Literacy Council Works to Turn “Literacy Powerline” Vision into Reality

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Stephen Bridgers speaks to the Tuscaloosa Rotary about the Tuscaloosa literacy councilIn the small U.K. village of her childhood, Margaret Doughty remembers reading Sherlock Holmes. In one of the stories, as they camped out in the wilds, Holmes asked Watson what he observed. The stars, Watson replied, the beauty of the night, and the wonder of creation, of course! Holmes then responded with his legendary wit: “But my dear Watson, have you not also noted that our tent has been stolen?”


For Doughty, it is that kind of failure of observation, the failure even to see what is right in front of us, that has hampered the fight against illiteracy in West Alabama, and around the World. She is the 
founder and leader of ―Literacy Powerline, “whose motto since 1990 has been ―100% literacy through 100% community engagement.”

Tuscaloosa Literacy Council of West AlabamaHer initiatives have now come to West Alabama, in cooperation with the West Alabama Literacy council, under the Direction of Rotarian Stephen Brigers. The two leaders presented the challenges and the opportunities of a new vision for fighting illiteracy in our region on Tuesday.

West Alabamians face a number of particular challenges in tackling our historically high illiteracy rates. Difficulties of travel, infrastructure and communicaiton, of the limited resources of our rural communities, the home environments of many citizens—all make it difficult even to access the limited help we have available to help both children and adults begin their climb out of illiteracy.

The good news is that the LCWA and Literacy Powerline have now collaborated to develop a new strategic plan for the region, and have begun to put it into action. The plan proposes a common agenda, with common metrics and efforts at coordination among all of the stakeholders of improved literacy. It also proposes an ―infusion approach,‖ the cultivation of literacy as a skill that cuts across all areas of life, from housing and personal finance to education and healthcare. Margaret Doughty speaks to Tuscaloosa Rotary about literacy powerline Vision

Within that general framework the initiative will focus on a handful of targeted initiatives: the development of family learning centers, for example, where parents and children can get help together; the cultivation of financial literacy, and of what makes for wise long term spending; and literacy in the workplace, to help West Alabama prepare for the new jobs that may come in the next generation.

For more information on the LWCA, visit, and for more on the Literacy Powerline, visit Both partners encourage Rotarians to become involved in helping implement this comprehensive plan.

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