Literacy Connection

Literacy Program News

Post date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 11:12am

Program News:

Walk/Run for Literacy this Saturday:

Join the Literacy Volunteers for a fun time and/or to raise money to support adult literacy efforts in Lake County.  Click here for details.


Volunteer Opportunity: Slosson Oral Reading Test

Most one-on-one learners in the program take the Slosson Oral Reading Testing (SORT) as their standardized reading assessment.  The Waukegan Public Library is looking for a few volunteers who would like to be trained to administer this test to adult learners to check their progress.  Giving the test takes between ten and twenty minutes.  After a short training, volunteers will visit a one-on-one tutoring group every few weeks to deliver the assessment.  Contact Josh at janderson [at] waukeganpl [dot] infoor 847-775-2549 if you are interested. 


Coming this fall: ESL Tutoring!

This fall the Waukegan Public Library will begin placing tutors for one-on-one and small group matches to teach the English language for the first time in the program’s history.  Several ABE-trained tutors have already signed up to be trained in this area as well.  Contact Rachel Cope at rachelcope [at] waukeganpl [dot] info or 847-775-2547 to learn more.


(but not far)

The Adult Literacy Tutoring staff at the Waukegan Public Library has moved to new offices. They are still located on the Library’s main floor, but now they’re behind a key-coded door. If you are visiting Josh or Rachel at the Waukegan Public Library, please ask the front desk to call them and they’ll come out to greet you.

Other Literacy News:

Dropping Back Inis four half-hour documentary-style programs featuring inspiring profiles of dropouts who dropped back in and the people and programs that helped them.  The first two episodes will air locally tonight, Wednesday September 24 at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on WTTW Create/World.


You are a part of the Illinois Secretary of State’s literacy effort!

Did you know that you and other volunteer literacy tutors in programs funded by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office provided tutoring at 443 different locations around the state last year?  Learn more about the statewide literacy effort by viewing the 2014 Guide to the Secretary of State Literacy Effort.


ProLiteracy Newsletter

The Waukegan Public Library is a member of ProLiteracy, the largest international literacy organization.  Click here to view their Fall 2014 newsletter.  Inside you’ll find sample lessons (Math, Conversational English, and Geography), recommended resources and an adult learner success story.


Spring Cleaning: Extra Books?

Post date: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 4:08pm

Okay!  Okay!  I know it’s not really spring, but can you blame me for some wishful thinking at this point in our winter?  Pretend it’s spring with me and get rid of your unused tutoring materials.

If you have materials you are no longer using with students, we’d love to add them back into our Literacy Tutor Resource Collection for other tutoring groups to use.  Right now, we’re especially short on teacher’s guides and student books for the Laubach Way to Reading, Focus on Phonics, Voyager and Endeavor series. 

Options for Returning Materials:

1. In Waukegan: Materials can be left at the front desk of the Waukegan Public Library at any time during open hours.  Simply attach a note: “Tutoring Materials for Josh Anderson”.  Of course, you welcome to return materials directly to me or Rachel if we’re in the Literacy Office.

  • WPL hours: M-W 10-8, R-F 10-6, S-S 1-5

2. In Grayslake: Contact Laura Sherwood to arrange drop off of materials at the CLC Grayslake Campus.

3. Through Inter-Library Loan (ILL): If it’s not convenient to visit Waukegan or Grayslake, your local library can usually send the materials back to Waukegan through ILL.  For this option, E-mail janderson [at] waukeganpl [dot] info with a list of the titles you’d like to return and the library you’d like to send them from.  Because these materials are uncatalogued, WPL’s ILL staff person will make arrangements with your library and send you instructions for returning the materials.

Thinking Spring!

Josh Anderson, Waukegan Public Library, Adult Literacy Coordinator





Welcome New Tutors!

Post date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 5:58pm

We want to welcome our new tutors to the Literacy Program of Lake County!  They graduated on February 15th, 2014 and are eagerly awaiting their first assignments.  We had six wonderful participants, some with extensive teaching backgrounds and others with deep knowledge in fields such as business and medicine. 

Back row (from left to right): Leslie Amonoo, Caroline Gschwend, Anne Reynolds, Josh Anderson (Adult Literacy Coordinator at the Waukegan Public Library), Lee Kubica

Front row (from left to right): Rachel Cope (Adult Literacy Assistant at the Waukegan Public Library), Deborah Matiasek, Robin Sherwood

Not Pictured: Laura Sherwood, Literacy Coordinator at CLC

Photographer: Susie Hurvitz, Adult Basic Education Teacher at CLC and Board Member for Literacy Volunteers of Lake County


We are excited to see the impact that these wonderful tutors will have on the lives of our adult learners.  Stay tuned! 

Enjoy making a difference? Tell your friends!

Post date: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 6:01pm

Do you have a friend or family member looking for a rewarding volunteer experience?  We want YOU to help spread the word about our upcoming Tutor Training in February.   

As you already know, the Literacy Program of Lake County is a partnership between the literacy departments at the Waukegan Public Library, the College of Lake County, and Literacy Volunteers of Lake County.  The program matches volunteer literacy tutors with adults who want to improve their basic skills in Reading, Writing and/or Math. Tutoring usually involves a commitment of about two to three hours per week.  Tutoring takes place in public places such as libraries or College of Lake County (CLC) sites throughout the county.  The greatest need for volunteer tutoring is in the Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion area.

Volunteer tutors are required to attend our tutor training series before being matched with a student or placed in an ABE (Adult Basic Education) classroom.  There is also an orientation before the training which provides more information about the program.  Here are the dates for the upcoming orientation and training session:

  • Tutor orientation is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5th 2014, at the Waukegan Public Library, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.
  • The training sessions take place on two Saturdays, February 8th (CLC Grayslake Campus, Grayslake, IL)) and February 15th (CLC Lakeshore Campus, Waukegan, IL) from 9am to 4pm. Attending both Saturdays is required.

Tell your friends about your volunteer experience! Anyone interested in learning more about the spring tutor training session should contact Josh Anderson (janderson [at] waukeganpl [dot] info), Rachel Cope (rachelcope [at] waukeganpl [dot] info), or Laura Sherwood (lsherwood [at] clcillinois [dot] edu) for more information.  Thanks!

Recipe for Success

Post date: Friday, January 3, 2014 - 6:07pm

Tutoring is an art. It’s a beautiful thing when you find a way to reach a student. See below for tutor Andi Dolgin’s story about a breakthrough she’s made with her learner, a woman in her 70s was only able to read a few words when she entered the program. Her learner had worked hard all of her life to raise successful children and felt that it was finally her turn to learn.

At one of our sessions when [my learner] first sat down she expressed some concern that she was not learning fast enough. I asked her if she was frustrated and she responded affirmatively. Beyond her frustration, I felt that the materials were not keeping her interested.

We talked many times about how she loves to bake. That’s when it occurred to me that we should try reading recipes. She brought in a magazine that has a cake in it that she never made and I had her read what she could and I filled in the remaining words.

It was astonishing that she knew by sight what tsp. and TBL meant, but could not read the word. Spices that she used consistently she knew by sight. Our next session, I brought in spices from my home and she could read most of them. For those she was not familiar with, I wrote them out on index cards for her to study at home.

The next session, I asked her how she bakes sweet potato pie. I was thinking of Thanksgiving. She said she doesn’t follow any recipe, she just knows how to make it. With that in mind, I asked her to tell me how she makes the pie and I wrote it down for her. We read it together and from this we will start a personalized recipe book. She must rewrite it herself and learn any words that she wasn’t familiar with. I tried using as many sight words as I could that she was recently taught such as “in” and “the” in “in the bowl.” Here’s her recipe in her beautiful handwriting:

Also, some words I intentionally misspelled and admittedly a few were misspelled that were not intentional. We used a dictionary to correct the spelling. It was the first time she had ever used a dictionary and I believe she was happy with this accomplishment. Granted, the skills were not mastered, but it was definitely a great start.

Click here to see a recipe that Andi’s learner found in a magazine and brought in for them to read together. They read the time and ingredients sections together. She could read a lot of it because she is so familiar with the context of cooking but she hesitated a lot. She is concerned about making mistakes.

What can we learn from Andi’s success?

  • Really listen to your learner and be eager to adapt.
  • Use high-interest materials.
  • Give your learner a chance to show their skills and talents and share their experience.
  • The Language Experience Approach (Tutor Manual p. 21-22) can help you and your learner create text that is interesting to read together. It’s what Andi did having her learner tell her about how to make the pie.

What’s your tutoring story?

Do you have a success story to share about your tutoring? Or are you noticing frustration in your learner or learners and want some helping moving forward? Contact Literacy Program staff to share or get support.

We Give Thanks

Post date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 5:07pm

New Adult Literacy Assistant at the Library!

Post date: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 2:32pm

Please join me in welcoming Rachel Cope to the Lake County Literacy Program!  Rachel will be taking over as the new Adult Literacy Assistant at the Waukegan Public Library.  She’ll work with me supporting the Library’s 1:1 and small group matches.  Feel free to introduce yourself with an E-mail (rachelcope [at] waukegnpl [dot] info) or a call (847-775-2547). 

Those of you who collaborated with the previous Adult Literacy Assistant, Janet, will be glad to hear that she will still be close by.  She accepted a new position at the Library as Reference and Customer Service Manager.   She’ll be infusing her knowledge of adult learners’ needs into all of the Library’s adult services. 


Rachel was born and raised in Mundelein and graduated from Belmont University with a B.A in English.  She’s had a wide range of experience working with volunteers through work with the Children’s Defense Fund, Manna International and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.  Last year, her interest in adult learners was sparked when she volunteered as a tutor for the Waukegan Public Library’s Conversational ESL classes.  She’s excited to be supporting our adult learners and tutors.

by Josh Anderson

Read to Learn 24th Annual Literacy/Volunteer Conference

Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 5:12pm

Here’s another opportunity to become a better tutor!

The Read to Learn Literacy/Volunteer Conference is a half-day event, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on November 2nd.  The event is put on by the Read to Learn program a Literacy program operated by School District 214 in Arlington Heights.  This year’s event will offer tutors a chance to learn about navigating online resources, using blogs to foster learning, and locating appropriately-leveled reading materials.

For more information, please see the link to the registration form below.  If you would like to attend, please print and mail in the registration form according to the instructions and send an E-mail to Cheryl at cluick1 [at] clcillinois [dot] edu to let us know you plan to attend:

Read to Learn Registration Form


Never stop learning!

Welcome new Tutors!

Post date: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 3:58pm

Welcome to our newly-trained tutors in the Lake County Literacy Program who graduated on Saturday, October 5th. They are another great group of talented and passionate people.  Plus, they take a great picture!

Back Row (from left to right): Chris Lucchetti, Patrcia Steffens, Tom Schmitz, Daniel Henderson, Barbara Buholzer, Donna Doering, Cathy Plate, George Jeffries, Jaimie Schulz, Megan Lowry

Front Row (from left to right): Iffat Shiekh, Blanca Zorn, Kris Mitra (farther forward), Marion Napoli, Laurie Twarowski, Hazel Perez, Ursula Lentz, Josh Anderson (Adult literacy Coordinator, Waukegan Public Library).

Photographer: Laura Sherwood, Literacy Coordinator at CLC.


A few of them are already tutoring! We look forward to the seeing how their assistance will transform our adult learners.

To those new tutors waiting for matches:  We’re getting everyone started as quickly as we can.  Thanks for your patience!

Literacy in the news

Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 11:14pm

Barb Babb, President of Literacy Volunteers of Lake CountyTwo recent articles discuss literacy efforts in Lake County. In the first article, Lake County Journal interviews Barb Babb. Barb is the president of Literacy Volunteers of Lake County, and she describes her experiences working with adult learners, some of the challenges adult learners face, and the literacy program as a partnership of LVLC, Waukegan Public Library and College of Lake County. 


Tutor Steve Chambelin works with studentIn the second article, Lake County News Sun describes how students are working to complete their GED in 2013. In 2014, the GED exam will change; it will be an even more difficult exam, computerized, with higher fees. The article features our volunteer tutor Steve Chamberlin and his student Sheryl Jenkins working at Waukegan Public Library.

Each article is a reminder and an acknowledgement of the challenging and rewarding work of our students, volunteers, instructors and leaders!

(Photos courtesy of Lake County Journal and Lake County News Sun)