Tips, Useful Techniques, Other Relevant Stuff

A Publication of the Literacy Council of Jackson County

Dear Volunteer,

Welcome to 2004 - a New Year and a new look for the Literacy Council of Jackson County.

New look for the Board
New look for the newsletter
New process for in-coming students
New process for in-coming tutors
Vitals and Dates
Abbreviations Dictionary

Another Success Story
So, your student is ready to write!
In Appreciation
Did You Know...?
Helpful Websites
Scary statistics
How Well Do We Need to Read?
The Literacy List

New look for the Board:

New Board Members:

Bob Burger - Chair
Jim Kelly - Public Relations
Rose Cossairt - Bookkeeper

Continuing Board Members:

Jeanne Paul - Rogue Community College Liaison
Callie Marek - Records
Fram Nichols - Placement
Helen Mills - Library/Bookstore
Ellie Scholz - Secretary
Ed Dellaquila - Tutor Representative

Thanks to all the Board members for supporting the program with their time and talents; they continue to keep the community informed of the good works done by the council.

New look for the newsletter:

From now on the letter will come to you via e-mail, unless you need it to be sent via "snail-mail." This move will help the council save some money - printing, envelopes, labels and stamps - while moving us into the 21st century.

New process for in-coming students:

All new students will be pre-assessed using CASAS tests at Rogue Community College or the Literacy Council office. This will give tutors valuable information about the abilities and needs of their new students.

New process for in-coming tutors:

New tutors can be matched with students upon completion of their applications and gaining approval from our Placement Officer and another Board member. All tutors will be required to attend a training, preferably within six months of acceptance. They must be informed in a timely fashion of when a training is being held and be told to call RCC for confirmation.


Vital Statistics: Accumulated Hours

Averages for August, September, October 2003

Active students 37

Active volunteers 27

Avg. tutoring time (hours) 85

Avg. prep. time (hours) 46

Avg. miscellaneous time (hours) 146

Note: Miscellaneous time includes travel, office staffing, and meeting/training attendance.

Board Meetings

January 15
February 19
March 18
April 15

All meetings - 10am to noon
Literacy Council office:
1175 Royal Ave, Suite B, Medford
Phone: 245-8699

TELT Training at RCC Medford
Feb. 20 - 6pm to 9pm
Feb. 21 - 8:30 to 4:30

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.

(Oregon Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages)

ORTESOL is a non-profit that supports ESL teachers and their students. Upon joining you will receive the quarterly newsletter, the annual journal which summarizes recent research into teaching ESL, a membership directory, conference and travel grants. As a paraprofessional, the annual fee is $15. To find out more: http://www.ortesol.org.


Another Success Story

Following is another student success story. This story is written by Ed Dellaquila, tutor, as told to him by his student, Gregoria Garcia.

I have been a Literacy Council student for several years and decided last year to become a US citizen. I have always dreamed of being able to vote and have a passport.

I came to Ashland in 1991 from Guanajuato, Mexico with my husband, Adrian, and our two oldest sons, Jose (6, now 18) and Fabian (5, now 17). Rodriguez (12), Adriana (8), and Andres (7) were born here. We arrived in Ashland with work permits and have been steadily employed as legal immigrants since then.

After studying the citizenship handbook for several months with Ed, my tutor, I sent my application to Denver, Colorado, in March 2003. I had to resubmit my application two times, because the government changed its application rates. It was finally accepted in June 2003. I was told that my examination would be held on October 30, 2003 in Portland, Oregon.

I continued with verbal and written lessons through October in final preparation for the test. Jose, my son, went with me to Portland. We took a bus that left Ashland at 3 a.m. on the day of the test, October 30; the test was at 9:30 am. I was very nervous, but Jose helped me practice questions during the trip. There were about 100 people taking the test at the same time. We waited about an hour after the test and were given the results - I passed!

To my surprise there were only five questions on the exam. I had practiced at least 100 questions twice a week for six months! To show how well I could use English I had to write some sentences that were dictated to me in English and answer a few questions about my family that were asked in English.

On November 3, I returned to Portland, this time with my friend Jennifer, for the formal swearing-in ceremony and to receive my Certificate of Citizenship. While we were being sworn in the new citizens and their families and friends were subdued and solemn, but when the ceremony was over everyone was clapping and cheering.

I have studied with two tutors from the Literacy Council for almost five years and I hope I have become another "success story" for all immigrants in the USA.

P.S. I am now helping Jose and Fabian apply for citizenship and my husband, Adrian, is now an ESL students and plans to become a citizen, also.


So, your student is ready to write!

For beginning writers "Guided Sentence Writing" is an excellent technique. Make a circle with lines radiating from it. In the circle write the beginning of a sentence: "I like to eat" , for example, and then have the student write things he likes to eat on the radiating lines. Once this is done, have student write out the complete sentences. To make it a little more challenging, in the circle write "Things that are green" and have student write things that are green on the radiating lines. Show the student a sample of how the sentence might look, "Leaves are green," and let the student write his own sentences from his guided writing chart. For more information on Guided Writing refer to your TELT manual.

For intermediate students who want to write, but can't get started, here's another writing technique.

Students proficient in spoken English often have trouble controlling their sentences - they write without thought as to whether the audience will understand what they want to communicate - periods are dropped, pronouns are confusing, tenses change, etc. Following is a method to help you help your student understand how English sentences are constructed without a lot of formal grammar instruction.

First of all, ask your student to write a short paragraph on a topic of his choice and then set it aside.

Help your student recognize simple sentences. Bring in children's books that are written at a basic level - Dr. Seuss being a good example. Have the student read the simple sentences and then ask questions - What action is happening? Who is doing the action? Who does the word "you" refer to?, etc. These kinds of questions will help students discover verbs, sentence subjects and critical areas to consider when writing.

Have the student practice writing simple sentences. Once he can do this with some ease, ask the student to rewrite his first paragraph in simple sentences.

Once your student can write in simple sentences, start expanding his sentences by introducing conjunctions, phrases, and clauses, etc.


In Appreciation:

A Big Thank You
to former Chair, Geri Craver, for her Christmas donation to the Council.

We also thank Helen Mills, our Book Store Librarian, who is resigning from her position effective February 1, but will continue to support the Literacy Council.

Did You Know...?

Ashland Library has study rooms available to be used by tutors and students at no charge.
(This tip from Callie Marek)

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

Interactive practice lessons and tests.

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.

Scary statistics

The average kindergarten student has seen more than 5,000 hours of TV - more time than it takes to earn a bachelor's degree. Children of parents who have dropped out of school are twice as likely to watch 6 or more hours of television per day. (Excerpted from Literally Speaking, an OLI publication)

How Well Do We Need to Read?

To Read and Understand            Reading Level
Driver's License Manual...........6th grade
Frozen TV Dinner Directions.......6th grade
Directions on an Aspirin Bottle...8th grade
Guide to Social Security Benefits.9th grade
Newspaper.........................7th - 10th grade
Bible.............................7th - 10th grade
Insurance Policy..................12th grade
Apartment Lease...................College

(Excerpted from Literally Speaking, a newsletter from Oregon Literacy, Inc.)


On an Athi River highway:
(In Kenya)


The Literacy List

The Literacy List is a large collection of free Adult Basic Education and ESL/ESOL Web sites, electronic lists ("listservs"), and other Internet resources for adult basic skills learners and teachers. The resources have been suggested by adult literacy and ESOL practitioners. Within each category, links are in alphabetical order, so the first ones are not necessarily the best or most often used. Because The Literacy List has several separate Web pages, and because hard copy versions are quickly dated, I suggest that you bookmark rather than print it. If you would like to recommend an Internet resource, or if you have trouble accessing a link here, please let me know.

Questions by reading level

Beginning readers: ask who, what, where, when questions. At this level you may need to ask a question for each sentence the student reads. Have the questions ready before hand, ask the question before the student reads the sentence, have student read the sentence, ask the question again and have the student answer. If he cannot answer, help him find the answer. You may need to read the sentence out loud.

Intermediate readers: Add "why" and "how" questions. These readers should be able to read at least a paragraph and find the answers. Do not ask the intermediate student to make inferences or draw conclusions, be sure the answer is in the article. Continue asking the who, what, where and when questions.

Advanced readers: Add main idea questions. Start by asking the reader what or whom the paragraph is about. Then ask what the paragraph says about the person or concept. Teach the student that the main idea of a paragraph is, generally, in the first sentence and the main idea of an article is in the first paragraph.

At all of these levels discuss new vocabulary. Guess the meaning of the word through context; teach dictionary skills; have student write word in his personal dictionary, write a sentence using the word, write the definition, and, if the student is learning English, even have him the write the word in his own language.

Newsletter Editor - Liz Bestor