Nelson Lauver, (seated right), author and keynote speaker at the “Celebrate Learning” Conference in Norman on April 18, posed for a photo with the Great Plains Literacy Council delegates, who included (seated, l to r) Brittany Shelton, Ethel “Pookie” High, and Sun Chung. Other delegates (standing, l to r) are tutors Hector Trevino, Beverly Johnson, Elsa L. Garcia, Jerri Northam, Gayla Smith, and Ida Fay Winters. Mary Ann Shelton was unavailable for the photo. Mr. Lauver congratulated Ethel High for her being recognition as an outstanding Basic Education Adult Learner finalist and Sun Chung, named the Tinker Federal Credit Union ESL Adult Learner of the Year.
“If you get knocked down, get back up!” was Nelson Lauver’s message that he emphasized in his keynote address on April 18 at the statewide “Celebrate Learning” Conference. Lauver told how he struggled in reading as a student, but no one knew he had a learning disability…dyslexia. Then after nearly a dozen years after high school graduation, he finally learned to read and write through adult literacy. He had developed his speaking ability and became a radio broadcaster. From 2001 to 2010, he hosted The American Storyteller Radio Journal. Autographed copies of his book Most Unlikely to Succeed were provided to all attendees by the State Literacy Resource Office at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. No wonder after a moving speech about how ordinary people have made extraordinary achievements, the audience gave him a standing ovation!
This statewide conference for adult learners, tutors, and literacy supporters was held at the National Center for Employee Development in Norman. The conference was sponsored by the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition and the State Literacy Resource Office.
Adult learners were able to attend Mr. Lauver’s four-hour workshops during the one-day conference to encourage writing. They were able to listen to personal stories by each adult learner and were given guided on writing them down. They were able to listen to some of Mr. Lauver’s short stories that he has available on americanstoryteller.com and how these stories are downloaded free as tools for even English as Second Language (ESL) learners around the world.
During that time, all other attendees such as volunteer tutors, adult education instructors, and literacy staff attended a “Phonics Intervention” training for four hours. Marilyn Lance, Saxon Curriculum Specialist, conducted the educational workshop and showed how to be effective in helping adult learners use phonics in learning words, fluency and comprehension. The State Literacy Resource Office funded her presentation and provided curriculum to every literacy program attending.
Another highlight of the conference was the Learners’ Award Luncheon. Kacie Mach, Business Development Representative, presented the Tinker Federal Credit Union English as a Second Language Adult Learner of the Year Award to Sun Chung of the Great Plains Literacy Council in Altus. She received a plaque and $100. Ethel “Pookie” High was named an adult learner finalist and received a plaque.
Another excitement was that the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition also provided three I-tablets as door prizes for the adult learners, and GPLC attendees Brittany Shelton and Sun Chung each won one.
One announcement at the conference was a new writing opportunity for learners to be recognized as authors by writing stories. Rebecca Barker from the State Literacy Resource Office announced plans for adult learners to submit writings before July 31 to be selected for publication in a book. Guidelines for the writing contest are available at the literacy office in the Altus Public Library.