Courtesy of LeeAnn Wold
Photo Fanatics 4-H Club


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 again.

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.

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


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 study.

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 date.


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."

Congratulations Christina!


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!

"When one teaches, two learn."





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 brain injury?

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's interests.

"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 instructional practice."

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

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