The Blog

Sign up Teams Now for Words & Friends for Literacy

The Portage County Literacy Council’s annual fundraiser will be held on Thursday, April 27 at 6:00 PM at Memories Banquet Hall, 2811 Plover Springs Drive, Plover, Wis. Community members, students, businesses, and other organizations are invited to sign up their teams now. No experience necessary!

Words & Friends for Literacy is a high-energy and fun event. Teams of four participants play a collaborative game of Scrabble®. The teams pool their letters to make as many words as possible during three timed rounds. The team with the highest score is declared the winner. Teams raise at least $100 for adult literacy programs, and enjoy a fun night out, catered meal, and door prizes. A 50/50 raffle and cash bar are also available. Teams are encouraged to register now by calling 715-345-5341 or signing up online at

Proceeds from the event support PCLC programs. The event sponsor is Worzalla, a state-of-the-art, full-service printing and binding company in Stevens Point, Wis. The triple word sponsor is Sentry Insurance. A full list sponsors can be found on the event website. For more information about the event and the PCLC, call 715-345-5341 or email


Literacy Tutors Needed for Adults in Portage County

The Portage County Literacy Council (PCLC) is looking for additional volunteers to tutor adults in our community. The program has learners on the waiting list, and tutors are needed to work with English language learners and adult basic education learners. “Community members looking for a fulfilling volunteer experience should consider becoming a tutor,” said Kristy SeBlonka, PCLC director. “Literacy impacts every aspect of our learners’ lives.”

Tutors meet one-on-one with their learners on a weekly basis, typically 1-3 hours/week, and provide individualized assistance based on the learners’ situation and goals. English language learners are working to improve their ability to communicate in English, and in many cases are immigrants or refugees. Adult basic education learners are typically native English speakers that want to improve their reading or writing skills. They may have dyslexia or another learning difference.

Lisa Krenz recently became a new tutor in Portage County. A recent University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate, Krenz wanted to volunteer in order to stay active in the community. She meets weekly with a Spanish-speaking gentleman who works in the agricultural industry and wants to improve his English in order to understand his boss better. “Becoming a tutor will make a positive impact on someone else’s life,” she said. “Working with these adults also teaches you things about yourself.”

Community members interested in becoming tutors should contact the PCLC at 715-345-5341 or for an application and orientation. Teaching experience is not required, just a desire to share the basic skills that are so important for adults to have a good quality of life and help their families.

After completing an orientation, new volunteers will attend a tutor training. The next tutor training for working with English language learners will be on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. It will be presented by Deb Aeby, who has more than 25 years of experience working with English language learners. The next tutor training for working with adult basic education learners will be held over two Saturdays, February 6 and 13. This training will be presented by Anne Schauman, the director for the Alternative Center for Education, who has 20 years of experience working with learners with learning differences.


Free Educational Program Helps Hmong Residents Better Understand Medication

Wisconsin Health Literacy, with the assistance of a grant from Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc., is presenting a series of educational programs entitled Let’s Talk About Medicines around the state in July and August to help adults better understand medication.

At 6pm on Monday, August 31, Wisconsin Health Literacy will be holding a Let’s Talk About Medicines presentation in partnership with the Portage County Literacy Council and CAP Services’ Hmong UPLIFT program. The program will be held in the Stevens Point Area YMCA Conference Room. Sally Topinka, a retired nurse and trained presenter, will present the program. Hmong interpretation will be provided by CAP Services. To register to attend call 715-345-5341 (English) or 715-343-7139 (Hmong).

“A lot of people take different kinds of medication each and every day. But many of us don’t have a good understanding of when and how these medicines should be taken. And how they might react to other medications we’re taking,” said Kari LaScala, with Wisconsin Health Literacy. “These programs offer practical, useful information about prescription medicine.”

Let’s Talk About Medicines fosters more effective use of medications, thus avoiding extended illnesses, adverse drug events and costly hospital or clinic visits related to use of medication.

The programs feature plain, easy-to-understand language about such topics as:
• The main parts of a medication label
• Types of containers and labels for solid and liquid medications
• Dosage instructions, and how to determine how much, how often and when to take medications
• How to read and interpret special instructions on the label
• Basic storage techniques and expiration dates
• Potential interaction between prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
• Strategies for remembering when to take your medications
• The importance of asking the pharmacist for clarification or follow-up questions.

Each workshop participant will receive a free pill box and workbook, plus the chance to enter into a cash prize drawing at the end of the program.