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The Oklahoma Literacy Resource Office

Dept. of Libraries

200 NE 18th St
Oklahoma City,

(405) 522-3205
(405) 525-7804—FAX

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 Oklahoma Literacy News


Step Forward Workshop
2013 Read Across Oklahoma: A Great Day at the Zoo

Celebrating Our Journey
Oklahoma's First Health Literacy Summit
Get Reading Oklahoma
Offers Free Literacy Programs for Adults

Literacy Tracker

Step Forward 2014

Jack Frost and a late winter storm couldn’t keep 30 Oklahoma literacy providers from convening at ODL on March 4 and 5 to participate in a Step Forward ESL Training workshop.

photograph of Jayme Adelson-Goldsein teaching workshopJayme Adelson-Goldstein—author of The Oxford Picture Dictionary, the Step Forward series for English language learners, and numerous other publications—traveled from her Northridge, California, home to conduct the two-day meeting.

[left to right] Jennifer Stanley and Judy Miller, both from Altus, with trainer Jayme Adelson-Goldstein

“Often our English language learners come to us in the hope of finding a bridge from their first language environment to the English-speaking community. They have a pressing need to learn authentic and meaningful language in order to effectively navigate community agencies, assist their families, and achieve their life goals,” Jayme says.

[left to right] Jana Smithey, Elk City, and Blair Lanning, Oklahoma City

To help Oklahoma’s literacy programs support these new learners, Jayme presented a variety of instructional strategies and tools that providers can quickly and easily put to use in their tutorial sessions and classes.


  • learned ways to use the ready-made instructional tools in Step Forward and The Oxford Picture Dictionary to create communicative language lessons that match particular learners' needs;
  • explored how lessons with a listening/speaking focus can also integrate and develop other key language skills including vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, reading, and writing; and
  • explored “templates for teaching” that covered early production questions, roundtables and round robins, Total Physical Response, focused listening tasks, role play, and problem solving.

All participants received copies of the texts and instructional materials as well as links to online resources.

2013 Read Across Oklahoma:
A Great Day at the Zoo

Despite a threat of severe weather, more than 4,200 children and parents gathered at the Oklahoma City Zoo for the 2013 Read Across Oklahoma celebration.

Excited participants spent the morning meeting their favorite PBS characters; Super Why, Curious George and Word Girl; having photos taken with Bullseye the Target mascot;  and visiting fun learning stations manned by volunteers. Adding to the fun were special musical performances by Spaghetti Eddie and story times presented by local celebrities.

four photographs
Children and adults enjoying Spaghetti Eddie's performance • playing with finger puppets • [bottom right] volunteers ready for temporary tattoos.

The 2013 theme, Nuts About Reading, was inspired by Oklahoma author Tammi Sauer’s new book, Oh Nuts!, a tale of three adventurous chipmunks who live at the zoo. Sauer read her story during three performances at the Aquaticus Arena.

Face painting and games • ROTC students • Target's Brandon Corbin

As part of the event, more than 2,300 youngsters received books to keep and take home. Employees from area Target stores were on hand to help out and to serve lunch to the children.  Young adults from Capitol Hill High School and Oklahoma City Metro Tech had the opportunity to help as well. More than 200 students assisted as class escorts, costumed characters, face painters, dancers, and much more. An event of this size takes months of planning, great sponsors, and an army of volunteers.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries thanks Target, OETA, Krueger Charitable Foundation,  Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma Zoological Society, Metro Tech, Capitol Hill High School FCCLA and ROTC students, Rotary Club of North Oklahoma City, Brendan Parker Music, Metropolitan Library System, and all the volunteers, performers, and readers for a great (but nutty) day. Check out the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority coverage of the event.

Celebrating Our Journey, Volume 8

The Literacy Resource Office is pleased to announce that once again we will publish a book of adult learner writings.

This opportunity is available to learners who are actively participating in an adult literacy program. Learners should submit original stories to be included in a published book which will be distributed in September.

The aim of the book is to allow learners to build confidence while also improving their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Organizational representatives can use this book as a way to promote how their programs are having a positive influence within their communities.

Adult learners and their tutors/teachers are encouraged to work together in writing, typing, editing, and submitting a written piece. We ask that completed stories along with the completed release form be submitted electronically.

See this letter (pdf) for more information.

Oklahoma’s First Health Literacy
Summit—a Success

Some 290 individuals attended Oklahoma’s first Health Literacy Summit held in September. Attendees, including healthcare professionals, literacy representatives, adult learners, and sponsors left the event with a greater understanding of Oklahoma’s health literacy issues, practical clear communication strategies, and ways health and literacy professionals can work together to address the issues.


After an official welcome by former Lt. Governor Jari Askins, keynote presenter Dr. Andrew Pleasant (pictured above with attendees) shared eye-opening information about health literacy issues including definitions, statistics, and examples of how health information is often most difficult for those at-risk for low literacy.

[clockwise from top left] Adult learner and summit presenter Terry Terflinger [center] poses with Marisa New for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and Leslie Gelders, Oklahoma Literacy Resource Office • Ida Fay Winters spins the “wheel of health literacy” • Dr. Bella Carroll and adult learner Ural Miles III discuss ways to redo a medical form using clear communication techniques

Representatives of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians share information in the exhibit hall

Another featured speaker, Toni Cordell, shared how her struggles with low literacy impacted her health decisions, including unknowingly signing papers for surgery because she couldn’t read the forms.

Workshop sessions covered a variety of health literacy topics presented by state and national experts.  A complete list of topics and presenters is available here (Summit program pdf).

Toward the end of the summit, Cheryl Rowan with the National Library of Medicine shared practical plain-language techniques, and attendees worked in groups to transform existing health-related information into easier formats. 

At the conclusion of the summit, the Oklahoma Health Equity Campaign unveiled Oklahoma’s new health literacy website.

Thanks to summit sponsors:





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Get Reading Oklahoma Offers
Free Literacy Programs for Adults

More than 1 million Oklahoma adults function at the lowest two literacy levels, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. This means that nearly four out of 10 working adults do not have the functional literacy skills necessary to perform the most basic tasks such as complete a job application or understand instructions from medical care providers.

logo for Get Reading

To help address these literacy shortfalls, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation's Get Reading Oklahoma initiative provides free access to educational programs designed to help adults improve their reading, writing and math skills and prepare for the GED exam. The free programs, TV411 and GED Connection, air Monday through Friday from 6-7 a.m. on Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA), as well as through Cox's FreeZone section of On DEMAND, channel 1, Cox Channel 18 in Oklahoma City, Cox Channel 21 in Tulsa and as streaming videos at www.getreadingoklahoma.org.

"By providing access to these educational programs via television and the Internet, Get Reading Oklahoma eliminates barriers such as lack of transportation and childcare that may have kept many adults from seeking assistance," says Nancy B. Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

GED Connection is a series of 39 half-hour episodes developed through the PBS LiteracyLink project to help adult students prepare for the GED exam. TV411, a series of 30 half-hour programs designed for adults who want to improve basic literacy skills, uses real-life situations such as completing job applications, reading news stories and understanding paycheck stubs as opportunities to learn. A complete television schedule is available at www.getreadingoklahoma.org/tvschedule.

In 2009, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation purchased the broadcast rights to GED Connection and TV411 to provide Oklahomans access to the programs and renewed the rights through May 2013. In addition to the television programming and online videos, DVDs of the two series have been distributed to more than 100 literacy providers statewide through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board. Cox Communications is also providing a toll-free telephone number where callers can find more information about local literacy service providers: 1-888-OK2Read (1-888-652-7323).

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logo for Literacy Tracker

Literacy directors from throughout the state are in the process of learning how to use Phase-1 of Oklahoma’s new literacy tracking system Literacy Tracker. This web-based tool—developed with Oklahoma.Gov—was funded through a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Literacy Tracker will track such things and learner and volunteer demographics, increases in learner reading levels, and achievement of goals, as well as instructional and volunteer hours. Phase-2 is currently under development and should be ready to pilot later this year. All literacy programs funded by the Oklahoma Department are required to submit statistical data and Literacy Tracker will make the job easier.


Beth Lyle, director of the literacy program in Shawnee, practices entering learner data in Literacy Tracker.

The first “graduating class” of Literacy Tracker, representing staff and directors from the Literacy Resource Office, two programs in Oklahoma City, Purcell, Norman, Edmond, Ardmore, Shawnee, and Ada pose with trainer Cheryl MacDonald.

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To contact staff of the Literacy Resource Office, use ODL's Staff Contact Form or Department .


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