Sunday, June 10, 2018

CNA: Get the Facts

Picture of mannequin in bed taken by Selena at beginning
 of her CNA course at Utah CNA Centers this past April.

We are learning a lot about the perks of the world of the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Let us share three important key items that may sway you to begin training today.

First, did you know that you don't have to start your CNA course before you get hired? All you need is basic first aid/CPR certification. The first aid course included a skills test (demonstrate to the instructor that you can perform CPR appropriately) and a short multiple-choice test (which may be read by the instructor).

Second, long-term care facilities will hire anyone to be a CNA. You have 120 days from your date of hire to pass the CNA licensing exam. On top of that the long-term care facility will reimburse you for your CNA course. They'll reimburse you even if you started the course before they hired you. Some long-term care facilities may also give you a signing bonus. Yes, you heard us right. An additional check for just signing up to work for them. Buyer beware: Read the fine print - some of these companies may require that you work for them for six or more months if they pay for the course or give a signing bonus. You may earn as much as $25, 000 per year ($11/hour). Many of the positions, however, are part-time.

Third, while many long-term care facilities need CNAs, so do hospitals, especially hospitals tied to universities. Getting employed as a CNA at a hospital has more benefits. By benefits, we mean that you may actually move up into a tech field with little further education. For example, you can become a cardio tech (the person who performs EKGs), MRI tech (the person who performs MRIs), or ultrasound tech (the person who performs ultrasounds) without a college degree. The average pay for the cardio tech is $53,000 per year ($25/hour), and the MRI tech averages $65,000 per year ($31/hour). While these careers may need additional on-the-job training, CNA may certainly be an entry into these other better paying medical-related jobs. Oh, by the way, as a university employee, the CNA may also get reduced college tuition.

We have been quite surprised by all of this. We know that CNAs are the backbone of any medical facility, but we didn't realize how CNAs might move easily into other better paying positions. Based on what we've shared, aren't you ready now to get your CNA?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Recognition Dinner 2018: Donors

Dear Literacy Friends,

Learners enroll with us to fill educational gaps. They see adult literacy instruction as one key to getting what they want in their lives.

Unbeknownst to these learners, we engage them in developing a variety of keys to enhance their abilities as readers, writers, and mathematicians. In turn, learners use these keys to take advantage of a range of college and career opportunities. 

The bottom line...what we do is only possible because of support from individuals like you. You are key to everyone’s success! 

In April, we celebrated our learners' and volunteers' successes at our annual Recognition Dinner. We are grateful to so many people for making this evening a success. These individuals included: Debbie (organizer), Tom, Danielle, Karen, Donna, Shell, Ellen, Mike, Selena, Sue, Ray, Ashley, Chris, John, Ray, Colleen, Matt, Kathy, plus many others who helped us bring the meal together!

We are also extremely grateful to our in-kind dinner donors: 
Buca di Beppo (935 Ft Union Blvd, Midvale) 
Costco (5201 South Intermountain Drive, Murray) 
Costco (1818 South 350 West, SLC) 
Elizabeth’s Catering (1645 West 2200 South, WVC) 
Olive Garden (3515 Constitution Blvd, WVC) 
Olive Garden (6305 South State, SLC) 
Olive Garden (2272 South 1300 East, SLC) 
Quizno’s (1775 South 4130 West, SLC
ReadingHorizons ( 
Sam’s Club (6525 S State, Murray) 
Shasta Beverage (2370 S 900 W, WVC) 
Sizzler Sugarhouse (2111 South 1300 East, SLC)
Texas Roadhouse (5418 Redwood Rd, Taylorsville) 
Textile Care Services (2295 West Custer Rd, WVC)
Utah Food Services (581 W 900 North, NSL)

On behalf of everyone here, thank you for your support!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Art appreciation: Integrating literacy & critical thinking

See what listening to Billy Joel generated by 4 of our participants.
Doodle Art created to one of Billy Joel's tunes.

Wednesday morning group just switched to Art Appreciation

Why? Learners want to share their artwork and what they know about art. This topic is a subject dear to many of our learners' hearts - ART.

Our goal? Increase reading comprehension strategies and critical thinking skills while simultaneously sharing learners' artwork and learning about artists - past & present.  

We are exploring vocabulary and art techniques. Building critical thinking skills. Improving investigation skills. Growing observational skills. Interpreting visual and written texts. Forcing summarization skills. Developing and delivering presentations. Sharing ideas, supported with evidence.

Seem odd for an adult literacy organization? 
Not this one! We use topics learners care about the most. 

Bottom line: 
We are teaching reading, writing, and math skills, 
just like everyone else, but with a twist.

Here's how today's lesson went:

Warm-up: RJ shared his doodle art technique. For our warm-up, we followed RJ's technique, and we all doodled while listening to "Goodnight, My Angel" lullaby by Billy Joel. Once the music ended, we colored. When we shared our masterpieces, we each told something about the significance and meaning behind our doodles. We clapped for each artist. In the picture above, you get a glimpse of four of our twelve resulting masterpieces. Pretty cool!

Content: We focused on "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso. We wanted to know about the artist, his style, and the painting itself. We split into four groups with one mentor per group. Each group took on one of these questions:

(A) Who was Picasso? How did his life influence his work?

(B) What was the history behind the "Guernica" mural? What influenced its creation?

(C) What do you see in "Guernica?" Share the elements.

(D) What was Picasso's style? How did this style show up in "Guernica?"

Groups had print and electronic materials available. An introduction to "Guernica" and Picasso were listed on our learner website, but groups were not required to visit or limited to the info on our site. One group found info about Picasso on Khan Academy, another found info about Picasso's art periods, and one group started with a paper-version of the encyclopedia. 

The expressions on their faces tell it all!
Engagement is key.
Their facial expressions illustrate engagement.

Presentations: Each group read and interpreted different information in search of the information needed to present the one piece to the entire group. Each group had a different piece of the bigger picture. Was there some overlap? Of course. Was the overlap evident in the final presentations? A little - which reminded us that everything links together. 

Groups put up images or showed websites as part of their presentations. For example, Group D took us to Picasso's art periods website. This site not only talked about each period but also showed representative works to illustrate their points. Group D used this site to their advantage. 

These four presentations allowed all of us to ask questions of the groups and each other. We had an interesting discussion because of the info shared and our personal interpretations of this info. 

Evaluation: Everyone spoke highly about seeing a colleague's artwork, and then using the artwork to produce an art piece before reading about an artist. All agreed that doodle art was restful.

At the end, we took a moment to reflect on what was liked and what we should change for future lessons. The groups reported that they didn't like having to choose only one question area. Yet, they liked having a narrow question that they owned. They liked becoming the experts who then taught the rest of us about their piece. They liked the focus on one piece of art and artist. While they still don't know a lot about this person or his artwork from this short investigation, they certainly got familiar with one of his works of art.  


Note: CCRS provided underlying structure for the resulting lesson. Job options are highlighted as appropriate, especially since several of our learners are aiming for art-related careers through SLCC-SAT.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sneeze Season

“What makes me sneeze” was the simple writing prompt on Thursday 4/5/18. “Show us what leads up to the sneeze but don’t tell us what caused the sneeze.”

Here are four results. Read them, then you decide what the sneezes are able about.

Cucumber Salad
By Selena

I cut a cucumber in pieces, and I put them in a bowl. I cut a lemon, then squeezed the lemon halves into the bowl with the cucumber. I put in salt, and then put in a hot tasting spice made from ground dried red chilies. Then, I started sneezing a lot.

The Back Hall
By Deb

“Jill, where are you?”

“I’m in here, Mom.”

“Where’s ‘in here?’” Mom shouted again.

I knew she needed to follow my voice to find me. “Back here, Mom. Where you told me to go.”

“Oh, there you are,” she said as she walked through the doorway of the back hall of the apartment building.

“Oh, I see you’re getting all the dirt,” she said as she looked closely at the mopboard behind the door. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. But I’m not liking… (achoo) this too much. (Achoo!) Look at the stuff flying through the air. Doesn’t anyone use this hallway anymore? (Achoo!)”

What Am I?
By Kathy

Winter ends.
Aspens force buds from branches
Bulbs push leaves and color through cool, sleepy soils

e ' voila'!

A crocus
A daffodil
A tulip appear,
Winter's moods to appease

As I dash from beneath my covers, morning begins with a sneeze

That which beckons my heart to see, causes me to seize

The Great Outdoors
By Danny

I was running in a field, and tripped a couple of times because I couldn't see. My eyes had watered up.

“Aaaaachuuuuu.” I was told not to go outside today, but I went anyway. The sun was shining and the flowers were in bloom, but I just couldn't stop sneezing.

All in all, I had fun.

What are we sneezing about? 

Leave your comments below.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Vietnam: Getting Out with our Lives

What do you know about 
the ending of the Vietnam conflict? 

For example, which president 

brought our troops home? 

President Ford

President Nixon



Meet Col. Hess, a former POW. Hear his story. 

I'm Ray Wright. I'm a history buff. 

Learn more on 2/8/18 at 2PM at Literacy Action Center.

(3595 S Main Street, SSL - in the basement of SL County Housing Authority)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Beguiling Charm

October 31 found our Tuesday afternoon group writing a story. Want to read the results? Read below.


Beguiling Charm

One spooky afternoon, Black Thunder landed her massive spaceship in the middle of a dozen tombstones. All she heard was dead silence, but what she saw as she raised the hatch brought her up short and terrified her to the bone.

A figure loomed, or was it just a shadow, between two extravagantly chiseled granite mausoleums encircled like a macabre portal by bouquets of black, thorned, funeral roses and a murder of crows.

“Holy Zeus,” she exclaimed breathlessly. Anxiously, she murmured, “What are you?”

“A friend,” it said, “and what are you?”

"A friend, huh!” she said with extreme relief.


We'd love to hear your reaction. 

Leave us a note.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Will you join us?

Join us for 

We host a benefit only once each year. This year it is on Thursday, Sept. 7 2017, at Trolley Square from 6-9 PM. 

Author Camron Wright, author of The Orphan Keeper or The Rent Collector, has graciously agreed to come and tell us the story behind his books. And, I can tell you from talking with Camron that those stories are as good as the stories in his books. 

Perhaps, you (and your friends) have read one or both of his books. If not, then this evening may give you reasons to read them.

You can help us in several ways with this event.

1) Come. If you are available on September 7, join us. Learn more the two intriguing worlds described in these books. Your ticket contribution and your silent auction bids will help another adult in our community raise his/her reading, writing, & math skills. 

2) Share. Whether you can come or not, share information about our event with your friends. Get them to come with you (or without you) to this event. This benefit is a great time for a book group to hear Camron.

3) Invite. Buy a ticket for someone else to attend our event. Let them learn more about the books and about the work we do in our community. 

For $60, you get to hear Camron and meet Taj (from The Orphan Keeper), participate in a silent auction, plus be part of helping another adult in our community raise his/her reading, writing, & math skills. 

​What a win-win opportunity!

You will join us, won't you?

Deb Young
Literacy Action Center


Get tickets by one of these methods:

1) mailing your check to Literacy Action Center, 3595 S Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84115 with a postmark by 9/5/17 for $60/person. 

2) ordering tickets through Eventbrite ($60 + handling through 9/5/17 or $75 after 9/5/17) at 

3) calling 801/265-9081 to reserve your tickets at the door (pay $60 each) when you get there on Thursday, 9/7/17. 

Note: Tickets at the door without reservations (and starting 9/6/17 on Eventbrite) will be $75/person. No refunds. All contributions (tickets & auctions) will be used to teach English-speaking adults reading, writing, and math. ===========

With your support, functionally-illiterate, English-speaking adults are becoming skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers, writers, and mathematicians, who are career-minded and tech savvy! We are the only nonprofit organization that focuses on these adults living in Salt Lake County & Davis County in Utah.

Friday, August 25, 2017

An Evening of Intrigue with...

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

Have you lived in a dump? A real dump. A place where your existence depends on you picking through other people's debris to curb your hunger pains, put a roof over your head, and get your son well?

What would you do to get your family out of the Stung Meanchey dump?

Sang Ly knows.

Find out more as Camron tells us about the intrigue wrapped around this story at the Benefit for Literacy Action Center.

An Evening of Intrigue with...

The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright

Ever been kidnapped or separated from your family -- by lies, by years, by oceans?

You have vague memories. You're told your family doesn't want you.

Who helps you find them?

And, what if the man who sold you to the orphanage may be your future father-in-law? 

Taj knows.

Find out more as Camron tells us about the intrigue wrapped around this story at the Benefit for Literacy Action Center.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

An Evening of Intrigue

A Benefit for Literacy Action Center

proudly presents

An Evening of 

Intrigue with...

Camron Wright

Date:  Thursday, September 7, 2017
Time:  6:00 - 9:00 PM
Place: Trolley Square (South Entrance Rm D-116)

Park in 600 South parking lot. Use south entrance. D-116 is next to the clothing store called Sparks, on east side of building.

Evening Features

Silent & Live Auctions

Author Camron Wright

Reading & Discussion

Friends Welcome!

Music: John Hiller, Guitarist
Auction: Donations by Local Contributors
Vintage China & Linens: Blue Bird Vintage Rentals

Chat with Camron. Meet Taj.
Join us for a contribution of 
$60/person postmarked by 9/1/17 or 
buy tickets today through Eventbrite,  
or $75/person at the door. 

Can't come? Help us anyway. 
Send a donation.
Send checks to Literacy Action Center, 3595 S Main Street, Salt Lake City UT 84115

Questions? Call Deb at 801/265-9081

Your support helps another functionally-illiterate English-speaking adult transform into a skilled, passionate, habitual, critical reader, writer, & mathematician, who is career-minded and tech savvy.