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March/April 2016

March/April 2016 Issue

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Message from the Literacy Services Librarian

These past few weeks in Literacy Services have been a whirlwind of exciting new activities. On February 11th, the Literacy Learning Center hosted an Open House to showcase our newly revitalized study and instruction space, teaching resources, recreational reading materials for learners, and more! Over 60 attendees, including new and seasoned tutors, learners, library staff, Board of Trustees, and community support groups, especially the Friends of Literacy Services, toured our space and learned about the various services the LLC provides to adults striving to improve their reading and writing skills.  I am pleased to share with you that Escondido Public Library is one of twenty libraries in California piloting the Online Tutor Training program in partnership with the California State Library and the Florida Literacy Coalition. Since mid-February, eight people have enrolled in the the nine-hour online training, and we plan to offer another tutor orientation in April. The pilot ends in June, and participant feedback is vital to determining whether we will continue this program. 

On February 20th, Literacy Services hosted its first Tutor Tea meeting at the LLC and highlighted resources such as the free LINCS Tutor Ready self-paced course, developed by the U.S. Department of Education, as well as new recreational reading materials for learners purchased from Grass Roots Press. Our next Tutor Tea will be held in late April. 

On March 5th, a group of literacy tutors, learners, and staff, attended the Southern California Library Literacy Network Conference in Buena Park, CA. Conference attendees participated in workshops on instructional strategies for teaching basic personal finance, reading comprehension, working with smartphone and tablet technology, selecting recreational material, and more. We also can't wait for our 12th Annual Scrabble-Thon tournament and fundraiser, coming up on March 12th. 100% of the proceeds from this event directly support services and resources for adult literacy learners.

We are currently planning our summer workshop series, which will include one-time sessions on such topics as Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Making a Great Impression, health literacy, and finance management. If you would like to lead a session, or want to suggest one of your own, please get in touch with me.

Best wishes,

Come Play With Us!

We have extended the Scrabble-Thon registration deadline to Wednesday, March 9, 2016 for tutor-learner pairs. Tutors, if you are interested in partnering with your learner, please let us know! Your registration fees will be waived. You may register by calling: (760) 839-5440.
Growing in Confidence
by Kamilah A. Brown, M.Ed. (Tutor)

Sometimes knowing that others see you in a positive light can be the push you need to boost your confidence. My learner, Irma, realized this after pausing to reflect on her progress. After a few weeks of getting to know one another and learning together, she was still holding back, due to a lack in confidence. I realized that as someone who immigrated to the U.S., fluent only in her native language, the journey to get to this point had been filled with many obstacles. It had cast a cloud over most of her achievements and sense of success.  
During this reflection activity, I learned about the culture of literacy in the town she grew up in (Jalisco, MX). Irma shared that the ideas of reading for fun and reading to learn just weren’t a part of the culture. The one person who did push her to read, learn and study more was her father. He recognized she was smart and eager to learn. This explained her tenacity in acquiring English as a second language and obtaining her GED. However, after all the success and achievement she enjoyed over the 20+ years in the States, her speech was lacking in confidence. 
I asked Irma to reflect on: How she saw herself and the opinions she has of herself. After a long pause, she asked me to elaborate. I told Irma, “ I see you as a woman who has been (and is) resilient, tenacious, diligent, inquisitive, eager to learn, gentle in spirit, nurturing, hard-working, helpful…”  (Side note:  This turned into a vocabulary lesson as well.)  She was both happy and in disbelief, and after some discussion, she went home to write the reflection. At our next session, Irma had a different energy about her.She reflected on her experiences and how hard she had worked.  She was able to produce adjectives similar to mine with confidence.  She’s changed the way she looks at things, her approach to situations, her posture and best of all what she declares.  As a woman and her tutor, I am proud of Irma and I respect her journey.  She is well on her way to great things. 

Kamilah and Irma at Potato Chip Rock, Poway.
Welcome Tyler Carlos, Literacy Services Intern!

We are so pleased to welcome Tyler Carlos, our new intern for Literacy Services. Tyler officially started in his position on February 1st, and he brings to his new role a wealth of experience in marketing, film production, and customer service. He will work closely with Literacy Services staff to create promotional videos highlighting our program. These videos will be shared on our website, as well as at outreach and training events. 

He is currently studying for his Master’s Degree in Business Administration (with an emphasis in Film Production) at John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tyler earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication in Advertising from Louisiana State University.

Outside of school and work, he enjoys traveling, cooking, and watching lots of movies and television shows. His favorite movie is The Count of Monte Cristo, and his favorite TV shows are Arrow, The Flash, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
Tutor Links

The following resources provide useful strategies and instructional tips for working with adult literacy learners. 

California Library Literacy Services Roles & Goals
Help learners set their literacy goals. 
This resource guides tutors on how to work with learners on phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Partners in Reading tutoring videos (San Jose Public Library)
Instructional videos about working with learners on decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and phonemic awareness.

Teaching Adults (LiteracyWorks)
Collected Internet resources on teaching math, reading, writing, and basic computer skills.

If you have any useful sites that you've used with your learners, please send them to:, and I'll feature them in our next newsletter.
What Should I Read Next?

Here are some suggested recommendations for our adult literacy learners. These books may be checked out from the Literacy Learning Center. To find out more about our adult literacy collection (teaching and recreational reading), please call (760) 839-5440 OR email

Change Order by Tana Reiff (Grass Roots Press), 3rd grade reading level
Call Number: Reiff
Location: Literacy Learning Center Fiction

Mel is happy making sidewalks and going out for a beer with the boys. He's a good worker, but needs his buddy Adam to get the job done right. Adam does not want to be a concrete worker for the rest of his life. He wants to be a foreman. Soon Adam's wish comes true. When Adam becomes the boss, things begin to change. For one thing, Adam and Mel are not such great buddies anymore. Both men learn a lot about themselves in the weeks that follow. But do Adam and Mel find a way to stay buddies? (Publisher description)

All Night by Alan Cumyn (Grass Roots Press), 3rd grade reading level
Call Number: Cumyn
Location: Literacy Learning Center Fiction

Jess and Gregor live in a basement apartment. Gregor is a comedian and Jess is a struggling actor. The sudden death of their close friend Peter forces them to think about their lives. They stay up all night talking, loving, arguing. This is their night of truth. Who are they? What do they want? What do they mean to each other? (Publisher description)

Survival Guide: Lost in the Mountains by Kathryn O'Dell (Grass Roots Press), 3rd grade reading level
Call Number: 613.69 O
Location: Literacy Learning Center Non-Fiction

You are alone and lost in the wilderness, and you need to survive. Get tips on how to stay warm, find food, and stay alive! (Publisher description)

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press),
6th grade+ reading level
Call Number: 959.704 S
Location: Literacy Learning Center Non-Fiction

The story of Daniel Ellsberg and his decision to steal and publish secret documents about America's involvement in the Vietnam War. (Publisher description)
Upcoming Literacy Events

March/April 2016
  • 12th Annual Scrabble-Thon: Saturday, 3/12, 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (Park Avenue Community Center, Escondido) 
    Learner and tutor participation is highly encouraged.
  • Tutor Tea: Thursday, 4/28, 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. (Literacy Learning Center)                         Network with other literacy tutors and instructors and learn new instructional techniques for working with your learner.
May 2016
  • Learner Recognition Dinner: Thursday, 5/26, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (Park Avenue Community Center, Escondido)                                                                                                              Annual celebration of learner accomplishments and milestones. Tutors are encouraged to attend with their learners.