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News & Updates for March 2017

newsThis month:

Paid Summer Internship

Communications & Fundraising

super internThe only thing better than an internship at Literacy Advance is a PAID internship at Literacy Advance! And thanks to the Shell Nonprofit Internship Program, we have one to offer again this summer.

We offer a very comprehensive internship experience, with hands-on projects, varied experiences, and lots of training and professional development for the interns. Please let your college-age friends and family members know of this great opportunity!

Information about the Communications & Fundraising Internship can be found here.

Apply soon - this will be popular!

March is Read Aloud Month

So many ways to share your love of reading!

read aloudMarch is a huge month for literacy!

We've got Read Aloud Day on March 1 (which then continues all month), and Read Across America Day on March 2, in celebration of Dr Seuss' birthday. And then there's World Book Day on March 5!

Plan to celebrate reading this month! 

Special Volunteer Tutor Request #1

We're looking for new substitute tutors

helpIt happens pretty regularly - a tutor needs to be away for a lesson or two unexpectedly, and really doesn't want to disrupt the learning of their class. Whenever possible, we organize a substitute to cover the class in these cases.

We need more people willing to be subs! Here's how it works:

  • A volunteer tutor hands in a subs request form (please help us out with at least a week's notice, or ideally more);
  • We contact people on our substitute list with the date and time of the class that needs to be covered;
  • Subs on the list who can't cover it, tell us so; hopefully we find someone who can cover;
  • Once a match is made, the substitute tutor goes to class on the specified day and at the specified time, and uses the work left to lead the class for that 2-hour or 3-hour lesson.

Substitutes can be on the list but only say YES to some requests! There are no expectations that you cover every lesson you're asked about. But the longer the list, the more likely we can find a match.

Please consider being on the subs list!
Contact Heather if this is something you could do.

NOTE: We need the majority of our subs at Wilcrest, but also need them at Outreach locations and at Bay Area. If you're willing to be a substitute at a location OTHER than Wilcrest, please let Heather know.

Special Volunteer Tutor Request #2

We're looking for supplemental class tutors

helpYou know that central to what we do are our literacy classes. Our biggest need is always for tutors to help lead reading and writing classes, or small-group English language classes.

But did you know that we also have some (fabulously flexible) options that supplement all the good stuff that's going on in the other classes?

Students often need to dive down deep into a particular topic or area, just for a short time. And we need volunteer tutors for these classes too!

Right now, there's a lot of students asking for these classes:

Can you help? You won't be trying to make it work all on your own; we have some great resources we use for these classes. They're a relatively short-term commitment (4 - 6 weeks) and you can help some students learn a lot about a specific topic while they're still going to their regular class for all the basics.

This is a particularly good option for a tutor who can't commit to 12 or 16 weeks, but can manage 4 or 6.

Use the links above to find out more, or call Diana, our Transition Coach, who coordinates the supplemental class schedule: 713.266.8777, ext. 13.

scrabble in the city 2017

Please join us May 3; it won't be the same without you

scrabble logoScrabble in the City is back on Wednesday, May 3, and you're invited!

This is going to be such a fun event! You'll want to get there one way or another.

You can put together a team or come as a volunteer - we need general volunteers, and Scrabble judges. We'd love to see you either way! Though we'll warn you - some of our volunteers from last year had so much fun, they've already signed their teams up for this year...

Please tell your friends about this fun and unique evening - remember, this is NOT your grandmother's Scrabble.

Find more information here!

PS: If you volunteered for Scrabble in the City in the past, had a blast, and want to do it again, AND if Maxine hasn’t contacted you already, please tell us!

Volunteer application deadline is March 17 MARCH 23, training will be the week of April 17. Call Maxine: 713.266.8777, ext. 16 or email her.

Welcome to our newest team members

We love welcomes!

The only thing that's better than a welcome is when you get to do it without also saying goodbye... and we've got two new people and no farewells. So that's making us happy!

renee mathez

First of all, we're excited to welcome Renee Mathez to our Programs Team, in the role of Outreach Program Coordinator (Waller County). Renee is bilingual in English and Spanish, and has a great background in customer service through her wide-ranging career that includes tourism and coaching.

brandi boak We're also excited to have Brandi Boak with us, in the role of Programs Intern (Wilcrest). Brandi is completing her studies with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, and we are overjoyed to be hosting yet another of their stellar students. 

Please say hello to Renee and Brandi when you see them, and help us make them feel welcome!

Theme of the Month: Houston

Waiting Class lesson plans, and more

we heart HoustonBased on direct and consistent student feedback, we've created a Theme of the Month calendar, tied to the life skills students say they want to learn. There's a different theme each month, complete with a list of (and links to) materials and activities that tutors can use to help get students talking and interacting more.

March = Houston

What makes Houston different to other cities? How can we help newcomers feel at home more quickly? Topics range from buses and transportation to maps and roadways, Houston weather (a theme by itself, right?!), and where to go for help. You can even cover Houston-specific language (feeder road, anyone?)

The theme, life skills, materials, and activities are available in a Waiting Class lesson plan, so students know what to expect no matter which tutor leads Waiting class.

Stop by the Resource Room, or contact Maxine to learn more, or if you have any questions.

Top Tutor Tips

A monthly focus on best practices

abe & esl

ESL Tutors: 
Do you want a few fun and super-informative reminders that can make you a better tutor, and help your learners increase confidence and talk more? Check out these real-life examples, below.

Increase Student Talk

Avoiding Three Common Mistakes

Classroom Management

ABE Tutors:
In case you missed it, in conjunction with Neuhaus Education Center, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation put out some excellent Educational Videos that include instruction strategies specifically for Adult Basic Education learners.

Watch and learn about Determining Learner Profiles to Inform Instruction, Differentiating Instruction to Meet Learner Needs, and Decoding English.

We bet you’ll learn something new, and your learners will, too!

Extra Bonus Tutor Tip

There are 5 assumptions about the characteristics of adult learners that are different from the assumptions about child learners, and 4 Principles that should be applied to adult learning. Do you know what they are?

Click here to check your knowledge: Adult Learning Theory


And don't forget - we have regular workshops, training, and roundtable sessions to help tutors continue learning best practices and sharing ideas with one another. Find upcoming sessions here.

Literacy Advance History Book

Celebrating 50 Years of Literacy...

history bookLiteracy Advance celebrated its 50th birthday in 2014 and we're still celebrating! We hope you've already read some of the 50 years of stories that got us to where we are today; if not, find the book here or click on the image to the left.

Current Volunteer Needs


There's more to do than tutoring! We have ongoing needs for Family Literacy volunteers, front desk helpers, and other assistance, and we're looking for Scrabble volunteers...

Current volunteer needs are here.

Volunteer Events

Tutor Enrichment, Volunteer Socials, and more!

Find out all information on our Volunteer Events page! For changes and updates throughout the month, remember to check our Calendar, or our Facebook Events tab.

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