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News & Updates for August 2017

newsThis month:

Please join us!

Literacy Advance Annual Breakfast


As a supporter of Literacy Advance, we would love to see you at our annual breakfast, taking place at The Junior League of Houston on Thursday, October 12. Find all details here.

Farewell, and thank you

Jose is leaving us...

joseWe have a bittersweet announcement - after five years with us, Wilcrest Program Coordinator Jose Garza is moving on. It's good news, because he's going to be using his skills in a new way and get different experience in his field, but it's sad news because we all love him! We are thankful to have had Jose as a part of the Programs Team for so long and we know you'll join us in wishing him well with this next career step.

Thank you Jose, and all the best! Come back and visit us!

And that means, of course, that we are hiring. In addition to filling the Wilcrest Program Coordinator role (an evening/Saturday schedule), we are hiring a Development Manager to help with our fundraising, special events, and more.

Find out more about both roles here, and spread the word to interested friends and family!

There's Still Time to Tutor this fall

Fall classes starting soon!

new and improvedLast month, we told you about our update to Wilcrest ESL classes and how we're standardizing the schedule to help more people.

Our fall semester will be starting soon, with classes starting throughout August. And there's still time to get involved - but not much time! 16-week classes will start over the first weeks of August, and 12-week classes throughout the month.

See the current ESL class options here and see what specific schedule will work best for you. Your most recent schedule may have to shift slightly, but we know that you're with us in trying to do the best we can for all our students.

ABE class schedules will remain largely as they are now. Check out ABE tutor needs for the fall here.

Got questions about the semester schedule? Please talk to Heather, the Wilcrest Program Manager: 713.266.8777.

Theme of the Month: School

Waiting Class lesson plans, and more

schoolBased on direct and consistent student feedback, we've created a Theme of the Month calendar, tied to the life skills students say they want to learn. There's a different theme each month, complete with a list of materials and activities that tutors can use to help get students talking and interacting more.

August = school

All around Houston, parents, kids, and adults are preparing to go back to school, so August’s theme of the month is schools, of course!

Whether your learners need to help their kids prepare for the first day of school, find schools for their children or themselves, or understand what it will take to achieve their own High School Equivalency or higher education goals, you can provide cultural awareness, grammar, and context information to make the transition easier.

It’s the right time of year to incorporate cultural and reference information about schools – and plenty of practice – into your lessons.

Do your learners have school-age children? We recommend a different curriculum for most ESL classes at our partner school locations, and it’s an excellent supplement to other ESL or ABE classes, too! From Home to School concentrates on language skills adults need to be actively involved in the lives of their kids.

Find the sets of stories and activities for parents in the Family Literacy section of the Bay Area, Waller County, and Wilcrest Resource Rooms, or ask any staff member about them.

Visit the Resource Room at your closest site (Wilcrest, Bay Area, or Waller), sign up for an Enrichment workshop, or make an appointment with Maxine (713.266.8777 or to learn more, or to get help with resources on this topic.

Looking ahead... September's theme is shopping & restaurants.

Top Tutor Tips

A monthly focus on best practices

abe & esl

We all know how important it is for adult learners to use mistakes as learning opportunities and how motivating honest praise can be. However, it can begin to sound insincere when tutors use the same phrase over and over. Try these suggested phrases based on tips in Litstart from Michigan Literacy, Inc.

Good ways to say ‘wrong':
•    That’s a tricky one.
•    Let’s try that again.
•    Oh, I forgot to explain…
•    Lots of people have trouble with this.
•    Almost! That’s close!
•    Do you want me to do a sample?

Good ways to say ‘good’
•    You must have practiced!
•    How did you do that so quickly?
•    You just taught me something.
•    Now you have it. Keep up the good work. You’re doing great!
•    Outstanding! Fantastic! That’s right.

Contact Maxine, our Volunteer Manager, at or 713.266.8777 if you have questions or want to find out more!

For more on this topic:

Using Praise to Ehance Resilience and Learning Outcomes

101 Ways to Praise


Don't forget - we have regular workshops, training, and roundtable sessions to help tutors continue learning best practices and sharing ideas with one another. Find upcoming sessions here.

September is National Literacy Month

Get ready to celebrate!

child readingYou know we celebrate literacy all year round, but September is our month to really get the word out.

World Literacy Day is September 8, but plan to celebrate all month!

Gulf Coast Reads

Get on the same page with your neighbors!

gulf coast reads logoGulf Coast Reads is an annual regional reading initiative. Organizers hope for simultaneous reading or listening to a selected title by those living along the upper Texas Gulf Coast. That's (probably) you!

Each year, librarians select a title that has a broad appeal to adults in our communities, is recognized in authoritative and professional journals, is available in multiple formats from print to downloadable content, and preferably, is available in multiple languages. This year's book is News of the World by Paulette Jiles, set in north Texas in 1870.

By encouraging our communities to read the same title during the month of October, the hope is that readers will come together in discussions about it with neighbors, co-workers, friends and their families, as well as in classrooms and in libraries throughout the region. There will be many related activities at libraries and community centers throughout October; get a head start by visiting the Gulf Coast Reads website.

And with this much lead time, maybe you'll have time to plan some related activities to do with your classes!

Calendar Highlights

Special days through the end of the year...

calendarWe're in the second half of the year! And you know what that means - turn around once and you're planning your Thanksgiving meal...

Here are some noteworthy dates and activities through the end of the year:

National Literacy Month

September 15 - 24
National Welcoming Week

Gulf Coast Reads: This year's book is News of the World

Thursday, October 12
Annual Breakfast, "Advancing Literacy in Houston,"
Junior League of Houston

Friday, November 10
Around the World: 9th annual student and tutor celebration

Saturday, December 16
Last day of classes for 2017

Remember to check the calendar or our Facebook events tab for ongoing information about Literacy Advance events.

Literacy Advance History Book

Celebrating 50+ Years of Literacy...

history bookLiteracy Advance celebrated its 50th birthday in 2014 and we're still celebrating! We hope you've already read some of the 50+ years of stories that got us to where we are today; if not, find the book here or click on the image to the left.

Current Volunteer Needs


There's more to do than tutoring! We have ongoing needs for Family Literacy volunteers, front desk helpers, and other assistance...

Current volunteer needs are here.

Volunteer Events

Tutor Enrichment, Volunteer Socials, and more!

Find out all information on our Volunteer Events page! For changes and updates throughout the month, remember to check our Calendar, or our Facebook Events tab.

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