"Leaves Turning"
Courtesy of Nancy Calcagno


Dear Volunteers and Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving!

The fall season is usually the slowest for the Literacy Council. Both volunteer and student applications are waning with the moon. Holiday vacations are getting closer and head colds are sure to be putting many folks out of circulation for a while. I better start boosting my vitamin C rations.

So far this year, the Council has provided 400 hours of volunteer service to the community. Not bad for this small all-volunteer organization. Seventeen students have received help in English skills, GED preparation, and/or US Citizenship. We are looking forward to serving many more after the holidays.

Sadly, tutor Mike Murray's student John Johnson recently had a stroke and passed away. They were meeting regularly from March through August and making good progress. I'm sure John's family and friends appreciate Mike's devotion of time and effort. Thank you Mike for your service and willingness to request another student.

As always, contributions of time and money to the Literacy Council from our newsletter readers is appreciated. Before you know it, 2016 will arrive. The Literacy Council will greet the new year with optimism. And we will start it off with your next issue of TUTORS!

Bob Burger


We offer individualized tutoring for Basic Reading, GED, ESL, Workforce Development Classes, and Citizenship.

Our Workforce Development class offers training in Microsoft Office and Résumé Building.

If you know of anyone who might benefit from our program, please let them know about our services.  The Literacy Council serves all of Jackson County.



   Chair --------------------------------------------- Bob Burger
   Placement --------------------------------------- Liz Koester
   Treasurer ---------------------------------- Nancy Calcagno
   Newsletter Editor -------------------------Nancy Calcagno


What word in English has 9 letters that keeps producing another word when you remove any one letter from it?

startling - starting - staring - string
sting - sing - sin - in - I

An ambigram is a word or words that can be read in more than one way or from more than a single vantage point, such as both right side up and upside down.


Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (that approximately means "Fantastic" and was invented for a movie) is not the longest word in English.

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (a type of lung disease caused by inhaling ash and dust).

A pangram sentence is one that contains every letter in the language.

"The quick, brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."

What is the shortest complete sentence in the English language?

I am.

A palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or other sequence of characters which read the same backwards or forwards. Allowances may be made for adjustments to capital letters, punctuation, and word dividers. Here are a few examples:

Was it a car or a cat I saw?
Yreka Bakery

A semordnilap (palindromes spelled backward) is a name coined for words that spell a different word in reverse.

repaid (diaper)
stressed (desserts)


A root is part of a word that has a meaning of its own. Many roots originate from ancient Latin and Greek words. You can figure out words you don't know by looking inside them for the roots you do know.

Below are a few common roots to memorize and share with your students.

Root Meaning
ali/alter other
can dog
cardi heart
chrom color
fer to bear/to carry
flor flower
flu to flow

Literacy Council of Jackson County
P.O. Box 615
Medford, OR 97501
(541) 531-0166

Website: www.literacyjc.org
E-mail: literacy@juno.com


If we place a comma before the word "and" at the end of a list, this is known as a "serial comma" (also known as an "Oxford comma" or "Harvard comma"). For example: "I drink coffee, tea, and wine."

Although the "serial comma" isn't always necessary, I prefer to use it to add clarity to the sentence and it makes lists easier to read. Primarily, it is newspapers that allow the final comma to be omitted in order to save space. Although, it is essential to use a serial comma when leaving it out would create confusion. For example: "Sarah is excited to try the new coffee flavors: Pumpkin Pie, Raspberry White Mocha and Peaches and Cream."

Serial commas are not only used at the end of a list, but should also be used to separate authors' name in parenthetical and in-text citations and reference list entries. So the question is: "When do I use the serial comma , or when do I leave it out?"

As a baby-boomer, I was taught to use the serial comma, but this practice has been debated and/or discouraged by many newer style guides, and rules do change. Either method can be correct, but I will continue to use it for clarity and consistency in my writings.

Submitted by Nancy Calcagno


Rather than feed the student answers, probe or prompt the student to remain in an active role in the tutoring process. Engage him/her in a joint exploration of problems and concerns. Verbalization builds self-confidence and enhances learning. The tutee should be talking about 75% of your session. (You should be talking only about 25% of the time.) Don't turn your tutoring time into just another class lecture.

Remember that the style and content of the material to be learned should be adjusted to the individual being tutored. Be resourceful and use initiative in devising or trying new methods and approaches to learning the subject at hand.


One of the techniques I used in my ESL class to develop writing skills is a cartoon, or series of cartoons, that tell a story. It is up to the students to write - in English, of course - their version of the story. It can be a little intimidating, but it encourages them to learn more words to get the message across.

As an example, one picture shows a man waiting in front of a bank on Court Street and the other is of a woman waiting in front of a courthouse on Bank Street. Why do they each look angry? What story can you come up with? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I'll settle for less.

Submitted by Bob Burger


We are currently in need of more tutors. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, we would love to hear from you.

A tutor will typically spend one or two sessions per week with an adult learner. These sessions usually run 60 to 90 minutes long. A tutor and an adult learner often work together for 6 months to 2 years.

There are no credentials required. Simply attend free training sessions and learn how to be an effective tutor!