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Trinity collegeIt's never too early to start looking for scholarships. The best time of year to start looking is in the summer or early fall. This lets you find programs before their deadlines have passed, and gives you enough time to complete a well-planned application. Many scholarship programs require an essay and recommendations from teachers or other adults who know you, and these take time to prepare.  

There are many scholarships, grants, fellowships, internships and work-study jobs available. You'll likely encounter some common eligibility criteria. These include which state you live in, if you've performed military service, whether you have minority status or a particular nationality or ethnic background, a religious affliation, or if any of your family members belong to a national or local organization or civic association. If you fit the eligibility criteria, be sure to consider applying! 

Researching

The library is a great place to get started as you research scholarships. Whether you are looking for a scholarship in the humanities, the sciences, the social sciences, or sports, we can help you discover ways to find scholarship awards for higher education. 

Scholarship HandbookThe Scholarship Handbook is organized by common eligibility criteria. It lists scholarships based on which state you live in, whether you have performed military service, if you have minority status or come from a particular nationality or ethnic background, if you have a religious affliation, and whether any of your family members belong to a national or local organization or civic association. Each scholarship program is described by eligibility, basis for selection, application requirements, amount awarded, application deadline, and contact information.

 

"Billions of dollars in scholarships, grants and prizes." The Ultimate Scholarship Book organizes awards into categories such as humanities, social science, science and general. You don't need a perfect GPA or financial need to win a scholarship. There are plenty of awards that have none of these requirements.

 

 

College help for teens: More resources for financial aid, admissions, guides, and Study Abroad.

Saving and paying for college: Additional help with financing college.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurological difference often characterized by difficulties with reading, writing and spelling.  It may run in the families and can not be “cured.” Individuals with this condition must learn coping strategies.

Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. With the right instruction, almost all individuals with dyslexia can learn to read.  A multi-sensory, phonics based approach is often the best way to help kids learn to read. The Orton-Gillingham, Barton System and/or Lindamood-Bell programs are well known programs that work.

This great Ted-Ed talk provides an overview of dyslexia.

What should I look for?

Decoding Dyslexia offers these early signs of dyslexia:

  • Late speech (3 years or later)
  • Mixing up sounds in multi-syllable words (e.g. bisghetti, aminal, mazageen)
  • Inability to rhyme by age 4
  • Difficulty with substitutions, omissions and deletions
  • Unusual pencil grip
  • Difficulty remembering rote facts (months of the year, days of the week)
  • Confusion of left vs. right

Several organizations offer online self-assessment tools.  Take a look at the the Uncovering Dyslexia Topic Guide for suggested websites.

Dyslexia and low self-esteem

One of the biggest challenges of dyslexia is counteracting shame caused by teasing and misunderstanding.  Children are often teased because they can’t read as well as others.  Teachers may say things like “she’s a slow reader” in front of the child or parents.  Kids know what “slow” means and they often grow up believing they are “stupid” and/or “lazy.”

Headstrong Nation’s Learn the Facts wants you to know the facts, help your child recognize her/his strengths and weaknesses, learn how to talk about it with trusted friends and family and eventually, be comfortable sharing one’s real self with the world.

How the library can help

There are three valid types of reading: with your eyes (print & video), with your fingers (Braille) and with your ears (audiobooks).  For information about Braille books, contact the Talking Book and Braille Library at the Oregon State Library.  Multnomah County Library will help you find materials for reading with your eyes and ears.  

Audiobooks

Typically easier for someone with dyslexia, the library has thousands of audiobooks on CD and in downloadable formats for people who read with their ears.  Library information staff can help you find and use audiobooks.

DVD/Blu-ray

The library has thousands of DVDs, Blu-ray and downloadable films for people who read with eyes & ears.  Library information staff can help you find and use these media.

Programs

Occasionally, the library offers a Dyslexia 101 program, in cooperation with Decoding Dyslexia Oregon.  Check Events & Classes to find the next class.

Reading list

The topic guide Uncovering Dyslexia is available on the website and My MCL.

Dyslexia Assessment in Multnomah County

Here are a few of the many assessment and intervention providers in the County.

The Blosser Center - Accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, the Blosser Center provides assessment, tutoring and teacher training.

Language Skills Therapy - Provides assessment and tutoring

Multnomah Educational Testing - Provides strength-based assessment

New Leaves Clinic - Provides assessment and treatment in Hillsboro, Oregon

Northwest Reading Clinic - Provides assessment and intervention

PDX Reading Specialist, LLC​ - Provides assessment, tutoring, advocacy and professional development

Three wrapped gifts

At a loss for some good books to give to your 2-year-old niece, the 9-year-old who walks your dog, or the 16-year-old who keeps showing up at your dinner table? Multnomah County Library to the rescue!  To make your lives a bit easier, here are some excellent gift suggestions from 2015.  

We've put together lists for preschool ages, grade schoolers, and tweens and teens. They're also great for adults who appreciate a good book no matter the age range. Filled with titles guaranteed to appeal to the readers (and non-readers) in your life, these full-color lists are also printable for your shopping convenience. Want more? Don't miss our Best Books of 2015 list.

And be sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more fantastic book fun all year round!

 

If you are a high school senior who is college bound, January is the month to begin applying for federal financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the path to financial aid, Pell Grants, scholarships, and federal and state student loans, and many colleges require it for merit-based scholarships.

We carry FAFSA paper forms at our library locations, in English and Spanish, and our staff can help you find the online forms. If you don't have access to a computer, you can use the public library computers to work on the online form. And if it takes more than one session to complete, you can save your information at the bottom of any page of the application.

College filing cabinet 1900

Get help

If you want help filling out the FAFSA, be sure to look at the free government website Federal Student Aid from the Department of Education. It has videos, fact sheets, loan information and web tools to address every question you might have.

You can get free hands-on help for filling out the FAFSA by attending a College Goal Oregon event.

Don't assume you won't qualify for any type of aid. The Department of Education webpage shows that most people are eligible. You can go to their website to estimate your eligibility for federal student aid

Get organized

According to the College Board, a not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success, you'll need, at minimum, these two items to get started:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned.

You'll also need to create an FSA ID and password. This identifies you for your student aid account. You provide your email address and password, and parents can create their own account using a different email address and password. Learn how to create an FSA ID.

Apply early

January 1 is the first day you can file, and you should plan to file as close to this date as you can. You want to be among the first to be considered. Some grants, like the Oregon Opportunity Grants, are awarded only until funds are depleted. 

Local deadlines may be much earlier than federal deadlines, for example, in some states, the application deadline is March 1. You can check the state deadline for Oregon on the Department of Education's webpage. 

 

Four Welcome to Reading color coded kit bags and bookmarks

Learning to read is an exciting time. Finding books your child is interested in at the right reading level can be a challenge. Library staff is always ready to help. We've just added another way to make that process easier for you and your child: Welcome to Reading Kits!

Multnomah County Library has kits at four levels: Starting Out (yellow), Building Skills (blue), Reading More (red), and On My Own (purple). Each color-coded bag contains 5 fun books and an information sheet on how to determine your child’s reading level, how to order more kits, and other activities you can do to help your child become a stronger reader. Some kits have books on a specific theme, like Comics, Dogs and Cats, or For Real! Facts. Many kits are called Five to Try, and contain a variety of books at the reading level. Explore several kits and help your child discover what he or she loves to read.

The kits are housed at our Albina, Gregory Heights, Gresham, Hillsdale and Woodstock locations, but you can place and pick up holds at any library location. Ask library staff about Welcome to Reading Kits today! 

Welcome to Reading Kits are made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.

A college degree is one of the most expensive items you will ever buy. It can leave you in debt for years, so you want to be as smart as you can about your education. When you attend college, you are "buying" a college degree, much as you purchase other big-ticket items. So, you want to make sure you get your money's worth.

Barnard College

Figuring out what college is going to cost

The U.S. Department of Education has a useful website called College Scorecard. You supply information about the type of degree you are looking for and locations or regions that you are interested in, and you'll receive results that show the average annual cost of tuition and fees at each matching institution, the graduation rate, and the annual average salary of their graduates. It's a great website for getting an overview and comparing what different colleges cost.

Another great place to research college pricing and student aid is at The College Board website. There is a wide variety in prices charged by institutions of different types and in different parts of the country, so it can really pay to do your research.

Looking at online colleges? They can sometimes offer you more flexibility and easier access than traditional colleges. Check out Affordable Colleges Online to see, by state or by subject, which colleges offer affordable options. 

Be sure to add in what your room and board costs will be, including your meal plan, books and supplies, and other personal expenses

Your Personal Resources

Before you apply for student aid or scholarships, you'll need to figure out the amount of money that you and perhaps your parents can afford. Some parents choose to contribute and others believe that it is the student's responsibility to pay for college.

If you are saving for college, the State of Oregon offers the Oregon College Savings Plan which provides tax advantages. 

Federal Student Aid

If you plan to apply for aid, check and double-check the application deadlines. State and college aid may have earlier deadlines than federal aid. When you apply, you want to be in the first stack of applicants, not the last. You can check the federal and state application deadlines at www.fafsa.gov.

The first step to apply is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Financial aid experts recommend that all students fill out the FAFSA because it is used by colleges and grant-makers to figure out financial need. 

The fastest way to fill out the FAFSA is online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, but you can also get paper forms at all our public library branches: Just ask at a reference desk. Give yourself plenty of time to fill out the form. You'll need to have information about your financial situation and you or your parents' federal tax forms from the previous year at hand.

Using the information that you supply on the FAFSA, the financial aid office at your college will determine that amount of aid you may receive.

"Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination." -- W. Wonka

 Multnomah County Library Golden Ticket

First graders of Multnomah County, welcome to the library! 

If you attend a school in the Portland Public, Corbett, Parkrose, Reynolds, David Douglas, Gresham-Barlow or Centennial School Districts, you and your family should receive a Golden Ticket at your school's fall conference, directly from your teacher.

Learning to read is a very exciting time, and Multnomah County Library can help you on your way to becoming a stronger reader. Bring your Golden Ticket to any Multnomah County Library location to choose a free book to keep and learn about all about what the library has just for you! Parents of first graders, fill out the information on the back of the ticket and you will be entered into a drawing for a family smartphone. The library has a lot to offer you too.

If your first  grader goes to a  public school in one of the districts listed above and didn't get a Golden Ticket at fall conferences, be sure to ask your teacher or principal.

Golden Tickets can be redeemed for a free book until January 4, 2016. You can come in any time to experience the magic of Multnomah County Library!

Made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation and reach through private support.

Whether you love algebra or not, I've had more students ask me, "What's the point? How will I ever use this in real life?" I even asked my own 8th grade math teacher this. I didn't get any satisfying answer back then, but luckily, you have some great algebra resources online to explain real world applications for the math you are learning. 

 Maybe you thought real life uses of algebra would be boring, but Get the Math shows you how a hip-hop team uses it in music  production. More interested in video games? Algebra is used all the time in video game production. Or do you want to learn how  you can create the perfect basketball free throw shot using algebra? Visit Get the Math for these and other videos about fashion and special effects. Or watch a video about the impossible soccer free kick that explains mathematically why Brazil's Robert Carlos' now famous 35 meter free kick in 1997 made the goal. 

So now that I've answered the 'why' question, where can you begin learning about algebra and pre-algebra? I'm a fan of learning through play, so check out Math Playground, pre-algebra math games online to learn math while having fun. In addition to games, Kids Math TV also offers math lessons and worksheets by both grade level and math topic, so go explore! 

International breastfeeding symbolWhen I came back to work six months after having my daughter, as a breastfeeding mama, the first thing I had to figure out was how to pump at work. Where would I do it? When would I do it? I pictured a cluttered janitor’s closet or a bathroom (places I have both pumped in a pinch, by the way!). Luckily my workplace is very accommodating toward breastfeeding moms, and I was able to use a discreet office during my pumping times. In fact, at one time there were three women from one department all actively pumping, and there are five of us who are currently still nursing! Wow!

 

But not all new moms are so lucky to have such workplace support. Even though it is Oregon and federal law for a workplace “to provide a break time and space requirement for breastfeeding mothers,” some workplaces may be reluctant to accommodate, or not accommodate at all. In fact, before working at MCL, one of our mamas told a story about being forced to pump away from her workplace because her employer misinterpreted the law, and refused to provide her a space at work. So she literally had to go down the street to a cold, empty building with her own heat source in tow where she fought to keep the lights on. Yikes.

 

If this situation sounds familiar (and hopefully it doesn’t), the important thing to know is requesting a safe, discreet place to pump during your work day is within your rights. If your employer is giving you the run around, you can report them to the Bureau of Labor and Industries, as well as request help to receive a workplace accommodation. It is also within your rights to breastfeed anywhere in public (that includes the library!). So never fear, the law is on your side!

 

My baby is now a two-year-old (sniff), and I love the special bond we have been able to cultivate through breastfeeding. But I couldn’t have done it alone. There are some great organizations out there that support breastfeeding families like KellyMom and La Leche League. Interested in joining a group? The local chapter of La Leche League, La Leche League of Oregon, has meetups and support groups by neighborhood. And if you are looking for some additional breastfeeding resources, be sure to check out what the library has to offer.

Getting ready for college is a state of mind

 

Florida State 1904Every year, hundreds of high school juniors and seniors in the Portland area are faced with the decision of whether to go to college, which colleges to apply to, what to study, how to get accepted, and how to pay for it. The library can help! 

If you’re wondering if you’re ready or not, ask the advice of a trusted high school counselor, teacher, or librarian. They can help you find resources to decide whether you have learned to set clear, achievable goals, can manage your time well, and have the skills you’ll need for college-level courses.

Compare your options

College Blue BookThe library has several different resources to help you evaluate your options. One of the best available is the six-volume College Blue Book. You can look at it online or come in to Central Library to browse.

The first volume has the most narrative information about different options. Find the number of students and faculty, entrance requirements, costs per year, and lots more. You could use this volume, for example, to compare the campus at George Fox University to Lewis & Clark College.  

Looking for which degrees are offered by college and subject? Volume 3 is where you can find, for example, that Portland State University and University of Oregon both offer degrees in architecture. Volume 5 has an up-to-date list of scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans. And if you're interested in distance learning programs, look at Volume 6. Almost every course, certificate, and degree program that you can take on campus is also available in a distance learning format.

Deciding what to study

Occupational Outlook HandbookDuring high school, students typically begin forming some idea of what they want to study or do for work. The Occupational Outlook Handbook can help with up-to-date vocational guidance, employment forecasting, and information about different occupations. You can also use their electronic resources online for career information about hundreds of occupations.

For each job, the book discusses work tasks, job outlook for the next few years, training and education needed, pay, work environment, similar occupations, and additional information sources.

The library also has the Oregon Career Information System (CIS) database which provides information about occupations in Oregon that relate to your interests, aptitudes, and abilities. After you create a portfolio, you can use CIS to take college admissions practice tests, upload your career search, and build a résumé. Deciding whether to return to school? CIS has career assessment tools to help you out.

Considering whether to use a college consultant

College consultants can help you develop strategies about planning for college. Look for someone who is knowledgeable about a wide range of colleges and their admissions processes. They can help identify your strengths and weaknesses, and help find schools that are a good fit. They can also advise on what you need to do to prepare for applying to college, such as choosing college prep classes, participating in school activities, and volunteering in the community.

There are many college consultants in the Portland area. The following sites have tools for finding phone numbers and addresses of local consultants.

Independent Educational Consultants Association

Higher Education Consultants Association
 

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