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News & Updates for September 2018

newsThis month:


September is National Literacy Month

Celebrate with us!

literacy quote kofi annan
You know how important literacy is. You're already invested; you know the students, you know their stories, and you're alongside them, cheering them on as they take each step along the path to a better life.

Can you help spread the word? Invite a friend to be a tutor. Tell someone new your favorite student story. Let's tell Houston WHY literacy matters this National Literacy Month.

Oh, and -
Throughout September, we're celebrating literacy through quotes, one per day, on our Facebook page. If you haven't already joined us there, now would be a great time to get involved!


National Literacy Month at Half Price Books

Another way to celebrate...

It was fun to hear from Half Price Books that they're promoting literacy all through September, for National Literacy Month - and even more exciting to hear that Literacy Advance will be the recipient of some of the funds they raise!

If you shopped on International Literacy Day (Saturday, September 8), know that 5% of proceeds will go to literacy organizations, including us!

And throughout the month, if you buy their limited edition buttons (see pic above), we'll get a cut from that too!

THANK YOU Half Price Books for your support of literacy - in September and all year round.


Matching donations

They help more than you can imagine!

Have you been meaning to get around to checking whether your workplace offers a match? Some will match any money you donate, some will match volunteer time - and some match both! Even better, some companies' matching policies extend to spouses, or retirees...

You can't imagine the difference a matching grant can make to our bottom line. And every extra dollar can help more families, more parents, and more workers.

Please take a moment this week to check whether this is available through your workplace. With so many dedicated volunteers connected to Literacy Advance, matching funds can be a significant source of income for us.

And if you're already doing this on our behalf - THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts!


Around the World

It's been ten whole years!

around the worldMany of you have been to Around the World before - this magical evening brings together students, volunteers, and other friends of Literacy Advance in a glorious celebration of food, community, and love.

This year will be our TENTH such celebration, if you can believe it, and you're invited!

Friday, October 19, 5pm - 7pm

More details to come, but mark the date and plan to join us. Guests are welcome (14 years old or older, please).

It won't be the same without you!


Bad weather? Not sure if class is on?

Step One: Check Facebook

We know that weather in Houston can be unpredictable. Sometimes we don't have a lot of notice that we'll need to close the office and cancel classes, and we don't always have time to call everyone. 

Facebook is a quick and easy way to update lots of people at once, so the Literacy Advance Facebook page always has the most up-to-date information about closings in cases of bad weather.

If you think there's a chance we might be closed, please check the page rather than calling the office. Look for this image, and click on it for the latest update:

weather information

You can check the Facebook page even if you don't have a Facebook account, so please bookmark the link above. And remind your students to do the same!

Of course, if the bad weather is local to your neighborhood, and you're the one who needs to cancel class because you're concerned about driving, please do call us and let us know.


Theme of the Month

September: Immigration & Citizenship

In September, we're focusing on Immigration & Citizenship.

Most of the adults who come to Literacy Advance are immigrants, and nearly all have friends and family who are affected by immigration processes. Some are on the path to becoming U.S. citizens, and all can benefit from learning more about American culture and ways of life.

This month, we have activities to guide students in practicing for a citizenship exam. Adults will have to answer questions aloud when they interview for their citizenship, so oral practice is valuable.

Entry Into Citizenship will provide beginner-level students with activities to help incorporate vocabulary essential to filling out the N-400, the Application for Naturalization. You can borrow Sight Words flashcards and number tiles from the Resource Room so students can practice forming names, dates, and other key information.

Intermediate and advanced students can learn about famous U.S. leaders and landmark speeches with American Government: Freedom, Rights & Responsibilities. Classes can practice the orations aloud, or incorporate the audio from the Great Speeches of the 20th Century CDs in the Wilcrest Resource Room. Challenge students to draft and deliver their own landmark speech on an issue that matters most to them.

Then, move on to Citizenship Now! to focus on U.S. holidays and why we celebrate the ways we do. As you know, decorating homes with ghosts and goblins every October is NOT universal behavior! How do American customs compare to celebrations in students' native countries?

These are just a few of the many resources we have for September's theme! Come by your site’s Resource Room, and ask staff for recommendations for your class. These resources are a great way to help students learn more about U.S. citizenship, and help strengthen connections to their new homes in Houston. They provide students with both practical and fun ways to learn key information that will help them jump start their citizenship journey and build their knowledge.

Familiarizing oneself with U.S. civics and citizenship is an ongoing journey, and we thank you for supporting your students every step of the way!

And here are the themes for the rest of the year:

Month Theme Possible lesson content
October Health Health Literacy Month; questions to ask the doctor; advocating for your own health
November Libraries What's available at your local library? What does the library provide online?

There's no right or wrong way to use the Theme of the Month calendar. Some months you may use it a lot, and other months less so - we hope you'll continue to be responsive to the needs and goals of the particular students in your class. But we hope this will be a fun addition to your lesson planning, and we'll be providing focused resources and lesson ideas on each topic throughout the year.

Want ideas, or to look at resources that match the themes? Talk to Courtney: 713.266.8777 or


Top Tutor Tips


Over the past few months, you've focused on five Drivers of Adult Persistence:

  • A Sense of Belonging and Community
  • Clarity of Purpose
  • Agency
  • Competence
  • Relevance.

When you're on time to each class, and minimize class disruptions, you're going a long way to promote the final Driver of Adult Persistence: Stability.

It's important for adult learners, when so much in their personal lives may be chaotic, to have a dependable class schedule, and to be able to gauge their progress in class. Each week, as you're progressing through English No Problem or Laubauch Way to Reading, and when you take the time to complete student and tutor journals, you're creating a stable classroom.

Did you know? If a student drops out of a class, Literacy Advance staff will add a new student into your group up to the midpoint of your lessons (so, week 6 for 12-week classes, or week 8 for 16-week classes). One of the most frequent comments we hear from tutors is that it can be challenging to integrate a new student into class, as other students may have to repeat information from earlier in the semester.

So often, though, we hear from both students and tutors that some repetition is actually helpful! Students will need to be able to introduce themselves anywhere they go, and repetition for a newcomer helps them sharpen their skills. Repetition also reinforces classroom rules and agency policies. Tell your students that they may have to repeat this information throughout the first half of the semester, and you'll be creating a stable environment for their learning and growth.

If you have any questions or comments about the materials or strategies suggested here, contact us at, or join our powerful online community Literacy Advance Tutor Support Group, for AMAZING people only (spoiler alert: that's you!)


Student Success Spotlights

Don't miss our Student Success Spotlights!

You helped make them possible.


Calendar Highlights

What's ahead? Mark your calendar!

calendarWe always want you to be up to date! So highlights of the Literacy Advance calendar are summarized below.

A more complete calendar can always be found online here, or you can check our Facebook Events page.

Literacy Advance fall semester
August 27 - December 22

September is National Literacy Month
Please help us raise funds for literacy!

Around the World:
10th annual student & tutor celebration

Friday, October 19

LAST DAY of classes in 2018
Saturday, December 22


Find more information just for volunteers:

And finally - don't miss the Volunteer Spotlight!

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