Anyone who has studied for and taken the driver’s license test knows that the experience can be stressful, but for people who have difficulty reading, the exam can be downright daunting.
As part of a program launching aiming to target this need, the Lee County Literacy Coalition is hosting a workshop at the Dean Road Recreation Center on Wednesday, April 11, from 5–7 p.m. to present information from the Alabama Driver Manual that is pertinent to passing the exam.
Tina Tatum, the program director for the literacy coalition, said the workshop will consist of a PowerPoint presentation, videos, graphics and some fun activities such as a find-a-word.
“Hopefully, that being very visual, it will help them understand it and retain it to take the test,” Tatum said. “We actually have put together a little sample test that they can take at the end just to get an idea if they might possibly be ready to go ahead and try the real thing.”
The workshop is free and, although designed for people with lower literacy skills, open to anyone in the community.
A driver’s license is something that many people may take for granted but is extremely necessary for many day-to-day activities.
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“If you don’t read well, you might still have a job, you might still have kids you have to take to activities, so not being able to pass that test doesn’t stop a lot of people from driving,” Tatum said. “But the problem is, if they get in a little fender-bender or let’s just say that over a holiday there’s some kind of checkpoint looking for driver’s license and insurance, if they don’t have that, of course, that’s going to lead to many other difficulties and probably fines and things that they can’t afford.”
Tatum is not aware of any program focused specifically on the driver’s test that has been offered in the community before.
“We’re always looking for ways to provide services that folks in the community need, and when we hear of a potential need, we see if there’s some way that as an organization that’s trying to help people read better, if there’s something that we can do that can make their life better,” said Tatum. “I just heard from several of our volunteers that there seems to be a need for folks who don’t read, who have really low literacy, to be able to pass their test.”
The literacy coalition has been developing the program for a while. Volunteers studied the Alabama Driver Manual and picked out points such as road signs, turns and other important information needed to pass the driver’s test. Tatum said that one volunteer, Riley Moore, contributed a great deal to the project as he was able to get a lot of information from his father, who teaches driver’s education.
Tatum said they are hoping to offer more driver’s test workshops in the future and at other locations as well, such as the Boykin Community Center near Loachapoka Road. Currently, the literacy coalition has a second workshop planned for May 23 at the Dean Road Rec Center from 5–7 p.m.
“The driver’s license manual is tough reading even for folks who read well, but for folks who don’t read well, it’s a pretty difficult chore to try to absorb all that information and retain it,” Tatum said. “If you don’t read well, visual is the only way that you can get that information, so we’re going to hope that this will accomplish the purpose.”
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