Literacy and Language

Posted by Rachel Meinke on 05/31/2015

Literacy and Language

May 2015

Have you ever heard of a “book desert?” Book scarcity is a harsh realty in high poverty communities, not only in Oklahoma, but in many parts of the USA, and the world, for that matter. What we’ll be tackling in The Living Room this month is the challenge of turning book scarcity into book abundance for very young children. You know what I mean..those wonderful early childhood picture books that so many of us remember for the rest of our lives. Unite for Literacy is a Colorado-based enterprise that is dedicated to eliminating book deserts. Go to their website and you’ll see a library of free digital picture books narrated for kids in 27 languages. Recently, KOSU teamed up with Unite for Literacy. Their goals? Get kids excited about reading and then make sure they have access to books, no matter what language they speak. Our first guests are Unite for Literacy CEO, Mike McGuffee, is here, and with him KOSU Director, Kelly Burley. LISTEN NOW 


During our second segment, we discuss the fact that Oklahoma is one of 18 so-called hot spots identified around the world where native languages are disappearing. For some tribes, like the Cherokees, the preservation effort has made good progress. Even the Unite for Literacy Project has 50 children's books in the Cherokee language as part of its free online library. But for some other tribes, it continues to be a real struggle and a race against time. We’ll talk about two of those tribes with some very special guests: Lori Hamilton is Executive Officer of the History & Culture Division of the Chickasaw Nation and Justin McBride, Language Director of the Kaw Nation. LISTEN NOW


Support for the Living Room with Gerry Bonds is provided by McGladrey, a national CPA firm focused on providing assurance, tax, and consulting services to middle market companies. Now with offices in Oklahoma City. More at