PLS Literacy eNewsletter - February 2013

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PLS Literacy Newsletter


"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." - Victor Hugo

Dear Visitor,

Here are a few tips on making yourself happier and healthier in 2013.

Keeping Your Brain Fit
Whether we are tutors or students, we depend on our brain for everything we do waking and sleeping.  Keeping it stimulated and active is the key to keeping it growing and developing. The more fit your brain is, the better prepared you are likely to be to cope efficiently with the daily challenges of life and work and the more likely you are to be functionally independent.

Wikipedia defines brain fitness as the capacity of a person to meet the various cognitive demands of life.  It is the ability to assimilate information, comprehend relationships and develop reasonable conclusions and plans.

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives recommends these tips for maintaining a healthy brain.

Exercise regularly.  Any exercise is better than none.  Park your car a distance from the building you are entering. Skip the elevator and take the stairs.  Practice deep breathing and good posture.

Meet, greet and be social.  Your brain needs social connections.  Studies show that spending time with friends and acquaintances and participating in many social activities is one of the fundamental tenets of cognitive health.  Staying socially active gives us a feeling of “self-efficacy”, the sense that our life has meaning.

Work your brain.  Ours brains love novelty.  Seek out something new:  a new hobby or craft, a new language or a subject you’ve never been exposed to before.  Break out of your normal routine.  Play challenging games like Scrabble, Concentration or Bridge.

Relax.  Meditation has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and even boost immune function.

Sleep or rest well.  There is still a lot to learn about the effects a good night’s sleep has on the brain.  But evidence suggests that at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night is critical for boosting memory and retaining information. Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day.  Sleep in a cool, dark room.  Don’t eat or drink large amounts before bedtime and avoid nicotine and caffeine.

Finally, a healthy diet promotes positive brain function.  Try adding some of these foods to your diet.

Berries are a rich source of antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Whole grains are a heart healthy way of managing memory loss, according to the Choose prepared foods that list whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats, bulgur or quinoa.

Include Vitamin B-12 rich foods.  According to, memory loss can stem from a vitamin B-12 deficiency.  Lean meats, poultry, low-fat dairy products, fish and fortified cereals are all a rich source of this vitamin.

Proper fluid intake also promotes positive brain function and memory.  Fluid sources include water, low-fat milk, pure fruit and vegetable juices and decaffeinated herbal teas.
Remember, it’s never too late to begin.  Just adding one or two of these suggestions to your daily routine may change your life.

Tip of the Month: Pronunciation

Model the word yourself by saying it in a normal way to the student.  Then get the student to repeat it after you until he gets it nearly right.  Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.

Write the word down and ask the student how many syllables it has and then practice some stress placement.  Ask which syllable is stressed. 

For example:
before (2 syllables) be FORE
after (2 syllables) AF ter
computer (3 syllables) com PU ter
afternoon (3 syllables) af ter NOON

Show your student how to use the dictionary to look up words they don’t know, looking especially for pronunciation and syllables. Usually the first few pages of the dictionary will have a pronunciation guide explaining pronunciation symbols and how syllable stress is indicated.



Book Clubs

Please join us for one or all of our book club meetings we are hosting in February. All tutors, students, volunteers and families are invited and encouraged to attend:

Odyssey Book & Conversation Club
Book: I Can Hear the Sun by Patricia Polacco
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Norman Public Library, Room A/B

Author/illustrator Polacco artfully combines the themes of friendship, homelessness and faith in this touching story featuring the unlikely pair of Fondo and Stephanie Michele.

Call the literacy office at 701-2682 to reserve a copy for you and your student.

New Reader's Book Club
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Shawnee Public Library Conference Room

McClain County Classes

English as Second Language
Date: Mondays, Feb. 4, 18, 25 & Thursdays, Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28
Time: 7-8 p.m.
Location: Purcell Public Library

GED Class
Date: Wednesdays, Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Location: Purcell Public Library

Citizenship Class
Date: Mondays, Feb. 4, 18, 25
Time: 6-7 p.m.
Location: Purcell Public Library

Pottawattomie County Classes

Saturday Morning Math
Date: Saturdays, Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23
Time: 9 - 10 a.m.
Location: Shawnee Public Library Conference Room

Saturday Morning Math is continuing through December. Register online or call the literacy office at 273-3334 to reserve a space.

Tutor Training
Date: Monday, February 25
Time:  10-2p.m., lunch provided
Location:  Tecumseh Public Library, 114 N. Broadway

New volunteers will learn the nuts and bolts of teaching an adult to read and the basics of becoming an English as a Second Language volunteer. Experienced tutors are also welcome to come and share their experiences and hone their skills.

Register on the library events calendar page by clicking on the program link, or by calling the literacy office at 405-273-3334.



As always, don't forget to report your tutoring hours for the month. You may report your volunteer hours online, call 701-2682 or email us at

Thank you!

Not interested any more?