Celebrate our stories because we are #thankful.

Jennifer Wigginton Executive Director 812-429-1222 jennifer@litcenter.org

Jennifer Wigginton
Executive Director

Meet Jennifer Wigginton, Our Executive Director. Jennifer started with The Literacy Center in April of 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Southern Indiana​.

JenniferWiggintonMyStory Nov2015

Learn more about Jennifer at https://www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings?trk=prof-edit-edit-public_profile.



#Smile! It is Health Literacy Awareness Month

Health Literacy Awareness MonthSometimes finding what to write about every month is a difficult task. So how do I find inspiration? Well, I’m part of what I like to call the “Bullet Point Generation” so, naturally, I turn to Google. A quick search on “Literacy in October” provided me with so many resources. Which is perfect, because our blog theme for the month is all about resources!

Nearly every month has an awareness campaign. Most people recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness month. America tends to turn pink during the month. But did you know that October is also Health Literacy Month?

Health literacy is fairly daunting. There’s so much information out there, and it changes constantly. Are we supposed to eat high protein/low carb or healthy fats or gluten free or vegetarian? What should our cardio/strength training ratio be? And that’s just the diet and exercise portion of our health. What about taking medications, home remedies for minor injuries, or reading a doctor’s instructions for recovery? It’s a difficult enough task to research for those of us who are good readers. Imagine trying to figure it all out having a low literacy level!

So how do our students acquire this information? Unfortunately, they usually don’t. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes and higher healthcare costs. Low literacy learners tend to have more frequent hospital visits and don’t utilize preventative care, such as mammograms and colonoscopies[1].  Furthermore, those with low literacy are more likely to be part of a larger problem due to medical error, which is usually caused by the low literacy patient not being able to properly communicate their medication and health concerns[2].

Now that I have you depressed, let me tell you that help is never far away!

  • There is The Literacy Center. Part of what I do every day is find resources to help our volunteers teach our students new skills. I find videos, books, worksheets, and complete lesson plans for nearly any task our students want to learn.
  • There’s Google. Odds are, someone else has already done a lot of the prep work already, so utilize it! There are hundreds of teacher blogs that offer free complete lesson plans and activities for nearly everything our students are seeking to learn.
  • There’s the app store. Let’s face it. Technology is here to stay. We might as well embrace it. There are so many apps for our phones and tablets, and most of them are free. If you aren’t sure where to start, please see number 1, then call 812.429.1222 and we can guide you to finding everything you need.

Here are some great websites that can also help you incorporate Health Literacy Month into your lessons:

Guide for choosing over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and how to use them safely.  Contains videos and pdf format student and instructor guides-


Developed by World Education and the CDCP, this is a complete curriculum on breast and cervical cancer that contains 4 units and numerous lessons within each unit.


[1] http://health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/factsliteracy.htm

[2] http://cahealthliteracy.org/pdffiles/allfourpageshealthlitreport.pdf


We started the month with World Smile Day (October 2) with a campaign on Facebook, #smile. In honor of World Smile Day® we are doing kind acts to hopefully bring smiles to your faces each day this month. That for me is helping you make connections with the resources in our community. Resources are fundamental. Resources are great when in a crisis but are much more than that. The Mind In The Making is a great resource book on the seven essential life skills.  We hope that you will read this book along with us this month and join us on November 20th for a book discussion.

Now, on to the #smile campaign…

First, we connected you with a link to a resource guide for Vanderburgh County (http://www.vanderburghgov.org/Index.aspx?page=1413). We also connected you to the United Way service of 211 and their resource guide that can help you find services that you may need now or in the future (http://www.referweb.net/uwsi/).  We also connected you to the Best Day Ever Community calendar, a fabulous resource for all the things to do in our community and The Evansville Courier and Press for lots of connections.

Please follow our #smile campaign on Facebook by visiting our page https://www.facebook.com/TheLiteracyCenter.  Like the posts, share them and talk about them and let us know what resources are the best kept secrets of our community.

Jennifer Wigginton Executive Director 812-429-1222 jennifer@litcenter.org

Jennifer Wigginton
Executive Director

National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week

jennwiggjuly2015It is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!  What does this make me think?  I think of the 7 Essential Life Skills by the Mind in the Making. Why?

The seven essential life skills are:

  1. Focus & Self Control
  2. Perspective Taking
  3. Communicating
  4. Making Connections
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Taking on Challenges
  7. Self-Directed Engaged Learning

These skills are the foundation of education and literacy.  If we don’t have these skills we are unable to be educated.  That may sound harsh, but in my opinion these skills are so intertwined with how we learn it is impossible to separate.

A quick review of the skills:

Focus & Self Control– we need this skill in order to achieve their goals, especially in a world that is filled with distractions and information overload.  It involves paying attention, remembering the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self-control.

Perspective Taking is seeing things as others would see them.  It goes far beyond empathy; it involves figuring out what others think and feel, and forms the basis for our understanding of the people in our lives- parents, friends, co-workers intentions.  When we have the ability to take others’ perspectives we are much less likely to get involved in conflicts.

Communicating is more than understanding language, speaking, reading and writing- it is the skill of determining what we want to communicate and realizing how our communications will be understood by others.  We communicate in many ways besides language, including music, dance, and the visual arts.

Making Connections is the heart of learning- figuring out what’s the same and what’s different and sorting these things into categories. Making unusual connections is central to creativity.

Critical Thinking is the ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions and actions.

Taking on Challenges is more than learning how to cope with stress.  It means you think about experiences and events that may cause stress and work to deal with them positively.  Beyond that Taking on Challenges means that you learn how to deal PROACTIVELY with challenges trying something that is hard, learning from mistakes and not giving up. Figuratively it means getting back on a bike after you have fallen off and trying again.

It is through self-directed learning that we take responsibility and initiative for seeking knowledge and skills: and through engaged learning that we keep a passion for learning in our own lives.  Thus, it is through Self Directed Engaged Learning that we realize our potential.  As the world changes, so can we, for as long as we live – as long as we learn.


The most important thing to me is that we recognize that we never stop learning these skills or academic knowledge.  Being a lifelong learner is the most important thing and I believe that is what the National Adult Education and Family Literacy week is all about.

Celebrate by learning and a donation in honor of Day of Giving and the week would be nice also.


Note:  Past Blogs on the 7 Essential Life Skills:

We interrupt this blog series

Mind in the Making- A Second Look

Mind in the Making: Skills 3 & 4 

Mind in the Making: Skills 5 & 6 

Mind in the Making- Skill 7