October 2020 Newsletter

Happy Halloween

Director’s corner

Wow! What a month! Welcome to fall!

Just a quick update, our First Authors’ Panel with Issac Bailey and Dana Ridenour was AMAZING! What great story tellers they are and it shows in their work! It was a great way to start a Saturday and celebrate NATIONAL LITERACY MONTH. Look for our Second Authors’ Panel…maybe this will be a quarterly opportunity. A video recording of the panel is available on our website.

If you watch the HTC channel and Diane Stokes DeVaughn, I’ve got an interview on her show on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8am, noon, and 8pm. We had a brief conversation about Palmetto Literacy Council. I had the opportunity to talk to her and “meet” her husband who does her camera work. They are a great couple. To keep all of us safe, we Zoomed the interview.

Chapin Memorial Library and Surfside Library have started to allow us to tutor. We have students in the Wait mode and need some volunteers in the Conway and Socastee area.

Unfortunately, we have limited materials, so some of our students will need to wait for a tutor and our funds to purchase more books.

M & M Golf and Travel reached out to us and are helping us put on our First Charity Golf Tournament. We have several volunteers who have offered to help us out and we could use more. We also are looking for Hole sponsorships. The Hole Sponsors will get their logo put on the flyer that each of the players gets, and

the cost is $100. If you would like to sponsor a Hole, please go to our website to sign up. The players can play individually for $50 and as a foursome for $200. We’re also looking for raffle items. If you are crafty or know someone who has a basket, please let us know. Please call our office at 843-945-9278 if you would like to donate to the raffle.

Our students (and parents) who are returning are so excited to be back with their tutor or happy to get a new tutor. We’ve had lots of students contact us that are new to the program too and several new volunteers and tutors! See our interview with tutor Bonnie Kelley for some insight on tutoring (page 4).

We hope to get the volunteers together at the end of October at Sneaky Beagle, so they can get to know each other and share. Volunteers—check your email from [email protected] sent on 10/8/2020. If you wish to participate and didn’t get an email, please let Cheryl Burns know asap.

COVID-19 is still with us. Please wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently. As you know, our community is important to all of us. Please be safe, stay healthy, and READ!

Dodi Hodges, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Halloween Literacy Council

Read some Halloween books!

  • Hooray for Halloween, Curious George by H.A. Rey (Pre-K–3)
  • A Very Witchy Spelling Bee by George Shannon (Pre-K–3)
  • The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg (Pre-K–3)
  • Halloween Mice! by Bethany Roberts (1–4)
  • Bone Soup by Cambria Evans (2–5)
  • Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting (Pre-K–3)
  • The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes (2–5)
  • The Witches’ Supermarket by Susan Meddaugh (Pre-K–3)
  • Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert (1–4)

Create a Spooky Story!

Around Halloween, kids hear and read so many stories—whether they’re scary, silly, or somewhere in between, this holiday is all about storytelling! Encourage them to create their own Halloween- themed stories. To help get them started, you can provide an opening line or some target vocabulary words to include. Depending on their grade level, their stories could be anywhere from a paragraph to few pages, and you could even have them draw illustrations! Use Halloween-themed or colored paper for extra fun!

Review of Why Didn’t We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland

By Patricia F. D’Ascoli

Issac Bailey is angry. And readers will be too after digesting his new book, Why Didnt We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland. Bailey, an award-winning journalist and resident of Myrtle Beach, offers a painful portrayal of the reality of racism that exists in the United States. It is a sobering and disturbing analysis and a reality that must be confronted in order for real change to take place.

The book is written from the perspective of a black man who bears the scars of living in Trumpland – places in this country, he says, where white people overwhelmingly support Trump in spite of – or maybe because of – his open bigotry and racism. Places where blacks have had to swallow their anger and fear and to accept racism and bigotry in order to respect the wishes and feelings of racists. Bailey wrote this book because he is no longer willing to stay a silent resident of Trumpland.

In his book, Bailey sets the record straight: Trump’s election to the highest office reflects that “white America decided that white supremacy and racism aren’t deal breakers.” It is a tough truth told from the perspective of a black man from the South whose experiences as a journalist and as a first hand observer confirm the racial injustices that continue to be inflicted upon blacks in this country at the hands of the police and in the hands of the criminal justice system. These anti-black inequities are manifestations of the harm that white supremacy has caused and continues to cause.

Bailey argues another tough (and ugly) truth: that white supremacy could not exist in this country without white Evangelical Christianity. He debunks the idea that this group’s enduring support for Trump was borne of their complaints of “economic angst” or because they feared that their religious rights were under attack. They continue to support Trump, he says, primarily because Trump purports to oppose abortion.

And this issue, rather than racism and bigotry, is an apparent “deal breaker” for white Christians. To be clear: Bailey does not believe that all Trump sup- porters are racist.

So this is where blacks in this country are – possibly facing another four years of Trump and therefore another four years of white supremacy and racial inequality. The picture is not all bleak, however. Bailey suggests that white Americans who are seri- ous about making any long-lasting change should “punish politicians who use white supremacy and white fear as political weapons.” November 3rd is the time to do this. And black Americans should no longer remain silent and accepting. They should demand change and push for racial equality.

Meet a Tutor Bonnie Kelley

Bonnie Kelley loves to help people. Now retired,
she is a former registered nurse who was looking for some rewarding volunteer work to do when she discovered that Palmetto Literacy Council had a need for volunteers. She did not, however, know what type of volunteering she would be doing for PLC. Bonnie thought perhaps she might be helping elderly people or filling out forms.

“I had no idea I would be helping kids,” said the 65 year old resident of Murrells Inlet. With no teaching experience, Bonnie wasn’t sure if she was qualified to tutor children in reading and writing. She soon real- ized, however, that her own love of reading and her belief that everyone should be able to read made her the perfect tutor!

Bonnie participated in the tutoring training program in January. “Dr. Hodges has a great learning program set up. Her volunteer classes are self explanatory,” she said, noting that Dr. Hodges is always available to answer questions and concerns and to provide feed- back.

Dr. Hodges matched Bonnie up with 7 year old Jasmine in February. They started their tutoring sessions, which were going well, but unfortunately the sessions had to be put on hold with the arrival of COVID in March. Jasmine’s mother wanted her daughter to continue with tutoring, however, so she called Bonnie to ask if she would be interested in tutoring by mail.

Bonnie related that she then regularly sent assign- ments for Jasmine to work on, and with the help of her mother and grandmother, Jasmine continued to improve her reading skills, sending completed work back to Bonnie.

In July, Dr. Hodges allowed tutors to return to in-person tutoring in July, and Bonnie was excited when she got the go-ahead to tutor with Jasmine again. They now meet twice a week at the Inlet Square Mall. Jasmine, who is in the second grade, recently returned to school two days a week, so the regular sessions with Bonnie are particularly important.

Although Bonnie was a bit concerned about tutoring in person, she feels confident with the protocol in place. She and Jasmine both wear masks during the sessions. And Bonnie takes hand sanitizer and makes sure to wipe everything down before they begin. Bonnie said she feels very safe doing this.

Jasmine’s goal is to read on the second grade level. “I think by Christmas time she’ll be on track. She is very bright. She is a sponge,” Bonnie related. She and Jasmine have made a strong connection through- out their time together, and Bonnie hopes to continue working with Jasmine throughout the school year.

Even though Bonnie was a bit hesitant to tutor at first, she likes it so much that she is hoping to tutor a second child. It has been such a rewarding experience for Bonnie. And she encourages others to volunteer to tutor and to support PLC in its mission to improve literacy in Horry County.

Bonnie Kelley pictured with her grandson


CHAIR: Dodi Hodges: [email protected]
VICE CHAIR: Shawna Roessler [email protected]
TREASURER: Maria Denney [email protected]
SECRETARY: Preston McKever-Floyd [email protected]
FUNDRAISING CO-CHAIRS: Patricia D’Ascoli [email protected], Stephanie Southworth [email protected]
ADMINISTRATIVE ASST.: Jeanne Bogart [email protected]

MAILING ADDRESS: 1229 38TH Avenue North, #130 Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 1010 5th Avenue North Ext., Suite 101I Surfside Beach, SC 29575


OFFICE PHONE: 843-945-9278
OFFICE EMAIL: [email protected]
WEBSITE: www.palmettoliteracy.org


To improve the literacy of youth and adults in our community by teaching/tutoring basic literacy skills for those who struggle with reading, writing and/or math.

You can also read our newsletter here.

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