Tips, Useful Techniques, Other Relevant Stuff

APRIL 2006
A Publication of the Literacy Council of Jackson County
PO Box 615, Medford, OR 97501

Happy Autumn

Board Members:

              Bob Burger     - Chair
              Sara King Cole - Library/Bookstore
              Ellie Scholz   - Secretary
              Fram Nichols   - Placement
              Lois Nobles    - Records
              Liz Koester    - RCC/CASAS Coordinator
              Rose Cossairt  - Bookkeeper

Welcome New Tutors
Volunteer Highlight
My Painful Secret
New Web Resources
Students Waiting
Library Notes
Abbreviations Dictionary
Stats & Meetings
Helpful Websites
What a Language
The State of Literacy
Attention All Tutors

Welcome New Tutors

Four new tutors were trained on April 8.  We want to welcome Jack Smith, Nina Rohrs, Mary Hinson and Celina Prutch.


Student, Tutor, Story Corp

   Working together with the support of the Literacy Council has opened up new vistas in the lives of both my adult student and me.  Rick Schroeder and I have studied together over the past two years to improve Rick's reading abilities using the workbook materials provided to us by the Literacy Council.  The learning materials have proven to be well thought out and a good match for our needs.  Rick and I meet twice a week in a study room at the new Medford Public Library, which is a welcoming and comfortable environment for our bi-weekly lessons.

   Last December, as we met at the entrance to the library, we couldn't help but notice the silver Airstream trailer parked in the city parking lot across the street from the library with the white and red sign "Story Corp" displayed above a table in front of the trailer.  Rick and I asked some questions and found out that the trailer was a professional recording studio, sponsored by National Public Radio.  This was one of two trailers touring the whole country collecting stories from citizens about their lives.  The audio recordings will document the people and events of our time and will be stored in the US Library of Congress.  We were invited to participate and as a result, I interviewed Rick for the project.  Our interview was aired on Jefferson Public Radio later that month.  We invite you to hear that interview by clicking this web address: http://www3.jeffnet.org/News.asp?NewsID=1034

   Both Rick and I want to thank the Literacy Council for the support they have given us and we recommend that other like-minded teachers and students use the resources of the Literacy Council's valuable programs.

Submitted by Joe Suste, tutor


My Painful Secret -
I Cannot Read

   This is the story of Jacques Demers, a French Canadian.  He couldn't read or write and he was scared to death that someone would find out.  It all began in his childhood.  He had an abusive father who terrorized his mother and him.  This left Jacques unable to sleep at night and too anxious to learn in grade school.  He did learn to play hockey and he became a hockey coach.  He was so good that he coached five NHL teams over the course of 14 seasons.  He was twice named "Coach of the Year."  In 1993 he coached the Montreal Canadiens and they won the Stanley Cup.  Demers couldn't read the inscrip­tions on the trophy.  He lived in fear of being discovered.  Only his wife knew his secret.  He felt ashamed.  When asked to read something he would say, "Oh, I forgot my glasses."  He learned to scribble "Best Wishes" and "Practice at 10:00 a.m.”

   With the help of a psychiatrist he began to believe that he was not "dumb".  He came forward with his story and it has been put into a book.  There are 26 chapters, one for every letter of the alphabet.  The book is in French but will soon be out in English.

   This story was in the Feb. 12, 2006 Parade magazine.

   Do you know an adult who can't read?  Think of how painful it is not to be able to read street signs or to be able to read to your chil­dren.  You are unable to fill out an application for work.  We at the Jackson County Literacy Council are here to help.  We need to locate people who need help and we need tutors.  See our website www.oregonliteracy.org/litjack for more information.

Story summary submitted by Ellie Scholz, council secretary


New Resources From LitBits

A publication of Oregon Literacy, Inc.

Workforce Education LAB

This resource is designed to help tutors teach work-related basic skills.  It includes lesson plans and learning activities for adult learners.

The 24 Languages Project

This website will help you find health infor­mation in many languages.  It was designed to provide access to important health information in many languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese and Laotian.  There are both written brochures and audio files.

Medline Plus

This alphabetized listing of illnesses, symp­toms and treatments is in both easy-to-read English and Spanish, making on-line research understandable.


Tutors Needed

The following is a list of student needs

13 ESL students - 12 at Golden Dynasty Restaurant

1 GED student

2 ESL students

2 ESL students

12 ESL students - 1 tested at Level B, so has fair command of English

2 ABE students (both learning disabled)

2 GED students

White City:

2 ABE (1 learning disabled)


Please call the office if you heve time for one or more of these students.


Book Notes

We've had some requests recently for materials to help students prepare for citizen­ship tests.  There are a few different citizenship study books in the library, which cover topics including on overview of U.S. history, the U.S. Constitution, the branches of our government, and vocabulary lists.  Most of the resources are complete with sample tests and also offer sample sentences for writing practice.  In short, they include everything you need to help your student learn the material for citizenship tests.  Stop by the literacy council office soon to check out these materials, as they are in demand!

Thanks, Sara King Cole, Librarian


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.



January & February 2006

Active tutors              9
Tutor hours               30
Prep hours                 8
Miscellaneous hours       40
Active students           16
Student hours             32


Board Meetings

May 16
June 20
July (no meeting)
August 23
September 19

All meetings - 1 P.M. to 3 P.M.
Literacy Council office:
1175 Royal Ave, Suite B, Medford
Phone: 245-8699


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.


Reasons English Is Hard To Learn

  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce.
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  10. I did not object to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Clever quotes from the site of AVKO Dyslexia Research Foundation


The State of Literacy - 1992 - 2003

   The percentage of adults (people age 16 and older living in households or prisons) with Below Basic document literacy decreased 2 percentage points between 1992 and 2003 and the percentage of adults with Below Basic quantitative literacy decreased by 4 percentage points.  The percentage of adults with Basic literacy did not change significantly between 1992 and 2003.  The percentage of adults with Intermediate document literacy increased by 4 percentage points and the percentage of adults with Intermediate quantitative literacy in­creased by 3 percentage points.  The percentage of adults with Proficient prose and document literacy decreased 2 percentage points between 1992 and 2003.

Level Definitions:
Below Basic indicates no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills.  Key abilities associated with adults at the Below Basic level range from being nonliterate in English to having the abilities listed below:

  • locating easily identifiable information in short, commonplace prose texts such as search­ing a short, simple text to find out what a patient is allowed to drink before a medical test.
  • locating easily identifiable information and following written instructions in simple documents such as signing a form.
  • locating numbers and using them to perform simple quantitative operations (prima­rily addition) when the mathematical informa­tion is very concrete and familiar such as adding the amounts on a bank deposit slip.
Basic indicates skills necessary to perform simple and everyday literacy activities.  Key abilities associated with this level:
  • reading and understanding information in short, commonplace prose texts such as finding in a pamphlet an explanation of how people are selected for the jury pool.
  • reading and understanding information in simple documents such as using a television guide to find out what programs are on at a specific time.
  • locating easily identifiable quantitative information and using it to solve simple, one­-step problems when the arithmetic operation is specified or easily inferred such as compar­ing the ticket prices for two events.
Intermediate indicates skills necessary to perform moderately challenging literacy activities.  Key abilities for the level:
  • reading and understanding moderately dense, less commonplace prose texts as well as summarizing, making simple inferences, determining cause and effect, and recognizing the author's purpose, such as consulting refer­ence materials to determine which foods contain a particular vitamin.
  • locating information in dense, complex documents and making simple inferences about the information such as identifying a specific location on a map.
  • locating less familiar quantitative infor­mation and using it to solve problems when the arithmetic operation is not specified or easily inferred such as calculating the total cost of ordering office supplies from catalog.
Proficient indicates skills necessary to perform more complex and challenging literacy activities.  Key abilities associated with this level:
  • reading lengthy, complex, abstract prose texts as well as synthesizing informa­tion and making complex inferences such as comparing viewpoints in two editorials.
  • integrating, synthesizing, and analyz­ing multiple pieces of information located in complex documents such as interpreting a table about blood pressure, age, and physical activity.
  • locating more abstract quantitative information and using it to solve multi-step problems when the arithmetic operations are not easily inferred and the problems are more complex such as computing and com­paring the cost per ounce of food items.

Taken from A First Look at the Literacy of America's Adults in the 21st Century a publication from NCES - National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid-2006470


Assessments are Required

CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System)

RCC requests that all students be tested twice a year.  Tutors should make the arrangements with Bob Burger at the office.  He is available each Friday from 11am to 1 pm but other arrangements can be made with Bob and with Fram Nichols, who also administers the tests. This should not be something intimidating for your students, please let them know that it is only to see what progress they have made, and what lessons you may need to focus on.

If you feel that your student is not ready to be tested, please call the office (245-8699) to let me know this. Thank you all for your cooperation!

Liz Koester, CASAS Coordinator


Newsletter Editor - Liz Bestor