Tips for Teaching Reading and Writing

Below are just a start for tips to teach reading and writing. More information can be found in the Tutor Handbook that you received during the two day Tutor Training Workshop. If you have questions you can contact an Adult Literacy Program staff member.

Teaching Reading

  • Remember to consider your learner’s interests and goals when planning any kind of lesson and when choosing teaching materials.
  • Help build your learner’s background information by reading and discussing interesting news and articles.
  • If your learner has children, encourage him/her to read to them. Discuss the importance of letting children see their parents reading.
  • Model what good readers do. (We don’t complete worksheets. We do talk about books and other things we have read!)
  • Encourage silent reading.
  • Spend time with our resources and become an expert on books at your learner’s level.
  • Talk about the strategies that good readers use: drawing conclusions, finding the main idea, reading for specific information, sequencing material, making predictions, understanding text organization, summarizing.
  • Encourage reading outside of the lessons.
  • Make use of “manipulative letters”; these could be magnetic letters like the ones that might be on your fridge, or “Scrabble” letter tiles, or ones you make yourself with a marking pen and card stock.
  • Include Word Recognition, Vocabulary Instruction, Fluency Practice and Comprehension Strategies in every lesson.

Teaching Writing

  • Struggling writers tend to focus on the mechanics of writing rather than the ideas they are trying to express. As the tutor, you need to initially focus on reading the learner’s writing versus evalutating it. Later when the learner is more fluent will be a better time to focus on writing conventions such as spelling and punctuation.
  • Many learners are very reluctant to write anything, let alone a complete message. Start small and provide lots of topic suggestions.
  • When learners write about a topic that they know and care about, their motivation and ownership increase.
  • Encourage your learner to write frequently and regularly.
  • Have your learner read his writing aloud to you, and give positive feedback.