Keighty Ward (they/them), Community Literacy Program Manager, Literacy Works, Chicago firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor's note: Scroll down for a video introduction to this resource.
Hi everyone! My name is Keighty Ward and I work for Literacy Works in Chicago. I am in charge of professional development for adult educators, but before this I taught ESL and Citizenship at Heartland Alliance. I taught multi-level classes as well as levels 1 - 5 so I have a range of resources to share.
Since the shutdown, Literacy Works has been producing tutorial videos for tutors to use as their tutoring transitions into distance work. We are focusing on meeting the tutors and learners where they are and sharing resources that fit their situation. For example, we have a video where we share suggestions for lesson planning in a variety of settings, including how to tutor when your learner only has a (non-smart)phone. Please visit the Literacy Works resource page [https://www.litworks.org/resources] to see all of our tutorials.
However, in this blog post I want to focus on one that is particularly great for advanced ESL and Citizenship students, and ABE students who are practicing their reading for an HSE test. It is called CommonLit.org [http://www.commonlit.org]. One thing I’ve heard from tutors and volunteer coordinators is that tutors are running out of higher level reading material at their homes. This site offers so many texts to practice with. They are organized by reading level, genre, literary function, and grade level so you can be sure to find exactly what you need for your particular learner. They even have adapted books from a wide variety of titles.
This site is totally free to educators. You only need to have a .edu email address to create a free account. If you don’t have this, though, it’s not a problem, as most of the functions are still available to you. One of the best features is the Paired Text section. Here you can find texts related to the one you just read - these can be assigned as ‘homework’ or can help you plan for your next lesson.
Whether you’re tutoring over the phone, through Whats App, or over video conferencing, this site will be a great addition to your reading lessons. Students can read out loud as you follow along and you can practice pronunciation or vocabulary as it comes up. Also, there are built in comprehension and discussion questions to help you along the way.
I have used this resource in all my classrooms and always recommend it to those practicing reading at higher levels. While it is a website, all of the materials can be printed and shared so even when we’re back to teaching in person, you can continue to use this resource. Please be sure to watch our tutorial video on this site here. [https://youtu.be/jNRUy4z2u_4] Y
Have you used CommonLit.org with your learners? Tell us about it in the comments! Best of luck and stay well.
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