Tips, Useful Techniques, Other Relevant Stuff

APRIL 2005
A Publication of the Literacy Council of Jackson County
PO Box 615, Medford, OR 97501

Happy Springtime

Board Members:

          Bob Burger    - Chair
          Carol Didier  - Library/Bookstore
          Ellie Scholz  - Secretary
          Fram Nichols  - Placement
          Callie Marek  - Records
          Rose Cossairt - Bookkeeper

Message from the Chair
A Little Politics
Note from the field
Placement Report
Records Report
Library Report
Secretarial Report

In-Service Reminder
Abbreviations Dictionary
Helpful Websites
Stats & Meetings
Tutor Bio's

Message from the Chair

Hello, Volunteers and Friends

   Did you know that on the second Saturday of each month we are holding tutor in-service meetings at our Royal Avenue office.  So whatís an in-service, you might ask.  Itís an opportunity to discuss tutoring methods, teaching materials, keeping records, and getting answers to any questions you might have.  We might also include a mini-seminar on tutoring techniques, understanding CASAS test results, or a topic suggested by one of you.  Snacks and beverages will be offered.  Hereís the schedule: 10 AM to noon on May 14th, June 11th, and July 9th.  See you there.

Bob Burger, Chairman


A Little Politics

   Funding for all adult literacy programs is in jeopardy.  According to ProLiteracy Worldwide, "The budget calls for a total of $200 million in adult basic and literacy education state grants, down from the $569.7 million requested.  Many programs serving adult learners would see their budgets slashed from 50% to 70% under the proposal; some programs could be forced to close their doors altogether."
   Bob Bickerton, Chair, National Council of State Directors of Adult Education, has an interesting article about the effectiveness and importance of adult literacy programs.  His article also includes two forceful arguments supporting the efficacy of adult education.  To read his article go to http:// www.oregonliteracy.org/publications/ litspeakarchive/litspeak_spring05.pdf

More on Funding

   Representative Mike Castle from Delaware, Representative George Miller from California, and Representative Raul M. Grijalva from Arizona have circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter to other members of the House of Representatives seeking to restore funding for state grants for adult basic education and literacy to the Fiscal 2006 budget.  The letter seeks to restore funding to $574 million.

Write a Letter

   Talking Points for Opposing the Presidentís Proposed Fiscal 2006 Budget

   Use the following talking points when you phone, e-mail, or fax a letter to your Senators and Representative.  Use as many or as few of the following points as seem appropriate to you, but be sure to state clearly that your purpose is to oppose the Presidentís proposed Fiscal 2006 budget.

  • The U.S. Department of Education estimated in 1992 that between 40 and 44 million adults lack sufficient literacy skills to be successful as parents, workers, and members of their communities.
  • In Oregon 15% of the population falls into this category.
  • In Jackson County 15% of the population falls into this category.
  • The federal and state funded adult education and literacy system in the United States gives 3 million adult literacy students the opportunity to acquire or improve their literacy skills.
  • More than 52% of local communitybased literacy programs affiliated with ProLiteracy America receive funding under this program.
  • More than 77% of ProLiteracy America affiliates report waiting lists.
  • LCJC receives less than $2000 in federal funds and serves an average of 45 adult students each year.
  • The Presidentís proposed fiscal 2006 budget reduces federal funding for adult basic education programs by 63%, from a current budget of $569.7 million to $200 million.
  • In Oregon this may also mean an additional cut in state funding for adult basic education.
  • Adult literacy programs are important in Jackson County because: [Insert the arguments that will most appeal to your elected representative].  Examples follow:
  • Adult literacy programs are important in Jackson County because they help adults to obtain jobs and improve their economic selfreliance.
  • Adult literacy programs are important in Jackson County because they help adults to participate in democracy and exercise their rights of citizenship.
  • Adult literacy programs are important in Jackson County because they help adults to become better parents and participate in their childrenís education.
  • Adult literacy programs are important in Jackson County because they help adults to access timely and cost-effective health care.
  • Adult literacy programs are important in Jackson County because they help immigrants to become contributing members of society.
  • The title of the press release accompanying the budget is entitled "Presidentís FY 2006 Budget Focuses Resources on Students Who Need them the Most." But the budget proposal ignores the needs of dropouts and individuals with low levels of literacy that cannot access the K-12 system and have families who depend on them for support.  Among these under-educated and limited English proficient adults are tens of thousands of young adults who have just recently found themselves unable to meet new high standards for graduation.
  • The Presidentís Budget Analysis indicates that adult education programs have "little or no evidence of effectiveness." In fact in 1998 Congress set performance indicators for adult education programs; each year the US Department of Education has negotiated performance levels on these indicators with the states and each year a vast majority of the states have met or exceeded these levels.
  • The Office of Budget and Management rated programs based on measures that adult education does not use.  OMB established common measures for workforce programs, and then applied them to adult education programs.  Adult education programs do not have the legislative authority to collect data on some of the common measures established by OMB.  The result is that adult education programs are determined to have "little or no evidence of effectiveness" on measures about which they have no authority to collect data.
  • 50,000 of the nationís poorest and most at-risk families are receiving literacy services and support through Even Start funding.  In 1997, 41% of Even Start families had household incomes of less than $6,000.
  • More than 42% of ProLiteracy America local affiliates provide family literacy services.
  • Even Start parents read more to their children, have more books at home, and take their children to the library more often than before they participated in the program.
  • Even Start parents are more informed about childrenís development and age appropriate expectations.
  • Even Start parents are more active in their childrenís classroom, volunteer more, and talk more with teachers.
  • Even Start parents take better care of their childrenís medical and dental health.
  • The cited evaluations supporting the Presidentís proposal to eliminate Even Start funding are based upon findings that occurred prior to the implementation of new legal requirements for stronger state accountability systems and a mandated increased emphasis on higher quality, research-based instruction to be implemented by the U.S. Department of Education.

Instructions for Contacting Your Representatives in the House:

  1. Go to http://www.congress.org.
  2. Enter your zip code in the light blue box and click [GO].
  3. In some cases, your zip code may be split among more than one Member of Congress. If so, go to step 4.  If not, go to step 5.
  4. Enter your nine-digit zip code and press [GO] or enter your street address in the box provided.
  5. The Web site will provide the name of your Representative.
  6. Below his/her picture, there is a link called "info." Click on it.
  7. On this page, under "contact information," there will be the phone number and fax number for the Washington, D.C. office.
  8. Phone, e-mail, or fax a letter to your Representative.  Typed or handwritten letters can be faxed.  Do not send a letter by regular mail.  Due to anthrax procedures, letters sent via regular mail will not be processed in time.
  9. Register your action at http:// www.ncsdae.org/myweb/Campaign_700.htm.

from ProLiteracy Worldwide


Note from the field

   The RCC library on the second floor of the new Medford library has small meeting rooms that Literacy tutors can use with their students.  Simply call the Reference Desk to reserve the room and then go there at the time assigned to find out which room to use.

Don Michalak


Placement Report

   We currently have 9 ABE students on the wait list.  They live in the following areas:

Medford ........................................4*
Jacksonville .................................. 1
White City - DOM .............................. 1
Talent ........................................ 1
Shady Cove .................................... 1
Gold Hill ..................................... 1
* one of these is a young man who lives in Rogue River but works in Medford and could be tutored in the evenings at the Medford Library.
   We also have 5 ESL students in Medford seeking tutors.  Several of these also want citizenship instruction.
   If you could tutor one or more of the students presently on our wait lists, or know someone who would like to become a tutor, please call the Literacy Council office at 245- 8699.

Fram Nichols, Placement


Recorder's Report

   We are down substantially on students this report as Ed Dellaquila no longer tutors, so we lost all his students - well, actually, they either reached their goal or left the program.

Callie Marek, Recorder


Library Report

   The Literacy Council Library contains 1501 books.  As of this writing, 186 are checked out, and another 36 are "missing." (The missing books are books recorded as of the last inventory that are neither on the shelves nor in the "check out" box.) This leaves 1315 books that are available to you and your students.
   The library is now catalogued on our computer, so that I can better keep track of the inventory.  From time to time I will be sending out a reminder to those who have books checked out.  Books may be checked out for one month - and should be renewed in person or by phone if you wish to keep the book longer.
   You might be surprised by the following statistics for checked out books:

Less than one month .............................. 0
1 - 3 months ......................................2
4 - 6 months .................................... 10
7 - 12 months .................................... 9
More than a year ............................... 165
   Please look around you at home and at your studentís home to see if you can locate any of our long lost friends!

Carol Didier, Librarian


Secretarial Report

   Minutes written up by the secretary are filed at the Literacy Council headquarters on Royal Street.  Copies are sent to all Board members.
   It is helpful to keep Board members current on what is taking place in case they are unable to be present at the monthly meeting.

Ellie Scholz, Secretary


In-Service Reminder

   Did you know that on the second Saturday of each month the Literacy Council is hosting an open forum for tutors to discuss techniques and issues?  Each session begins at 10 A.M. and ends at noon at our office - 1175 Royal Ave., Suite B.  Attendance is not mandatory, but it would be good if you could attend once in awhile.  Limited snacks available.



   Many tutors, and students, question the reasons for the pre- and post-testing that have recently been implemented by the Councilís board.  Tutors often feel giving the post-test takes away from valuable teaching time and students worry they will be "disqualified" from the program if their scores arenít "good enough" on the pretest.
   A little history - 25 years ago CASAS was started in California in answer to the question - How could the state adequately find out what was happening in the field when all the available tests were academic, but adult ESL programs were teaching life skills?
   In the ensuing 25 years, CASAS has become known around the world as the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System.  Not only have they developed the lifeskills tests you are becoming familiar with, but also special tests for measuring employability readiness and skills; measuring the growth of students with special needs; citizenship preparedness and high school level test.  All of their tests focus on the functional application of basic skills in specific employment or life skills contexts.  Today, CASAS is the only adult assessment system of its kind to be approved and validated by the US Department of Education in the area of adult literacy.
   But, why do WE test.  There are 2 reasons for the Literacy Council to test:

  1. Pretests are used to help match the student with materials and lessons that are at the correct difficulty level and are relevant to the studentís needs.

  2. Post-tests measure and document learner improvement in English literacy, reading, writing, listening, speaking, problem solving and math on a common national reporting scale.  Students and tutors often do not realize the progress students have made unless there is concrete proof - earning a driving license, getting a better job, or raising a CASAS score.


Abbreviations Dictionary

ABE Adult Basic Education: teaching basic kindergarten to 8th grade skills such as reading, writing and math to native speakers of English.

ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder

CASAS Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System: A battery of tests that we use for tracking student progress.

ESL English as a Second Language: teaching basic kindergarten to 8th grade skills such as listening, speaking, reading, writing and math to non-native speakers of English.

GED General Education Development test: test which gives students a diploma equivalent to a high school diploma.

LCJC: Literacy Council of Jackson County

LD: Learning Disabled

RCC: Rogue Community College

TELT Training Effective Literacy Tutors: The training program for new volunteers.

TOPS Tracking of Programs and Students: form used to collect student demographics and test results reported to RCC.


Helpful Websites

Tips for teaching word families, steps in language experience stories, find quizzes


You can print out these exercises or student can do them on line

Variety of activities for the more advanced student

If you have internet access at your tutoring site this is a great address for more advanced student activities

Help with developing writing skills

Variety of activities: grammar, conversation topics, cultural awareness, games, etc.


Pizzaz: Creative writing lessons

Self Study Quizzes

Crossword Puzzles

Conversation Questions for the ESL Classroom


Opportunities in ESL: Creative writing/ discussion topics

Free Services for Students


ESL Curriculum, Beginning Level

Diversity Calendar: Holidays around the world

If you try one of the above sites let us know what you think of it, how you used it, did your student enjoy it, etc.



January & February 2005

Number of Students ....................... 19
Hours tutored ............................ 87.6
Number of Volunteers ..................... 25
                       18 tutors
                        7 administrative
Hours tutored .............................62.9
Prep time ................................ 21.9
Travel time .............................. 32.4
Miscellaneous time ....................... 59.2


Board Meetings

April 18
May 16
June 20

All meetings - 2pm to 4pm
Literacy Council office:
1175 Royal Ave, Suite B, Medford
Phone: 245-8699


Tutor Bio's

   I was born in Milwaukee, met my husband, Harvey, at Wisconsin State U, Stevens Point.  Have two wonderful sons, and three special grandsons- the best part is, they all live here in the area.

   I have worked at the Library (Childrenís Dept), and was on staff at the Jacksonville Museum.  Both jobs were ended by budget cuts.  As a volunteer, I spent 16 years as a library aide at Sacred Heart School, and still help at Hanley Farm and other Southern Oregon Historical Society events.

   Also, I am very active in Family and Community Education (formerly known as Extension), and am a member of the County Council, the Alumnae Assoc., and my Study Group.  I became a Master Gardener in 1988.  We grow a large vegetable, herb, and fruit garden.

   For years, Iíve been trying to learn Spanish, and have taken four terms at RCC. I have always been an avid reader, and could not imagine not being able to read!

   For a long time I thought about Literacy before I finally committed to it.  It has not really been what I expected; tho I hope Iíve helped the three students to some extent.  It has been quite a learning experience for me, as well.

Liz Koester


Newsletter Editor - Liz Bestor