Celebrating Our Journey, Volume 13

image of desk with blank journal

A collection of life stories written by Oklahoma adult learners

Another opportunity to showcase Oklahoma learners and provide evidence of the impact of literacy programs!

The Office of Literacy Development is pleased to announce the 2023 publication of Volume 13 of Celebrating Our Journey. This hugely successful series will again showcase the thoughts and writings of Oklahoma adult learners.

This writing project will help improve reading, writing and critical thinking skills of learners and show your community the positive impact of the literacy program. Adult learners and their tutors/teachers are encouraged to work together in writing, typing, editing, and submitting the story.

All active learners from your program regardless of reading or writing level are invited to participate.

Here are the details:

The 2023 publication will feature four topic options:                                      

(1) Goals
(2) Advice
(3) Looking Forward
(4) Poetry
(5) Instructors

1. Each learner is invited to submit one original story.

2. Stories should be titled and limited to 300 words.

3. Tutors, instructors and/or a program representative should review the submitted stories to assist the learners with correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.

4. Typed stories in Word format should be emailed to rebecca.barker@libraries.ok.gov

5. A release form signed by the learner should be maintained in the local program files.

6. Photographs of the authors may be included in the book if they are high resolution, quality photos

7. Stories and photos must be submitted by May 30, 2023.

8. The books will be ready for distribution in the fall. Each author will receive two books and their tutor will receive a copy.

Don’t miss the opportunity to include stories by learners from your program in the 2023 publication.

See the following sections for suggestions and additional information.

Questions?   Email rebecca.barker@libraries.ok.gov or call 522-3205 or 800-522-8116.

Celebrating Our Journey, Volume 13
A collection of life stories written by Oklahoma adult learners

Talk with learners about the topics that will be featured in the book. If they need direction, they might use a story starter.


Learners are often inspired when asked to tell about their goals in life.

Possible Story Starters:

  • If I could do one thing….
  • I’ve always wanted to ….


Encourage learners to talk about advice from someone they admire.

Possible Story Starters

  • I will always remember the advice…
  • The best advice I’ve ever been given…

Looking Forward

Recovering from the impact of COVID 19, learners may describe the future after this challenging time.

Possible Story starter

  • After a difficult season, I’m looking forward to…


Many learners enjoy expressing themselves with poetry. Increased vocabulary and grammar skills are the result as they speak for themselves through poetry. There are some great suggestions at https://tinyurl.com/ffebswyk

Each author and tutor will receive a free copy of Celebrating Our Journey. Each program will receive copies to present to funders, media, legislators, etc.

Mark the May 30 deadline on your calendar. Share this project with tutors and learners. Encourage participation. Help make Volume 13 the best yet!

This project is possible thanks to funding from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Celebrating Our Journey, Volume 13
Release Form

I give permission to the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to use my story and photograph (if applicable) in literacy and library publications, websites, reports, and literacy awareness activities. I understand that I will not receive payment.


Print Name

Literacy/Education Program

To Program Representative:
Submit only stories which have a signed released form. Maintain release forms in your program files.

Read Across Oklahoma 2021

Read Across Oklahoma Returns with a Free Book Giveaway and Online Entertainment and Activities

Read Across Oklahoma, the state’s premiere literary event for preschool and early grade children, returns on Tuesday, April 13 at 9:00 a.m. with a free book giveaway and virtual activities. The first 1,500 children who visit the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden on that day will receive a free book.

Following their Zoo visit, participants can visit the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) website at libraries.ok.gov/read to enjoy a special video of author Tammi Sauer reading the event’s featured book, Wordy Birdy, performances by popular children’s musical group Spaghetti Eddie, additional storytelling, and more. The video also provides a virtual look at the OKC Zoo and some of its animals and habitats.

Read Across Oklahoma is part of the statewide My First Library program coordinated by ODL, an early literacy initiative that helps develop literacy skills and promotes family reading. During a regular school year, the program distributes 1,900 books to early learning classrooms in the Oklahoma City metro area.

“Children who are exposed to books and have books to call their own at an early age develop better vocabularies and are better prepared for school,” according to Leslie Gelders, ODL Literacy Coordinator. “Getting books into the hands of young children is so important, so we were excited to partner with the Zoo to give more books away.”

“The Zoo is thrilled to be part of this year’s virtual Read Across Oklahoma celebration and host a book giveaway, providing guests with new books for their young readers to take home,” said Candice Rennels, OKC Zoo’s director of public relations.

Wordy Birdy, by award-winning Edmond author Tammi Sauer, is an ideal feature book for the event, Gelders said. “Since the character Wordy Birdy is always talking, it’s filled with new vocabulary words. It also imparts a lesson about the importance of listening.”

The virtual side of the event will provide opportunities for children throughout the state to participate, Gelders said. “The video is available directly from ODL’s website, and we also have a variety of exercises including a maze, a coloring page, and learning activities and games related to Wordy Birdy.”

Visit libraries.ok.gov/read to find the virtual activities. Families planning a visit to the Zoo should make their reservations at www.okczoo.org/tickets.

Additional Read Across Oklahoma sponsors include the Krueger Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Pizza Hut, Target, Oklahoma City Public Schools, Teacher Prep Academy, Red Wolves, Metro Technology Center, Feed the Children, and Junior League of Oklahoma City.

For more information about Read Across Oklahoma, contact leslie.gelders@libraries.ok.gov or call 405-522-3242.

Keynote Speaker: Monica Clarke

The Oklahoma Literacy Coalition is thrilled to announce that our Keynote Speaker this year will be dyslexia expert Monica Clarke.  After the keynote address, Breaking Down Barriers, Monica will be presenting on three different aspects of dyslexia: Dispelling the Myths, Identifying At-risk Students and Interventions that Work!