NW LINCS Home Page Site Map HelpNW LINCS Banner  

News & Events
What's New
Calendar of Events
About Literacy
Facts & Statistics
Policy & Legislation
Literacy Resources

Research Resources
Grants & Funding
Links & Directories
Northwest LINCS
About Us
Programs & Activities
Our Partners
Contact Us - W/P LINCS
Home Button

LINCS Coordinator

Karen K. Brees Ph.D.


Collections Discussions My LINCS HOT Sites America's Literacy Directory

Volunteer Tutor Tips - Page Three

by Debra Sea



Tutor Tip 8/14/02 - The treatment of sprained ankles

Sometimes when my world is moving too fast, life sends events your way to slow things down a bit. In my experience, a sprained ankle will slow you down every time! The ankle is feeling better and I thought I would pass on to you and your students information about sprained ankles.

Sprained Ankle
There's a good chance that while playing as a child or stepping on an uneven surface as an adult you sprained your ankle--some 25,000 people do it every day. 

Sometimes, a sprain is just an awkward moment when you lose your balance with pain that quickly fades away and you go on your way. But the sprain could be more severe; your ankle might swell and it might hurt too much to stand on it. If it's a severe sprain, you might have felt a "pop" when the injury happened. 

A sprained ankle means one or more ligaments on the outside of your ankle were stretched or torn. If it is not treated properly, you could have long-term problems. 

You're most likely to sprain your ankle when you have your toes on the ground and heel up (plantar flexion). This position puts your ankle's ligaments under tension, making them vulnerable. A sudden force like landing on an uneven surface may turn your ankle inward (inversion). When this happens, one, two or three of your ligaments may be hurt. 

Tell your doctor what you were doing when you sprained your ankle. He or she will examine it and may want an X-ray to make sure no bones are broken. Depending on how many ligaments are injuried, your sprain is classified as Grade I, II or III. 

Treating your sprained ankle 

Treating your sprained ankle properly may prevent chronic pain and instability. For a Grade I sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines: 

  • Rest your ankle by not walking on it. 

  • Ice it to keep the swelling down. 

  • Compressive bandages immobilize and support your injury. 

  • Elevate your ankle above your heart level for 48 hours. 

  • The swelling usually goes down within a few days. 

For a Grade II sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines and allow more time for healing. A doctor may immobilize or splint your sprained ankle. 

A Grade III sprain puts you at risk for permanent ankle instability. Surgery is rarely needed to repair the damage, especially in competitive athletes. For severe ankle sprains, your doctor may also consider treating you with a short leg cast for 2-3 weeks or a cast-brace. People who sprain their ankle repeatedly may also need surgical repair to tighten their ligaments. 

Rehabilitating your sprained ankle 

Every ligament injury needs rehabilitation. Otherwise, your sprained ankle might not heal completely and you might re-injure it. All ankle sprains, from mild to severe, require three phases of recovery: 

  1. Phase I includes resting, protecting and reducing swelling of your injured ankle. 

  2. Early weight bearing with proper protection is actually a benefit for healing. 

  3. Phase II includes restoring your ankle's flexibility, range of motion and strength. 

  4. Phase III includes gradually returning to straight-ahead activity and doing maintenance exercises, followed later by more cutting sports such as tennis, basketball of football. 

Once you can stand on your ankle again, your doctor will prescribe exercise routines to strengthen your muscles and ligaments, and increase your flexibility, balance and coordination. Later, you may walk, jog and run figure eights with your ankle taped or in an air cast. 

It's important to complete the rehabilitation program because it makes it less likely that you'll hurt the same ankle again. If you don't complete rehabilitation, you could suffer chronic pain, instability and arthritis in your ankle. If your ankle still hurts, it could mean that the sprained ligament(s) has not healed right, or that some other injury also happened. 

To prevent future sprained ankles, pay attention to your body's warning signs to slow down when you feel pain or fatigue, and stay in shape with good muscle balance, flexibility and strength in your soft tissues. 

April 2001 

copied from:


Tutor Tip 8/28/2002 

Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech" delivered August 28, 1963

One of the most moving speeches that I have ever read was delivered today.  The paragraphs below describe the rally and the link below will take you to the complete text of the speech.  Take some time to celebrate the freedoms that we all enjoy with your student and go back in time and read some of MLK's text.  Although the entire speech is very moving, the text starting at paragraph 19 brings tears to my eyes and a lump in the back of my throat.


On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the African American civil rights movement reaches its high-water mark when Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to more than 200,000 people attending the March on Washington. The demonstrators--black and white, poor and rich--came together in the nation's capital to demand voting rights and equal opportunity for African Americans and to appeal for an end to racial segregation and discrimination.

The peaceful rally was the largest assembly for a redress of grievances that the capital had ever seen, and King was the last speaker. With the statue of Abraham Lincoln--the Great Emancipator--towering behind him, King evoked the rhetorical talents he had developed as a Baptist preacher to articulate how the "Negro is still not free." He told of the struggle ahead, stressing the importance of continued action and nonviolent protest. Coming to the end of his prepared text (which, like other speakers that day, he had limited to seven minutes), he was overwhelmed by the moment and launched into an improvised sermon.

He told the hushed crowd, "Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettoes of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed." Continuing, he began the refrain that made the speech one of the best known in U.S. history, second only to Lincoln's 1863 "Gettysburg Address":

"I have a dream," he boomed over the crowd stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, "that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."

King had used the "I have a dream" theme before, in a handful of stump speeches, but never with the force and effectiveness of that hot August day in Washington. He equated the civil rights movement with the highest and noblest ideals of the American tradition, and for many Americans--white and black--the importance of racial equality was seen with a new and blinding clarity. He ended his stirring, 16-minute speech with his vision of the fruit of racial harmony:

"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"

In the year after the March on Washington, the civil rights movement achieved two of its greatest successes: the ratification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the poll tax and thus a barrier to poor African American voters in the South; and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities. In October 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On April 4, 1968, he was shot to death while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee; the gunman was escaped convict James Earl Ray.

Copied from  

Tutor Tip 9/11/02 - Remembering September 11, 2001

Take a few minutes to remember September 11 with your students. Where were you on September 11 when you found out? What were you doing? Do you have any friends or family who live in New York? Do you know of anyone who had a close call of either almost being in the World Trade Center or almost on one of the planes?

This link to the history channel provides a summary of the events on Spetember 11. Read through it with your students and talk about how your life has changed after September 11.

Tutor Tip 10/02/02 - Translating classified ads for rental properties

I was recently looking through the classified ads of the local paper and noticed that the ads for apartments for rent almost have their own language with symbols and abbreviations. The exercise for this week is to grab a newspaper and select several rental ads to read with your student. Translate the abbreviations - make up funny translations together as they occur to you if you can't figure out what the abbreviation means. Ask your student to select the advertisement that they find the most appealing and ask them to explain why. 

Some examples:

NE 75th off Plymouth, 2BR, 1/2 blk bus, crpt, drps, applcs, micro, AC quiet. $625 + dep.

SE TWO BR, DR, yd/deck. $575 no fee, Pool, lndry, prkg, DW, crpt, trees, cat ok.

New Manager special Quiet setting, spacious 2 BR overlooks beautiful courtyard and pool; W/D & A/C. Pets okay! $665.

Slip into this special 1/2 off first month rent $610 with no move in deposit, 960 sq ft, appliances, carpet, laundry facilities, 2 BR, 2 Bath, lots of windows.

Downtown, Lrg sunny 1 BR, newly remodeled, basketball court, cable, water, garbage paid. $595.

Tutor Tip 9/25/02 - Through the Looking Glass - an acrostic

From - a word a day. Tuesday's word was acrostic (a-KRAW-stik, a-KRAWS-tik) noun;

A composition, usually a poem, in which the first letter of each line spells out a hidden word or message.

[From Latin acrostichis, from Greek akrostikhis, from akron (head) +

stikhos (line).]

The most widely read acrostics occur in literature. Should you have any doubt that Lewis Carroll wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland specifically for Alice Pleasance Liddell, take a closer look at the acrostic poem that concludes Through the Looking Glass. This is a lovely poem to read with your student and the acrostic reveals a surprise. Create an acrostic with your students by giving them a word and helping them describe the word. Although you can use any word, the words tree, fall, winter, spring, loneliness, winning and team are especially good ones.

Poem from Through the Looking Glass

A boat, beneath a sunny sky,

Lingering onward dreamily,

In an evening of July --

Children three that nestle near,

Eager eye and willing ear,

Pleased a simple tale to hear --

Long has paled that sunny sky:

Echoes fade and memories die:

Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,

Alice moving under skies,

Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,

Eager eye and willing ear,

Lovingly still nestle near.

It's a Wonderland they lie,

Dreaming as the days go by,

Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream --

Lingering in the golden gleam --

Life, what is it but a dream?

By the way, Alice Liddell was the original Alice of both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. 

One summer's day in July 1862, Lewis Carol (Oxford Mathematics Lecturer, the Rev Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) took three little girls, Alice and her two sisters, on a boating trip. To keep them amused he told a delightful tale involving Alice and a White Rabbit. That Christmas it was presented to Alice as A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer Day, later published as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) with illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, the original version was illustrated by Lewis Carroll. 

copied from:


Tutor Tip 10/09/02 - Happy Columbus Day

Celebrate Columbus Day, October 14 by reading about the history of Columbus Day and by printing and completing the Columbus Day Word Search!

Columbus Day
(Second Monday in October)


Today we take for granted that the world is round. In the fifteenth century, however, most people believed the world was flat. They thought that monsters or a trip over the edge of the earth waited for anybody who sailed outside the limits of known territory. People laughed at or jailed others who dared think that the world was in the shape of a globe.

There were educated persons, however, who reasoned that the world must be round. An Italian named Christopher Columbus was bold enough to push this notion, and ask for money to explore the seas, and find what he thought would be the other hemisphere of the earth. Portugal, Italy and England refused to support such a venture.

At that time, spice merchants were looking for an easier route to Asia. They traveled south past Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, and continued eastward. Christopher Columbus convinced Queen Isabella of Spain that it would be easier to sail directly west and find the rich treasures of India and Asia. A new route would be found, he said, and possible new lands for Spain.

Columbus first asked Queen Isabella for help in 1486, but it was years before she agreed... provided that he conquer some of the islands and mainland for Spain. Columbus would also be given the title of "Admiral of All the Ocean Seas," and receive one-tenth of the riches that came from any of his discoveries.

Finally, on August 3, 1492, he and ninety men set sail on the flagship Santa Maria. Two other ships, the Nina and the Pinta, came with him. They sailed west. Three long months went by. His men became tired and sick, and threatened to turn the ships back. Columbus encouraged them, certain that they would find the spice trail to the East. On October 11th, ten o'clock at night, Columbus saw a light. The Pinta kept sailing, and reported that the light was, in fact, land. The next morning at dawn they landed.

Christopher Columbus and his crew had expected to see people native to India, or be taken to see the great leader Khan. They called the first people they saw "Indians." They had gone ashore in their best clothes, knelt and praised God for arriving safely. From the "Indians" they learned that the island was called Guanahani. Columbus christened it San Salvador and claimed it immediately for Spain. When they landed on the island that is now Cuba, they thought they were in Japan. After three subsequent voyages, Columbus was still unenlightened. He died a rich and famous man, but he never knew that he discovered lands that few people had imagined were there.

Columbus had stopped at what are now the Caribbean Islands, either Watling Island, Grand Turk Island, or Samana Cay. In 1926, Watling Island was renamed San Salvador and acknowledged as the first land in the New World. Recently, however, some people have begun to dispute the claim. Three men from Miami, Florida have started a movement to recognize Conception Island as the one that Columbus and his men first sighted and landed on. The controversy has not yet been resolve.

Columbus  Day Middies Word Search

Select the link below to complete the Word Search


Tutor Tip 10/16/02 - Jimmy Carter wins Nobel Peace Prize

Last week, one of the people I admire most in the world won the Nobel Peace prize.  Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States (1977 - 1981) won the Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking and humanitarian work over the past 25 years.

Carter is the third U. S. president to receive the award since it was first given in 1901.  Theodore Roosevelt received it in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson received it in 1919.

Carter was recognized for helping to establish the Camp David Accords in 1978.  The accords brought Egypt and Israel closer together.  He was also recognized for his fight against tropical diseases and his work on behalf of democracy.

This week, Carter, 78, traveled to Jamaica to monitor elections.

Copied from The Oregonian, October 16, 2001

The Carter Center, founded by Jimmy and Rosalyn has been fighting to eradicate disease.  For example through the efforts of the Carter Center, Guinea worm disease is to become only the second disease to be wiped off the face of the earth. The "fiery serpent," as it is commonly called throughout the world, has been around for centuries. It's even been found in 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies. The numbers afflicted by this debilitating disease have been reduced worldwide by 98 percent, from 3.2 million cases in 1986 to less than 100,000 in 2001. Guinea worm will be the second disease to be eliminated from the world (after smallpox) and the first disease to be overcome without "magic-bullet" vaccines and medications.

Copied from

Tutor Tip 10/23/02 - The Birthday Paradox

It's a coincidence! Coincidences are often startling and may even seem supernatural or otherworldly. One example of a seemingly startling coincidence is the Birthday Paradox. The paragraphs below explain the Birthday Paradox and work through a brief mathematical explanation. The paragraphs below are copied directly from the site . is a great site to visit anytime you are looking for ... how stuff works! ;)


A friend of mine told me that if there are 20 people in a room, there's a 50/50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday. How can such a small group have two people with the same birthday in it? 


This phenomenon actually has a name -- it is called the birthday paradox, and it turns out it is useful in several different areas (for example, cryptography and hashing algorithms). You can try it yourself -- the next time you are at a gathering of 20 or 30 people, ask everyone for their birth date. It is likely that two people in the group will have the same birthday. It always surprises people! 

The reason this is so surprising is because we are used to comparing our particular birthdays with others. For example, if you meet someone randomly and ask him what his birthday is, the chance of the two of you having the same birthday is only 1/365 (0.27%). In other words, the probability of any two individuals having the same birthday is extremely low. Even if you ask 20 people, the probability is still low -- less than 5%. So we feel like it is very rare to meet anyone with the same birthday as our own. 

When you put 20 people in a room, however, the thing that changes is the fact that each of the 20 people is now asking each of the other 19 people about their birthdays. Each individual person only has a small (less than 5%) chance of success, but each person is trying it 19 times. That increases the probability dramatically. 

If you want to calculate the exact probability, there are two different ways to do it. The first way involves counting the pairs of people in the room. In a room of 20 people, there are (20*19/2) 190 possible pairs. Each pair has a probability of success of (1/365) 0.27%, and thus a probability of failure of (1 - 0.27%) 99.726%. If you raise the probability of failure to the 190th power, then you get: 

99.726% ^ 190 = 59% 
So the probability of success is (100 - 59%) 41%. It turns out your friend was slightly off -- you have to have 23 people in the room to get 50/50 odds. If you have 42 people in the room, the probability rises to a 90% chance of two people having the same birthday! 
The other way to look at it is like this. Let's say you have a big wall calendar with all 365 days on it. You walk in and put a big X on your birthday. The next person who walks in has only a 364 possible open days available, so the probability of the two dates not colliding is 364/365. The next person has only 363 open days, so the probability of not colliding is 363/365. If you multiply the probabilities for all 20 people not colliding, then you get: 

364/365 * 363/365 * 365-20+1/365 = Chances of no collisions 
That's the probability of no collisions, so the probability of collisions is 1 minus that number. 
The next time you are with a group of 30 people, try it! 

Tutor Tip 10/30/02 - Happy Halloween

Boo! Scared you didn't I? From scary ghosts and goblins to cute little tricker treaters at my door step - Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. 

This week's tutor tip explores the history of Halloween. The text was copied directly from a very cool site -  of ice cream fame. At the end of the text there is a link to a Halloween word scramble. So, have a happy and safe Halloween.

From Whence Halloween?
For thousands of years people have been celebrating different holidays and festivals at the end of October. The Celts celebrated it as Samhain (pronounced "sow-in", with "sow" rhyming with cow). The Irish English dictionary published by the Irish Texts Society defines the word as follows: 


"Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalizing the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May, during which troops (esp. the Fiann) were quartered. Faeries were imagined as particularly active at this season. From it the half year is reckoned. also called Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess).(1) The Scottish Gaelis Dictionary defines it as "Hallowtide. The Feast of All Soula. Sam + Fuin = end of summer."(2) Contrary to the information published by many organizations, there is no archaeological or literary evidence to indicate that Samhain was a deity. The Celtic Gods of the dead were Gwynn ap Nudd for the British, and Arawn for the Welsh. The Irish did not have a "lord of death" as such.
The information on Samhain is from Rowan Moonstone's The Origins of Halloween. 


Tutor Tip 11/06/02 - It's raining cats and dogs!

After an absolutely gorgeous fall, the rain has finally set in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). For those of us who live in the PNW, rain is a daily part of our lives for at least half of the year! I have always wondered about where the phrase "it's raining cats and dogs" comes from and today's tutor tip offers explanations (copied from )

Here's a suggested exercise that goes well with rain: With your student, list as many of the different types of rain as you can think of, look them up in the dictionary and read the definitions to each other. Here are a few definitions to get you going: rain, downpour, sprinkle, drizzle... 

We have all heard the expression "it's raining cats and dogs." There are several theories about this rainfall saying. It is possible that the word cat is derived from the Greek word 'catadupe' meaning 'waterfall.' Or it could be raining 'cata doxas,' which is Latin for 'contrary to experience,' or an unusual fall of rain.

In Northern mythology the cat is supposed to have great influence on the weather, and English sailors still say the cat has a gale of wind in her tail when she is unusually frisky. Witches that rode upon the storms were said to assume the form of cats; and the stormy northwest wind is called the cat's nose in the Harz mountains even at the present day. The dog is a signal of wind, like the wolf. Both animals were attendants of Odin, the storm-god. In old German pictures the wind is figured as the "head of a dog or wolf," from which blasts issue. The cat therefore symbolizes the down-pouring of rain, and the dog the strong gusts of wind that accompany a rainstorm; and a rain of "cats and dogs" is a heavy rain with wind.

The Bible describes a rain of manna and quails more than 3,000 years ago. At the time this was looked upon as a supernatural event; it was actually not an uncommon thing. The rain of manna has happened frequently in modern times; the manna is really a lichen that grows in great numbers after rains.

There are numerous accounts of rains of frogs, hay, fish, and grain. All of these accounts seem to be due to tornado-like "whirlwinds." A good whirlwind can lift thousands of pounds and carry objects for miles. There is one reliable account of a fishing boat that sailed into a large waterspout. Fish flew everywhere. There are about seventy recorded rains of fish, but nearly all of the rains of fish are small ones. There is, however, one account of a fish fall in India in which more than ten people picked up fish weighing up to eight pounds each. There are many accounts of rains of ice-coated ducks, grasshoppers, fish, and frogs, but there is no account of a raining of cats and dogs (Lockhart, 1988). 

copied from 

Tutor Tip 11/13/02 - Robert Louis Stevenson

Today marks the birth date of one of my favorite authors, Robert Louis Stevenson - RLS for short. The paragraphs below chronicle the life of RLS and list the books he is most famous for writing. I have included my favorite poem by this author - The Land of Nod. Read the poem with your student and talk about the meaning of the land of nod. Does your student remember their dreams? Do you? 

This poem seems especially pertinent on a dark, cold and rainy day like today - where I would love to return to the land of nod. 

By the way, I looked up "nod" in the dictionary and the closest reference I could find - is "nod off", which means to fall asleep.

The life of Robert Louis Stevenson - copied from  .

On this day in 1850, Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is born in Scotland. Stevenson studied civil engineering and law, but decided to pursue a career as a writer and began publishing essays and travel pieces. His decision alienated his parents, who expected him to follow the family trade of lighthouse keeping. The family wasn't reconciled for years. 

In 1876, Stevenson fell in love with an American woman named Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was separated from her husband. When she returned to San Francisco in 1879, Stevenson followed her. The couple married and returned to Scotland in 1880. Stevenson published a collection of essays in 1881, and Treasure Island, one of his most popular books, in 1883. In 1885, he published the first version of the popular nursery-rhyme book A Child's Garden of Verse. In 1846, he published Kidnapped, and in 1886 he published Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

In 1888, the family set off for the South Seas, seeking a healthier climate for Stevenson's tuberculosis. The family finally settled in Samoa, where Stevenson died in 1894.

copied from 

The Land of Nod - Robert Louis Stevenson
From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do -- 
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are these for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.
copied from www. 

Tutor Tip 11/20/02 - Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

The story of Thanksgiving - copied from

The story of Thanksgiving is basically the story of the Pilgrims and their thankful community feast at Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

The Pilgrims, who set sail from Plymouth, England on a ship called the Mayflower on September 6, 1620, were fortune hunters, bound for the resourceful 'New World'. The Mayflower was a small ship crowded with men, women and children, besides the sailors on board. Aboard were passengers comprising the 'separatists', who called themselves the "Saints", and others, whom the separatists called the "Strangers".
After land was sighted in November following 66 days of a lethal voyage, a meeting was held and an agreement of truce was worked out. It was called the Mayflower Compact. The agreement guaranteed equality among the members of the two groups. They merged together to be recognized as the "Pilgrims." They elected John Carver as their first governor. 

Although Pilgrims had first sighted the land off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, they did not settle until they arrived at a place called Plymouth. It was Captain John Smith who named the place after the English port-city in 1614 and had already settled there for over five years. And it was there that the Pilgrims finally decided to settle. Plymouth offered an excellent harbor and plenty of resources. The local Indians were also non-hostile.

But their happiness was short-lived. Ill-equipped to face the winter on this estranged place they were ravaged thoroughly. 

Somehow they were saved by a group of local Native Americans who befriended them and helped them with food. Soon the natives taught the settlers the technique to cultivate corns and grow native vegetables, and store them for hard days. By the next winter they had raised enough crops to keep them alive. The winter came and passed by without much harm. The settlers knew they had beaten the odds and it was time to celebrate.

They celebrated it with a grand community feast wherein the friendly native Americans were also invited. It was kind of a harvest feast, the Pilgrims used to have in England. The recipes entail "corn" (wheat, by the Pilgrims usage of the word), Indian corn, barley, pumpkins and peas, "fowl" (specially "waterfowl"), deer, fish. And yes, of course the yummy wild turkey.

However, the third year was real bad when the corns got damaged. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and rain happened to follow soon. To celebrate - November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real beginning of the present Thanksgiving Day.

Though the Thanksgiving Day is presently celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November. This date was set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941). Earlier it was the last Thursday in November as was designated by the former President Abraham Lincoln. But sometimes the last Thursday would turn out to be the fifth Thursday of the month. This falls too close to the Christmas, leaving the businesses even less than a month's time to cope up with the two big festivals. Hence the change. 

Tutor Tip 11/27/02 - The history of paper.

This morning as I am surrounded by reams of paper, I started to wonder about the history of paper and paper making... This entertaining article is copied from

The Invention of Paper 

Written communication has been the center of civilization for centuries. Most of our important records are on paper. Although writing has been around for a long time, paper hasn't. 

In fact, putting thoughts down in written form wasn't always easy or practical. Early people discovered that they could make simple drawings on the walls of caves, which was a great place for recording thoughts, but wasn't portable.

Imagine spending hours scratching a message into a heavy clay tablet and then having to transport it. That's exactly what the Sumerians did around 4000 B.C. Although this form of written communication was now portable, it still wasn't practical because of its weight. 

For centuries, people tried to discover better surfaces on which to record their thoughts. Almost everything imaginable was tried. Wood, stone, ceramics, cloth, bark, metal, silk, bamboo, and tree leaves were all used as a writing surface at one time or another.

The word "paper" is derived from the word "papyrus," which was a plant found in Egypt along the lower Nile River. About 5,000 years ago, Egyptians created "sheets" of papyrus by harvesting, peeling and slicing the plant into strips. The strips were then layered, pounded together and smoothed to make a flat, uniform sheet.

No major changes in writing materials were to come for about 3,000 years. The person credited with inventing paper is a Chinese man named Ts'ai Lun. He took the inner bark of a mulberry tree and bamboo fibers, mixed them with water, and pounded them with a wooden tool. He then poured this mixture onto a flat piece of coarsely woven cloth and let the water drain through, leaving only the fibers on the cloth. Once dry, Ts'ai Lun discovered that he had created a quality writing surface that was relatively easy to make and lightweight. This knowledge of papermaking was used in China before word was passed along to Korea, Samarkand, Baghdad, and Damascus. 

By the 10th century, Arabians were substituting linen fibers for wood and bamboo, creating a finer sheet of paper. Although paper was of fairly high quality now, the only way to reproduce written work was by hand, a painstaking process.

By the 12th century, papermaking reached Europe. In 1450, Johannes Gutenberg, a German, invented the printing press. Books and other important documents could now be reproduced quickly. This method of printing in large quantities led to a rapid increase in the demand for paper.


Recovering from Thanksgiving


A couple of fun things today - the first was a joke circulated via email that I thought you all would enjoy. Seems especially funny after coming back to work after a long weekend. Go over the "exercises" with your student and laugh about the meanings and the number of calories supposedly expended. The second part is copied from,1284,634,00.html

 and addresses why we always feel so sleepy after Thanksgiving.

Daily Exercises

Calories can be burned by the hundreds by engaging in strenuous activities that do not require physical exercise.

Exercise_____________________ Calories burned per hour

Beating around the bush.......................75
Jumping to conclusions.......................100
Climbing the walls.....................    ......150
Swallowing your pride...................   ......50
Passing the buck..........................    ....25
Throwing your weight around
(depending on your weight)..............50-300
Dragging your heels.....................  .....100
Pushing your luck..........   ..................250
Making mountains out of molehills........500
Hitting the nail on the head.......  ...........50
Wading through paperwork...................300
Bending over backwards........................75
Jumping on the bandwagon..................200
Balancing the books...................   .......25
Running around in circles................. ...350
Eating crow..............     .................. ..225
Tooting your own horn.....................  ....25
Climbing the ladder of success.......  ....750
Pulling out the stops.....    ....................75
Adding fuel to the fire......    ................160
Wrapping it up at the day's end.............12

To which you may want to add your own favorite activities, including:

Opening a can of worms .......................50
Putting your foot in your mouth.............300
Starting the ball rolling............      .........90
Going over the edge..    ........................25
Picking up the pieces after... ...............350

I always find after eating a big turkey dinner that I'm sleepy. What is the natural substance found in turkey that aids sleeping? What can I do about this?

You're thinking of L-tryptophan, a natural sedative. It's a normal constituent of turkey flesh, and often viewed as the cause of a certain sleepiness common to the post-turkey Thanksgiving crowd. 

This amino acid is a component of many plant and animal proteins, and a normal part of the diet that humans must get from outside sources. It is also the starting material from which the brain makes serotonin, which calms you down and makes you sleepy. L-tryptophan was a very popular sleeping aid in the United States until recently, and was also used for premenstrual syndrome and depression. But the Food and Drug Administration pulled it off the market in 1990 because of a sudden outbreak of eosinophilic-myalgia syndrome among people who had taken the supplement. About 5,000 people got sick and 27 died. 

Eosinophilic-myalgia, which is characterized by muscle pain, weakness, and joint pain, is serious and sometimes fatal. An investigation into the connection with L-tryptophan traced the problem to a contaminated batch of the supplement made by a Japanese company, Showa Denko KK, which had changed its fermentation process to incorporate genetically engineered bacteria, and had also lessened the amount of charcoal it used to purify the product. Nevertheless, the FDA did not relax its ban, reasoning that it's still not clear whether manufacturers can make a product that isn't toxic. However, L-tryptophan is still available by prescription in Canada. 

If you're looking for the sedative effect, though, it's unlikely you'll get it from eating meats like turkey. L-tryptophan doesn't act on the brain unless you take it on an empty stomach with no protein present. So I don't think the amino acid is to blame for the sudden lethargy that hits just about when it's time to do dishes. That's more likely due to drinking alcohol and overeating - not just turkey, but mashed potatoes, cranberries, yams, peas, carrots, bread, pies, and whipped cream - which pulls all the blood away from your brain as your stomach begins the arduous task of digesting an overload. 

What can you do? Don't use the holidays as an excuse to binge. Don't use food or alcohol to cover up emotions (many of us are sad and lonely during the holidays). And, after a delicious dinner, talk a good long walk and breathe. 

And while we're talking turkey, I'd suggest getting an organic one for your Thanksgiving table. Most commercial turkeys contain growth hormones, antibiotics, and other additives incongruous with a healthy body. 

Happy Thanksgiving.


  Back to Top

Contact UsNational LINCSAbout LINCSNational Institute for Literacy
Western/Pacific LINCSNorthwest LINCSMidwest LINCSEastern LINCSSouthern LINCS