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May/June 2016

May/June 2016 Issue

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Message from the Literacy Services Librarian
Yay for May!  This spring has been filled with exciting events and new changes to share with you.

In March, Literacy Services hosted the 12th Annual Scrabble-Thon Tournament and Fundraiser, which saw an amazing player turnout from diverse levels of expertise, including lifelong learners, literacy tutors, city staff, hardcore Scrabble™ aficionados, and families. Scrabble-Thon was a triumph thanks to the dedicated efforts of library staff, volunteers, and our incredible Friends of Literacy Services who went above and beyond to organize an engaging program that truly brought the community together.

Senior Librarian Shawn Townsend, who is also responsible for Youth Services, recently came on board to oversee Literacy Services. Myrna Montano, Sheila Rodriguez, and I report to Shawn; she is a fantastic addition to help guide us. Shawn will continue to report to Cynthia Smith, Assistant Library Director, who remains very involved in the planning and provision of adult literacy services. 

At the Annual Volunteer Luncheon on April 14th, we recognized literacy tutor, Pat Flynn, and Friends of Literacy Services Board Member, Cynthia Chisum, for their exceptional volunteer work in Literacy Services. Congratulations, Pat and Cynthia!

On May 26th, Literacy Services will celebrate the myriad accomplishments of our lifelong learners at the annual Learner Recognition Dinner held at the Park Avenue Community Center from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Invitations have been mailed out to all literacy learners, tutors, and community guests. We especially encourage tutors to attend in support of their learners' achievements. Please be sure to RSVP to Myrna Montano by Thursday, May 19th at 760-839-5440. For more information, please get in touch with me

READ/San Diego is holding its 26th Annual Tutor Conference on June 11th at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. The conference will include workshops on a variety of topics such as lesson planning, sentence diagramming, social media and apps for learners, digital storytelling, and more! Literacy Services can provide registration and transportation for a limited number of attendees; if you're interested in attending this conference, please email Myrna Montano at by June 1st.

Lastly, we are gearing up for summer and fall instruction. Please stay tuned for an email announcement in late May with our class schedules! 

Best wishes,

The California Presidential Primary election is coming up on June 7, 2016. The last day for online voter registration is May 23rd; requests for mail-in ballots must arrive by May 31st. Please note that the Library is a drop-off site for ballots, and we will also have Easy Voter guides available in English and Spanish.

The following resources contain important, non-partisan voting information:

California Secretary of State - Presidential Primary Election
Important dates and information on voting in California.

Voter's Edge (California) 
Provides information on what's on the ballot. 
Reading together with my family
by Maria Guadalupe Hernandez (Lifelong Learner)
I have improved in my English writing and reading so much that when my children come home I am able to understand and fill out any forms sent from school. Improving my English writing has also made me feel more comfortable when it comes to writing letters to teachers about any concerns I may have. Also, my children need help sometimes with figuring out how to spell certain words they don't know how to spell, and I'm able to help out. That makes me a happy mother. It also brings happiness to my heart being able to read to my children, and the most amazing part of that is being able to understand what I read.
Welcome Shawn Townsend, Senior Librarian for Literacy and Youth Services!

I began my library career in academia teaching Information Literacy classes in Arizona. When I moved to California, I began working in public libraries. I have had the pleasure of working in almost every area of the public library: as a Children’s Librarian at Azusa Public Library; Teen and Adult Librarian at a branch at Long Beach Public Library; promoted to doing system-wide collection development in Fiction and Languages in Long Beach; was the Principal Librarian over Public Services and Programming at Upland Public Library; and Zone Manager, overseeing 13 branches, at Riverside County Library System.

This is the first time I will be working directly with Literacy Services, although I have had the pleasure of working in libraries with thriving and successful Literacy programs and feel very passionately about the value of Literacy Services.

On a personal note, I like classic science fiction and British mysteries. I love my beautiful Boston Terrier, Bonnee, and husband. When I’m not at work, I am likely out walking my dog, hiking, or working on my yard.

Introducing Cynthia Chisum, Escondido Public Library Friends of Literacy Services Board Member

In her 10 years with the Escondido Public Library, Cynthia Chisum has provided enthusiastic and unwavering support as a board member for the Friends of Literacy Services. Her can-do attitude and tireless energy has been especially instrumental to the success of the Scrabble-Thon Tournament and Fundraiser which annually benefits vital resources and services for adults trying to improve their reading and writing skills.
Cynthia has lived in Escondido for 42 years, and serving the public has always been at the core of her adult life. She was a nurse at Palomar Hospital before becoming a stay-at-home parent. Cynthia was an active volunteer at her children’s schools as they were growing up; when they reached high school age, she became the office manager for her husband’s dental practice. Retired since 2005, she has kept busy with hobbies such as researching genealogy, making jewelry, and documenting her family’s stories (which she plans to turn into a book as a legacy for her grandchildren). Cynthia noted, “I truly believe that literacy for all ages is the key to a more productive community. I hope I can continue to make a small contribution to our community and library.”
Tutor Links

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

ProLiteracy Online Courses
Free, self-paced online courses designed to support literacy educators, including tutors. Topics include research-based reading instruction, how to adapt activities for English language learners, and more. 
This resource guide includes lesson plans, videos, and inspiring ideas from other tutors.

The Training Post (Laubach Literacy - Ontario, CAN)
Tutor-based site that includes lessons and instructional techniques.

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

Bed and Breakfast by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (Grass Roots Press), 3rd grade reading level
Call Number: Anderson-Dargatz
Location: Literacy Learning Center Fiction

Annie runs a bed and breakfast, renting rooms to overnight guests. She has lived alone since her husband died five years ago. Now, she wishes for someone to love. One day, Annie meets Brent and her heart skips a beat. Handsome, charming, well dressed--will Brent turn out to be the man of her dreams? (Publisher description)

Displacement by Lucy Knisley (Grass Roots Press), 6th grade+ reading level
Call Number: Knisley
Location: Literacy Learning Center Fiction

In a book that is part graphic memoir, part travelogue, and part family history, Knisley not only tries to connect with her grandparents, but to reconcile their younger and older selves. She is aided in her quest by her grandfather's WWII memoir, which is excerpted. (Publisher description)

Endless Night adapted by Francois Riviere; illustrated by Frank Leclercq; based on the novel by Agatha Christie (Grass Roots Press), 4th grade+ reading level 
Call Number: Christie
Location: Literacy Learning Center Fiction

Michael and Ellie are young and in love and determined to build their dream home on Gipsy's Acre in spite of warnings that the land is cursed. Tragedy ensues. (Publisher description)

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of the Russian Empire by Candace Fleming (Schwartz & Wade Books), 6th grade+ reading level
Call Number: 947.083 F
Location: Literacy Learning Center Non-Fiction

Fleming traces the story of the Russian Revolution, the lives of the Romanov family and the story of their tragic deaths, in an account that draws on primary source materials and includes period photography. (Publisher description)

Upcoming Literacy Events
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 in support of their learners. RSVP required by Thursday, May 19th,
June 2016
  • READ/San Diego 26th Annual Tutor Conference: Saturday, 6/11, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego) Join literacy professionals, including tutors, teachers, and program coordinators for a full day of hands-on workshops.
  • Exercise Your Mind Summer Reading Challenge, 6/13 - 7/31. Learners and tutors may read, attend a variety of special events and craft times, and earn prizes along the way!

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Escondido Public Library Literacy Services · 239 South Kalmia Street · 2nd Floor · Escondido, CA 92025 · USA