantly. When you work together with other families and find some successes in leading change, who knows how far you can go? Maybe you can create changes outside your own communities. Can you help other families find funding sources for technology? Can you share your techniques for bringing about changes with other families?

A final thought on my own attempt at ripples of change

In my book, I challenged readers to “pay it forward” by finding ways to share what they’ve learned. My own attempt to pay it forward is that I will donate a percentage of the profit from this book to the Winnetka, Illinois Rotary Club literacy project. This project loans text-to-speech software and scanners to local public libraries, so library patrons can access all of the books within their library as well as have fully accommodated access to the Internet and digital media. We intend to have this project “paid forward” to other Rotary service clubs throughout the United States and internationally. Each of those clubs will be asked to pay the project forward to three other Rotary clubs, and so on.

For information about the project
Please contact Dr. Jeanne Beckman at 847-446-1251

or email her at techpsych@techpsychologist.com