Volume 63 | December 10, 2022

Greetings, Tutors! 

Turning the calendar from one year to the next has always been a time of reflection and hope. We spend the remaining days of the current year summing up past experiences, bidding farewell to those we have lost, renewing old friendships, making plans and resolutions, and expressing our hopes for the future.


As we leave 2022 and look to a fresh new year, we wish tutors and students happiness, good health, and well-being. We wish you the most wonderful holiday season and look forward to another fantastic year of learning and sharing together! Be well and take care.

With gratitude and hope,

Carol Garcia

Your Tutor Support Specialist

Important Reminder:

Next week, you will receive a request to report your quarterly tutoring hours. Please respond in a timely manner. Staff is required to compile all volunteer hours and report to funders in early January. This is important! Thank you.

Peer Tutor Mentoring in 2023

We thank the long-time tutors who joined the December 6th and 7th Peer Tutor Mentoring sessions! It's so helpful for newer tutors to gain insights and learn tried-and-true instructional approaches from experienced peers.

Peer Tutor Mentoring will take a pause in January. In February, the sessions will return to in-person. Dates and locations will be announced after the first of the year.

Tutor Engagement

Tutoring Session Starting Routines

How do you begin your tutoring session each time that you meet with your student?

As an example, you could write out sentences on paper or on a whiteboard, stating the date and the weather, along with a statement about the theme you are studying currently. You read it together, and your student copies it into their notebook. Your student knows the routine and gets to work when they enter the study room. Or, with a higher-level student, begin with a brief writing assignment that connects to previous material or looks ahead to that day’s session content. 

This activity sets the theme for the day and helps focus the student’s attention. Perhaps you ask your student to say something about an experience they had since your last meeting. Use a “learning log” to record what they learned the previous week and how they used English outside of tutoring time. These activities help students connect their “real lives” with their “English lives” as they settle in for a tutoring session. 

Why routines?

Routines provide structure at the beginning of each tutoring session. Use a routine during the first 5-10 minutes. This enables your student to know what to expect. They can get started without extensive directions or explanations. They can focus on the content and language, rather than on what to do. Predictable patterns become familiar to the student, meaning that they do not have to try to make sense of instructions for each task or transition. Because routines are predictable, students feel comfortable when your weekly session begins. Language skill worries are reduced. Routines also provide continuity, reminding the student of the current theme that they are studying. They link yesterday and today and set the scene for the new day’s work.


What are the differences between warm-ups and opening routines?


•   Tutored-directed

•    Fun, motivating activity/game to prepare the student for the tutoring session

•    Short, fast-paced

•    Gets student warmed up for the main lesson

•    Low pressure


Opening Routines:

•    Student-centered

•    Students can work alone (after practice) without tutor input.

•    Students can access it at their current level; it can be modified up/down.

•    Specific language objective with high-frequency exposure

•    Requires very little tutor prep

•    Low pressure for 5-10 minutes


Here are some examples of beginning routines:

•    Agenda, which lists the day’s activities with allocated times

•    Journal prompt

•    Sentences/vocabulary words to copy

•    Question of the day

•    Dictation activity to review previously-learned vocabulary

•    Spelling test

•    Student-led review of something learned during the previous session


Schedule the final 5 minutes of each meeting to close with an exit activity. For example, have your student report something they liked, didn’t like, didn’t understand, wants to practice more, etc.  

Learning Log

I spoke English: (where? to whom?)


I listened to English:


I read English:


I wrote in English:

New Year's Resolutions

Does your student know the custom of making New Year's resolutions? Here are activities, including a reading passage, discussion prompts, and a multi-level dictation sheet with tips for preparation and how to implement the dictation.

When you shop on Amazon, please select Literacy DuPage as your charity of choice through AmazonSmile.

At no additional cost to you, we will receive 0.5% of the amount of your eligible Amazon purchases.

You can support Literacy DuPage on your computer or through the Amazon app. Once you have selected Literacy DuPage as your charity, update or download the most recent Amazon app to your phone.

Open the app and find “Settings” in the main menu. Tap on “AmazonSmile” and follow the on-screen instructions to add AmazonSmile to your phone.

Need help? Reach out to Carol Garcia, your Tutor Support Specialist.

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