News & Blog: Tutors

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Blogger: Carrie Roper (Literacy Coordinator)

Litstart

Are you stuck in a rut with your tutoring? 

Are you looking for more activity ideas, teaching strategies, or even a refresher on best practices for tutoring? Look no further than the reference book LITSTART: Strategies for Adult Literacy and ESL Tutors. 

 Blogger: Carrie Roper (Literacy Coordinator)

Saw and Christopher copy copyChristopher Helgeson is a software developer who has been working alongside Saw-Sa-Nay, a native of Myanmar, since October of 2017. With Christopher’s guidance, Saw is making significant progress in his listening and conversation skills. Just as importantly, the two have had a meaningful exchange of cultural ideas and experiences. 

Great Short Stories for Listening & Speaking

Blogger: Katherine Payne (Literacy Coordinator)

For tutors who are looking for meaningful conversation practice for their advanced level learners, Great Short Stories for Listening-Speaking offers adaptations of timeless short stories from authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hans Christian Andersen, and the Brothers Grimm. Like similar items in our library, this workbook provides our learners an opportunity to access stories with simplified and engaging vocabulary. 

Great short stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Michael Blog DecemberInterviewer: Katherine Payne (Literacy Coordinator)

Anthony Hanline is a full-time student and has tutored his learner, Abubaker, since September 2016. This past November, Abubaker was sworn in as a US citizen after passing the difficult naturalization exam. Anthony and Abubaker worked together closely to prepare for the exam, and Anthony agreed to share his experiences with the naturalization process to encourage fellow tutors and learners.

 Listen & Level Up with Pearson English Readers

Blogger: Queyonna Hunt (Literacy Coordinator) 

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Are you and your learner ready to take listening comprehension to the next level? If so, we encourage you to stop by our library to check out Pearson's English Readers Series.

Pearson, a conduit of education publishing and assessment services, understands the needs of English learners. The English Readers Series attempts to streamline the process of developing listening comprehension by offering an array of titles, all of which include plans for pre-reading and post-reading analysis and further online lesson plans.

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Reading & Writing: Weaving it Together

Blogger: Thomas Rodgers (Literacy Coordinator)

Learner and tutor pairs often tell me that writing is the one topic that presents the most difficulty for them. Fortunately, we have a great resource called Weaving It Together that can help. 

Interviewed by: Queyonna Hunt (Literacy Coordinator)

Diedrea copyQueyonna sat down with Diedre Deering and her learner, Malvin Brooks, during one of their tutoring sessions in the Literacy Center's tutor library. Diedre is the Executive Assistant at the Literacy Center, and she and Malvin have been meeting together since May 2017.

What did those first meetings look like?

Malvin and I met for the first time at the Van Belkum library branch. For the first couple of weeks, we just got to know each other. From the very beginning, I was impressed at Malvin's dedication. He is so faithful about doing his homework and always shows up for tutoring even though he works two jobs.

What was your proudest moment as a tutor? 

I would say my proudest moment was when Malvin received his score on the second [reading] test he took after we started working together. He had a significant jump in score on that second test, and it showed that everything we'd been working on was helping him improve.

From Pro Lingua Associates: A Phrasal Verb Affair 

Blogger: Carrie Roper (Literacy Coordinator)

October Supplementary Photograph copyFor most people studying English, learning how to use phrasal verbs is a significant challenge. They are semantically and grammatically complex, and often use verbs with different meanings. 

Unfortunately, those of us who are native speakers use these phrasal verbs frequently throughout our daily conversations and in writing. The Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs currently lists 12,000 different entries; this can confuse learners of all levels.

For learners who are interested in working on phrasal verbs, I recommend “A Phrasal Verb Affair.” This bright pink workbook is hard to miss in our tutor library and includes an audio CD with conversations from the lessons. 

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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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