To get a job most of the time you need to fill out a job application. That can be a problem if you don't know how to read well. And that is a problem for hundreds if not thousands of people in the Rockford area.
Rock Valley College found people about 2-thirds of adults trying to get their GED read at about a 6th grade level. The problem is even worse for Rockford's Booker Washington Center.
"They are embarrassed to tell you, I can't read, I don't understand the material and they get frustrated," says Robert King, Booker Washington Center executive director.
King says most of his clients read around a 3rd grade level. That's where the new pre-GED class Rock Valley will teach out at Booker comes in. It will take adults up to an 8-th grade level.
"You would come into the classroom and you may see four different groups, one group focusing on fluency and another group on vocabulary at a certain reading level," says Amanda Smith, RVC Adult Education & Literacy director.
Amanda Smith says this isn't an overnight process, unlike traditional classes, students might have to spend two or three semesters just to get to the point where they can do a regular GED prep class. And they still might have to spend two or three semesters in there.
"Its the higher level of critical thinking that is really necessary for not only the language arts portion but also the history and the science," says Smith.
King says for some of his clients, that include parolees, this program could make the difference between a person turning into a re-offender.
"If you don't have your GED, on top of that you don't have the skill set or the grade level to read or even understand what you are reading and if you have a background, a felony or something, who is going to give you a job," says King.
The pre-GED class starts at Booker on February 4th. About 20 people already enrolled.
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