Statewide  Release

Tutor Newsletter ~ December 2016 
Welcome to TLC’s Tutor Newsletter

Tutors of Literacy in the Commonwealth (TLC) provides tutor training and tutor coordinator support to adult literacy programs in Pennsylvania. Services provided by TLC are free of charge and available to all Pennsylvania adult literacy programs using volunteer tutors. Please feel free to contact us with your requests and suggestions. 

Seasons Greetings!
Best wishes from the TLC Staff and Board for a restful holiday season with your loved ones.

Take time to enjoy the season ~ and a good book!
Outstanding Tutor Award
Nominations for the 2017 Outstanding Tutor are due Friday, December 16, 2016.

Please note that TLC has made a change to the nomination process to help make it easier.

While nominating a tutor takes a few minutes, it is well worth the honor to the tutor and the learner, not to mention your program! Take this opportunity to nominate a dedicated, deserving, hard-working tutor. The winner will receive a free PAACE conference registration and will be presented the award at the Tutor Conference luncheon on February 13. 

Learn more here.
Tutor Conference ~ 2017
Mark Your Calendar!
Registration is now open for the 2017 Tutor Conference, which will be held on Monday, February 13, 2017 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College. The first 70 tutors to sign up will receive a free registration to the conference, including the luncheon at which the Outstanding Tutor Award will be presented, and a one year PAACE membership. Learn more here.

New Tutor Resource
The  Tutor Handbook ~ Math Instruction is now available!
Tutor Stories
OIC logo

Fred ~ High School Equivalency (HSE) Tutor from Chester County–OIC

Retired and looking for something useful to do, Fred found CC-OICs tutoring program. For about a year, he has been tutoring a young man from Mexico who wants to get his high school equivalency certificate, which the student needs in order to advance his job prospects. The young man currently works as a contractor for a large bakery company, where he drives a delivery truck and replenishes baked goods at the stores that he services. He would like to work for the bakery itself and understands that the bakery requires employees to hold their high school equivalency certificate. 

Fred and the student decided to concentrate on one section of the GED® test at a time, starting with math. When Fred and the student began, the student tested at the fifth-grade level in math. Fred worked with four basic math books he found in the programs library (he would like to find one book that teaches exactly what is needed for the GED® test - please send your suggestions to Colleen). While working on math skills, Fred made some strategic decisions. He emphasized skills such as percentages, decimals and fractions, that are particularly useful in real life. They spent less time on topics such as roots, exponents, trigonometry, and graphing, which are typically encountered less frequently in the work place. After the student passed the practice math test last month, Fred encouraged him to take the actual test as soon as possible - just in case he would start to forget some of the less frequently used skills. The student passed the math section on the first try! Fred is very excited for the student to have progressed so far from his starting point at the fifth-grade level. 

Equipped with strong language skills, the student passed the Language Arts section of the GED® test on his own. Fred and the learner are currently working on science, with mid-December as a goal for taking the test. Since science is his background, Fred is enjoying the science instruction and sharing ideas and activities. Social Studies will come last, to be tackled in the new year.

Fred really admires and enjoys working with young people who want to better themselves, especially when he sees the students accomplish their goals. This student has shown remarkable commitment, showing up for and participating actively in evening tutoring sessions, after a workday which starts at 5 am. This student is one of the many who sees the tremendous benefit of a high school equivalency exam leading to career advancement.

OIC logo

Joel ~ HSE Tutor from Chester County–OIC

Joel first learned of the volunteer tutoring opportunity at CC-OIC through his church, which supports CC-OIC financially. He had retired and wanted to do something to give back to the community and had heard good things about CC-OIC. Joel has tutored one-on-one with three students over the past two years, helping them work toward their high school equivalency (HSE) certificates.

Resources that Joel finds especially useful include Steck-Vaughn’s Complete Test Preparation for the GED® Test and Azteck Software’s practice GED® and HiSet® tests. Joel has also developed activities himself. Since two of the students are from other countries, he includes civics, history, and language concepts when appropriate. Lessons have included explanations and examples of American slang terms. They have discussed traditional American holidays and celebrations such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and Memorial Day that other countries do not share. Geography lessons have ranged from the typical topics such as state capitals and major rivers to how states got their shapes.

One of the non-native students works at two jobs totaling many, many hours a week to provide for his wife, a college student, and their son. Joel and the student fit sessions around the student’s work schedule. The student also wants to attend college himself. This student recently passed his citizenship test and was sworn in as a US citizen the next day.

The third student with whom Joel tutors is a gentleman in his fifties who is working toward his high school equivalency for his own betterment and sense of satisfaction.

Joel keeps tutoring because he knows he’s making a difference in the lives of the learners as they achieve goals for themselves and their families. He likes seeing the learners make progress, even though sometimes the learners are slow to see their own progress. While Joel takes great pride and self-satisfaction in working with the students to help improve their lives, he prefers to keep his work private; not many people know he tutors. Joel shares in the successes of the students and feels he benefits tremendously from working with them.

Suggested Resources
TLC’s newsletter will suggest materials to assist in the planning of your tutoring sessions. Please let us know what you find useful and what you would suggest to others by emailing Colleen .
Pennsylvania Adult Education Resources 
This is a preview of the sections of the website that are most relevant to tutors, with a few of the resources expanded. Please plan to take some time to peruse the numerous excellent teaching resources on this site!

PA Adult Ed Resources > Teachers & Tutors > High School Equivalency Options > GED® Test

This page contains sections on News, Frequently Asked Questions, and Resources for Educators. The Resources section includes a Teacher’s Guide to the test, sample test items, and a link to GED® Testing Service page, among other useful information.

PA Adult Ed Resources > Teachers & Tutors > High School Equivalency Options > HiSET® Exam

This page contains two sections: News and FAQs, and Resources for Educators. The Resources section includes sample test items, practice tests, and HiSet’s ® exam preparation webpage.
PA Adult Ed Resources > CCR Standards > CCRS Tools and Resources

The resources on this page start with a table to help you identify which sections will be of most use to you. Each section can be expanded for further information. As tutors, you may find  Section 1 – Depth of Knowledge useful for information about the levels of questions that might be on the GED ® test. Section 7 – General CCRS Resources for Teaching and Lesson Planning includes the  CCRS and PA Standards Aligned System (SAS) Resource Crosswalk, which is helpful in finding activities related to specific standards. If you are tutoring a student who is working toward his/her high school equivalency, you might use the CCRS as a guide to the level the student needs to reach to be prepared.
Additional Resources for High School Equivalency Preparation

Academic Word List
The list contains 570 word families which are useful in many disciplines for higher level learning.

Education Place
Education Place links to many different styles of graphic organizers that students might use to organize their thoughts for extended responses or analyzing information.

New Readers Press HSE Test Information            
This page contains three sections:
In addition to information for Math, Science, Social Studies, and Writing, the Free Resources section provides links to several sites that provide preparation for Digital Literacy. The section also provides links to the three main HSE test providers: GED®, HISET®, and TASC.

Newsela offers newspaper articles, with the same article written at different levels; many articles include quizzes featuring text dependent questions. Some articles are listed in text sets, and some offer pro and con viewpoints on a topic.

PBS Learning Media
  1. Lesson Builder: Create and assign interactive lessons that can be used in class or as homework assignments.
  2. Quiz Maker: Enhance lessons with personalized quizzes about PBS LearningMedia resources to test students’ understanding of key concepts.
  3. Storyboard: Illustrate complex concepts by designing interactive web pages using resources, graphics and images from PBS LearningMedia. Students can also create Storyboards to demonstrate their understanding of lessons.
PBS TeacherLine
This page offers free courses, including: provides paired pro and con articles on controversial issues that could be used for practice for the GED® extended response. The Teacher’s Corner includes information on lesson planning as well as suggestions for using the site.

Vocabulary Exercises for the Academic Word List
This page contains fill in the blank exercises for the academic word list.


If your program doesn’t have a copy of either of these books, please contact Michelle at TLC; we can provide a copy for your program.

Fisher, Douglas and Frey, Nancy. TDQ Text-Dependent Questions Grades 6-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Literacy, 2015. This book provides information for the tutor on preparing text-dependent questions at different levels. Many examples are provided in different subject areas.  
Tutors of Literacy Staff