Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 2008: Part 2 of the Adult Literacy Double Feature


Background

March 2008 America Learns Strategy of the Month
Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles

Since October 2003, we've highlighted strategies for 52 straight months via our Strategy of the Month e-newsletter. This month marks the first time we're highlighting two strategies at once (to see the other strategy for this month, click here). It's also the first time that we're recognizing strategies from an adult literacy program.

The strategies come from volunteers with the Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles. The organization's Volunteer for Literacy Program strengthens and builds the capacity of literacy providers in the Greater Los Angeles community by recruiting and training volunteers to help improve the basic literacy skills of adults within and outside of the workforce. Providers include public schools, libraries, WorkSource Centers, and other community-based organizations.

As you're about to learn, the Literacy Network is also home to incredibly passionate, innovative volunteers.

Office of English Language Development - U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition highlighted these volunteers for their being recognized as America Learns Strategy of the Month authors.   Canada's National Adult Literacy Database and the Mid-Continent Comprehensive Center also posted news about the strategies on their websites.

Meet Joyce Tamanaha-Ho

Joyce Tamanaha-Ho

Joyce (left) and her Learning Partner

Joyce works one-on-one with an ESL learner once a week at the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library. When we asked her to share some information about herself, she wrote:

I'm a product of California public schools, from kindergarten through graduate school. By profession, I'm a public high school English/journalism teacher who has been taking an extended break from classroom teaching to be a full-time mom.

Tutoring at my local public library allows me to continue to give back to my community what so many have given me - an opportunity to be well-educated and civic-minded.

Joyce's strategy involves helping adult learners to better understand American culture and colloquialisms by reading and discussing "Ask Amy" columns together. Check it out below!

The Strategy

LEARNING ABOUT AMERICAN CULTURE AND COLLOQUIALISMS THROUGH NEWSPAPER COLUMNS

Created by: Joyce Tamanaha-Ho, Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles
(America Learns Network member since 2007)
Topics: English Language Learners; Vocabulary Development
Grade Levels: Seventh - Adult
Arrangements: One-on-One
Materials:
- "Ask Amy" columns from newspaper or an editorial column
- Highlighter and pen/pencil
- This vocabulary chart

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Situation: My learning partner expressed an interest in learning more about colloquialisms and slang. Rather that start with a list of colloquialisms, I decided to use the "Ask Amy" column of our newspaper. This way, my learning partner would be able to:

1) Read about Americans in their own words, dealing with life's everyday dilemmas;

2) Learn about American culture and attitudes; and

3) Learn how to compose a short letter.

   
Step 1: Among other charts, I prepared a three-column vocabulary chart to be used each week to keep track of the following in our readings: colloquialisms/slang, definitions, and examples of ways those words can be used.
   
Step 2: Over the course of the week, I collected "Ask Amy" columns that were rich in colloquialisms and slang. (I now keep a bank of them.) You can photocopy them so that your learning partner can keep track of what you've read together and take a copy home.
   
Step 3: To begin the tutoring process, I read the column aloud, one paragraph at a time, while my learning partner follows along and uses a highlighter to note any words or phrases that are new or confusing for her.
   
Step 4: We stop at the end of each paragraph to discuss any questions she has. This is usually where we have the chance to talk about American culture and opinions.
   
Step 5: I then write the words/phrases that she highlights on the chart (and use this time to also point out words that have multiple meanings/uses).

I explain the definition of the word/phrase and ask my learning partner to write that on the chart. We come up with examples of when the colloquial word/phrase can be used and then write a sentence with the word in the third column of the chart. Encourage your learning partner to create sentences that discuss experiences or issues in her life.

   
Step 6: When we finish the article, my learning partner reads the selection aloud by herself.

By the end of the session, she has been acquainted with new American colloquialisms/slang, and has a chart to take home as a reference and for future review.

Thoughts?
How Have You Addressed this Issue?

Please share your thoughts about this strategy and any messages you have for Joyce by clicking the grey “Comments” link below.

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