ILLINOIS STATE LIBRARY
Lesson 6 - Instructional Strategies
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Karen was a literacy tutor trainer. She had a group of volunteers ready to be placed with adult learners upon completion of their basic literacy tutor training. As the volunteers were progressing through the training, they often asked for examples of specific strategies that could be used to teach reading, math, writing, and English as a Second Language concepts. As Karen is preparing her training information, she is compiling a list of examples that can be demonstrated with her class.
Questions for consideration as you work through this lesson
How can you adapt the examples of tutoring activities to meet the needs of your learner? How do you know what strategies to use?
As a volunteer literacy tutor, your purpose is to assist the adult learner in reaching their goal of improved literacy by helping them with their reading and writing, vocabulary, comprehension, and background knowledge about subjects, such as math. Your purpose may also include assisting an adult learner who does not speak English well to master the English language. You will need to select appropriate instructional materials based on ability levels and interests when planning a tutoring session.
Lesson 6 - Tutoring Tips is an introductory section. This lesson will give you some overall tips about adult literacy tutoring. The most important tip to remember is to ask your program’s Literacy Coordinator. As an adult literacy tutor you are part of a collaborative team upon whose resources you can draw upon any time.
Specific strategies and techniques to teach reading, (Lesson 7), writing (Lesson 8), math (Lesson 9, and English as a Second Language (Lesson 10) are discussed in detail in upcoming lessons. Information on choosing and using instructional materials (Lesson 11), tutoring to various learning styles (Lesson 12) and planning lessons (Lesson 13) are also covered in other lessons.
- How do I decide which instructional materials and methods are appropriate?
- Where do I go for additional support?
- View answers.
People learn at different speeds, so it is natural for them to be anxious or nervous when faced with a learning situation. Below are some general tips for adult literacy tutors to observe when working with learners.
- Spend time getting to know your learners. Discovering what they like to do will provide a springboard for teaching reading and writing, and speaking English. Oral language skills also can be assessed through conversations with the learners.
- Help your learners see themselves as readers. Show them that reading the print that surrounds us every day, such as food product boxes, street signs, and store names, is a type of reading.
- Read aloud information of interest to the adults you tutor. This will provide valuable background information for them, as well as improving their receptive language skills.
- Be sure that your learners have interesting reading material at home. If possible, meet them at the local library and help them obtain a library card. Show them how to select books they can read successfully. For ESL learners, ask the librarian to indicate where the bilingual collection is located. Don't forget to use interlibrary loan to access the materials that will intrigue the learner.
- Prepare audio tapes of articles, stories, or poems for your learners to practice reading. Reading along with the tapes will help relieve some anxiety and ensure a successful activity. Hearing the correct pronunciation is helpful to English language learners.
- Place the responsibility for learning in the hands of the learners. Impress upon them the need to practice reading every day.
- Use concrete activities and materials that have meaning for them to make reading a realistic experience for your adult learners. Provide them with practical materials to read, such as newspapers, magazines, menus, television schedules, or application forms.
- Set realistic, short-term goals with the learners so that accomplishments may be realized and reached.
Please note that Lesson 6 is an introduction to general instructional strategies; there are no reflective activities for tutor trainees to complete, nor are there Learning Check or Trainer's Notes for this lesson.
Each of the following four lessons (7, 8, 9 and 10) is dedicated to instructional strategies specific to Reading, Writing, Math and English as a Second Language (ESL). Now that you have read some introductory tips that will help you become an effective tutor, select the appropriate link below to learn specific tutoring strategies.