Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

LEARN Alive!

The Spring/Summer 2012 edition of LEARN Alive is here!  Please follow the link below to read our informative newsletter.

SDCL Named Library of the Year!

The San Diego County Library has been named the 2012 Library of the Year by Gale (part of Cengage Learning) and Library Journal magazine.  Each year this recognition goes to a public library that most profoundly demonstrates service to the community, creativity, and leadership & innovation in developing community programs.  On Sunday, June 24th at the American Library Association’s annual conference in Anaheim, the San Diego County Library was presented with this prestigious award. 

The SDCL was selected for its unique programming and strategic budget allocation.  Over the past six years, the SDCL has tripled materials circulation and quadrupled program attendance.  In addition, despite a 32% decrease in funding, the SDCL has increased business hours and built several new libraries while retaining all staff members.  Please follow this link to read the Library Journal article:

Monday, June 18, 2012

LEARN Summer Reading Program

The LEARN Summer Reading Program is a fun and productive way to get your learner involved in reading for pleasure and accomplishing goals.  Each learner, regardless of reading level or ability, can participate in the summer reading program.  Here's how the program works:
  1. Contact LEARN staff to register your adult learner and receive the summer reading bookmark
  2. Adult learners complete any combination of four achievements, including reading a book, listening to an audio book, or meeting a goal.
  3. Learners (and/or tutors) record their achievements on the summer reading bookmark.
  4. Upon completion of the four achievements, learners (and/or tutors) contact the LEARN staff, submit the bookmark, and claim your learner's prize.
It's that simple!  There is no limit to how many bookmarks a learner can complete.  The LEARN Summer Reading Program takes place from June 15th - August 10th.  Please call 888-466-0668 to register or for more information.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Volunteer Appreciation Picnic!

Attention tutors!  Come one, come all!  LEARN's 5th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic is being held on Sunday, June 3rd from 1:00-4:00pm at beautiful San Dieguito Park in Del Mar.  This is our way of thanking all of our hardworking volunteer tutors.  Please call 888.466.0668 for more information or to RSVP.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eat.Drink.Read. Fundraiser May 16th

You are invited to Eat.Drink.Read., this year's culinary and literary event!  Support local literacy efforts while enjoying extraordinary cuisine inspired by local chefs' favorite books.  Money raised will benefit the San Diego Council on Literacy, a local literacy organization which advocates for and supports several programs like LEARN. 

This year's event features food and drink from local restaurants such as The Marine Room, Urban Solace, Stone Brewing Co, Amaya, and Craft & Commerce (to name a few).  Eat.Drink.Read. is being held at the NTC Promenade in Point Loma on Wednesday, May 16th from 5:30 - 8:00pm.  Tickets are $60.  Visit for more information or to purchase tickets.

Monday, May 7, 2012

22nd Annual Tutor Conference

Are you looking for adequate teaching strategies to help you with your tutoring sessions?  Are you seeking valuable insight regarding dyslexia and other learning disabilities?  Do you want to know more about how to teach English grammar to an adult learner?  You are in luck!

Read/San Diego's 22nd Annual Tutor Conference is right around the corner!  This year's conference is being held on Saturday, June 9th on the beautiful University of San Diego campus.  This one day conference is chock-full of 20 useful workshops centered on adult literacy tutors, featuring content ranging from phonics to writing strategies to lesson planning.  In addition, featured luncheon keynote speaker, Denise Eide, will speak about her book, Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Solution to America's Literacy Crisis.

Join volunteer tutors and educators from across the state for a day of enjoyable, hands-on learning.  Early registration is $35.00 ($45 after June 1st).  Please visit for more information or to register.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

GrammarWork Workbooks

Are you having trouble remembering the difference between an adverb and an adjective?  Do you get stumped when explaining the differences between simple present, present perfect, and present continuous tenses to your learner?  Explaining English grammar can be both difficult and confusing.  The GrammarWork workbook series is an excellent resource for tutors and learners to delve into the mechanics of the English language.  This four-part series walks learners through different grammar concepts using real-life themes and engaging exercises while refreshing the memory of their tutors.  Stop by or call the El Cajon or Vista literacy centers to check out a copy!  You can also find GrammarWork on LEARN's materials list:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fine Free Friday

Do you have any overdue library books?  Are you concerned about the fines you've amassed from these items?  If so, you will be glad to learn about Fine Free Friday.  Fine Free Friday is the San Diego County Library's "amnesty" day that encourages library patrons to return their overdue items without penalty.  Overdue SDCL-owned library materials are eligible to have their fines waived if the items are returned on the last Friday of the month following the item's due date. Items overdue longer than this will not be eligible for their fines to be waived on Fine Free Friday.

SDCL branches will be closed on Fine Free Friday, March 30 in observance of César Chávez Day. Fines will be waived on SDCL-owned items returned to one of our book drops after the close of business on Thursday, March 29 and prior to opening on Saturday, March 31.

Please be sure to renew your items to avoid overdue fines.  Please call or email the LEARN staff if you have any questions regarding overdue literacy materials or fines incurred from overdue literacy materials.  Please visit this link for more information:

Friday, March 9, 2012

You're Never Too Old

James Henry worked as a fisherman and made a good living for his family, but he harbored a secret for nearly 90 years that only his wife knew about.  He could not read and write.  For years he was able to get by with help from his wife, street smarts, and bluffing.  As he got older and his wife's health began to deteriorate, James decided to make a change.  Watch the video and read the inspiring story of how James learned to read at the age of 90 and became an author at the age of 98.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Challenger Series

The Challenger book series is an eight-level program which guides adult learners from the beginning stages of reading to pre-GED reading levels.  This series helps adult learners improve their reading and reading comprehension through the use of original stories, nonfiction articles, themed units, and phonics charts.  Each lesson includes an introduction of new vocabulary words, a short story or article, reading comprehension activities, and various exercises covering the mechanics of the English language.  This popular series is utilized by many LEARN tutors who find it a resourceful tutoring and learning material.  You can peruse this series by stopping by the El Cajon or Vista Literacy Centers.  The Challenger series is also on the LEARN website's materials list:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Citizenship Classes

Did you know LEARN and the San Diego County Library offers free citizenship classes?  For over three years, many people have taken advantage of our citizenship classes at different library branches.  Several of the class attendees have taken and passed the citizenship exam, becoming new U.S. citizens.  Currently, classes are offered at the 4S Ranch, Potrero, Ramona, San Marcos, Spring Valley, and Vista branch libraries.  Please check out the video below highlighting our citizenship program.  If you have any questions about our citizenship classes or would like to help out, please contact LEARN at 888-466-0668. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Penguin Readers for Adult Learners

Trying to select interesting reading material for your learner?  Penguin Readers are an excellent resource housed in both the El Cajon and Vista Literacy Centers.  Often called "high-low readers" (high interest-lower reading level), Penguin Readers are essentially abridged versions of classic novels, biographies, or movie adaptations.  There are different levels within this series which accommodate most adult learners, from lower level readers to more advanced readers.  You will find an array of genres and titles, including Sense & Sensibility, Heart of Darkness, Black Beauty, 1984, and even biographies of famous people, such as Martin Luther King Jr.  You can view more Penguin Readers titles by following this link:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Check out The Bee!

What is The Bee?  The Bee is a spelling bee that consists of teams of three competing against teams from other companies, schools, and non-profit organizations from San Diego County.

When is The Bee?  The Bee will take place at The Pavilion at The Four Points by Sheraton San Diego in Serra Mesa: 8110 Aero Drive, San Diego, CA 92123 on Thursday, February 23, 2012, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.  There will also be a reception beforehand beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Whom does The Bee benefit?  The Bee benefits the San Diego Council on Literacy and its 25 affiliated literacy programs, including LEARN!

How much does The Bee cost?  Tickets for spectators are only $10 and this includes hors d’oeuvres, prize giveaways, and cash bar.

For more information visit the San Diego Council on Literacy's website at

Monday, February 13, 2012

SCLLN Literacy Conference

The Southern California Library Literacy Network is hosting its annual literacy conference on Saturday, February 25th in Buena Park (Orange County).  This all day conference is full of informative and practical workshops for both tutors and adult learners alike.  Please follow this link to view this year's workshops and for registration information:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Monthly Tutor Reports - FAQ

All tutors must submit a monthly tutor report to the LEARN staff by the 5th of each month.  Although the monthly tutor report helps keep us informed of your learner's accomplishments, these reports cover more than just your learner's progress.  The monthly tutor report also helps us keep track of your learner's goals (set and met), materials usage, and any areas of concern.  The monthly tutor report also informs us of what type of hours were kept by you and your learner.

Below are answers to tutors' frequently asked questions: 

1)      Do I submit a report if little or no progress has been made?
Answer:  Yes!  The monthly tutor report is not a progress report.  Although we want to keep abreast of any and all progress, we realize that at times the learning process moves at a snail’s pace.  If this is the case with your learner, add this to the report, plus any other developments (positive or negative).  We definitely want to know things like, “Joe hasn’t made any progress lately.  He lost his job and had to miss a couple of sessions.”  This information gives us some insight into what’s going on with you and your learner.  It also helps us assist you if you feel things are stagnant.
2)      Do I submit a report if we only met once or twice?
Answer:  Yes!  LEARN tracks the hours kept by all tutor/learner pairs, including any tutor preparation or travel time.  We, in turn, pass this information to the San Diego County Library’s administration and the California State Library.  Both the County and the State want to know how many volunteer hours are spent teaching adults how to read and write.  Based on the information included in tutor reports, from July 2010 – June 2011 LEARN tutors spent over 7,800 hours teaching their learners literacy skills!
3)      What if my learner’s goals are still the same and not much has changed?  Do I still submit a report?
Answer:  Yes!  We’ll refer you back to the answer for Question #1.  Additionally, maybe this is a good time to sit down with your learner and set new goals.  If his/her goals are more long-term, maybe you can both set some goals that will help his/her progress in the short-term (i.e. complete Challenger Lesson 3 in the next two weeks, each week this month read one chapter in my book, etc).
4)      Do I submit a report if we did not meet and/or have not met in a while?
Answer:  No.  You do not have to submit a report if you did not meet; however, we would like to know about any breaks in tutoring that have taken place (planned or unplanned).  You can either send us this information via phone, email, in person, or in a tutor report.
5)      I haven’t submitted a report because my learner and I stopped meeting a while ago.
Answer:  The last one was a statement and not a question, but we do have an answer!  If you and your learner are no longer meeting, please contact us!  Let us know if you are interested in being paired with a new learner.  There are always several learners waiting for tutors.  We are constantly updating our database, so please keep us informed as to you and/or your learner’s status.

Please submit your monthly tutor report by the 5th of each month.  You can download a copy of the monthly tutor report by following this link: If you have any questions regarding the tutor report, please post your questions in the comments below or give us a call at 619-588-3740. Thank you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tutor Training and Orientation

LEARN offers one tutor training and orientation session each month of the year (except December).  The purpose of the tutor training and orientation session is to give incoming volunteer tutors an overview of LEARN, introduce the various resources available to our tutors, and prepare them for working with an adult learner.  Attendance at a tutor training and orientation session is required before a volunteer tutor can begin working with an adult learner.  To view our 2012 tutor training list, please follow this link:

There are a number of ways you can register for an upcoming tutor training and orientation session.  To register by phone, please call 760-643-5144 (North County) or 619-588-3740 (South/East County).  You can also call our toll free line at 888-466-0668.

For electronic registration, email us at or follow this link:

Tutor and Learner Requirements

Whether you are a learner or tutor, one must meet certain requirements when getting involved with LEARN.  The requirements are as follows:

Learners must:
  • Be at least 18 years of age or 16 years of age and not in school;
  • Be willing to make a minimum commitment of 6 months;
  • Be willing to meet with a tutor for 1-1/2 hours twice a week;
  • Be willing to meet with a tutor at a San Diego County Library branch.

Volunteer Tutors must:
  • Be at least 18 years old, with the equivalent of a high school diploma;
  • Pass the County of San Diego's Volunteer Background Check;
  • Successfully complete LEARN's Tutor Training program;
  • Commit to a minimum of six months as a tutor;
  • Meet with a learner for 1-1/2 hours twice a week at a County Library branch;
  • Be patient, flexible and supportive with a sense of humor.
Please call 888-466-0668 toll free or visit for more information.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What is LEARN?

LEARN is the adult literacy program of the San Diego County Library.  We help adults improve their English literacy skills in order to achieve their full potential as community members, family members, workers, and life-long learners.  Adult learners who participate in our program accomplish their literacy goals by attending one-on-one or small group tutoring, ESL classes, English conversation classes, or citizenship classes.  All tutoring and classroom instruction is provided by volunteer tutors and instructors.  All of LEARN's services are provided free of charge in all 33 branches of the San Diego County Library.

If you need help, know of somebody who needs help, or would like to volunteer, please call 888-466-0668 or click  Change a life!  Help an adult to read and write!

LEARN Mission

  • To help adults improve reading and writing skills to achieve their full potential as community members, family members, workers, and life-long learners;
  • To teach non-English speakers ESL (English as a Second Language) skills;
  • To tailor services to individual needs, with confidentiality;
  • To foster understanding and use of public libraries;
  • To educate communities on the importance of literacy.