Group launches literacy program

Friday, May 2nd 2008, 7:51 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

An estimated 1.5 million Oklahomans have trouble reading or writing. 

About 140,000 of them are in Oklahoma County. Members of the Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition are working to decrease that number.

 "There are some amazing programs run by some phenomenal people out there but there was not a centralized place where people can go to access those services," said Linda Maisch with the coalition.

The coalition launched a Web site to help connect people who want to help with the thousands who need help learning to read and write.

"You do probably know someone who is struggling with literacy skills," Maisch said.

Debra Harvey said she couldn't read three months ago and depended on her daughter for reading and filling out paperwork.

"I could not do that, so she would always do it for me," Harvey said.

Harvey's parents took her out of school after first grade, and she said that decision has impacted the rest of her life.

"My husband would have to fill out the application for me for a job, and once they saw that, they refused to give me a job," she said.

Harvey said Literacy classes are giving her the freedom to do what many people take for granted.

"Hopefully I'll be able to fill out the paperwork and I won't be embarrassed anymore," she said. "I can help her with her homework which would be great."

After Debra learns to read, she said she plans to get her GED.