Real Tutors, Real Learners
is a set of videos created by Literacy DuPage which
illustrates practical techniques for basic and ESL literacy instruction.
As you watch the videos, look for circled numbers that mark recommended
practices. Pause the video and write down for each number what you think
the practice is and bring your notes to class.
Although different techniques are shown for the different types of
learners, you'll notice broad similarities across the lessons. In your
tutoring, try to:
Develop a lesson plan each week. Use the videos to help you come up
with ideas and activities for your learner.
Always ground your lessons in the real-life goals of your learner.
Try to include speaking, listening, reading, and writing in each lesson.
Design your lessons to build on each other from week to week.
Each week, review key topics and lessons from the previous week.
Each week, discuss what should be done for the following week.
Take notes each week on what worked well, what needs improvement, and
new ideas or challenges.
Encourage your learner to generate study materials such as sight word lists,
picture cards, post-its and experience stories that can be used for study and review.
Revisit the videos frequently for ideas and inspiration.
Keep in touch with other tutors and trainers at Literacy DuPage to share ideas
and get help with special challenges.
First Meeting – ESL 1 Learner
Quick Check – Words and Numbers
Quick Check – Reading and Writing
Wrap Up – Next Meeting, Homework
What topics do you think might generate good conversations for getting
acquainted? For setting goals?
What practices do you think helped communication in this session?
First Meeting – ESL 2 Learner – Part 1
Try Some Writing? Attempt #1
Wrap Up – Next Meeting, Phone Numbers
Try Some Writing? Attempt #2
First Meeting – ESL 2 Learner – Part 2
Try Some Writing? Attempt #3
How might the goals of a Level 1 learner differ from those of a
Level 2 learner?
What kind of notes would you take in a session like this one?
How could you use those notes in planning sessions?
ESL: Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing
Sight Words from Family Photos
Step 1: Share Photos, Note Sight Words
Step 2: Practice Sight Words
What other kinds of photos or materials might lend themselves to this approach?
Think of some goals for which this technique might be well suited. How would
you design this activity to support those goals?
What kinds of follow-up might this activity suggest for future sessions?
Practice with Picture Cards – Part 1
Step 1: Create Cards
Step 2: Review the Cards
What Is This Item?
Find the Item
Practice with Picture Cards – Part 2
Setting Up the Next Lesson
Why is this a good lesson?
How would you teach the lesson on pricing mentioned at the end of the lesson?
What other subjects lend themselves to this kind of vocabulary development?
Step 1: Label, Spell, Pronounce
Step 2: After Labeling All Items, Review Labels
Step 3: Scramble Labels, Let Learner Replace
Step 4: Write Down Words for Future Study
What do you think made this lesson effective?
This lesson involves physical activity which is especially effective for
some learners. What other activities might suit this "kinesthetic" learning style?
Role Play: Doctor Call
Step 1: Identify a Real-Life Need
Step 2: Preview, Write Down Vocabulary
Step 3: Conduct the Role Play
Step 4: Discuss Confusing Aspects
What language skills are emphasized in this kind of role play?
What other aspects of communication can a role play like this help address?
ESL 1 Experience Story
Step 1: Write Story
Step 2: Tutor Reads Story, Asks Learner for Changes
Step 3: Learner Reads Story
This experience story resulted from an incident that occurred that day. What other
kinds of learner experiences could be used?
How can a lesson like this be used as the basis for other lessons?
ESL 2 Experience Story
Learner Reads Homework Assignment
Encourage Learner to Self-Correct
Prepare for Next Lesson
What language abilities does a session like this target for ESL 2 learners?
How can you find topics for experience stories that will connect language practice
with your learner's goals?
Job Hunt – Reading and Writing Techniques
Lesson Overview, Pre-Reading
Fill Out an Application
Discuss Skills, Role Play
Writing Down Job Skills
This lesson used a job hunt as a theme for several different activities. What other
activities could be used for the same theme?
What language skills did this lesson address? How would the empahsis on each of those
skills change if the lesson were designed for a basic literacy student?
Basic Literacy: Reading, Writing
Practice Letter Names
Practice Letter Sounds
Listen and Point
Listen and Identify the First Letter of a Word
What do you think worked well in this lesson? What surprised you?
What letters are the best to teach first?
When would any student use letter names in real life?
Reading and Writing Practice Using a New Address
Step 1: Review Address
Step 2: Practice Saying It
After several repetitions – Step 3: Practice Writing
After several repetitions – Step 4: Practice Writing Without Looking
After several repetitions – Step 5: Practice City and State
After several repetitions – Encouragement
After several repetitions – Success!
Real Life Application: Filling Out Address Cards
Assignment for Next Session
Which students – basic literacy or ESL – do you think are more likely
to need help writing and spelling their addresses?
What other activities can you think of to help a learner practice an address?
Basic Reading and Writing Techniques - Part 1: Alphabet Study
Review Prior Lesson
New Words and Rhyming Words
Writing the Words
Find Sounds in an Experience Story
How would alphabet study for a basic literacy learner compare to similar
study for ESL learners who have never learned the alphabet?
Suppose an ESL learner knows the Western alphabet letters, but
pronounces the letters differently. What techniques would you use for
Basic Reading and Writing Techniques - Part 2: Word Study
Read Story Silently
Discuss Unknown Words
Read the Story Aloud
Add to the Story
This session uses an experience story for word study and to
develop basic reading and writing skills.
How would this activity
be different for an ESL learner who already knows how to read and
write in another language? ▲ TOP
Basic Reading and Writing Techniques - Part 3: Reading a Map
How to Use an Atlas
Writing Practice Using Place Names
What kinds of student goals would lend themselves to map study?
What aspects of this particular session would be unique to
basic literacy learners?
What other activities involving maps might be effective for ESL level
1 and 2 learners?