Author and trainer Jayme Adelson-Goldstein, seated left, highlighted the The Oxford Picture Dictionary series at the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition Conference with Southern Prairie Library System Director Kathy Hale, right. The Great Plains Literacy Council delegates are, back row from left, Ida Fay Winters, Elsa Garcia, Aleida Burchett, and Mary Beth Williams.
The Oklahoma Health Literacy Summit was held Sept. 27, and the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition Conference on Sept. 28. These were the first statewide meetings offered between health and literacy communities, between private and public organizations, and between professionals and volunteers. Both were held at the National Center for Employee Development Conference Center in Norman.
Supporters included the Literacy Resource Office at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Health Equity and Resource Opportunities through the State Department of Health, Oklahoma Literacy Coalition, and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
Presentations from national and state experts provided information and resources. Jari Askins, Associate Provost for External Relations at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, gave the welcome address. Dr. Andrew Pleasant of the Canyon Ranch Institute in Tucson, Arizona, gave an introduction to the field of health literacy.
Another speaker was Toni Cordell, who when just a toddler was challenged with medical conditions that limited her ability to learn and process language. After struggling with low literacy for much of her life, Cordell learned to read with the help of a volunteer tutor in Oklahoma City. At age 50, she roller skated from California to Florida to bring attention to adult literacy. Later, she was hired by a national literacy organization to represent the interests of adult learners throughout the country. In 2007, Cordell appeared in an American Medical Association Foundation video about health literacy. She helps literacy and medical organizations understand the strong connections between health and literacy.
Participants had an interactive approach to medical literacy and making words count. At the close of the one day summit, an announcement was made about a new website (okhealthequity.org) on health literacy was launched as a result of the Oklahoma Health Equity Campaign.
Following the Health Summit, the delegates attended the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition Conference on the next day. “Plain Talk for Healthy Living” was the theme of the day.
Toni Cordell, a national literacy spokesman, addressed the group at the second day also.
Jayme Adelson-Goldstein, an author and trainer, presented two workshops on her curriculum The Oxford Picture Dictionary series. Copies of the materials were provided by the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition to the delegates. The Oklahoma Literacy Coalition annual meeting was held after lunch. The GPLC delegates had several duties with registration, announcements, and set-up during the conference.
One special booth provided the new literacy promotional bookmarks and two sizes of posters. Photos of two GPLC adult learners Alejandra Tillman and Dawn Hagan, who both later became tutors, were featured on these items.
The new “Read Y’All” posters were unveiled by Bill Young, Public Information Director at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. OSU Head Coach Mike Gundy and OU Head Coach Bob Stoops were featured reading books in separate posters, and then both were photographed together showing support to reading on a third poster. Copies were made available for all the delegates.
Attending from Great Plains Literacy Council were GPLC Board member and tutor Mary Beth Williams of Hollis and other Altus residents Bi-lingual Facilitator Aleida Burchett, ESL Outreach Facilitator Elsa L. Garcia, Coordinator Ida Fay Winters, and Kathy Hale, GPLC treasurer and Director of the Southern Prairie Library System.