Monday, October 19, 2015

Adult Literacy Volunteer Conference

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On Saturday, October 24, 2015Philadelphia's adult education tutors, mentors, teachers, volunteer coordinators, and administrators, will come together for the 2015 Tutor Institute, The Mayor's Commission on Literacy's annual adult literacy volunteer conference. 

The goal of this conference is to provide each attendee with the tools and skills needed to ensure ALL adult learners, regardless of their literacy levels or learning challenges, are supported while they prepare to take the GED® test, learn English as a Second Language (ESL), enter into post-secondary education and training programs, and advance into family-sustaining jobs.  The one day conference will include a variety of sessions and an expert panel discussion with in-depth strategies and best practices to meet the diverse needs of adult learners.

The following sessions will be offered at this year's Tutor Institute:
Dyslexia: What It Is and How to Detect its Signs in your Learners
Presenter: Dr. Tracy Johnson, CEO and Founder of Vessels of Hope
This workshop will identify the signs and symptoms of Dyslexia. It will show how dyslexia affects an individual's ability to read and write efficiently; why Dyslexia slows down the learning process, and how it affects areas of the brain.

IN THE NEWS! Check out Dr. Tracy Johnson's recent feature on FOX29: One Tough Cookie: Overcoming Dyslexia

The Learner-Centered Interview: Uncovering Unknown Strengths
Presenter: Jill Smith, Tutor/Teacher/Trainer, Independent Contractor

Three key questions help a low-level learner or someone with a learning disability uncover strengths s/he may not have recognized. Asking what brings a learner to tutoring, what s/he struggles with, and what s/he has accomplished in other arenas creates a starting point based upon strengths, not deficits. This is an interactive workshop where participants will role play and practice this learner-centered questioning technique.

How Smart are S.M.A.R.T. Goals? 
Presenter: Jill Smith, Tutor/Teacher/Trainer, Independent Contractor
Building confidence is a significant component of tutoring or mentoring a low-literacy learner or someone with a learning disability. SMART goals are simple, clear measures by which a learner sets and steers a path towards success.  By repeatedly reaching realistic goals, a learner experiences success and gains confidence to move forward.  Participants in this session will practice setting SMART goals. This self-reflective workshop is appropriate for tutors, teachers, and mentors.

Supported Education and Psychiatric Disabilities 
Presenter:  Karen Hughes, Catch, Inc., DeAnne Lonnquist & Lauren Miller
This workshop will focus on supported education, which is a recovery-oriented practice that aids individuals with psychiatric disabilities who want to begin or return to school to complete their educational goals (Mowbray et al., 2005).

Teaching the Reading-Writing Connection
Presenter: Ann Marie Doley, JEVS Human Services, E3 Power
Reading and writing are intimately connected, so why not teach them that way?  This workshop will explore evidence based writing instruction that simultaneously strengthens reading skills. These teaching techniques include: explicitly teaching the writing process, using writing strategies such as frames and organizers, the importance of summaries and text based writing instruction, and employing an approach which is both meaningful and motivational.

Finding Resources for Adult Learners with Special Learning Needs
Presenter: Dr. Richard Cooper, Director of Disability Services/Learning Specialist, Harcum College
This workshop will provide participants with resources that they can use to teach low-level learners. The presenter will also identify and describe agencies in Philadelphia to which these learners can be referred for additional services.

Understanding Reading Problems
Presenter: Dr. Richard Cooper, Director of Disability Services/Learning Specialist, Harcum College
For those who love to read, reading problems are a mystery.  This workshop will discuss the learning differences that cause reading problem as well as the distinctions among mild, moderate, and severe reading problems, and provide participants with techniques to teach students who exhibit these reading problems.

Volunteers & Agency Administrators:
Managing Expectations
Presenter: Marcie Soslau, Volunteer Coordinator, Community Learning Center

The volunteer tutor is a valuable resource to adult basic education agencies, helping to fulfill the mission of an organization. The relationship between the volunteer and the agency administrator can make a huge difference in a volunteer's experience and efficiency. Join an honest conversation about expectations - the main goal being to serve adult learners.

Ten Ways to Use the Newspaper
Presenter: Lynette Hazelton, Communications Manager at District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund
Tutors will learn a variety of ways to use local newspapers as a resource to engage students of all levels, to guide reading, to build rapport, to create an intellectual classroom culture, to build background knowledge, to provide career awareness, to encourage critical thinking, to practice discussion techniques, to improve reading ability and to support students' development as life-long learners.

Back to Basics with Base Ten Blocks
Presenter: Diane Darling, Kaplan Career Institute
This workshop will take a fresh look at math basics, which provide a solid foundation to build upon. Participants of this workshop will be able to use base ten blocks to help math students build the solid foundation of our base ten system that is necessary to progress in mathematics. Participants will also be able to approach tutoring as more of a guide for, and partner of, their students.

Basic Literacy for English Language Learners
Presenter: Ellen Polsky
This workshop will address teaching basic literacy skills to adults who are preliterate in their home language. The presenter will discuss best practices, and participants will work together to come up with strategies to help learners arrive at higher levels of literacy. The workshop addresses reading, writing, computer, and mathematical skills.


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