Post image for Tutoring Can Be A Family Affair
Left to right:Mary Anne Stoner, tutor coordinator Anita Ewing, and Bob Stoner enjoy participating in the Literacy Council’s first Literacy Lights the Way walkathon, held last fall. Be sure to come dressed as one of your favorite book characters at our second walkathon, scheduled for next fall!

As Courtney Stoner, a George Washington University college freshman, was wrapping up her summer internship with the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council in 2013 she recalled an off-hand comment her parents had made. “We’ve always wanted to get involved with literacy tutoring,” Bob and Mary Anne Stoner had remarked.

Little did the Stoner family imagine that tutoring with the Literacy Council would soon turn into a family affair.  Not long after Courtney sent her parents a link that enabled them to fill out online forms and eventually receive literacy training, Bob and Mary Anne were ready to meet their first students. Bob was teamed up with Iris, an English-as-a-Second Language (ESOL) student, while Mary Anne was matched with Iris’s cousin, Yulma.

Iris and Yulma are parents of young children and aim to hone their English speaking and writing skills so they can become more involved with their children’s education. They also want to be able to more effectively pursue job opportunities, and hopefully one day pass the GED.

Both Iris and Yulma are cheerful, hard-working, and attentive students. They’ve even encouraged other family members living in the Brooklyn Park area to take assessments and start working with tutors, too.  Bob and Mary Anne are so impressed with their students that they’ve said “If only we could win the lottery and give up our day jobs! That way we could tutor all the members of this wonderful family.”

Until then, Bob and Mary Anne are hoping that other Literacy Council tutors can find time to spend with Iris and Yulma’s motivated relatives.

Post image for April 2017 Director’s Message

Please save the date!

Our Annual Appreciation Dinner will be held on April 27th this year and we hope that everyone will make plans to attend. Please RSVP and join us!

My favorite part of each year’s Appreciation Dinner is always the student testimonies. Our student’s courage and determination to achieve their goals is inspirational and shines through every story that is shared, reminding me of why we do what we do at the Literacy Council. Yes, literacy changes lives, not only for the student, but also for their families and our community.

Please also check out details on our GED math and ESOL tutor workshops, both scheduled for April. Space is limited for both workshops, so RSVP as soon as possible to reserve a seat. Later this week, we’ll post an article about inspiring husband and wife tutors Bob and Mary Anne Stoner and their 2 students.

Kind regards,

Lisa Vernon, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council
301-523-6750 (cell)

Lisa Vernon, Executive Director

Post image for ESOL Tutor Training Workshop in April

English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) tutor trainers Phil Tawes and Suzy Ochs will be leading an ESOL workshop for interested tutors in April (date and time to be announced).

Please email or call 410-269-4419 to register for this valuable workshop.

Post image for 2017 Appreciation Dinner April 27

Tutors, Students, Assessors, and Volunteers…
Please let us honor you!

Date: April 27th, 2017
Time: 6 PM – 8 PM
Place:Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church. Severna Park

Please RSVP with a total count to
Mike Ahearn at
by April 20th

Post image for Exciting Opportunity for Math-Loving Tutors in Spring 2017

UPDATE April, 2017:

While we await DLLR’s GED math tutoring workshop information, we are planning a training session for all interested Literacy Council math tutors to help get you started.

Dr. Perinaaz Gandhi and Susann Felton will lead this training, which will include an overview of the GED math test as well as the tutoring materials and books to be used.

Saturday, April 8th
9 a.m. – noon
Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church
If interested in attending this workshop
you must RSVP by Friday, April 7th by
calling 410-269-4419 or

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Originally posted December, 2016

Do you have a love for math and want to help another person achieve their GED?

Next spring we will officially launch a new initiative with both the  Department of Labor, Licensing, and Review (DLLR), and the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland.

Fifteen students who have passed all sections of the GED but math, and who have missed passing the math section by only a few points, will participate in a targeted, 4 to 6 week, one-on-one math tutoring program.

We are offering this opportunity first to existing tutors and then, if necessary, we will recruit new tutors specifically for this program.

Think about the rewards:
  • The joy of seeing a student graduate to a new life of possibilities.
  • Specific training for tutoring GED math from GED professionals in the field.
  • An opportunity to be part of a pilot program that will set standards for the entire state and possibly be a model for the nation.
  • A commitment of 4-6 weeks.

Please let us know if you want to volunteer for this spring 2017 program by sending an email to either of the AACLC staff members below, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

We look forward to your participation in this exciting new venture!

Literacy Council GED Coordinators:
Dr. Perinaaz Gandhi
Susann Felton

Practical Affirmations

February 23, 2017

Post image for Practical Affirmations

A dyslexic woman and successful tech entrepreneur was interviewed and asked what helped her overcome the odds. Here’s what she said:

“Affirmations. I literally told myself the naysayers were wrong about me. I told myself exactly what I needed to hear every single day to move my life forward.”

  • My next step in the right direction does not have to be a big one.
  • I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. It’s about not letting my fear decide my future.
  • The biggest and most complex obstacle I will ever have to overcome is my mind. If I can overcome that, I can overcome anything.

From Dyslexic Advantage Newsletter January 2017 issue

Post image for Student Spotlight: Chanthoune Sinphavong

Tutor Ray Davis and Chanthoune Sinphavong

My student, Chanthoune (pronounced shan TOON) Sinphavong, is a hardworking young woman who is a delight to work with. She always makes an effort to speak English to the best of her ability and regularly scores “A plusses” on her homework–especially in tasks involving spelling and phonics. Chanthounealso enjoys discussing geography and history with me.

It turns out that like the rest of us she was deeply impacted by the events of September 11, 2001. As she wrote in an essay I assigned her: “I will never forget that day. I heard the sound of the airplane as it hit the Pentagon in Washington DC. About fifteen minutes later, a lady knocked on the door and told us to turn on our TV. The first thing I saw was unbelievable. Two airplanes hit big, tall buildings in New York City. I felt very upset to see so many people run from the explosions and fires. Some of the victims died because they were stuck in the buildings. I have never forgotten September 11th.”

Fifteen years later, Chanthoune is very interested in obtaining US citizenship.

It is a joy to help Chanthoune with her communication skills. She always thanks me for the lesson as she leaves.

Post image for Why We Do What We Do: Marc Holland

Tutor Al Odierno and Marc Holland

“My everyday skills have gotten better, and I’ve learned to never give up! Everybody struggles with something and my work with the literacy council helps me to focus and realize I can achieve. It may be work, but I know I can do it.”

~student Marc Holiday

Often tutors and students find that the structured readings offered in the literacy council’s workbooks and manuals are jumping off points to even more compelling topics. For instance, in the two years that tutor Al Odierno and student Marc have worked together each week at the Edgewater library, their discussions have moved into investigations of various idioms and rhetoric, and explored history, geography, and sports.

“Marc has been an enthusiastic learner from the start,” says Al, “and as he makes more and more progress we’ve been able to pursue different learning strategies. Marc particularly enjoys selections in Challenger 4 where the reading material is more information-based, rather than simple narratives.”  Al notes that while “both writing styles are worthwhile, in the non-fiction selections you’re both honing reading skills and learning new facts.”

Post image for Student Spotlight: Daphyne Holland

Tutor Lynn Krane and Daphyne Holland


You might say there’s a marked one-to-one correspondence in this literacy council tutor-student match-up. Lynn Krane, a math instructor at Anne Arundel Community College, looks forward each week to working with Daphyne Holland–a very motivated math student determined to pass the GED.

Lynn comments: “I’m so proud of Daphyne’s determination to sharpen her math skills and to complete the algebra and geometry math books. Her continued progress has even encouraged some of her friends to begin math tutoring!”

Post image for February 2017 Message from the Executive Director
Happy Valentines Day!
Throughout the next two weeks, you’ll be able to read posts about three of our tutor/student matches. Each of these students helps to illustrate “why we do what we do” at the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council.
2017 is the Council’s 40th anniversary serving Anne Arundel County! Our nonprofit began in 1977 with six very strong, visionary Glen Burnie women who saw the need for county adults to have free access to literacy instruction.
Since that time, thousands of low-income adults and out-of-school youth have received free, convenient, and individualized reading, writing, and now math and speaking English instruction. There is no charge to the student for books, tutoring, or assessments, and students and tutors can meet in any public location for lessons, including at all 15 county libraries.
Last year alone, 240 trained volunteers donated 12,650 hours to support 195 adults as they improved their literacy and math skills. Goals achieved include attaining jobs, GEDs, successful entry into AACC’s Adult Basic Skills program, and improving the quality of life for themselves and their families.
Kind regards,
Lisa Vernon, Executive Director

Anne Arundel County Literacy Council