September 2016


Tutor education & events
Registration is now required. Please click here to register for all opportunities.

Professional Development Opportunities:

One-to-one coaching
Get the just in time support you need for working with your student! Coaching can happen in your tutoring session or individually. Email Cydne or Nancy to arrange a time.

7 Keys to Comprehension
 book club
This study group will meet for 4 sessions to learn about reading comprehension strategies and how to model them for your students. Using the book 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann, we will explore how proficient readers comprehend texts. 

Copies of the book are available in the Literacy Connects library. Please register through the link.

9:30 - 11:30 am Mondays from Sept. 19-Oct. 10

TAWL/LC Literacy Conference
Join us on Saturday, November 5 for literacy keynote breakout sessions that will give you new ideas and approaches with your student. Theme: the reading/writing connection.

Refresher Training
There is always more to learn after some time spent with your student! Join us for all or part of the training in September to refresh your knowledge and get some great new ideas.

Evening/weekend session; Starts September 14
Celebrate Adult & Family Literacy Week
 Sept. 26-Oct 1, 2016

Ways to Celebrate:
  • Check out ProLiteracy's toolkit for promoting adult education and family literacy with your students and your community. 
  • Print some stories from adult learners to read to and with your students. 
  • Use our own learners' writings from the Literacy Ventures archive and encourage your learner to submit a story, too!
  • Spread the word about why adult literacy matters!
Save the Date!
Literacy Connects 
annual fundraiser!

Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
Tucson Convention Center

Download the flyer for more details and to share with others!

Please note that Literacy Connects will be closed on September 5th in observance of Labor Day

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
--C.S. Lewis

My youngest daughter and I wandered through Bookmans last weekend, eager to spend new trade credit. I wanted to wander in my own direction, but she dragged me back to the kids' section with, "I need your help, Mom! I don't know my genre yet."

I remember this with my older daughter, too, at about the same age. She was almost an independent reader, but finding "just right books" for herself was really difficult. She had a sense of what she liked. She definitely knew what she could handle by herself, but finding something that kept and held her interest and was also appropriate for her age, life experiences and background knowledge was trickier. It often is for kids who are reading "above grade level."

Actually, "grade level" or "reading level" is not always helpful when we are trying to find books for our learners. My oldest struggled to find things that were challenging enough but not too old for her experience. In the adult program, we also struggle to find books for readers who may have lots of life experience but are struggling with text. 

What if we redefined what is "just right" for the reader, beyond a reading or grade level? What if children's books could be "just right" for adults? What if Greek mythology could be "just right" for a second grader?

Looking at my eclectic collection of books in my Goodreads app, there is a vast array of books that were all, at one point in time, "just right" for me. At one point, Mezirow's Learning as Transformation was just right...but not currently. It's really hard and dense. It's not relevant to my current inquiries in the way that Berger's A More Beautiful Question is right now. Sometimes The New Yorker is just right. Other times, it's just too much. In my own reading life, "just right" is defined by my curiosities of the moment, or my goals, or my love of historical fiction, or my desire just to immerse myself in another setting or way of life.

And even as an experienced reader, I love a good children's book -- picture books, wordless books, elementary age or young adult novels. I just spent the weekend deeply engrossed in Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. I read it thinking about my youngest daughter. Even though the back of the book states a reading level of 5.0 and "for ages 9-12," which should be right for her, it's a really complex book -- in the narrative style (flashbacks) and the setting (WWI) and the issues that arise. By herself, it would be hard work. But what if I went with her to mediate the hard stuff? What if I did the reading and let her "just" listen and work out the pieces for herself? What if I share my own connections and questions out loud as we go? This kind of support is critical for readers of all ages and abilities as they start to navigate increasingly more difficult texts.

What are all the ways that you experience books? How do you choose something that is "just right" for you? Keep that in mind as you look for books for your learners -- purpose, curiosity, interests, goals. Maybe the text is too difficult for them to read independently, but the content might be "just right."

For more ideas on finding and using "just right books" with your learners, see Violet Kennedy, our Library Coordinator. She can help with your search for text and can suggest a variety of ways to engage in the reading of these texts for or with your learners. You might also check out the suggestions in this article from Choice Literacy, one of my favorite literacy blogs.

Enjoy the broad scope of "just right" books,

~ Edie
Director, Basic Literacy Programs
(520) 882-8006 x 203
Get out the Vote!

Affiliate of ProLiteracy