Post image for Thank you, Rebecca and RS&F

Through a special workplace program, a tutor honored the Literacy Council with a gift.

Our many thanks to tutor Rebecca Lambert and her employer for their support through a charitable giving program. Because she is an AACLC volunteer, Rebecca was eligible to nominate the Literacy Council for a gift from her workplace: Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander (RS&F). In March, we were selected for their support!

Post image for Student Success: Alicia

Alicia and her tutor Nancy Robinson


Through hard work and one-on-one lessons, Alicia achieves a dream

“I met Alicia in the Fall of 2019 and although I was very nervous to start tutoring, especially an ESL student (she was my first), I was quickly put at ease by her kind and gentle manner.
“After getting to know each other, I saw that even though she worked full-time, Alicia was the type of person that was sought by friends and family, as she always found time to help others. I soon realized that our pleasant conversation was as valuable to her as the lessons in the book. Her progress was swift, and a ripple effect quickly occurred within her community. She was more confident when engaging the staff at her granddaughter’s school and she delighted in the help she could offer neighbors who were struggling with forms at the U.S. Post Office.
“We stopped meeting shortly after 2020 began as the new year presented many challenges for us, along with the rest of the world. When I resumed tutoring Alicia earlier this year, I was totally impressed! Alicia had memorized all the answers to the citizenship test during our time apart. In my Zoom lessons with her, I was getting a government and history refresher from my student!
“I am thrilled to say that Alicia passed her citizenship test in April and will soon be attending her Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Congratulations to Alicia for achieving her goal!”
Nancy Robinson,
Post image for Director’s Message May 2021

Student successes

This month, please read enjoy two remarkable success stories made possible by student persistence and volunteer tutor dedication. Alicia and Nancy and Jordana, Susann, Marjorie, and Shirley confirm that our individualized approach works and helps make dreams come true! Click below for their stories:

The importance of adult literacy

Check out this link for facts on the importance of adult literacy and more on why our work matters.

For information on how and where to get the COVID vaccine — and how to get a ride to your appointment, CLICK HERE.

211 Maryland: Help is a call or text away

For anyone facing difficulties, dialing 2-1-1 connects callers with trained health and human services personnel who provide guidance and help with a range of needs from utility assistance to legal guidance to mental health help.

211 help is available in more than 100 languages. Please see to know all that the service offers. Calls are confidential, and there is a texting option as well.

Anne Arundel County Community Warmline

Available 24/7 at 410-768-5522

The Anne Arundel County Community Warmline is always open to help anyone experiencing stress, depression, or anxiety. Access mental health, substance misuse, and grief counseling. Get referrals and support.

For more information, visit


With Many Thanks,

Jane Seiss, Executive Director AACLCJane Seiss, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council
410-926-5797 (cell)
Post image for The Importance of Adult Literacy

Many of our social challenges are made worse by low literacy.

According to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, 130 million Americans struggle with low literacy. Get the facts about adult literacy and its impact on children, earnings and employment, health, and more on ProLiteracy’s website.

Some ways our work matters…

This month marks the 50th anniversary of NPR’s (National Public Radio) first on-air original broadcast. Over the years, the organization has featured a broad range of education coverage, including stories about literacy. Here’s a compelling piece from 2018 that talks about adult literacy efforts and the impacts programs like ours have on students’ lives.

This moving video on the power of literacy is a popular part of AACLC’s training program — it is worth revisiting and sharing!

Post image for Student Success: Jordana

Jordana, AACLC successful student


Jordana’s goal of training for the National Guard made possible by her diligent work with our tutors.

This winter and spring, Jordana worked with three AACLC tutors to improve her skills so that she could retake the ASVAB military entrance test* and score well enough to qualify for a Military Police training program with the National Guard.
Jordana had individual virtual sessions with Susann Felton, Marjorie Rawhouser, and Shirley Theimer. They studied math, science, and English.
“Jordana and I worked on the general science and mechanical comprehension sections of the ASVAB,” Marjorie, also a professor at AACC, said. “The general science is particularly challenging because it covers so much subject matter (basic biology, genetics, chemistry, physics, meteorology, geology, astronomy, and more). Jordana really worked hard to learn all of it.”
“Jordana and I met by Zoom 10 times during the month of her intensive preparation,” Shirley explained. “My charge was to focus exclusively on the word knowledge test. Susann generously loaned me two valuable resources: her copies of the ‘ASVAB for Dummies’ and Kaplan’s ASVAB book. Jordana and I began by reviewing the entire Dummies book. Then we worked on the supplemental material it provides for prefixes, suffixes, and root words. I augmented that book by occasionally creating practice tests for her, using the hardest words in the Dummies book, the Kaplan book, and words I encountered during the week.”
Jordana recently retook the ASVAB and on May 4, she received her results. She scored high enough to enlist with the occupational group of her choice.
“All three tutors agree she is incredible and one of the hardest working most dedicated students we have encountered,” noted Susann, who tutored Jordana in math. “She went from an initial score in the teens to a final in the sixties.”
“She is an exceptional young woman with impressive brainpower,” Shirley added.
Jordana praises each of her tutors for giving her confidence and helping her understand new ideas and concepts. Without their help and guidance, she doesn’t think her score would have doubled.

Congratulations, Jordana!

Thank you, Susann, Marjorie, and Shirley, for your dedication to Jordana and our programs.
*ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The Literacy Council is working with potential recruits who wish to prepare for the test. They are referred to us by local Army Recruiting Stations.
Post image for Reading Lists for Adult Learners

New resources offer book suggestions

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy recently published a reading resource guide for readers of all ages and levels. Visit the resource library to see recommended books by topic, including Civil Rights, Science Fiction, and Inspirational Text. Browse book summaries, author websites, book trailers, reviews, and more.

The Literacy Council’s staff and tutors compiled this suggested reading list, available as a PDF.

Tutors, please email us your book or resource recommendations at any time, and we will share them:



Post image for Student & Tutor Success: Ivonne & Vicki

Vicki Jordan on working with her “fearless” student Ivonne, who is a teacher, translator, & an inspiration.


“I retired December 2017 and in early 2018 took the training offered by the AA County Literacy Council for volunteer tutors! Tutoring was on my bucket list. Ivonne and I were matched (brilliantly!) and started our journey together in March 2018.

“From our first weekly meeting at Linthicum Library we ‘clicked.’ We share a love of learning and a heart for helping others be their best selves. Ivonne is a Middle School Spanish teacher and her goal was to improve her spoken and written English — particularly business English; formal and informal correspondence with the administration, parents, and students…

“Little did we know in 2018 how much written correspondence would be required at all levels during the past year-plus as we navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic and online school presented a whole new set of challenges, and Ivonne was prepared for the unexpected.

“As we began our work together, we used the Challenger Series provided by AACLC, quickly completing the first series and moved on to books 5-8. Each week Ivonne came prepared and enthusiastically shared ‘The Best Thing that Happened’ from the journal we agreed she would keep. Her journal entries started out focused on facts — persons, places, and things — and gradually became much more complex focusing on emotions/ perceptions, and goals for the future utilizing more advanced sentence structures and her growing vocabulary.

“Ivonne read books about famous historical figures, newspaper articles, and shared her love of art with me. I learned she loved baseball too and we studied baseball terms! Her written and conversational English improved through tireless practice and most importantly, her confidence grew!

“Ivonne is fearless. As a teacher, she copes with many challenges inside and outside the classroom. Her ‘WHY’ is her students — she cares deeply about them and has built a trust with each of them that lingers long after they leave Middle School. I love hearing about the notes and visits she receives from current and former students who share what a difference-maker she is. Where others might see defeat and obstacles, she sees opportunity and growth. Ivonne inspires me!

“Speaking of inspiration, during the summer of 2020, the church my husband and I attend was in need of a Spanish translator. Without hesitation, Ivonne stepped up to bridge the gap between our church and the community we were serving. Not only did she help us understand what they needed as far as food, etc., but she also provided spiritual support.

“Ivonne and I look forward to meeting in person again and in the meantime, we continue to talk over the phone, send texts, and emails, and be there for each other. We both love the Library of Congress and hopefully, that will be an outing we can share! She is a friend and I look forward to the milestones she will achieve in the future.”

Vicki Jordan,
Post image for Director’s Message April 2021
April 18 – 24 is National Volunteer Week and the perfect opportunity to thank and celebrate our team of more than 300 active volunteers who are making a difference in Anne Arundel County. Thank you all for your talents, kindness, and hours of work on behalf of our students. AACLC volunteers collectively donate more than 13,000 hours of their time every year to improve lives in our communities. You are amazing! COVID vaccines are now widely available in our area. We strongly encourage all of our volunteers and students who can to get vaccinated. Please see the information below about state and county vaccine clinics.

All Marylanders & AA County residents 16 and over are eligible for vaccination.

Visit Maryland’s COVID-19 vaccination information site at for details on vaccine clinics or to pre-register for vaccination at a mass vaccination site. Anne Arundel County’s Department of Health is also running local clinics and there is a Mass Vaccination site at the USNA Stadium. Find more here:

County Transportation to COVID Vaccine Clinic Appointments is Available

To coordinate transportation, call 410-222-3663 (TTY 7-1-1), Monday – Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. Read more about this program here.

With Many Thanks,

Jane Seiss, Executive Director AACLCJane Seiss, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council
410-926-5797 (cell)

Remote Tutoring Success

March 15, 2021

Post image for Remote Tutoring Success

Useful ideas and follow-up from our Zoom Roundtable

  • Use Google Docs to look at a document at the same time as your student — see changes made in real-time and discuss them while you are working.
  • Check out Quizlet for generating vocabulary lists, flashcards, multiple-choice quizzes, and other study tools. Use the app or the website.
  • Use screen sharing and real or virtual whiteboards to work out math problems or to review material with your student.
  • Some libraries are already creating and providing access to their summer reading sections, which are organized by reading level. Look for books of interest to your student, and always feel free to ask a librarian for help.

For more advice about tutoring from a distance, please contact Wendy to receive our Virtual Tutoring Guide — a compilation of tips and resources from AACLC staff, trainers, and tutors. Tips on low-tech virtual tutoring are included.

Our Work Matters

March 13, 2021

Post image for Our Work Matters

This month, we are sharing news on the impact of tutoring. Read more at these links:

Learning to read as an adult changes deep regions of the brain

“Even learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms brain networks,” one researcher said in follow up to a 2017 study. “The adult brain is remarkably flexible to adapt to new challenges.” (Mental Floss)

Lawyer reunites with teacher who taught her English as a child

A lawyer and immigrant whose teacher spent an extra hour a day volunteering to teach her English finally gets to thank the woman who changed her life. This piece was shared by a Literacy Council supporter. (The Washington Post)

U.S. adult literacy facts

ProLiteracy breaks down its most recent findings on adult literacy including some of the costs of low literacy in the United States. (ProLiteracy)