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Meet Marina. Marina Mossaad is passionate about equity, volunteerism and systems change. She was born in Egypt and immigrated to the US when she was 5 years old, and after having a transformative VISTA service experience this past year, she is now serving a second year with Open Door Learning Center-Northeast, a program of Minnesota Literacy Council. She is working on strategies to increase adult learner enrollment and retention, diversify the volunteer base and for learners to become volunteers, interns and employees.

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Purpose:  This partner activity helps learners to develop listening skills that are necessary for phone calls and other methods of communication that aren’t face-to-face.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  handouts with 3-6 questions written on them (one for each learner)

Procedure:

What is your name? Abby Yates

Where do you volunteer? Cedar Riverside Adult Education Collaborative (CRAEC) and the Minnesota Literacy Council main office

What is your volunteer role? Community Outreach Intern and ESL Classroom Helper

a brain in a clear lightbulb

Purpose:  Help learners improve their listening and recollection skills, as well as practice responding to questions.

Preparation Time:  2 minutes

Materials Needed:  mini-whiteboards, markers, erasers

Procedure:

  1. Generate a list of 2-5 questions that tie into the current class theme.

Example 1:

(Low beginning level class, theme of family)

Knowing When to Jump in and Help Students with Decoding

When students struggle to read a word, you don’t always want to jump in and immediately tell it to them. Give them a chance to practice their decoding strategies. Encourage them to work through the following steps:

Sight Read It
Give them a few seconds to recall the word by sight.

Sound it Out
If they can’t recall the word, encourage them to apply whatever phonics strategies they have (looking at first sound, looking for a word pattern, etc.).

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)

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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

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