PLS Literacy eNewsletter - February 2014

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PLS Literacy Newsletter


“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”

- Somerset Maugham

Dear Visitor,

Happy Valentine's Day Picnic

February offers us the opportunity to wish all our tutors and students a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Although it originally began as a liturgical celebration of saint Valentinus, little is known about him except that he was beheaded after performing a miracle and buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14. Legend also has it that Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young Roman soldiers and an Italian bishop, appropriately named Valentine, secretly performed marriages in defiance of that order.

It was first associated with romantic love in England during the Middle Ages and popularized by Geoffrey Chaucer when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th century England it became an occasion for people to send hand crafted greeting cards called ‘valentines’ and present flowers and confections to their loved ones. This tradition has been passed down through the centuries and continues to this day.


Conversational Tips


Many of our English language students simply request help with conversational English.  Here are suggestions to consider when planning your sessions:

  • At your first session assess how, when and for what purpose your student wants to use his/her English.  Will it be mainly for work, school or casual use.
  • Don’t talk too much. Aim to have your students do 70% of the speaking.  Ask open-ended questions instead of Yes/No questions if at all possible. 
  • Balance your correction. Use a combination of correcting students as they speak and writing down their errors on paper.  Too much correction while they are speaking can be discouraging and interrupt the flow.
  • Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. If you can’t answer a tough grammar question, tell the student you’ll look into it and get back to them.  They will appreciate your honesty.
  • Review.  The problem with no-textbook conversation sessions is the lack of structure.  Topics change each week and students quickly forget what was covered.  To alleviate this problem, review the most important mistakes/vocab/pronunciation issues from the previous lesson at the beginning of the next class.
English Current

Tutor Training Workshops

During the month of February Pioneer Library System Literacy Services will be offering combined Literacy and English as a Second Language tutor training workshops for new tutors at two locations. These all day trainings will prepare prospective tutors to help adult students improve either basic literacy or English language skills.

Cleveland County Literacy

Date: February 8, 2014
When: 9am – 4 pm
Location: Norman Public Library

*For more information or to register call: 701-2682

Pottawatomie County Literacy

Date: February 15, 2014
When: 9 am – 4 pm
Location: Shawnee Public Library

*For more information or to register, call: 273-3334


Library Program Highlights

Our hometown libraries offer a wide variety of programs for all ages.  Listed below are just a few of particular interest to adults.  These would be a free fun activity for tutors, students and family. 

The Norman Library is hosting Spanish Immersion classes with Mel Messer.  This eight week session will be on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm. The immersion classes, conducted entirely in Spanish, are designed to help participants gain experience and confidence with the language.  All classes are free of charge and no registration is required.

Free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is being provided at the Norman and Moore Libraries by trained tax volunteers.  This free help is offered on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the tax season.  Contact the library for more details.

Southwest Oklahoma City Library is offering Pilates Classes on Monday evenings from 6-7 pm.  Bring your mat and discover a body conditioning routine that may help build flexibility, muscle strength and endurance.

For those who are wondering what all the fuss is about surrounding the social media network Facebook, Shawnee Public Library is offering ‘Facebook for Beginners’ on February 27th from 2-4pm. 

If crafts are your passion, check out the ‘Valentine Heart Ribbon Keepsake’ program on February 13 from 4-5pm at the Blanchard Public Library.  Attendees will create a small valentine keepsake using ribbons.  Supplies will be provided.

Holly Saunders will be teaching the basics of drawing at the Newcastle Library on Saturday, February 22, at 10:30 am. All supplies will be provided.

For a complete list of all programs offered each month go to, click on the name of your hometown library and look for the ‘Calendars’ link.


Book Clubs

New Reader's Book Club


Book: Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Date: Thursday, February 13, 2014
When: 3 - 4 p.m.
Location: Shawnee Library, Conference Room

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese-American boy and his family are sent to a U.S. internment camp. To lift their spirits he and his father build a baseball diamond and form a league.

Odessy Book Club

Good Mountain

Book: From the Good Mountain by James Rumford
Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
When: 7 - 8:30 pm
Location: Norman Library Conference Room

This beautifully illustrated book is written as a series of riddles and tells the story of Johannes Gutenberg and the invention of the book using movable type. The author brings to life a craft that is fast disappearing.


McClain County Classes

English as Second Language
Date: Mon. - Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24
Thurs. - Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27
Time: 7-8 p.m.
Location: Purcell Public Library

Date: Thurs. - Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27
Time: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Location: Purcell Public Library

Date: Tuesday & Thursday evenings
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Location: Shawnee Public Library, Conference Room

GED Class
Date: Wednesdays - Feb. 5, 12, 18, 26
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Location: Purcell Public Library



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

Not interested any more?