Monday, August 20, 2012

Read and Grow, Laugh and Learn

Lawrence Clark Powell, librarian and author, once said, “Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.” This quote perfectly sums up my favorite local non-profit organization, The Literacy Alliance. Based in Oviedo, Florida, their central mission is to foster a positive relationship between books and today's youth.

The organization draws from a variety of volunteers. They come from many areas of the community, including Boys and Girls Town youth, high school and college students, and professionally trained youth services librarians. The common denominator of these volunteers is a love of reading and learning and a desire to share that love with their community.

The volunteers’ enthusiasm spills over into the many programs that the group offers for local schools, libraries, homeless shelters, and special events like the UCF Book Fair. This past year, The Literacy Alliance held over seventy events, benefiting more than 2200 children and teens.

They don't just focus on reading, either. The Literacy Alliance's programs include improvisational and scripted puppet shows, skits, magic tricks, songs, and science experiment demos -- anything to excite hungry, young minds.

So, what does Diane Keyes, a founder of The Literacy Alliance, say is the key to their programs? “Paraphrasing from the book Secret Science by the inspirational Steve Spangler, ‘my job is not to teach, but to grab the viewer’s attention and show them that learning is fun. Make them laugh and the learning will follow.’”

From browsing the kudos they’ve received on their website,, it's evident that the group is effective. Teachers applaud their professionalism and middle schoolers go out of their way to procure copies of the books The Alliance features. One quote from a local seventh grader best captures their essential quality, which is to smash preconceived notions about learning: "Thank you for coming to our school and making me laugh. I thought you were going to be boring, but I was way wrong."

Using skill, charm, and an arsenal of silly voices, the group is helping to inspire a new generation of lifetime learners.
Thank you Emily Williams for writing this wonderful article about the Literacy Alliance! Leave us a comment - what is your favorite funny book?