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Hyperbole is real, people, and though I’m a millennial, I don’t throw it around carelessly or for extra love on the Gram. When I was 24 years old, I was drifting along in a job that meant nothing to me beyond paying off student loans. Though I was fortunate to have employment, I knew that I needed to be putting my full-time energy into serving my community. VISTA gave me that chance, and I’ve never looked back.

Image of a abstract tree with letters on the leaves

In the classroom, how often do you hear the question “Teacher, how do I spell that?”

While it’s easy for teachers and tutors to quickly spell a word for learners, we want to make sure that learners are gaining the skills that they need to begin to sound words out themselves. For learners who are working on spelling, word families and rhyme is a way to help learners make educated guesses about how new words are spelled, based on other words that sound similar.

What is your name? Ree Ford

Where do you volunteer? I volunteer both with the Minnesota Literacy Council as well as with Hmong American Partnership.

What is your volunteer role? Community Outreach Intern (at the literacy council) and Study Lab Tutor (at HAP)

The words "on the spot" above an arrow pointing to the center of a target

Purpose: This small group activity gives learners opportunities to practice formulating questions and answering a wide variety of questions.

Preparation Time: None

Materials Needed: None

Woman listening with her hand up to her ear

Purpose: When it comes to developing strong communication skills, strengthening listening skills is critical. This activity helps learners practice listening to both questions and answers, as well as improve their auditory memories.

Preparation Time: None

Materials Needed: Several small talk questions

clocks with figures above showing daily routines

"Routines are the backbone of daily classroom life. They facilitate teaching and learning…. Routines don’t just make your life easier, they save valuable classroom time. And what’s most important, efficient routines make it easier for students to learn and achieve more."

Learning to Teach…not just for beginners by Linda Shalaway

 

Routines are a lifesaver to ESL teachers and learners of all levels. A good routine provides numerous benefits to teachers and learners, including:

Purpose:  A vocabulary card provides students with a variety of approaches for learning new words.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes per vocabulary word.

Materials Needed:  index card or sheet of paper for each student. Pens or marker.

Preparation:

(It is important to do this ahead of time. You will NOT be able to come up with ideas in the heat of the moment!)

1)  Choose vocabulary words to be introduced. Introduce no more than 2-3 per session.

Front cover of the CCRS for Adult Education Booklet

We like to say that if there is something to support ABE instruction that hasn’t been created yet, MN ABE will make it happen! Continuing the amazing history of homegrown Minnesota resources, the Minnesota Literacy Council and ATLAS have responded to requests for videos with a project that will benefit all ABE teachers, no matter what level of ELA you may teach.

children's classroom poster of words that start with B

Learners connect familiar words from their own vocabulary with specific sounds to help them with strengthening their spelling associations.

Materials Needed: whiteboard, marker

  1. Choose a vocabulary word from the week’s unit.
  2. Write the word on the whiteboard, then go through the word letter by letter.
  3. For each letter, ask the learner/s to tell you what sound the letter makes.
  4. Have the learner/s verbally generate a list of words that start with the same sound.

Example: During the unit on community:

ESL teacher watching adult learner review vocabulary

Encouraging very beginning level learners to speak English and participate in classes can be a challenge, but setting speaking routines and planning activities that allow for lots of interaction can give even the lowest level learners opportunities to build their speaking skills. The new video Adult ESL Literacy Level Instruction: Building Speaking Skills features a pre-beginning level adult ESL class moving through a high-energy level speaking lesson.

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