Student Spotlight: Ana

July 31, 2017

Post image for Student Spotlight: Ana

Ana and Tutor Rosemary Council

Ana heard about the Literacy Council from her husband who is currently enrolled in the program. She wants to improve her English skills so she can get a better-paying job and communicate more effectively with her children’s teachers.

Ana began her tutoring sessions in December 2017 as a Level 1 ESL student. Due to the fact that she is a dedicated, focused, and hard-working student, she has quickly progressed to Level 2. Ana always completes her homework assignments, attends all her tutoring sessions, exhibits an enthusiasm for learning, and is a delight to tutor.

Post image for GED Math Workshop News – Are You Interested?

Deena Fujimoto’s math workshop on June 24th helped GED tutors understand the importance of using the TI 30 XS calculator* on a timed test. As Susann Felton confessed, “In all candor, even the best mathematicians among us found this workshop incredibly valuable regarding shortcuts and time-saving tips, as well as practical means to give our students more and better tools to pass their exams.”

Deena is willing to hold another workshop on this topic. If you are interested, please e-mail:

Susann Felton at or
Perinaaz Gandhi at

Deena also spoke about the importance of test-taking strategies when taking timed exams. As a teaser she provided this simple five question test Test-Taking Skills, allowed 5 minutes to complete all five questions, then explained what each question was designed to teach. Try it. If you score a 4 or better you probably have excellent test-taking skills and can teach your students. If you struggled to complete it in 5 minutes, or scored less than a 4, might we suggest you express some interest in a fall workshop by contacting Susann or Perinaaz at the above e-mails?

*The TI 30 XS is the only calculator students are allowed to use when taking the GED math test. The test is a timed test and assumes that the students are proficient with this tool and will use it to both calculate complex problems and check answers. The Council has purchased several of the calculators and we will provide them at cost to any student or tutor in the GED program for $15.00.

Post image for Student Spotlight: Minh Vien

Tutor Nancy Eakin and Minh Vien

Minh Vien, who has been working with tutor Nancy Eakin since October of 2016, recently completed Laubach Way to Reading 2 and was presented with a certificate to mark her accomplishment. Minh is eager to get started on Laubach Way to Reading 3 and Nancy could not be more pleased with her progress!

Minh is a talented and in-demand nail technician who works long hours, yet finds the time to attend weekly tutoring sessions. Having been in this country for almost 15 years, she speaks English well and has an extensive vocabulary. She is an attentive and enthusiastic student who is well on her way to accomplishing her goal of improving her reading and writing skills.

Minh lives with her mother, who has experienced some serious health challenges. Minh accompanies her mother, who does not drive, to all of her doctors’ appointments. When Minh expressed a desire to improve her knowledge of medical vocabulary, Nancy provided her with medical picture dictionaries. In addition, they worked together to read patient information brochures that were obtained from a local hospital.

Post image for Volunteer Spotlight: Judy Smallwood

Anne Arundel Literacy Council volunteers generously and selflessly share their time, talents, and funds to improve adult literacy in our county. Thanks to their dedication, 223 adults and out-of-school youth received free, convenient, and individualized reading, writing, math, and speaking English instruction last year alone. Each month we will introduce you to one of these exceptional volunteers who are part of our Literacy Council team.

What originally drew you to volunteer for the Literacy Council?

I read an article in the Capital in 2011 about a Literacy Council tutor and his student and thought that I would like to become a tutor, too. I had taught my three sons to read when they were young and received great satisfaction from doing that. I took the Literacy Council’s tutoring class (several times!) but have yet to be a tutor. Instead,I became Student Coordinator from 2011-2012. In 2012 I needed to cut back on my volunteer hours, so I became an Assessor, and then an Assessor trainer as well.

Do you have a memorable moment as an Assessor that you could share?

Not one moment, but what stands out the most to me is how I feel after meeting with our new students. I drive away incredibly inspired and wanting to be a better person. From meeting with the high school dropout who is now focused like a laser beam on getting his diploma, joining the Navy, and dwelling on the positive, to the charming retired gentleman who became an actor and wants to learn to read his lines better, to the hardworking young widow who wants to spell better so she can get a promotion and provide more for her young children…I am just in awe of them.

Sometimes I even get to read an update on “my” student after the student has met with his or her tutor for a while. I love to read about progress made and goals met, and know that I had a small hand in it.

I laugh at some of the little snafus that happen along the way – going to a library to meet with a student and finding it is closed for the day due to a boiler problem (I called the student and we met at a Panera across the street). Or a student going to the wrong library, but then realizing her mistake and calling the library where I had been waiting for her (I was able to drive to her since she did not have a car). It helps to be a bit flexible!

If someone is thinking about becoming a Literacy Council Assessor, what would you want them to know?

It’s a great way to volunteer just a little if you don’t have much time to spare, and yet know that you are making a difference. It is easy to do. You’ll have a script and step-by-step instructions. The assessor book looks complicated at first sight, but don’t be scared away! Once you do a few assessments, you’ll see how fun and easy it is.

Some information about yourself (your job, family, hobbies).

I’m married and have three adult sons, a daughter-in-law (expecting my twin granddaughters later this year!), and a six-year-old grandson who lives in Montana. I work for the Anne Arundel County School system, coordinating interpreters for parents who don’t speak English well. My hobbies are reading (naturally!) and taking long walks with my husband.

Anne Arundel County Literacy Council | 410-269-4419 | |
Post image for Fall 2017 Tutor Training: Save the Date

Great opportunity! Our next 2-day tutor training is scheduled for September 9 & 16 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park, and will include both Basic Literacy and English Language Learner instruction.

We have a class size limit of 35. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in attending this training, please email Lisa Vernon at, or call 410-269-4419 as soon as possible to reserve a seat.

Post image for Director’s Message June/July 2017

Please grab your calendars and reserve Saturday, October 7th from 8:30 – 11 a.m. for our Second Annual Literacy Council Walkathon.

“Literacy Lights the Way” is again the theme for the walkathon, which is open to all and will be held on the B & A Trail. We will also be honoring Bob Caspar, 2012-2016 Executive Board President and an ardent supporter of our students and tutors, who passed away last November. Beautiful commemorative t-shirts will be included with registration for this event. Details are shared below.

Please also mark September 9 and 16 for our fall tutor training, held at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park from 9 am to 4 pm on both days. Our training fills quickly so be sure to RSVP as soon as possible to reserve a seat.

More good news! For the 6th consecutive year the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council has earned the Top-Rated Great Nonprofit Award. Please take a moment to look at our 114 reviews. Here is the link:

In addition, the Literacy Council has achieved the GuideStar Gold Star rating for financial transparency. Please check us out at

Kind regards,

Lisa Vernon, Executive Director

Anne Arundel County Literacy Council

301-523-6750 (cell)

Lisa Vernon, Executive Director

Post image for MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Walk-a-Thon October 7, 2017

Left to right: Literacy Council Treasurer Megan Jackson, student Shirley Johnson, and tutor Bev Sumpter enjoying our 2016 Walk-a-thon

The Anne Arundel County Literacy Council will hold its “Literacy Lights the Way” 5K walk-a-thon on Saturday, October 7 from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

We will walk on the beautiful B&A Trail between Marley Station Mall and Jumpers Hole Road in Glen Burnie. This is the same location as last year.

Register or Donate using the links below. Additional information about registration, the route, and the walk appears in our brochure.  The $25 registration ($10 for Literacy Council students and free for all youth 16 years of age or younger) includes a commemorative t-shirt.

We hope you will join us! Last year’s walk-a-thon – our first – was a great success. We want to increase the number of participants this year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Literacy Council.


Anne Arundel County Literacy Council 2nd Annual 5K Walk-a-thon Donation Page


 Anne Arundel County Literacy Council 2nd Annual 5K Walk-a-Thon

Post image for Practice Tests for Maryland Driver’s License: English & Spanish

Thanks to Christine Harrison for telling us about an excellent tutor resource for students who need to take the Maryland Driver’s test. This website has several practice tests, including a Spanish versions.

CLICK HERE for Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles practice permit tests.

It’s Never Too Late

May 30, 2017

Post image for It’s Never Too Late

James Henry Arruda taught himself to read at 92 and wrote and published a book at 96.

“I said, If he can do it, I’m gonna try.”

It’s never too late to learn to read, and AACLC is here to help you. Call us today at 410-269-4419.


Post image for 4 Reasons Poetry Is A Great Tool for Adult ELLs

Here is a recent ProLiteracy blog link with interesting tutoring tips to try with your adult English Language learner. (ELL):

4 Reasons Poetry Is a Great Tool for Adult ELLS.