Literacy March 2013

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PLS Literacy Newsletter


“Literacy is not a luxury; it is a right and a responsibility. If our world is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens.” President Bill Clinton

Dear Visitor,

March – A Lesson in History

American flagDid you know that the Star Spangled Banner was adopted as the National Anthem of the U.S. on March 3, 1931?  Or that Congress authorized the creation of Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872?  These are just two of the many amazing and notable events that have taken place in March.

Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone call was made on March 10, 1876. On March 14, 1793 Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin.  Two classic books, The Scarlet Letter and Uncle Tom’s Cabin were published just two years apart in 1850 and 1852 respectively.

The Dred Scott Decision and the repeal of the Stamp Act took place in March as well as the convictions of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg for espionage.

Sam Walton, former Vice President Al Gore, and William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, were all born in March.

But best of all, the first day of spring comes in March and on March 31, 1943 the musical Oklahoma opened on Broadway.

These facts and many more can be found online at These can easily be worked into an interesting lesson on American history.



Tip of the Month: Encouraging ESL Learners to Speak English
Many ESL students have trouble using their newly acquired language. Using ‘directed dialogues’ can help ease their fears.

First pick a situation, e.g., making an appointment, talking with a teacher, ordering an item by phone, etc. Write out what each speaker will most likely say. Read the dialogue to your student several times. Discuss any unfamiliar words. Have your student copy the dialogue. Then take turns being each speaker. Practice and review. Encourage your student to put these dialogues to use.

Once the student is comfortable and fluent you can expand the dialogue by making it longer and more complicated.

Collect these dialogues and review and practice them occasionally.

Reprinted from


From our Lending Library

Watch for some new titles to be added soon to the Literacy Lending Library collections in the Norman and Southwest OKC libraries. In the meantime, here are some interesting titles already in the collection at Norman:

Brown, Stephen E. English in the Workplace. Helps English learners understand what coworkers are saying and gives them confidence to converse naturally and easily. Includes a CD.

Sonbuchner, Gail Murphy. Help Yourself: How to take advantage of your learning styles. A handy reference tool for teachers and tutors and students who want to better understand learning styles and their practical applications

Flaitz, Jeffra, ed. Understanding Your International Students. This book contains country-by-country profiles of the educational, cultural and linguistic backgrounds of international students who are studying in English-speaking countries. It includes proper protocol, teaching styles and polite/impolite topics and behaviors for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.


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:Children of the Dust Bowl, by Jerry Stanley
Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Norman Public Library, Room A/B

Illustrated with photographs from the dust bowl era this book is based on the true story of life at the emergency farm-labor camp made famous in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

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


New Reader's Book Club

Book:Sequoyah by James Rumford
Date: Tuesday,March 26, 2013
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Shawnee Public Library Conference Room

This is the tale of an ordinary man who had an extraordinary idea-to create a writing system for the Cherokee Indians and turn his people into a nation of readers and writers.

To reserve a copy call the Literacy office at 273-3334.


McClain County Classes

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

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

Citizenship Class
Date: Mondays -
March 4 & 25
Time: 6-7 p.m.
Location: Purcell Public Library


Pottawattomie County Classes

Saturday Morning Math @ the Shawnee Library
Date: Saturdays -
March 2, 9, 30
Time: 9 - 10 a.m.
Location: Shawnee Public Library Conference Room

Register online or call the literacy office at 273-3334 to reserve a space.





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!

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