Post image for We’re Accepting New Students (Late September 2023)

Post image for AACLC Offers New Hi-Lo Readers for Adult Students

This summer, the Literacy Council acquired a range of hi-lo reading books for our adult students. Original, unabridged works by best-selling authors and gifted writers, they are designed to help new readers find pleasure in reading.

Online tools are available for some of the books to enhance the learning experience and stimulate discussion.

So that tutors can also read the books, we have two copies of each title. These books are available for loan to you and your student!

Please contact Jane to request a book.

We have the following titles and plan to order more if we receive positive reviews from students and tutors.

Levels indicate the grade level for the book. Level 4.5 is about halfway through the 4th-grade level, equivalent to at least halfway through Laubach 4. If your student is using Laubach 3 materials, he or she may enjoy a level 2 – 3.5 book. [click to continue…]

Post image for Book Fair 2023: Here’s the Scoop plus Raffle Details!

September 30,
10 am – 4 pm

Book bag with AACLC logoOur third-annual fundraiser BOOK FAIR is Saturday, September 30, at Westfield Annapolis Mall.

Books will be displayed on long tables and organized into more than 30 categories. We’ll have browsable carts filled with hundreds of children’s books!

Paperbacks will be $1, hardbacks $2, or stuff a special edition Literacy Council reusable tote bag with all the books you can carry for $20.

See updates and previews on AACLC’s social channels.

Instagram @aacoliteracy | Facebook aaclc | X @aaclc

Don’t miss our amazing raffle baskets!

Tickets will be available next to our checkout station, where you can also browse the baskets. We have two tiers of raffles this year.

Ticket buyers DON’T have to be present to purchase tickets or win! Email Jane if you want tickets now.


$1/ticket or seven tickets for $5 — enter to win any of the three baskets featured below.

[click to continue…]

Post image for Director’s Message September 2023

We’re days away from our September 30 book fair. Please share with students, neighbors, and friends — we’ll be inside the mall, outside Crate & Barrel and Discoveries Library with 100s of gently-used books of all genres.

Paperbacks will be $1, hardbacks $2, or stuff a special edition Literacy Council reusable tote bag with all the books you can carry for $20.

Don’t miss our raffle baskets, filled with prizes like movie tickets, fine wines, restaurant gift cards, and admission to the National Aquarium (see below).

Thanks to all of our reading enthusiasts for their donations from throughout Anne Arundel County and to the local businesses who are supporting the book fair with their sponsorships and gifts! We couldn’t do this without such generosity.

All proceeds will benefit our free adult tutoring programs.

I hope to see you there. Please invite your students and their families.

This year, County Executive Steuart Pittman plans to join us to officially open the event at 10 am. Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien will also be there!

Many thanks,


Jane Seiss, Executive Director AACLCJane Seiss, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council



Post image for Resources and Activities for our Tutors and Students

English Conversation Club by AACPL (online)

Monday, September 18, 7 pm – 8:30 pm

An online gathering to practice speaking English for adults. All are welcome. Preregistration required. Sign up September 4 – 18.

Language Exchange at Brooklyn Park Library

Wednesday, September 20, 6 pm – 7 pm

Wednesday, October 18, 6 pm – 7 pm

Wednesday, November 15, 6 pm – 7 pm

Join a group of English and Spanish speakers to enjoy conversation in either language. This event i for adults.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrated in September & October

Visit the AACPL website for a calendar filled with events at multiple branches throughout the county.

Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival

Saturday, September 23, 10 am – 7 pm

This free family-oriented celebration takes place in Annapolis at Susan Campbell Park at Annapolis City Dock. There will be music, dance performances, foods from around the world, artisan vendors, and a celebration of the heritage and history of the African Diaspora. For more information, visit

ProLiteracy’s Teacher Training Plus is Back

Last year, ProLiteracy’s Teacher Training Plus was popular with instructors looking for new strategies and one-on-one guidance on basic literacy, English language learning, and HSE. The project has returned with new webinars in the same subject areas available this fall through next spring. Each webinar is followed with just-in-time small group coaching sessions to help tutors implement strategies.

Visit ProLiteracy’s website to see the courses offered and to register.

This year’s classes include two levels for ESL tutors — courses for those working with low-level English language learners and courses for those working with high-level ESL students. Courses include “Where do I Start? Planning the First Month of Lessons with a Low-Level ELL Student.” and “Starting from Scratch: Working with Low-level ELL Students with Little-to-no First Language Literacy.”

ProLiteracy on YouTube

If you miss the scheduled dates for a webinar, it will later be posted on ProLiteracy’s YouTube Channel where you can watch it at your convenience. The YouTube Channel offers videos in all subject areas.

Post image for Tutors Help Inmates Pursue Educational Goals at Jennifer Road Detention Center

Pictured above, tutors Janet LaBella, Michael Green, and Vicki Jordan (left to right) are dedicated Jennifer Road Detention Center tutors.

By Michael Green, Literacy Council Tutor, Assessor, and Board Member

In 2016, a call went out from Jennifer Road Detention Center (JRDC) in Annapolis for an Anne Arundel County Literacy Council tutor for an inmate who just wanted to learn how to read. There had only been tutors active at the Ordnance Road Correctional Center, the larger county jail in Glen Burnie, until that point. I raised my hand at the Saturday training workshop when the opportunity was presented. I could not have imagined how many rewarding tutoring experiences would follow!

Soon after, I was joined by tutors Janet LaBella and Kathy Lang and others. We were able to let inmates and staff know that we were there and ready to supplement the pre-GED program already in place, offered by another volunteer group. There are many students who cannot participate in that program.

Over the years, we have met many interesting students with different abilities and a myriad of goals. We’ve made it through the pandemic and are now as large a group of tutors as we have ever had. We’re so glad to offer all the levels of support that the AACLC does as a whole: Basic Literacy, ESL, GED prep, and math.

Janet LaBella, who has been performing placement assessments for JRDC students wanting to take the GED, notes that many of the students score at the third to fifth-grade level in reading and math. Janet adds, “These students benefit greatly from individualized one-on-one tutoring that addresses learning gaps and reinforces basic skills, priming them for success with the GED and other life skills.”

New AACLC and Jennifer Road Detention Center tutor Susan Hadary really enjoys the opportunity to tutor there. Her enthusiasm is contagious! Susan says, “It’s been an exciting journey working with the first student to sign up for the newly established tutoring session for women at the JRDC. This 18-year-old had stopped attending classes in middle school and was now interested in doing GED prep. With good reading comprehension, her tutoring started with a focus on social studies. Her love for learning about history and geography is demonstrated each week by her motivation and enthusiasm.”

Tutor Vicki Jordan, who joined our team after over 20 years of volunteer work at Ordnance Road Correctional Center, says her basic literacy student “is so motivated, and I can see his confidence building each week. He asks great questions and is very curious about history…particularly African Americans who have roots in Maryland! His energy is great, and I am inspired by this young man!“

New tutors Sam Dewey, Sue Warren, and Martha West are all having similar successful experiences. The thirst for learning is strong in all of our students.

We all feel fortunate to live in a county that supports these programs in its jails and are happy to have the support of the Literacy Council in helping fulfill the educational goals of all students who ask for help.

Tutors Kathy Lang and Sam Dewey (left to right) enjoy volunteering at JRDC.

There are nine Literacy Council tutors volunteering at JRDC. These include tutors in the high school diploma program who work with inmates to help them prepare to take the GED. This summer, two JRDC students earned high school diplomas.

In Glen Burnie, some of our longest-serving tutors are doing important educational work at the Ordnance Road Correctional Center. Students there are also earning diplomas and achieving their goals.

Post image for Director’s Message August 2023

As back-to-school season arrives, we have plenty of news to share, including a couple of exciting training opportunities.

This summer, some of our students achieved significant goals — high school diplomas and U.S. citizenship, among them! Read on for details, and don’t miss a report on our work at Jennifer Road Detention Center.

We’re still collecting gently-used books for our September 30 book fair. Please share with neighbors and friends — book donations are welcome through September 1. Email me at for drop-off information at multiple locations.

I hope you have had an enjoyable summer. Please join me at the book fair. Invite your students and their families! It will be wonderful to spend time with the Literacy Council community.

Thank you for caring about local adult literacy & education,


Jane Seiss, Executive Director AACLCJane Seiss, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council




Post image for Recent News About Education, Reading, & More (Summer 2023)

ProLiteracy Offers Citizenship Collection for Test Takers

Visit ProLiteracy’s citizenship webpage for information on four courses available through its Education Network that tutors can use to help students prepare for and pass the citizenship test. AACLC tutors may access these resources for free. Additional written materials are also available through our New Readers Press library. Contact Wendy or Jane to request these books.

“Language is All About The Action — The Verbs”

An AACLC ESL tutor and retired professor shared this recent New York Times opinion piece (gift link) by Columbia University associate professor and linguist John McWhorter. Read it to understand the importance of verbs in learning and speaking a new language.

Post image for Anne Arundel Women Giving Together Awards AACLC a Grant

Anne Arundel Women Giving Together (AAWGT) recently awarded the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council a grant to support adult literacy in our county. Since its founding in 2006, Anne Arundel Women Giving Together has provided more than $1.7 million to nonprofits working to improve the lives of underserved women and children in Anne Arundel County. Learn more about AAWGT and its grant awardees.

Thank you, AAWGT!

Words "Thank You" with a heart

Post image for Abdul Achieves a Very Special Goal

Abdul Trent has been working with his tutor, Janet, since December of 2022 at the Maryland City at Russett Library in Laurel. Abdul has a passion for reading that was built by his father’s bookstore in Denver, Colorado. His father often said there are so many books and not enough time to read them all.

Abdul is a strong reader, but complex storylines and novels with characters embodying symbolism often led Abdul to struggle with remembering and comprehension. This was the case over twenty years ago when Abdul picked up “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison for the first time. Now twenty years later, Abdul came to tutoring with the hope of learning techniques for comprehension of Ellison’s enigmatic novel.

Through months of dedication, Janet and Abdul deep dove into the ideas of the novel and worked through the character’s journey, ultimately ending in a twenty-year success story for Abdul.

From day one he told his tutor, Janet, he hoped he could read the novel he remembers seeing in his father’s bookstore. While Abdul’s father has passed from this earth, he left Abdul with the gift of hundreds of books Abdul keeps in his home from his father’s bookstore.

It is with great pride Janet wanted to share his story of completion of the novel after a few months of tutoring and years of longing to understand Ellison’s words. It is important to celebrate such a long-awaited achievement and to remember just how powerful books can be.

Janet and Abdul have now moved on to another novel to keep the momentum in their shared passion for reading. There are so many books to read and not enough time to read them all.