literacy for everyone

Some Worldbuilding Prompts

1. Biggest and most important exports?
2. Who transports and distributes the food? What happens with out of season foods? How is food kept fresh?
3. What are standards for cleanliness? How do people get clean? Soap and water? Oil and a scraper? Sonic showers? Is bathing private or communal in nature?
4. Literacy rate? Who can read—everyone? Gentry? Religious persons?
5. What are some common musical instruments?
6. Are there calendars? Are they based on agriculture? Astronomy? Religion? Elections? Generations? Migrations?
7. What are some taboos? Are they cultural? Religious? Food-related? Unspoken ones?
8. Names? How and by whom are they chosen? Parents? Village elders? Is there a naming scheme? Bynames or surnames? Inherited titles, or only earned ones? Are names gendered or neutral? What age do people receive their name and do people’s names change as they age?
9. What are the attitudes towards casual sex? What laws might there be controlling casual sex? Are they enforced? Strictly?
10. Who builds new buildings? Skilled laborers or private individuals? Is construction a gendered skill set?
11. Are there non-human races present? How are they viewed/treated?
12. What happens with people’s trash? Where does it go, who removes it?
13. How are large objects moved/transported?
14. What do people do when they get sick? Healer? Home remedy? A doctor?
15. Mythical creatures? Real or fictional? How do people interact with them?
16. What, if any exist, are inheritance laws like? Who can inherit? Do things get passed down? Do titles?
17. Recreational drugs and other intoxicants? What are they, where do they come from, what are the attitudes surrounding their usage?
18. Is there a scholar vs warrior divide? A homemaker/career divide? Are they enforced? How are they valued?
19. Who makes the food? In what fashion is it served, and by whom? Are meals casual or formal? Does one pray before eating?
20. Are there any secret societies/organizations? What purpose do they serve?
21. Is there slavery? Indentured servitude? How does one distinguish between a slave and a freeman?
22. If your world has modern utilities are they widespread? Wealthy only? Do utilities have to be modified to work (electric lines coated with anti-magic coating, etc)
23. Exploration history? Colonialism or simply trade? Closed borders or open? Stagnant boarders, or is there a wish for expansion?
24. Are there guilds, corporations, unions? What laws govern them?
25. Are there gender roles? What are they? Are there even genders? How many? What are they? Are they lifelong? Who designates them?
26. Are there taxes? What kinds of things get taxed?
27. What does the oldest generation complain about most in the younger generations? Vice versa?
28. What goods/activities are considered luxury/upper class?
29. What are the most prestigious professions? The most reviled? The most misunderstood? Are there even professions as we know them?
30. How are children viewed? What roles do they play in society?
31. What are some great works of fiction? Why are they considered great? Does your culture even have fiction?
32. Most places have more than one religion being practiced—how do different faiths interact? Are all faiths in harmony or is there conflict? What are the specific points of contention? Must anyone practice their faith in secret?
33. What are some physical standards of beauty? What lengths do people go to to achieve these standards? (corsets, foot binding, etc)
34. Towns? Is the design planned or organic growth? Is there a center of the city/town? Is it a marketplace? Church? Park? Communal food hall? Are there multiple “center” nodes?
35. What technologies are known and widely available?
36. How do the various classes spend their leisure time?
37. Are there any religious orders? Temples? Nunneries? Monasteries?
38. Careers and Vocations? Soldier, farmer, apothecary? Is there any sort of marked economic bracket? Associated prestige?
39. Who founded the civilization/country/culture/mainstream religion? How are they remembered by their people? By outsiders?
40. Are there sumptuary laws? What are some examples?
41. Do people keep pets, or just working animals? Do they even have domesticated animals? Which ones might be common?
42. How do they get their news? Who writes/releases it? Word of mouth, or is their a newspaper? A town crier?
43. How are artists valued? What are the most common forms of artistic expression? What is the most uncommon?
44. What are the countries/planets/geographical features that form the borders around your culture/country?
45. Landownership—who, how much? Are there any limitations?
46. How do people wear their hair? Do they cover it or leave it uncovered?
47. How are buildings lit at night? Lamps? Candles? Electricity? Maybe they’re not lit at all, and the day ends with the sunlight?
48. How (if at all) are deities depicted in art?
49. Colors: What are the basic colors? Are any significant culturally? Religiously? Royally? Regionally? Clan or class or caste specific?
50. Common family size? Rate of reproduction? How is reproduction viewed or valued?
51. Who are cultural/historical heroes? What are they famous for? How are their stories told? How are they remembered?
52. What is the currency? Is there deviations in legal vs culture-wide currency exchange? Is there bartering or trade at a local or culture-wide level?
53. What kinds of building materials are available? Would the wealthy be able to send away for rarer building materials?
54. Education—are there school systems or are children taught via their parents, private tutors, apprenticeships?
55.  Fashion—is there any concept of it? Is there an industry? How is it valued? How quickly does it change? Are there class implications in styles? Class restrictions on fashion?
56. What are some rude hand gestures? Rude words and slurs?
57. Do people make holy pilgrimages? To where? Why? What god/dess?
58. How are items that take skilled labor to make crated and distributed?
59. What is considered the highest form of art? Music? Dance? Painting? Sculpture? Martial arts?
60. What is a typical home meal like? Does everyone eat together, or are there separate eating spaces for women/children/servants/etc.
61. What are some beliefs/understanding about the nature and structure of the universe? What do they know about the stars and astronomy?
62. Linguistics! Is it a gendered language or no? Do people have different pronouns depending on things such as gender, class, caste, etc.?
63. Hospitality—how does one treat a stranger and how does this differ from how one might treat a friend?
64. What are some minority groups? How are they treated by mainstream culture?
65. Does your mode of address change if someone is your superior or inferior? How? How rude is it if you don’t follow the usual rules of protocol?
66. What is the currency called? What increments does it come in (¼, ½, 1, 5, etc.)? What shape is it? What is it made from (paper, wood, metal, glass, plastic)? What are the exchange rates and processes with changing money to another currency?
67. What kinds of marriage practices are celebrated? Are couples matri- or patrilocal? Is there a bride price? Dowry? How many spouses? What does a marriage ceremony usually include?
68. What are funerals like? How is death dealt with? Is it considered unclean, or is it celebrated? Who takes care of the body? Burial or cremation or something else? Do people tend to believe in an afterlife?
69. What is considered a crime vs simply something uncouth? Who are these punished?
70. Romantic ideals? Taboos? Sexual ideals and taboos? Familial ideals and taboos? Platonic ideals and taboos?
71. What role does fantasy/imagination play? Is it significant? Is it valued? Restricted to art? Unacknowledged?
72. Where does the water come from? How is it distributed?
73. Are there any tourist destinations? Are they religious in significance or just scenic? Historic sites? Monuments? Man-made or natural?
74. What are the commonly accepted laws of public decency? Are there any unspoken rules on rudeness, courtesy, or lawfulness?
75. What is an average lifespan? How is becoming elderly viewed?
76. Sacred symbols? Plants, trees, animals, colors, shapes, icons, etc? Sacred to whom? How are these venerated? Protected or just observed?
77. Who does the majority of the child rearing in a family? The mother? The father? The older siblings? A grandparent? A nanny? Someone else?
78. Personal adornment! Jewelry, hairstyles, tattoos? Who wears such things, if anyone? Why? What could the lack of such adornment signify? Class restrictions?
79. Government system? Who is in charge, and what’s the chain of command like from them on down? What are some restrictions that might be in place regarding who is fit to rule?
80. Are books rare, common, or obsolete? How are they made, who writes them? Is there another way of record keeping?
81. What inspires the architecture? Function? A specific aspect of nature? Abstract art?
82. What are the attitudes of the majority culture towards LGBTQA peoples? Ahat terms do such people use to describe themselves?
83. Travel—are there maintained roads/routes or no? Preferred mode of transportation? What sorts of dangers might one encounter while traveling?
84. What sort of weather is typical? Extreme seasons, or mild ones? What sort of climate is it? What adaptations has the culture developed in response to their environment?
85. What sort of foods are parents forever urging their kids to eat “because it’s good for you!”?
86. What kinds of underclothes are typical? Are underwear the same for both genders? Does underwear change depending on your age?
87. Armaments? Pacifism? Armed citizens? Dueling? Violence restrictions?
88. Does your culture believe in the supernatural? Ghosts, spirits of nature? Of the deceased? Extra-planar? Are they revered, feared, both, neither?
89. Linguistics—what is their writing system like? Vertical or horizontal? Alphabet, syllabic, pictographic?
90. Magic? Real or just folklore? What is the basis upon which the system works? How is magic viewed by the masses? Who uses magic?
91. What is the basic family unit? Nuclear, extended, kids leave at 11, boys and uncles vs mother, sister, aunts, etc.?
92. Are meals communal to family, neighborhood, community? Completely private? Are the dishes in a meal communal or individual?
93. Are typical dwellings single-family, extended family, communal, apartment structure, etc.?
94. What are some notable historical periods? What are they called/named after? Why are they historically important?
95. What is the #1 political issue at the time of your story? How does it effect daily life of the common people vs the gentry?
96. Us vs them? Where does the line fall denoting foreigners? Outside of family? Culture? Language? Religion? Geography?
97. Hospitality—do you afford it even to your enemies? Is it valued?
98. Is the main religion polytheistic or monotheistic? Neither?
99. Standard medical practices? Nothing? Leeches? Antibiotics? Magic?
100. How is sewage dealt with?
101. What do people do in the case of natural disaster? Fire?
102. Is there a symbol of the ruling body? An icon? A royal seal or coat of arms? Does this symbol appear regularly, or is it only brought out on special occasions?
103. What is the age of adolescence? What is the age of adulthood? When does childhood end? Are there coming of age ceremonies? What are the benefits of adulthood?

The fact some of you are listening to the stories of wealthy white Cubans that were kicked out of a country they colonized is so wild to me. We talk about revolution then think people won’t be killed? I don’t understand. Is your critique coming from a place of analysis or from a place of anti communism?

Fidel had reeducation/labor camps for queer people because of homophobia brought by Christianity (colonizers).
The moment he unlearned that he decriminalized homosexuality.
(Something that was illegal under Batista.)
Noted: Homosexuality was still illegal in the U.S. until 2004 (Texas)
Gender reassignment surgery is also free in Cuba and there’s a government branch that’s specifically designed for queer people as a form of reparations to make up for what was lost systematically. There’s still much of a queer struggle in Cuba the same way there is much of a queer struggle anywhere there has been colonization and anywhere there is patriarchy. This is to be expected and this is not to be pushed away and we must support this liberation as a Cuban one.

Fidel Castro was dedicated to black liberation. Has protected Assata Shakur from the U.S. for decades and helped fund the Black Panthers. One of the first things he did when he came to power was free black and indigenous “servants” that were “employed” under white colonizers. He created schools and literacy programs to make sure everyone could read. Anti Blackness is everywhere. We must struggle with the Black Cuban struggle, not against it.

Fidel’s Cuba was not perfect in the beginning. It had been oppressive since the first white colonizer stepped foot on to the island. Him and his people worked to build a Cuba where the oppressed had rights and had their needs met. By any means necessary. White colonizers, the Cuban mob, and white Cubans who refused to give up land that wasn’t even theirs were murdered because they got in the way of revolution. Fidel’s Cuba is still not perfect, not until we all support and aid in the full struggle against capitalism and colonization.

When we talk about revolution, this is the reality.

I also have pdf sources and books if anyone is interested. Can’t link them where I want because I’m on mobile.

Edit: Y'all knew I was radical and about revolution so I’m not sure why some of my followers are surprised I don’t hate Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. I’m a Marxist-Leninist and I wasn’t raised with a U.S. education on politics. My parents are communists. I read Mao. I have a class analysis. I have an analysis outside of just race and outside of just gender. I’m not somebody trying to be edgy or trendy with my opinion on Fidel. This is how I feel based on my analysis of the socialist struggles in Latin America and what can come out of that when you lead anti capitalist revolution. This is my opinion based on how black and brown liberation are united and how white supremacist capitalism was destroyed in Cuba, and yes that meant people were killed. I’m not a liberal. I don’t believe we’ll get our liberation by voting Democrat and having community forums with police on the panel. I don’t want no half ass liberation. To my black people, we won’t get free without revolution. We won’t get free without destroying capitalism because it is the system that sold our bodies and eradicated out cultures in the name of money and capital. We can’t romanticize revolution and the Black Panthers and then act shocked when people get killed. No revolution has been peaceful. Especially not for us. You can’t say you support the Black Panthers and then play into the U.S.’s anti communist propaganda when the BBP were based on Marxist writings and often read Mao in the study groups. We need to know when to put identity politics down and start building up our own theories and thoughts on an internationalist level. The Black struggle is the Brown struggle is the Queer struggle is the poor struggle. We are all connected. All of our liberations are wound up together. All of our energy must go towards educating and building up each other. Not telling each other to be silent. We have to stop letting white people control the narrative and listen to the most oppressed people of every group. We have to listen to the poor workers and the bodies that are being the most exploited under these current systems. Critiques are valid, repeating what the public education system and media tells you is not.
“I need you more than you need me.” She said, and the worst part was that it was true. He didn’t have the heart to, but all he wanted to say was: “it’s okay, I don’t need anyone.”
She didn’t realize at the time, but perhaps in six months time when someone mentioned his name and she thought back on him, she would realize how everyone in his life had left and in the end; as a method of survival, his heart decided it was better not to dwell on such trivial things such as people. He armoured himself to be okay on his own. And for the first time, she would realize that that was the way it should be.
—  a.m

I was talking to @omgericzimmermann about Holsom AU ideas, and then I saw this post about a guy reading Harry Potter to a dog in Central Park and my first thought was “It’s Holster!” and then this happened. Please imagine our favorite giant blond dork surrounded by his pack of elderly literacy dogs. They get story time every day, even if they’re not working an event. He insists they have to keep in practice. (They’re currently working on The Raven Cycle for their at-home reading. The Adam and Ronan characters remind Holster of these two bickering idiots on his college hockey team.)

Now also on AO3.

A new Youth Services librarian* had started at the local library over the summer, and he was enthusiastic about his outreach programs. Adam didn’t think he’d ever had someone try to hard-sell him on doing a literacy event before. It was like the guy didn’t believe he could take yes for an answer.

Adam held his hands up to try to stem the flow of words. “Mr. Bittle–”

“Oh, Eric, please!”

“Eric. Seriously, just tell me the dates and I’ll be there, I swear! With as many dogs as you think the library can reasonably accommodate. I’m honestly thrilled at the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the possibility of this being a regular thing.”


“Yes, really, I promise. This is exactly the kind of community visibility I’ve been trying to build since I started. Your predecessor was just, uh…” He searched desperately for something tactful to say.

“More traditional in her approach,” Eric offered.

“Sure, let’s go with that.”

Eric grinned at him and handed him an already drawn up schedule for the day. “So it won’t be until October, because I still have to coordinate a bunch of other stuff, plus I wanted to have flu shots, because they’re really so important, and I’m not just saying that because I’m the one who has to work with the adorable little germ vectors all day, but I’m really looking forward to having you there! If you want to come by sometime in the next several weeks, we can figure out the best place to have the dog reading stations that are kind of isolated in case there are people with allergies, which I really hope won’t be too big of a problem because this is such a great way to encourage literacy, it really is, and…”

“Whoa, whoa, I got you, it’s fine. Several of my dogs are even poodle crosses whose families gave them up after they realized even designer hypoallergenic dogs weren’t for them. It’s a thing I’m prepared for, believe me. Plus, for kids who are extra allergic and don’t want to be left out, I have a betta fish.”


“Really. He’s super colorful, and he swims right up to the side of the glass when people are around. He’s the most dog-like fish I could have imagined.”

“Oh, I’m so glad. This is going to be great! I’ll see you soon!”

Keep reading

I swear, if Molesley and Daisy become the big heroes of the Andy literacy storyline, and everyone forgets that it was Thomas who was threatened with sacking and humiliated because he was the first to offer his help, I will be throwing a dishwasher. With dishes in it.

Happy International Literacy Day everyone.  

Especially for all of us who have had to play neverending games of ‘book detective against the odds’ just to find people like ourselves us in books.  

Everyone deserves stories.  Everyone deserves information.  And everyone deserves  to be able to loose themselves in a good book

anonymous asked:

can you explain ebola more? like maybe its structure and how its transmitted? and how you think the US will handle it???

Of course! Long post up ahead! 

Oh, and disclaimer: I am not a virologist, so everything I know regarding Ebola comes from The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, and my own curious research. 

  • Let me start off by saying that this current variant of Ebola being spread can not be transmitted through the air, like the flu virus. In order to become infected, you have to come in close contact with body fluids (blood, tears, saliva, semen, vaginal discharge, etc) from an infected, and symptomatic person. 
    • So if none of your close family members or friends are infected, and you’re not touching their bodily fluids, you have 0% chance of being getting the virus. It can also be transmitted from the feces of infected animals… but unless you’re frolicking through caves in central Africa, that won’t be an issue. 
  • Symptoms of an infected individual include: an awful headache that won’t go away, a super high fever, aches in joints and muscles, and chills. These initial symptoms last 2 - 7 days. Then, as the infection progresses, symptoms will evolve to confusion, vomiting and diarrhea (which will contain blood), red eyes, lack of response to touch (we’ll get to the reason why in a bit), bruising, and bleeding from every orifice of the body. 
  • Risk factors of getting the disease include: recent travel to Ebola-infected areas such as certain parts of Africa, and close contact with infected and symptomatic patients. 
  • Now let’s get down to the fun part: the intriguing virus itself. The Ebola virus is a spaghetti-shaped and carries just one single strand of RNA as its genetic code. It contains only 7 proteins—3 of which are vaguely understood, 4 of which are completely unknown as far as their purpose. Some scientists suggest the Ebola virus was one of the most primitive living organisms, and quite possible just as old as the earth itself. It originates somewhere from the rainforests of central Africa, and is quite possibly carried by bats. 
  • Just like HIV, Ebola first goes straight for the immune system, but does so with a bigger bang. It then infiltrates your blood like an army and you have 10 days to live. [KINDA GRAPHIC UP AHEAD] Ebola attacks every single organ in your body except skeletal muscle and bone, and does so by digesting every cell into slime. Blood clots start to form, and they are so numerous they actually block neurons from communicating with each other. This is why patients can’t feel any pain. The virus also loves attacking collagen, the structural protein that gives your skin its “firmness”. Your face sags. The skin blisters into something akin to tapioca pudding. Your internal tissues start to slough off, like your tongue, your throat, your intestines… For some reasons testicles and the labia swell and turn blue. Your heart basically bleeds into itself, and your brain becomes clogged with dead cells. This causes seizures near the end of life, and this uncontrollable shaking splatters blood around and contributes to the virus finding a new host. Every drop of fluid from the body is teeming with viruses–everything from blood to tears. And lastly, a cadaver of an Ebola patient is basically nothing but a bag of liquid—dead cells chewed up by the virus.
  • So! Is there a cure? Not yet. There’s an experimental treatment (ZMapp) that was in its phases of testing when it was given to the American doctors who were infected with the current virus from Africa. It’s apparently working quite well, but a) long term effects have yet to be recorded and reviewed and b) the lab that was making them has run out. 
  • Is there a vaccine? Not yet. This virus is so dangerous only a few labs in the world are equipped to work with it, hence the slow research process. However, scientists are working very hard to create a vaccine that targets one of the viruses’s 7 proteins. 
  • So how do we treat infected patients? First we quarantine them in hospitals to minimize spread of the virus, and then we issue them fluids and electrolytes, oxygen if needed, and treatments for any secondary infections. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
  •  I have no doubt the US will be able to contain the virus, and widespread infection will not happen. We have the infrastructure and educational programs that central Africa lacks. We can put patients in their own rooms, with proper ventilation and clean fluid delivery. We can put our doctors and nurses in biohazard suits that minimize viral transmission. We can spend the billions of dollars if needed to thoroughly screen every airline passenger. We have the means and literacy rates to educate everyone on the virus and prevention strategies.
  • Now that brings up my next point: A cure and a vaccine would be great for central Africa, but so would advances in infrastructure and education. When dealing with global health, one has to think beyond the science in order to make a lasting impact. 
  • There’s a interesting theory at the end of The Hot Zone I’d like to finish with. Richard Preston brings up a provocative thought: 
  • “In a sense, the earth is mounting an immune response against the human species. It is beginning to react to the human parasite, the flooding infection of people, the dead spots of concrete all over the planet, the cancerous rot-outs in Europe, Japan, and the United States, thick with replicating primates, the colonies enlarging and spreading and threatening to shock the biosphere with mass extinctions. Perhaps the biosphere does not “like” the idea of five billion humans. Or it could also be said that the extreme amplification of the human race, which has occurred only in the past hundred years or so, has suddenly produced a very large quantity of meat, which is sitting everywhere in the biosphere and may not be able to defend itself against a life form that might want to consume it. Nature has interesting ways of balancing itself. The rain forest has its own defenses. The earth’s immune system, so to speak, has recognized the presence of the human species and is starting to kick in. The earth is attempting to rid itself of an infection by the human parasite.”

If you’d like to learn more about Ebola, I recommend checking out these websites/articles: 

Please let me know if you have any further questions, and I will do my best to answer them :)

Once again, I apologize if I got a fact or 2 incorrect. 

More volunteers wanted to help adults read and write

The PEI Literacy Alliance is looking for more volunteers to help adult learners on the Island with their reading and writing skills.

The organization started the PEI Volunteers for Literacy group last year and so far they have 12 volunteers but they are looking for at least 5 more.

Beazley said they have had success in the program, but there are 6 people currently on the waiting list, hoping for a tutor.

Illiteracy rate of 45 per cent on the Island

Amanda Beazley, the acting executive director of the PEI Literacy Alliance, said an international study done in 2012 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in partnership with Statistics Canada showed the province had a rate of 45 per cent illiteracy among 16-65 year old Islanders.

“Years ago there were levels established, there were levels one through five, level three was deemed the bench mark," explained Beazley. "That was the level you needed to be at to fully participate in society. So you’re looking at levels one and two, those levels, that 45 per cent, there are even some below level one. Not being able to access information from print, and get the information they need and be able to apply it to problem solving and real world working.”

Range of people wanting help

​Beazley said the program is not just for people who dropped out of school, although that is the majority of people they see. 

​"We have such a range it’s incredible actually. We’ve got from the mid-20’s who are working towards their GED and need help in very specific areas, we have that sort of learner right up to an 82-year-old veteran who decided it was high time he learned how to read.“

The tutors are trained to work with adults and then matched according to skill sets, needs, and schedules. They meet with the learners, often in public libraries, once or twice a week for a few hours each time.

Linda Weisman helps train the tutors. She has been living part-time on the Island for almost 50 years.

Her book, ‘Yes, I Can Read!’ is used among other resources to prepare tutors.

Hoping to expand

Weisman said she was meeting adults who tried to learn but had only met failure, so she wanted to simplify the process.

"I think at any stage, at any age, it’s so important to learn to read and people find it so rewarding,” Weisman said. “People who couldn’t read to their children are finding they can read to their grandchildren and that means so much to them and it means so much to their children too. It’s hard to imagine not being able to read and navigating in society, you’re so shut off and you’re so isolated if you can’t have that basic literacy. I think everyone should have the chance to learn to read.”

The next training sessions for tutors will be in late October.

Beazley said she is really happy that now when someone calls for help, she has somewhere to direct them.

“I don’t like having a wait list right now but I’m really happy that we have a program available, however small it might be.”

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The Road to Literacy

Hey Everyone!

I am sharing this very very important link that I really hope all of you look at. Please it would mean the world to me.

A very close friend of mine created this idea to go on a road trip across the country to promote literacy and help spread literacy to as many children as possible. They will be going and doing readings to children in cities, buying books to donate to the less fortunate and even more! This is really one of the most caring and selfless ideas that I have seen anyone want to do for the benefit of others. Please  if anyone has the time to look at this link I am sharing and just read about this and if you could Donate Anything at all to this cause it would be so amazing. You would not only be helping them start this journey but You  would be someone who will be helping children learn and grow all across the United States!

Vera is a very close friend of mine and I feel honored to be able to call her a friend. She is so caring and sweet and I haven’t ever met anyone else like her. Others in this program are just as amazing as well including Vera’s twin sister Emma who is amazingly sweet as well and two photographers who will be with them helping and documenting the journey as well. 

Please please please think about donating to this cause. It would mean the world to me, and Vera and so many children in this country as well.

Let me know if you donate as well because I will want to thank you for making this become reality!