DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Loves Him and Wants to Help," whose intelligent, learning-disabled boyfriend needs assistance in reading and writing skills.
Please let "Loves Him" and all your other readers know about Literacy Volunteers of America Inc. This is a fabulous organization that trains volunteers -- ordinary, workaday men and women, not necessarily teachers by profession -- to give reading and writing instruction to adults. (LVA also provides instruction in English as a second language.) All instruction is absolutely FREE. LVA students from both programs have gone on to college, if that is their goal.
Also, please encourage everyone who is blessed with the gift of literacy to consider becoming a volunteer tutor. The training, like the classes, is also free of charge -- and the rewards for enriching another person's life are priceless.
I found Literacy Volunteers of America Inc. in the white pages of my local phone book. -- KATHLEEN TROOST, PORTSMOUTH, R.I.
DEAR KATHLEEN: Thank you for offering a valuable suggestion. I had no idea that so much help was available for people who are learning-disabled. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Your reader "Loves Him ..." may find the use of recorded textbooks the answer to her boyfriend's learning difficulties.
For half a century, recorded textbooks from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) have helped to make educational success possible for tens of thousands of students with visual, perceptual or other physical disabilities. The largest resource of its kind in the world, RFB&D's more than 77,000-volume library of audio and computerized textbooks ensures all students have access to the printed word.
Whether it's sixth-grade history, high school math or college chemistry, our recorded textbooks give our members an opportunity to get the same information as people without print disabilities. Last year, RFB&D began an outreach program to schools to help teachers, students and parents better understand how to use taped textbooks. We now have 2,452 schools enrolled in our Annual Institutional Membership program, and the number is rapidly growing. We expect to double that number by the year 2000.
Our recorded books are available at no charge. The cost to become a member includes a $50 application fee and a $25 annual membership. RFB&D is a national, nonprofit volunteer organization, headquartered in Princeton, N.J. For more information about our services, call (800) 803-7201. -- RITCHIE GEISEL, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
DEAR RITCHIE: Although I have known about books-on-tape for the blind, I was unaware that they could also be made available to people with learning disabilities. Thank you for informing my readers and me. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Please tell "Loves Him and Wants to Help" to put her boyfriend in contact with the International Dyslexia Association (formerly the Orton Dyslexia Society). He can be put in touch with adult programs or tutors who are trained to address his individual learning disability. The Web site address is: www.interdys.org.
Dyslexia affects about 15 percent of our population, and we need to get the information out that these people need a specific teaching program. -- MARTHA MORGAN, TUTOR, PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR MARTHA: Here's your letter. Those who do not have computers or who do not subscribe to an Internet provider should call (toll-free) (800) 222-3123 to leave a message or obtain a local number for the International Dyslexia Association, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST.