Tips, Useful Techniques, Other Relevant Stuff

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
              Robbin Henson   - Records
              Liz Koester     - RCC/CASAS Coordinator
              Bob Burger      - Bookkeeper

Notes from the Chair
Library Notes
Ellie Scholz Honored
Students Need Tutors
Tutor Retires
Keeping Records Straight
Chloe’s Corner

Abbreviations Dictionary
Help Wanted
Helpful Websites

Notes From The Chair

Dear Volunteers and Friends,

   Another Fiscal Year has passed and a new one has begun.  For those of you who are tutoring, thank you for sending in those purple Rogue Community College registration forms.  They're only valid for one year, so every student has to be reregistered.  If you still haven't received a form for your student, please call the office.

   Our Records Officer, Lois Nobles, has resigned to do other volunteer work.  We enjoyed having her working like a busy bee in our office for several months.  Fortunately, we have a new volunteer who is filling in for the Records position.  Welcome to Robbin Henson.  She has been requesting your volunteer hours at the beginning of each month.

   Our newsletter editor, Liz Bestor, informed me that this would be the last issue of Tutors she'll be able to create for the Council.  Thank you, Liz, for all the work you've done to keep these issues interesting.  I would now like to take this opportunity to announce that the Literacy Council has another job opening.  Anyone out there want to be Newsletter Editor?

Have a great autumn season.
By Bob Burger


Library Notes

   The library has several materials to help your students become more literate in the workplace.  Check out a book with on-the-job vocabulary, resources on slang and jargon, work dynamics or beginning computer skills.  There are also read-along tapes for tutors and stu­dents that focus on the workplace.  Videos are available with tips on interviewing and on starting a new business, which would also serve as good conversation starters with your students.  In addition to the workplace resources, the library has materials for helping your student become "money smart."

For tutors with students just beginning to learn English, the library has picture dictionaries that might be useful.  There are several copies of English-only picture dictionaries with vocabulary words grouped by topic, such as sports, animals and travel.  A few bilingual editions are available as well.  Stop by the library for more information.

Sara King Cole


Ellie Scholz Honored

   At the end of the August 2006 meeting, Literacy Chair Bob Burger surprised Ellie Scholz, secretary, by presenting her with a pen in honor of her many years of service to the council.  Ellie has been the board's secretary since the mid-90’s.  She started when the board met at Ascension Lutheran Church and has followed to the two sites that have been donated by the Rogue Federal Credit Union.


Student Needs

   Fram Nichols, the council's placement coordinator, reports that there are students living all over Jackson County who have applied for tutors, and their needs are varied.  As always there are English as a Second Language students at all levels and with a variety of native languages - Spanish, Thai and Chinese - to name a few.  Then there are those who speak English, but need help with their basic academic skills - reading, math and writing.  And some more advanced students need help passing the GED.  If you can help another student or know of someone who would like to help, please contact Fram at 541-245-8699 or send an email to litjack@medford.net.


Tutor Retires After Distinguished Service

   This month I want to tell you an inspiring story about a woman who has been a tutor with the Literacy Council for almost a quarter century.  Mary Gulrich is a longtime resident of the Rogue Valley.  She married here, raised a family of 7 children all the while working as a dietitian at RVMC.  About 23 years ago she saw an ad in the newspaper asking for volunteers to tutor and her interest was piqued.

   She signed up for a class on how to teach ESL taught by Yvonne Dill, whom she describes as an excellent teacher.  After the training, she wanted to teach an ESL student but the first opening available was with an ABE student, a young man with many challenges.  He had swallowed bleach as a young child which com­promised his ability to speak and thus communi­cate and this had greatly hindered his educa­tion.  At the age of 25 he was married and had a child when he was further handicapped by an industrial accident on his job in an auto-trans­mission repair shop.  His need to read was now critical and Mary helped him gain proficiency.

   Then came an ESL student, a young Chinese man brought to the States by Kim's Restaurant.  Most of the help at Kim's just worked and lived on the site without pay, but this young man aspired to more.  Mary helped him to read well enough so that he could apply for a Social Security Number and study for and get his driver's license, and then she helped him pursue his right to be paid for his work by his employer.  With his new economic "health" and his new literacy skills he applied through a real estate agent (Mary helped with some extensive paper work) for a loan to open a restaurant of his own in Ashland.  Another success story.

   Mary's next student was a Korean woman.  She remembers the woman's beautiful white carpet and her anxiety to let Mary know not to walk on this carpet with her shoes on, all to no avail because of her inability to express herself in English.  When her English had improved, the student told Mary, "I have a friend."  Mary thought she was that friend; but no, the friend was a boyfriend who later be­came her husband.  Together they eventually opened a nursery on Jacksonville Highway specializing in bonsai.

   Then Mary taught another young woman, an ABE student, who was a house­keeper at the Red Lion Inn.  Her mother had kept them constantly on the move when she was young so that she was never in one school long enough to learn to read.  Now she was married and pregnant and wanted one day to be able to read to her child.  Mary worked with her on basic skills as well as check writing, and then progressed to studying the Driver's Hand­book so that she could get her license and become more independent.  The student was so excited after every lesson that she went home and taught a friend everything she had learned that day.  Literacy was doubling.

   Mary's last student was a young Cambo­dian man; a sweet man who thought of Mary as his mother.  Mary attributes her success in bonding with her students to spending the first half hour of each session in pleasant conversation on any subject that was of interest to the student or was timely.  However, she was not lackadaisical with her students.  She taught them the "Baseball Rule."... three strikes and you re out. Her students were expected to be at each scheduled session unless they notified her.  As you can see, all her students loved and trusted as well as respected her, and so were able to learn from her.

   Mary didn't limit her involvement with the Council only to tutoring.  For years she was also the Treasurer.  She looks back on her years with the Literacy Council as an interesting and inspiring time, a time of watching those who were struggling with speaking and reading English as they learned to read "the Laubach Way."  Using both the Laubach and the Challenger Series, she supplemented that excellent foundation of basics by encouraging her students to get a library card and frequently check out good books, starting in the Children's Section.

   Now Mary is retiring from the Literacy Council, but not from serving others.  You may still see her every week at the Medford Library working in the honors paperback books section.  She will also continue to work at the library in the City Jail, at St. Vincent dePaul's handing out school supplies, at RVMC making monthly tray-favors for patients, and at various hospitals and care facilities visiting the elderly and infirm.  She is also planning to take up mentoring.  We all thank Mary for her many years as a tutor and wish her well in her new endeavors.  We will miss her.

   And we need more Marys... women (and men) who are willing to spend the time and effort to help others learn to speak and read English.  We have many students waiting for a tutor... they are in Ashland and Talent, Phoenix and Medford, Eagle Point and White City.  Many need ESL tutors and a few need ABE tutors or someone to help them earn their GED.  Can you take on another student? Do you have a friend who you think would be interested in the challenge of tutoring? Let us know.  I'm sure Mary would say, "The rewards are great."

Submitted by Fram Nichols, Placement Coordinator


Keeping Records Straight

   My name is Robbin Henson.  I have been volunteering at the Literacy Council since May 2006 in the office as records clerk.  I am enjoying my work very much and I am learning a lot.  My job is to make sure all the records are in order for the tutors and our sponsors at the Rogue Com­munity College tutoring center.  Forgive me if I must keep asking questions about the system or bugging you about those purple papers, I am still learning all this!

   A little bit of background: I've lived in the Rogue Valley all my life.  I'm married with two children who are already young adults in their twenties.  I have two beautiful granddaughters who are six and seven.  My husband is a former chef and is now semi-retired, working with his friend on his farm.  I've worked in the restaurant business for over 25 years.  Recently, I suffered a work-related injury and I had to change careers.  Now I am going back to Rogue Community College to get my college degree.  Volunteering here at the council is the perfect fit because I plan on going into some kind of writing.  I'm still deciding on what road to take.

   I'm in the office on Thursdays 1-3 or so, at least until the end of September when my college classes start up again.  I hope to keep these same hours because they work for me.  I hope to meet some of you soon.  It would be nice to match all the names with the faces.

   Thanks in advance for any help or advice you'll be able to give me.  And I hope that I can serve everyone to the best of my ability.


Chloe’s Corner

   This is the final list of Chloe Wood's ideas for working with your low-level student.

   Chloe recommends always carrying a small white board and some colored markers to use to draw simple picture to help explain your lessons.

   Small pictures from Practical Vocabulary and Basic Vocabulary can be made into card games like Go Fish or Concentration where the student can match the picture and word.

   Make alphabet cards with pictures of words that start with each letter.  Don't forget that some letters have more than one sound - the "g" in "gate" and "ginger," for example.

   If you are meeting in the student's home, help the student make labels for all of the items in the house and, using removable tape, stick the labels to the correct items.


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.



Board Meetings

October 19
November 16
December (no meeting)

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


Newsletter Editor Needed

   Liz Bestor is retiring from the newsletter business and so the council is looking for someone to take over this position.  Liz started with the council in 1999 as a tutor, held the position of Chair for a few years and has been putting out the newsletter since June 2001.  If you are interested, please contact Bob Burger at 245-8699 or send an email to litjack@medford.net.


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.


Newsletter Editor - Liz Bestor