February 2021 Newsletter

Happy Valentine’s Day and Black History Month!

From the Director’s Corner

Happy February and Black History Month! We hope everyone is safe, healthy and following the CDC Guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus…not to mention getting a vaccine soon!

It is Black History Month and the month of the heart (Valentine’s Day). We have had the opportunity to hear Amanda Gorman, our National Poet Laureate, give a stunningly beautiful reading of her poem “The Hill We Climb.” It was a reminder that we are here together, one community. Our volunteers are building our community through literacy.

I’m always encouraged when I talk to the parents and the students about our tutors. My heart goes out to each of you for the great work you do!

We are getting calls or emails, two to three each week, requesting tutoring services. The need is great and we need volunteers to tutor! We are looking for people of all backgrounds to join our volunteer group. If you know someone who would be willing to give 2 hours each week, please send them this newsletter and let them know about us.

Stay safe and healthy. We are building community through literacy!

Dodi Hodges, Ph.D.
Executive Director

How You Can Support PLC

Individual membership: $25/year (Pays for materials for one student)
Business membership: $50/year (Pays for materials for two students)

Your business card will be featured in the newsletter and on our website Donate through palmettoliteracycouncil.org

We Need Tutors

As of January 31, 2021, we have 19 student/tutors working together. We have 11 students waiting for a match. If you would like a second student or know a volunteer, please let Dodi know.

The following are students who have a need for a tutor:

  • 5 students in Conway (C3 Coffee Shop) for reading, 1 adult, 4 students
  • 1 student in Carolina Forest Library (Dunkin’ in Carolina Forest), reading
  • 4 students in the Socastee area
  • 1 student in the Loris/N. Myrtle Beach area

Other numbers:

  • 1 Student on COVID hold*
  • 14 Tutors on COVID hold*
    *COVID hold – Waiting for the virus to subside before coming back to Tutoring Sessions.

Volunteer Orientation and Training

Carla Taylor, our Training Coordinator, will conduct our next Volunteer Orientation and Training on February 16, 2021 at 6:00 PM online through the Zoom application.

We are in desperate need of tutors. Contact Dodi, to sign-up for the Volunteer Orientation and Training (VOT) or to get more information about the VOT. Once you’ve attended this meeting, then send the office your paperwork requested. It takes just a few minutes to do a background check through SLED. Once this is complete you will be welcomed to the team! Dodi will then contact you if there are students (either an adult or a child) in your area who needs a tutor.

Books for Black History Month

Beyond Inclusion, J. Goosby Smith & Josie Bell Lindsay

Sticking Points: How to get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart, Haydn Shaw

Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing, Verna Myers

Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown

How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

This Book is Anti-racist, Tiffany Jewell

Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will to Change, Jennifer Brown

Words Matter by Amanda Gorman

Words can be used to inform and to persuade and to entertain. They can also be used to inspire. And this is what the words written by Amanda Gorman in her poem “The Hill We Climb” do. Gorman, the nation’s Youth Poet Laureate, eloquently spoke the words of her 710 word poem at the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, 22 year old Gorman said,

“To me, words matter, and I think that’s kind of what made this inauguration that much more sentimental and special. We’ve seen over the past few years the ways in which the power of words has been violated and misappropriated.”

Gorman was passionate in her presentation, as anyone watching the inauguration witnessed. But hearing the poem doesn’t quite do it justice. I looked at the full text of “The Hill We Climb” to get a real sense not only of Gorman’s message, but of the way she crafted the poem. I wanted to analyze the rhetorical choices Gorman made.

Read the poem. It will inspire you.

I would like to focus here on a few particularly powerful portions of the poem. Note I have employed alliteration on purpose; Gorman utilizes this technique often throughout her poem. Alliteration contributes to the mood or tone of a piece. It reinforces the intention. When read aloud, alliteration draws in the listener through a kind of lyricism.

Here are a few important examples of Gorman’s use of alliteration.

She often does this through contrast:

That even as we grieved, we grew That even as we hurt, we hoped That even as we tired, we tried

Alliteration is powerful:

Our blunders become their burdens love becomes our legacy

She captures what America is trying to do at this moment:

We are striving to forge a union with purpose To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man

And she is hopeful:

we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
every corner called our country

Words do matter, indeed. You can read more of her poem in our newsletter.

Talking with South Carolina Authors

Palmetto Literacy Council had the pleasure of hosting its second Virtual Author Discussion on January 30, 2021 which featured two engaging and talented South Carolina authors. These virtual discussions reflect PLC’s desire to celebrate and showcase local authors who share our passion to improve literacy. Barbara Evers and Rebecca Bruff generously volunteered their time to support our mission to improve literacy while discussing their lives as professional authors.

Barbara Evers lives in Greer, South Carolina and is the author of The Watchers of Moniah trilogy. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and also a two-time Carrie McCray winner whose short stories and essays have appeared in the best-selling anthology, Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents, The Petigru Review and moonShine Review. When she’s not writing, Barbara is a professional trainer, speaker, and freelance editor.

Rebecca Bruff, who lives in Beaufort, South Carolina, is the author of Trouble the Water. The novel received First Place/Gold awards for Debut Novel and Adult Fiction, a Bronze award for Historical Fiction from The Feathered Quill Awards, and First Place/Gold in Fiction from American Bookfest. In 2017, she was a scholarship recipient for the prestigious Key West Literary Seminar. Rebecca has also published a children’s book, Stars of Wonder.

Barbara and Rebecca shared their love of literature and discussed the importance of writing in their lives. Although they write in different genres (Barbara – fantasy fiction and Rebecca – historical fiction), both authors spend a fair amount of time conducting research in order to accurately portray the setting and characters who inhabit their novels.

Barbara, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology, loves animals and giraffes in particular and has used this knowledge to feature human-animal communication in her books. Rebecca was so drawn to the story of former slave and Civil War hero Robert Smalls, that she moved from Texas to Beaufort to research and write the novel!
During the presentation, Barbara and Rebecca offered intriguing perspectives on their writing process and on their sources of inspiration. They also provided useful advice for would-be writers.
The authors’ books are available on Amazon (in both Kindle and paperback formats).

You can learn more about Barbara and Rebecca at their websites: barbaraevers.com / rebeccabruff.com

Meet A Tutor Phyllis Townsend

Phyllis Townsend has always wanted to help people learn how to read. So volunteering her services as a tutor for Palmetto Literacy Council is a perfect fit. Phyllis, who lives in Myrtle Beach with her husband Carl, retired to the area from West Virginia, where she worked as the Collection Development Services Manager at the library at Hood College.

Retirement has allowed Phyllis to share her love of reading and her interest in literacy in a number of ways. Before tutoring for PLC, Phyllis and Carl volunteered as “Reading Buddies” at Myrtle Beach Elementary School. When this program was put on hold, Phyllis sought other opportunities and discovered PLC at the Volunteer Fair held at Carolina Forest Library last year.

In October, Phyllis was paired up with Bailey, a 7-year -old second grader, and has been tutoring her twice a week at the Chapin Memorial Library.

“We have fun, and that’s the key for me,” Phyllis said. Bailey, who is working on her reading and penmanship skills, is excited about the tutoring.

Phyllis spends time preparing lessons and meets with Bailey’s parents after the sessions to go over the activities they worked on together. During one session Bailey asked Phyllis a question that Phyllis wasn’t able to answer right away, so she did a bit of research and was able to share that with Bailey during their next session.

“I want her to be curious. That’s what learning is all about.”

Although Phyllis did not plan to take on another student, she was motivated to do this when she realized that PLC needed additional tutors.

“I kept seeing that there was another student who needed tutoring. It was weighing on my heart.”

She felt confident doing this because she had a good sense of the materials and felt comfortable in her role as tutor. And so, Phyllis was paired with a woman originally from Jamaica, who wants to improve her reading skills.

“She is very committed to the tutoring. She wants this so badly!”

Phyllis uses the same materials for both students and has been able to successfully meet the challenges of working with a child and an adult.

Tutoring for PLC has been the perfect fit for Phyllis. She looks forward to the four hours she spends with her two students each week.

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home. — Anna Quindlen

Want to learn more?

Check out our math, reading and writing strategies in our newsletter.

Also check out our word puzzle!


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.


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]
TRAINING COORDINATOR: Carla Taylor [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

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