LCUP Literacy Summit January 9, 2015

Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas

2015 Literacy Summit

January 9, 2015

10 AM – Noon


Please join LCUP tutors and board members, librarians, and other literacy leaders to discuss opportunities for collaboration to promote literacy efforts in Pinellas County. Pinellas Public Library Cooperative Executive Director Cheryl Morales will be our featured speaker.

Dunedin Public Library

223 Douglas Ave.

Dunedin, FL 34698

Meeting Room B


Please respond to postmaster@lcup.net



LCUP Conversation Classes for English Language Learners


Come join our learning community and  practice your American English literacy skills in a supportive and friendly environment.


Clearwater East Public Library                   

2251 Drew St., Clearwater

Phone: 727-562-4970

4:30- 6:00 PM on Mondays


Dunedin Public Library

223 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Phone: 727-298-3080, ext. 1724

5:45- 7:30 PM on Wednesdays


Palm Harbor Public Library

2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor

Phone: 727-784-3332

 6:30-7:30 PM on Thursdays

Son Helps Immigrant Parents Learn English

LCUP tutors work with students with greatly varied degrees of experience and skill. One of the most challenging tasks for a tutor is teaching newcomers to speak, read, and write English who have immigrated to this country with very limited ability to communicate.

Nine-year-old Matin is helping his parents, Vilmos and Agnes Garda, learn English.

Nine-year-old Matin is helping his parents, Vilmos and Agnes Garda, learn English.

David Muething, LCUP volunteer and board member, is meeting that challenge tutoring Vilmos and Agnes Garda, who recently emigrated from Hungary to Palm Harbor. His “assistant” is the Gardas’ nine-year-old son, Matin, who is playing an instrumental role in helping his parents learn English.

The Gardas moved to the United States seeking better economic opportunities. Matin studied some English in school in Hungary and has quickly built upon his language skills being immersed in English in elementary school. He accompanies his parents to tutoring sessions with David at Palm Harbor Library and helps translate from English to Hungarian when needed. He also “repairs” (corrects) his parents at home when they make mistakes, his mother says.

The Gardas agree the most difficult part of learning English is the sheer multitude of words (currently more than 1 million) and all the different vowel sounds (23).

David has served as a literacy tutor in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties for four years and has tutored students from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Iran. When he tutors new immigrants with limited English, said David, he begins with a handout of the alphabet.

“I recite each letter and then pronounce the sound it usually makes in a word,” he said.  “I teach the concept of vowels versus consonants. I then teach short and long vowel sounds.  I create a handout of commonly used phrases needed for survival and use Google Translate

David Muething uses Google Translate to help his Hungarian students learn English.

David Muething uses Google Translate to help his Hungarian students learn English.

(https://translate.google.com/) to provide the cross-reference in their native language.”

He then uses picture books with common everyday scenarios (grocery shopping, cleaning house, driving, walking around) and begins teaching basic vocabulary and sentences.  Building on this base, David begins introducing simple grammar lessons and phonics lessons, always patiently repeating and reinforcing what his students have learned over and over as they begin to feel more comfortable with their newly acquired skills.

For information on how you can become an LCUP volunteer tutor or receive tutoring services, contact LCUP at (727) 298-3080 ext. 1724 or postmaster@lcup.net.




Reading Horizons


Reading Horizons is a very effective program to use with emergent and beginning readers. Here are some web links that provide an introduction to some of the features of RH Elevate:





Martin Haffey, Reading Horizons Coordinator for LCUP, is willing to meet with any LCUP tutor or student to test their level on RH Elevate and help with any challenges of the program. He may be reached at 727-215-4675.

LCUP Volunteer Helps Students Become Citizens


LCUP Volunteer Sondra Kerr helps Sandra Lynema prepare for her citizenship exam.

Twenty students from nine different countries have become US citizens with the dedicated assistance of LCUP volunteer Sondra Kerr.

Sondra has lived in several countries around the world and has had a variety of careers—interior designer, flight attendant, child abuse  advocate, and consumer advocate—all involving public service and problem solving. When she began volunteering for LCUP she saw a need to be addressed and found her niche helping immigrants gain citizenship.

The process of becoming an American citizen, beginning with the initial application to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to the point of taking the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony, takes from 2-5 months, says Sondra. Her assistance in helping to prepare immigrants to pass the English and civics test takes an average of six weeks.

Most of Sondra’s students are applying for American citizenship to improve their lives and those of their children. To apply, individuals must be at least 18 years old, have lived in the United States for five years and their community for at least three months, and have a green card.

Sondra guides students through the 21-page citizenship application and then helps prepare them for the English (speaking, writing, and reading) and civics tests.

Her greatest challenges, Sondra said, are helping students to understand civics questions, such as how the American executive, legislative, and judicial systems work, while simultaneously helping them overcome their fears, develop confidence, and appreciate the benefits they will enjoy as American citizens.