News & Blog: Tutors

***

Interviewed by Thomas Rodgers (Literacy Coordinator)

Paul Conlon began working with his learner, Livingstone, in 2016. Paul was a retired teacher who had worked with children for more than 30 years, but was admittedly a bit apprehensive about working with an adult. He quickly learned that adult learners like Livingstone are often highly motivated to learn.

LivingstoneandPaul

September's A-Z Textbook | Focus on Grammar

Blogger: Katherine Payne (Literacy Coordinator)

Focus on Grammar pictureFor adult learners hoping to improve their literacy skills, grammar can seem like an insurmountable barrier to fluency. For their tutors, grammar can be an out-of-reach concept tied to knowledge they acquired in early school days. Thankfully, the book Focus on Grammar structures grammar instruction in an accessible and relatable way.

With the sheer amount of information needing to be covered in English grammar, most adult literacy textbooks choose between covering the basics for everyday use or exploring advanced usage more necessary for higher education.

Focus on Grammar marries these two opposing needs into one series. With five levels ranging from beginning to advanced, learners can build their grammar fluency at any stage of their learning path.

Interviewed by Carrie Roper (Literacy Coordinator)

Kalista Castine is a retired educator of adults and children within Special and Alternative Education.  She has previously tutored with children at the West Michigan Children’s Dyslexia Center.  She has been working with her learner Justin since February of this year, and the two have already seen significant improvement in his reading score. Justin is from Detroit and is working toward earning his GED.

Tell me about working with Justin.

Justin is a resourceful and persistent person, especially in his quest to improve his reading and spelling skills. We started August Justin Kalista 1working with what he knew and have built up our lessons from there. I continue to remind him that he is learning how to unlock literacy for himself. The first six months have flown by, and we are set to continue for as long as we need to or can. 

 Learner English

Blogger: Queyonna Hunt (Literacy Coordinator)

August 2018 copyLearner English, this month's reference spotlight, is a resource staple for many teachers and trainers of English language learners. We believe it can also be helpful to you as you work with your learner on navigating the English language. Learner English is designed to help you predict your learner's possible errors by examining their mother-tongue. 

Limerick Lessons with Steve and Maria

Interviewed by Katherine Payne (Literacy Coordinator) 

Steve Loar is a retired university professor of art, design, and woodworking. He now works as a sculptor, and his piece “Black Seam” won first prize in the 2018 West Michigan Art Competition. He has been working with his learner Maria since February 2017. Maria is a native of Lima, Peru.

July Steve Maria

 

How did it feel when you first started tutoring?

"Tutoring is a chance to be like that great teacher you had.. or maybe the great teacher you didn’t have. The first fear is in the beginning. Starting is scary – then you and your learner become partners in a quest." 

Table Topics Present | Family Conversation Pack

Blogger: Thomas Rodgers (Literacy Coordinator)

We are pleased to share with you the newest addition to our library: Table Topics Family Conversation Pack.

July Family Conversation Pack

Punctuation, Prepositions, and Plurals- oh My!

Blogger: Miranda Buckwald (AmeriCorps Family Literacy Tutor)

June 2018As an AmeriCorps tutor, I’ve had the chance to use many different textbook series supplied by the Literacy Center. I've come to know that because each learner has different proficiencies and goals, it’s essential to have a textbook that is appropriate and engaging. 

Today I’m going to discuss one series that I’ve found particularly useful: Grammar Wise.

June 2018 copy

Grass Roots Press Biography Audio Books

Blogger: Carrie Roper (Literacy Coordinator)

Is your learner interested in reading about real people who made a positive impact on the world? If your answer is yes, we encourage you to visit our tutor library to check out the Grass Roots Press Biographies by Terry Baker. Learners can read about individuals such as Nelson Mandela, Ceasar Chavez, and Elizabeth Fry. The best part? These books come with an audio CD and a free online workbook.

Novel Scenes | Introduction to Low Intermediate

May 2018

Blogger: Katherine Payne (Literacy Coordinator)

For English language learners first starting out with their English literacy skills, it can be difficult to find reading materials appropriate for their ability and interests.

The traditional adult literacy workbook addresses everyday literacy skills necessary for survival in the community and the workplace, but it may miss the mark on exciting and engaging subject matter. For tutoring pairs interested in reading short stories, but need the structure of a workbook, Novel Scenes is the perfect fit.

Q & A with Ariel DuVal Zinn

Interviewed by Queyonna Hunt (Literacy Coordinator)

At the Literacy Center of West Michigan, we are serious about not just talking the talk of literacy but also walking the walk. May2018 Michael Crumb copy copyMost of our staff members are also tutors themselves.

Ariel DuVal Zinn is the Literacy Center's AmeriCorps Coordinator, and has been tutoring Mike Crumb since February 2016. In this month's Q & A, Ariel tells us about her experience as a volunteer tutor with the Literacy Center.

May 2018

Index Card Games

Blogger: Miranda Buckwald (AmeriCorps Family Literacy Tutor)

One of the many strengths of the Adult Tutoring Program here at the Literacy Center is the number of resources available to our volunteer tutors. While we thoroughly train and prepare tutors with leveled and relevant textbooks, we know that working from a single book for two hours straight can become quite boring.

Thankfully, we equipped the Tutor Library with many reference books to help tutors find new and exciting material for each lesson. Today we will be discussing one of said books, titled Index Card Games for ESL, which provides tutors with fun word games for every subject and level.

Stories & Activities for Parents

Blogger: Thomas Rodgers (Literacy Coordinator)

April 2018 photo copy

As the family literacy coordinator, I am always looking for tools to help parents connect to schools. From Home to School is a supplementary resource filled with common scenarios that parents will encounter. Tutors have often mentioned the great discussions that happen with parent learners when going through the book.

April 2018

Blogger: Carrie Roper (Literacy Coordinator)

The Challenger Adult Reading Series is one of the most enduring and user-friendly publications I have encountered in adult education.  Our adult learners and volunteer tutors all love the high-interest reading, targeted exercises, consistent formatting, and wide variety of topics. When using Challenger, learners can work closely with a tutor to explore stories from around the globe.  The reading levels range from almost non-reader to GED preparation.  We recommend this series to both our adult basic education (ABE) and English language learners (ESL). 

Cheri Stanard will be honored with the Marshall Pitler Volunteer of the Year Award at the Literacy Center's Spellebration event on May 10, 2018. To learn more about the event and purchase tickets, visit www.literacycenterwm.org/spellebration. Current tutors are invited to attend the event at a reduced price. 

Cheri Stanard is the kind of person who finds her own joy by giving of herself to others. Her generous energy has been spellebration logo clearancefelt by the staff and learners at the Literacy Center, and we are eager to recognize her with this year’s Marshall Pitler Volunteer of the Year Award. “Cheri is one of the kindest people I know,” says Literacy Coordinator, Katherine Payne. “Her warmth and her unwavering patience positively impact the educational success and social engagement of her learners.”

April 2018 Kelly Perutelli

Q & A with Kelly Perutelli 

Guest Blogger: Katherine Payne (Literacy Coordinator) 

Kelly Perutelli is a writer, a social worker, and a volunteer tutor with the Literacy Center of West Michigan. Since May 2017, Kelly has met each week with her learner, Idalmis, to work on specific goals like conversation skills, workplace literacy, and community involvement. Kelly agreed to share her experiences as a tutor, with the hope of encouraging others to step into this role.

Oxford Picture Dictionary

Blogger: Queyonna Hunt (Literacy Coordinator)

April 2018

We are excited to announce the newest addition to the tutor library: The Oxford Picture Dictionary.

This 288-page paperback resource holds a goldmine of support for vocabulary teaching and language development. With over 4,000 English words and phrases, this dictionary supplies vibrant contextual illustrations that help learners understand the unit themes with bright, engaging artwork.

 Welcome Newcomers | American Culture

UntitledBlogger: Miranda Buckwald (AmeriCorps Family Literacy Tutor) 

If you and your learner are looking for a book series containing relevant and applicable information about life in the United States, the Welcome Newcomers series might be just what you need.

This series is for beginning level learners who are new to the United States. Each of these short books tackles an aspect of American life, including schools, money, food, and culture. The Literacy Center has stocked many books from this series in the Tutor Library. 

Stand Out Photo copy

Stand up for Stand Out

Blogger: Tom Rodgers (Literacy Coordinator)

Stand Out is an excellent comprehensive textbook series for an English language learner. The series features textbooks and workbooks at a variety of levels that are appropriate for many learners, and also align with the CASAS testing system.

March 2018 Phil WIttry pic copy

Guest blogger: Phil Wittry
Phil is a Senior I.T. Manager and has been a tutor with the Adult Tutoring Program since April of 2017. 

 

I came to the Literacy Center of West Michigan in 2017 after serving as a literacy and GED tutor in Cincinnati. I had grown to love the 1-1 connection in helping students, especially adults, make the leaps to achieve goals for themselves and their families. When I moved to West Michigan, I wanted to do similar volunteering with the Literacy Center.

Through the Lens of Social Justice: Using The Change Agent in Adult Education

Blogger: Katherine Payne (Literacy Coordinator)Through the Lens of Social Justice copy

In an effort to provide a greater number of resources for our tutors, the Adult Tutoring Program has worked to add new materials to the reference section of our tutor library. One newly added title is “Through the Lens of Social Justice: Using the Change Agent in Adult Education.” This book may be used in tandem with the Change Agent, an adult education newsletter, or independently as a reading resource for learners or a guide for cultural competency in addressing social justice issues.

The three chapters explore social justice as it applies to the adult learner, looking to connect the classroom with the larger community to which our learners contribute. Chapter one explores how social justice issues can be addressed through a learner’s literacy goals. The topics available for reference range from life skills materials to personal narratives, to High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation. Both the life skills materials and the personal narratives are structured for easy use in tutoring sessions, enabling these examples to be directly applied to the lesson. Outlines are given for pre- and post-reading activities, encouraging learners to engage in social issues that affect their daily lives. Final support is provided for learners hoping to engage in civic action to better their communities.

Sign up for our email newsletter

Get the latest word on upcoming events, opportunities and achievements, delivered straight to your mailbox.