We are experiencing a unique challenge during these times. Triangle South Literacy Works is always striving to support our volunteer tutors. Since the usual format of meeting for sessions is not an option at this time, we would like to give you some other alternatives for learning experiences.

Here are some online options:

Your New Tutor Training manual has several pages of websites for your reference under the title Internet Resources. You as the tutor, can browse through the lists and determine what would be appropriate for your students. For example, a level that matches your student’s abilities, what topics would be supportive to their learning goals, and what would be interesting and fun.

Please remember to check the site out before utilizing it for students. They sometimes change contents or start requiring a cost for the service. The sites were free when originally listed in the manual.

We are currently experimenting with tele-teaching for the classes. Watch for more to come on that.

A contextualized activity can include preparation for completing Census forms. It is important to teach that the Census is important as it provides the following:

    • To provide information and advocacy so that policy makers understand and make provision for the challenges that adult learners may face in participating in the Census
    • To give adult education practitioners the tools they need to support adult learners in understanding and completing the Census. View Census resources here.
    • To collaborate with and support the work of other organizations that are focused on ensuring a complete count
      • These forms are fairly easy, but some of our students may be intimated by them without support and understanding the value. The National Coalition for Literacy is maintaining a regularly updated collection of links to Census-related resources here. There is a practice form at https://nelrc.org/courses/practice_census/story.html

Another interesting website is Teaching through a pandemic: A mindset for this moment; 4 tips for supporting learning at home. It is geared towards children, but the concepts are adaptable to adult learning.  Check it out as it has some possibilities.


We are aware that some of our students do not have computer access and have limited phone minutes which is another challenge. You can keep in touch via text messages and offer the next assignments in the books they have at home.  Have them report back to you when those are completed. Continuous encouragement like a “thought for the week” to keep students focused and connected to you will be useful too.

One final note, completing your monthly reports will be a little different. Use your usual prep hours, but we will need some student hours also. This can be done by asking your student to report the number of hours they spent on the HOME assignments they were given. Include those hours in your report. Documenting this activity will be valuable to us to prove the importance of what we do as we move forward in the future. Send your monthly reports to director@tslitworks.org

Tutor Quick Notes

Reading Skills

One reason that our students may struggle to read (or get bored) is that we give them readings that are too hard (or too easy) for their reading level.  With the explosion of Internet resources, it is now much easier to find texts that fit a student’s reading level exactly. One resource to check out is: Reading Skills for Today’s Adults at  resources.marshalladulteducation.org/stories2.htm

This resource was designed to create leveled reading selections that are appropriate for and valued by adult learners.  The materials correspond to CASAS 200 – 235.  This project helps adults become better readers and more informed consumers, parents, employees, citizens and community members.  The focus of these reading selections will be on topics such as:  Civics, Employment, Housing, Health, School, Money, and Government.

Making Connections in Your Tutoring

How is your tutoring going? You all have the appropriate adult literacy series to use for reading, writing, English language and Math, but supplemental texts for our students are a valuable tool to keep the tutoring sessions meaningful. The list below is a helpful tool to encourage the use of every day items in your tutoring. Your student(s) have goals and some of these items can support their progress in attaining these goals. When students can connect their learning to their everyday lives and dreams, we all win!

MAKING CONNECTIONS:  What possible functions could the following texts serve outside of learning to read and write? What lessons could be taught from this list?

  1. a business card
  2. a shopping list
  3. a written down phone message
  4. graffiti
  5. a street name plate
  6. a warranty
  7. a lease
  8. a movie poster
  9. a tattoo
  10. a speeding ticket

From Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults

The Function of Language

Ever wonder how what you are tutoring is used in our daily lives? We found this in some research and thought it might be interesting to you. To briefly summarize, literacy tutoring is teaching language, English language or Math language, which is a basic form of communication that we all use. When you are tutoring you are enhancing your student’s ability to use language to communicate and interact with those around them. This is indeed improving quality of life.

Functions of Language (Halliday, 1978)

  1. Instrumental: Language used to satisfy a material need, enabling one to obtain goods and services that one wants or needs.

    Ordering something via a form

    Requesting service in a memo

  2. Regulatory: Language used to control behavior. This is related to the instrumental function, but is distinct. The difference between this and the instrumental is that in the instrumental the focus is on the goods or services required and it does not matter who provides them, whereas the regulatory function is directed towards a particular individual and it is the behavior of that individual that is to be influenced.

    Written rules and regulations (e.g., driver’s manual)

    The ‘don’t walk’ sign or a stop sign

  3. Interactional: Language used to make or maintain interpersonal contact

    Personal letters, greeting cards, notes like, “I love you,” etc.

  4. Personal: Language used to express awareness of oneself, in contradistinction to one’s environment. Includes expressions of personal feelings, of participation and withdrawal, of interest, pleasure, disgust, etc.

    Memo of personal reaction to a new policy

    Writing in a journal of personal reactions and feelings, etc.

  5. Heuristic: Language used to learn and to explore the environment.

    To read for information

    To write down questions to ask of text or of a speaker, etc.

  6. Imaginative: Language used to create, including stories and make-believe/pretend.

    Reading/writing poetry, fiction

  7. Informative: Language used to communicate information to someone who does not already possess that information.

    Writing information texts

    Writing research reports

    Writing personal letters to inform someone of what has happened to a relative, etc.

Tutor Resources 

Tutor Resources 

Strategic Tutoring Checklist (Please fill out the information below)