Annual Toolkit for Tutors & Teachers

banner with logo for Toolkit for Tutors and Teachers Conference

2019 Schedule  ~    Workshop Descriptions   ~  Presenter Bios

Click here to register

Click here to download a PDF version the of 2019 schedule, workshop descriptions, and presenter bios

2019 Schedule

Saturday, October 26th, 2019 ~ Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor

 Basic Literacy

 English Language

Teaching Resources

8:00 - 8:30 AM

   Registration & Refreshments

8:30 - 8:50 AM

   Opening & Welcome

9:00 - 10:15 AM

Session 1

Getting to Getting It: Specific Learning Disabilities & Adult Learners

Claire Levesque

Goal Setting and Measuring Progress: Helping English Language Learners Reach Their Full Potential

Erin Wight

What's Next?

A College, Career, & Community Resources Panel

Tom Grogan, New Ventures Maine

Leah Gulliver, Eastern Maine Development Corporation

Kate Walsh, Maine Educational Opportunity Center

10:15 - 10:30 AM


10:30 - 11:45 AM

Session 2

Using Authentic Theory-Based Practices with Adults: Language Experience and Shared Reading Experiences

Dr. Wendy Kasten

Introducing the iEnglish Project: An Adaptive Language Learning Platform to Improve English Proficiency

Alain J. Nahimana

Math Therapy Tools & Techniques: Providing Support in a Sore Subject

Vanessa Richards & Cindy Engle

11:45 AM - 12:00 PM

   Evaluations & Closing

Workshop Descriptions

Session 1: 9:00 - 10:15 AM

Goal Setting and Measuring Progress: Helping English Language Learners Reach Their Full Potential

Many of us understand intellectually that it can be a very difficult, slow process to learn a language. But when students face daily challenges that require skills they have not yet developed, they can quickly become discouraged with their progress. We as tutors may also question ourselves: "Am I really helping this student to learn?" Join this session to learn about student assessment and ways we can help our students measure their own progress (and show them that they ARE improving!) or how we can keep track of their learning for our own records. There will also be an opportunity to share and discuss with other tutors ideas and activities that have helped them.

What's Next? A College, Career, & Community Resources Panel

Many of our adult learners have goals related to education, work, or participation in the community. Because of limited literacy skills, they may be unaware of resources available to them, often at no cost. Further, many struggle with navigating complex systems requiring digital proficiency, rooted in middle-class norms and a print-based culture. As tutors and teachers, we can serve as bridges to access services that advance student goals for college, career, and/or community. In this session, hear from three panelists about the organizations they represent, program eligibility, and how we can best support our students as they embark on these next steps.

Getting to Getting It: Specific Learning Disabilities & Adult Learners

Many adults with low literacy have had a long history of failure in acquiring reading and writing skills. They often tell you they just don't "get it." Join this session to learn about Specific Learning Disabilities that are often roadblocks to reading and writing success. As tutors and teachers, we can help our students Get to Getting It with multi-sensory learning, materials and strategies that make practice effective and fun. Understanding dyslexia and best practices to get around the roadblocks can result in success and confidence for your adult learner.

Session 2: 10:30 - 11:45 AM

Introducing the iEnglish Project: An Adaptive Language Learning Platform to Improve English Proficiency 

English proficiency is an essential gateway to economic opportunity for immigrant workers. Investing in adult English instruction will enhance immigrants' potential for good career opportunities and better outcomes for their families. The iEnglish Project, powered by VOXY, is a solution that integrates English language learning with technology and supports a tailored curriculum and self-paced learning. Participants in this workshop will learn how they can supplement their instruction with digital language literacy using VOXY.

Math Therapy Tools & Techniques: Providing Support in a Sore Subject

Ever heard - or felt personally, any of these phrases: "I've never been good at math," "Math is my worst subject," or "Math is too hard and I'll never use it?" Those people- and maybe you- are not alone; one out of three adults in an AP poll said they hated the subject, twice as despised as any other subject! In this workshop, we will discuss ways to make the subject fun and easier to understand, ways to reduce math anxiety (in both the learner AND the teacher or tutor), and roadblocks to learning. We will discuss and share success stories and favorite learning resources. Come; let's together build appreciation of "The Language of the Universe!"

Using Authentic Theory-Based Practices with Adults: Language Experience and Shared Reading Experiences

Not everything we do in the name of reading instruction is rooted in sound language-learning theory. Good instruction is whole to part to whole. But language experience approaches and shared reading experiences are effective and consistent with best practices. Participants will learn the theory, then practice each strategy. These strategies are appropriate for learning reading and writing, and for English language learners.

Presenter Bios

Cindy Engle completed training as a Literacy Volunteers tutor in March 2017 and has volunteered as a teaching aide with Ellsworth Adult Education for over two years. She is a retired educator with over 35 years' experience both in the classroom and in special education, language tutoring, assessment, and administration. She lives in Surry and enjoys bicycling, traveling, cooking, and reading.

Tom Grogan is the Workforce Specialist for the North Central/Downeast Region of New Ventures Maine, providing career planning and financial education services in central Maine. Earlier, Tom led the development of Bangor's Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, a collaborative that brought together over 30 partner organizations to improve Bangor neighborhoods and prevent child abuse and neglect. He was Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Human Services program at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia, NH. He holds a master's degree in Organizational Leadership and Management from Springfield College and a Master of Divinity Degree from Bangor Theological Seminary.

Leah Gulliver works as a Career Advisor for Eastern Maine Development Corporation.  Through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, EMDC offers career development and short-term training resources for individuals with barriers to employment. Leah works throughout Penobscot County assisting individuals to realize their professional goals through one-on-one coaching, mentoring and offering connections to local resources. Leah tutors an adult with low literacy through Literacy Volunteers of Bangor.

Wendy C. Kasten, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita, Kent State University, where she specialized in language and literacy teacher education. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Arizona. She is co-author of eight books and many articles, chapters, monographs. She was Associate Editor of the Reading and Writing Quarterly, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal marrying literacy and special education. She has mentored graduate students from 16 different countries and done significant outreach and professional development in countries across the globe. She remains an active writer, teacher, and volunteer in retirement. She has one husband and three dogs.

Claire Levesque is a Literacy Volunteers of Bangor tutor and member of our Tutor Training and Support Committee. She has a B.U.S. in Elementary Education and Secondary English and taught Adult Education for over 13 years. She enjoys teaching and learning, with a special interest in writing and poetry. In addition to spending time with her grandchildren and her volunteer activities, Claire enjoys raising chickens at the home she shares with her husband in Hudson.

Alain J. Nahimana, a native of Burundi, is the co-founder and executive director of the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, a nonprofit dedicated to the integration of immigrants and refugees in the social, economic and civic fabric of Maine. Prior to this position, Alain was the Coordinator of the Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition, a statewide group advocating for immigrants' rights. With a background in community organizing and hands-on experience with immigrant integration, Alain is dedicated to advancing the issues of building an inclusive economy as well as an inclusive democracy in the State of Maine through collaboration and results-based accountability. 

Vanessa Richards is an instructor and advisor with Ellsworth Adult Education. She holds a M.A.T. in Life & Physical Science and has loved working with adult learners at all levels for 15 out of her 18 years of teaching experience. Vanessa advises adult learners and instructs courses in mathematics, science, computer applications, career pathways, and college transitions. Vanessa is committed to helping adults discover their strengths, build confidence in themselves, and realize they really can accomplish their goals. In her free time, she loves to travel and explore the outdoors.

Kate Walsh is an Advisor with the Maine Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC), a Federal TRIO grant program sponsored by UMaine. It provides Maine residents with counseling and information on college admissions and financial aid, primarily for individuals who are low-income and in the first generation in their family to attend college. Previously, Kate spent 26 years working for a local college, where she learned much about the challenges students face navigating and persevering through a university to a degree. It's the best job she's ever had. She has an M.Ed. in Student Development in Higher Education.

Erin Wight has taught English as a second or other language to K-12 students and adults from across the globe. She was an instructor at the Intensive English Institute at the University of Maine and for the JET Program in Japan, as well as tutoring for Literacy Volunteers. She most recently returned from a year-long teaching position in Spain, working with elementary school children. She has her master's degree in education from the University of Maine and currently works at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at UMaine.