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NOTES FROM THE CHAIR
Dear Volunteers and Friends,
Autumn has returned! It's time to dust off the rake.
All of those leaves we enjoyed the shade from are getting ready for
the dumpster. The rain is already washing tons of ash off the
landscape. We can soon remove our masks and breathe freely
Our newsletter editor, Nancy Calcagno, proudly awarded a 32
gigabyte flash drive to the winner of the essay contest that
appeared in the previous issue. It's good to know that people
appreciate our service to the community.
Even when we are not running a contest, we enjoy hearing from our
tutors. Let us know what works for you and your student.
The Literacy Council of Jackson County does not restrict your
creativity. I've learned from experience that each student has
different learning aptitudes and attitudes. We should make
adult learning as enjoyable as possible.
Thank you again, dear volunteers, for your service to our
community. I hope you are all looking forward to sharing your
reading skills with our many students who need your help.
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.
LITERACY COUNCIL OF
------------------------------------------- Bob Burger
Placement ------------------------------------- Liz
My student is a man in his thirties
that experienced a traumatic brain injury. After our first lesson,
he seemed very overwhelmed and said he couldn't do it, some of which
included memorization. His spelling and reading skills were early
grade school level. Just the thought of memorizing or learning
grammar was so overwhelming and stressful to him. So I decided to
change the material I was using to one that was personally
meaningful to him, and a spark was lit.
His new reading material became the Bible, and he
also started on memory verses and has been very excited about it.
Each week he is challenged with memorizing a new verse, and I also
prepare a Bible study outline and a section of scripture for him to
He recently started teaching a Bible study with his
friends, which helps him with reading and the ability to comprehend
what he has read. He is also challenging them with the same memory
verses that he is learning.
Not only is it improving his reading, vocabulary and
memory skills, but it is rich in history. There has also been a
transformation in his demeanor and his outlook towards life has had
a positive change, giving him hope for a better future.
This method of teaching has been successful for him,
and I don't think he fully realizes how much he is succeeding at
those things he thought were impossible.
He is currently testing for his GED and has
passed all but the last test at this
We have a winner for our contest that ended
September 1st. Christina S. won a USB flash drive for answering our
question: How has the Literacy Council benefitted or improved your
life? Her paragraph stated:
"The Literacy Council has been an amazing help to my
son. Special kudos to Nancy who inspired him along the way to pursue
getting his GED and memory work. She has given him the personalized
attention that has nurtured him and made his goals possible. Thank
you to the Literacy Council and Nancy."
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
"When one teaches, two learn."
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES
An article by Science Direct, author Pamela M. Owen,
demonstrates how tutoring can help an adult that has had a traumatic
brain injury learn to read. The study was done with a 49 year old
woman named Joan. The purpose was to investigate the effects of
one-on-one reading tutoring with an adult experiencing illiteracy
because of brain injuries received as a child.
"This is a qualitative purposive case study using
phonetic instruction as the intervention to answer the question: Can
tutoring increase the reading skills of an adult with a lifelong
The naturalistic setting gave holistic results
revealing the factors that enabled the participant to increase
personal reading skills. Themes were identified: success was
experienced because the tutor was willing to spend half the tutoring
session building a relationship with her, the tutor searched for
materials that were both meaningful and consistent with phonetic
instruction, and the tutor used flexible teaching methods. Pre and
post-tests were used to quantify reading gains. It has been
concluded that adults can learn to read. The recommendation is to
democratically work with adults; give them power and control."
To build a trusting relationship, the study included
a 15-30 minute period, before the instruction began, of casual
conversation. It also changed the instructional design to meet
"Joan highly valued prayer; therefore prayer helped
her connect to the instruction. “God, help me remember, let my mind
be like a sponge and let it absorb and stay there” (Joan, personal
communication, 2009). Joan related to pictures used in the phonetic
instruction. One example is her connection to a picture of a baby
elephant (‘E’ is for elephant). She talked about how elephants are
often chained when they are born and do not realize they can break
away when they become adults, “It reminds me of people with
disabilities. People are put away in an institution and they break
their spirit down. Others try to rebuild it to their way to fit them
into a program; human beings don’t love one another enough” (2009).
Joan also connected phonics through singing. The ‘V’ letter sound
reminded her of a song titled Victory of which she then sang.
Flexibility and acceptance of environmental distractors were key
elements to success. Joan had to clear her mind before further
instruction and learning could occur."
The conclusion and recommendations are as follows:
"The results of this study have generated some recommendations
for tutors. The overarching recommendation is to give the tutoring
experience a lot of time. Tutors need to be willing to respect the
learner by listening and encouraging the unique characteristics of
the learner thus connecting previous knowledge and experience to the
tutoring; work democratically with adults by giving them control,
power, and the freedom to choose. Encourage conversation, oral
narrative, and reflection through a “literary autobiography.” Allow
for flexibility if using a scripted instructional program. Tutors
need to be adept at individualizing instruction by understanding
learning styles, have a repertoire of teaching methods, be highly
knowledgeable of phonics, and skilled in using assessment to inform
Literacy Council of Jackson
P.O. Box 615
Medford, OR 97501