Welcome to Write Away!
The writing forum for Project Read learners.

We've redesigned our blog so that adult learners working at Project Read can share what they have written with other learners, tutors, and the public. There are a few simple guidelines to be aware of.
  1. This is a moderated site, so submissions and comments will first be reviewed before being approved and published.
  2. Adult learners submitting their writing have the option of using their first name (only) or using "anonymous" for authorship.
  3. We wish to honor the writing efforts of the adult learner/authors, so no major copy editing will be applied, but we may suggest minor corrections in consultation with the author.
  4. Only active Project Read learners are eligible to submit their writing to the Write Away blog and there are two ways of doing this: send submissions via email to projectread@sfpl.org, or stop by the office with a hard copy of your writing.
  5. The views and opinions expressed on this web site are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not represent those of the San Francisco Public Library and/or the City and County of San Francisco.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Community Jobs Forum for Learners & Tutors

The White House is asking for your ideas about jobs in our community; how well our local economy is working and how to create more jobs locally. Join Project Read tutor Annie Leuenberger to discuss your ideas about this important topic. After the meeting she will send your comments directly to Washington D.C.
Speak your mind and make a difference!
Join us on
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
6:00 - 7:30 PM
Main Library - project Read Conference Room & Computer Lab
Please call (415) 557-4388 if you plan to attend.
Coffee/tea and treats will be served.

Tutor Roundtable Meetings in 2010

Join your fellow volunteer tutors at an upcoming Tutor Roundtable and pick up some new perspectives and fresh techniques to enhance your tutoring skills. And of course, we always provide the pizza.

Here are the dates for upcoming Roundtables in 2010:

  • Tuesday, January 5th - 6:00 PM
  • Saturday, February, 6th - 1:00 PM
  • Tuesday, March 2nd - 6:00 PM
  • Saturday, April 3rd - 1:00 PM
  • Tuesday, May 4th - 6:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 5th - 1:00 PM

All Roundtables take place in the Project Read conference room at the Main Library (100 Larkin St.). Please remember to call 415-557-4388 to RSVP for any of these meetings.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Come to the Holiday Party & Potluck on December 10

Join your fellow tutors, learners, and library staff for Project Read's annual

Holiday Party & Potluck
Thursday, December 10, 2009
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Main Library - Latino-Hispanic Meeting Room, Lower Level

You'll enjoy some great food, music, a free raffle, and special door prizes for everyone.

Friends and family members are always welcome.

Call (415) 557-4388 if you plan to attend,
and please bring a favorite holiday dish to share.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Continuing Ed. Class for Tutors - October 22

Putting the I in Writing

Thursday, October 22, 2009
6:00 - 7:30 PM
Main Library -- Latino-Hispanic Meeting Rm.

Learn how to encourage your adult learner to express his/her own personal voice and cultural identity in what they write. This ability can motivate your learner to write more and make even better progress toward their personal writing goals.
Presented by Booh Edouardo, Project Read tutor and graduate student at
S.F. State Dept. of English--Composition Program.

Please call (415) 557-4388 if you plan to attend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learner Workshop -- "Find the Job You Want" Pt. 1

Thursday, October 1, 2009
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Project Read Conference Room

Presented by SFPL Librarian (and former Project Read staff member) Richard Le and Project Read Outreach Coordinator Leon Veal.

At this workshop, adult learners will...
  • Learn how to organize job search information
  • Learn how to use online job applications
  • Learn how to use a flash drive to store job information

At part 2 of this workshop (yet to be scheduled) those attending will learn how to search for a job using the Internet.

Adult learners should call the Project Read office at 415-557-4388 if they plan to attend.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Syllabication Resources from Continuing Education Class

(You may click on these jpg images to enlarge, then print your own copies -- use landscape format when printing.)

Here is a useful instructional tool presented at the August continuing education class for tutors entitled Divide to Conquer. This kinesthetic instructional game can help your learner understand common syllable types and how they are usually spelled and pronounced. Thanks to Project Read tutor, and former literacy program director, Lucille Cuttler for helping to present the workshop and for creating this learning tool.

The first grid contains examples of six syllable types. The second is blank so that you and your learner can plug-in syllables from words being studied in your tutoring sessions. Much more information on syllable types is available in your tutor training materials: LITSTART--pages 160 - 167, Tutor Training Manual -- pages. 50 & 51.

Notes from September 1st Tutor Roundtable

At Project Read's September Tutor Roundtable meeting there was a lively discussion by the tutors concerning a variety of instructional topics.

  • One tutor mentioned that he and his learner had been working on the topic of African-American history. His learner enjoys doing research on the Internet and they have found a wealth of reading material while using the Project Read computer lab. When his learner has trouble with a word, they focus on breaking it down into syllables. It was suggested that they might also look at the 3rd floor Project Read collection at the Main Library which includes many easy-to-read books on the subject of African-American history.

  • Another tutor has been helping her learner focus on pronouncing and writing word endings correctly. To do this they have been spending time breaking words down and looking at spelling patterns associated with the common word endings.

  • The challenge of teaching grammar was also discussed. A tutor mentioned that he has had success using Write All About It, a comprehensive grammar workbook available FREE in the Project Read office for tutor-learner teams. He and his learner will soon start working on the learner's goal of writing personal letters--a good opportunity to reinforce grammar skills introduced in the workbook.

  • The tutors also discussed ways to encourage learners to get their thoughts down on paper. One method suggested was the good old mind mapping technique introduced during tutor training. Another reminder was to always begin with a topic of interest to the learner or bring in photos or newspaper articles for the learner to respond to in writing.

  • One final tip offered by a tutor was on the topic of planning the tutoring session. She said that initially her sessions had been one and a half hours in length, but she found that a lot of time was being consumed by chit chat before the actual instruction could begin. She decided to simply add that time to the overall session length. She's meeting with her learner for two hours now, but making sure that a smooth transition occurs between the time for socializing and instruction.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Continuing Ed. Class for Tutors -- August 20

Discover strategies to help your learner master those pesky multi-syllable words and unlock the gateway to spelling ease and increased comprehension.

Presented by: Lucille Cuttler, Learning Specialist
& Randy Weaver, Project Read Manager

Thursday, August 20, 2009
6:00—7:30 p.m.
Main Library — Latino-Hispanic Meeting Room — Lower Level

Please call (415) 557-4388 if you plan to attend.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Join Your Fellow Tutors at an Upcoming Roundtable Meeting

Tutor Round Table meetings are opportunities for Project Read tutors to come together to share their successful instructional strategies and get some new ideas for materials and techniques that can enhance the tutoring effort. These informal meetings take place in the Project Read Conference Room on the 2nd floor of the Main Library and tasty refreshments are always provided.

Here is a schedule of Round Table meetings for the next few months. Please call 415-557-4388 beforehand if you plan to attend.
  • Tuesday, July 7 -- 6:00 - 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, August 1 -- 1:00 - 2:30 pm
  • Tuesday, September 1 -- 6:00 - 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, October 24 -- 1:00 - 2:30 pm
  • Tuesday, November 10 -- 6:00 - 7:30 pm

Monday, April 27, 2009

Join Us for the Annual Tutor - Learner Recognition June 4, 2009

A special evening to honor Project Read’s
learners & tutors

* Fine Music * Tasty Food * Volunteer Service Awards
* Project Read Learners as Guest Speakers

Thursday, June 4, 2009
6:00 — 8:00 p.m.

Main Library — Latino-Hispanic Meeting Room — Lower Level

Bring your friends and family!

Please call (415) 557-4388 if you plan to attend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Magazine Highlights Wednesday Night Readers Book Club

The Wednesday Night Readers in Action (Photo by Brian)

The April 2009 issue of The Clarion, a publication of the California Library Association, features an excellent article all about Project Read's Wednesday Night Readers Book Club (pages 9 - 11). The author of this article is John Gildersleeve who is co-facilitator of the book club and 15-year-volunteer with Project Read. Mary Hilton (current co-facilitator), and Renee Feldman (previous co-facilitator) also contributed to this article. John did an outstanding job of capturing what makes the Wednesday Night Readers special and empowering .

The entire April issue of The Clarion is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of California Library Literacy Services and features some excellent perspectives on library-based literacy efforts.

Please click the image below to view or download the on-line PDF version of this publication. Enjoy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Continuing Education Class for Tutors - April 22

Instructional Resources Tune-Up

Join Brian and Randy for an empowering review of Project Read’s many instructional aids, workbooks, and technology resources that can help enhance your teaching of phonics, spelling, writing, and comprehension skills.
Tasty treats will be served.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
6:00 — 7:30 p.m.

Main Library — Project Read Conference Room & Computer Lab
Please call (415) 557-4388 if you plan to attend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tutor-Learner Teams: Join the Wednesday Night Readers Book Club

This is the schedule of books being read and discussed over the next few months by Project Read's Wednesday Night Readers book club. Pick up your FREE books and audio books and make plans to attend one of these exciting and rewarding discussions. We make unabridged audio books available so that learners at any reading level can participate in the discussion. Adult learners do not have to finish the entire book to attend the meetings.

The Member of the Wedding, a play by Carson McCullers (books & audio books available February 26, discussed at March 25 meeting -- 118 pages)

Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding is only one of two plays written by the author and by far the most successful. Adapted from her 1946 novel of the same name, this play depicts the interwoven lives of whites and blacks in the American South, and the poignant turmoil of adolescence. The March 25 meeting will feature a special performance by professional actors from the local Screen Actors Guild.

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho (books & audio books available March 26, discussed at April 29 meeting -- 208 pages)

The charming tale of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who dreams of seeing the world, is compelling in its own right, but gains resonance through the many lessons Santiago learns during his adventures. He journeys from Spain to Morocco in search of worldly success, and eventually to Egypt, where a fateful encounter with an alchemist brings him at last to self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment. The story has the comic charm, dramatic tension and psychological intensity of a fairy tale, but it's full of specific wisdom as well, about becoming self-empowered, overcoming depression, and believing in dreams. The cumulative effect is like hearing a wonderful bedtime story from an inspirational psychiatrist.

Sounder by William H. Armstrong (books & audio books available April 30, discussed at May 27 meeting -- 126 pages)

Winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South. The boy's father is a sharecropper, struggling to feed his family in hard times. Night after night, he and his great coon dog, Sounder, return to the cabin empty-handed. Then, one morning, almost like a miracle, a sweet-smelling ham is cooking in the family's kitchen. At last the family will have a good meal. But that night, an angry sheriff and his deputies come, and the boy's life will never be the same.

Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna VanLiere (books & audio books available May 28, discussed at June 24 meeting - 290 pages)

In 1947, there aren't any black families in the town of Morgan Hill, TN, until the Turners arrive to help on a tobacco farm. Nine-year-old Jane Gable first sees young Milo Turner when she is on the way home from her abusive father's funeral. Although the impression is vivid, she has no idea how closely their lives will become entangled. Jane's memories capture a child's-eye view of the confusing adult world.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (books & audio books available June 24, discussed at July 29 meeting -- 107 pages)

The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simpleminded man, calming him and helping to reign in his immense physical strength.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Project Read Honored with National Award

On February 4, we heard the news that Project Read will receive the 2009 Advancement of Literacy Award presented by the Public Library Association and Library Journal.

Here is a brief description of the award from the
Public Library Association website:

Advancement of Literacy Award
honors a publisher, bookseller, hardware and/or software dealer, foundation or similar group (i.e., not an individual) that has made a significant contribution to the advancement of adult literacy. A plaque is awarded annually at the ALA Annual Conference. Established in 1984. Sponsored by Library Journal.

Some of the previous recipients have included: Verizon Foundation, The Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, The Bell Atlantic Foundation, READ San Diego, New Readers Press, and Michigan Literacy, Inc.

We look forward to traveling to Chicago this July to accept this important award at the American Library Association's annual conference.

Thanks to the San Francisco Public Library, our incredible volunteer tutors, and courageous adult learners for helping Project Read to be recognized and honored on a national level.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Continuing Education Class for Tutors - Feb. 19

Using Poetry to Enrich Basic Literacy Instruction

Presented by Randy Weaver — Project Read Manager

Join us for this fun and interactive workshop where you will discover how poetry and song lyrics can be used to teach basic skills while adding variety and excitement to your sessions.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

6:00 — 7:30 p.m.

Main Library—Latino-Hispanic Meeting Room—Lower Level

Please call (415) 557-4388 if you plan to attend.