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General Tutor Resources

At Literacy Advance, we believe it's crucial that all students are treated as individuals, which is why we consistently promote a learner-centered approach, rather than a ‘one size fits all' type program.

For this reason, while we do provide our tutors with curricula to provide a strong framework for lessons, and to help with steady progression, we constantly remind our tutors to supplement their lessons with other materials that may help address their students' goals, answer questions raised in class, or respond to particular interests or needs of class members. Instruction on goal setting forms a significant part of our New Tutor Training and we provide all volunteer tutors with ongoing support and assistance in working through this challenging but ultimately very satisfying process.

In order to provide lesson materials that match up with students' goals, we have extensive collections of resources, arranged into topic areas, at both our main campus on Wilcrest (West Houston) and at the Bay Area campus. All Literacy Advance tutors are welcome to visit these locations at any time during opening hours and browse the resources. Many can even be borrowed for a limited time!

Topic areas in which we have resources include:

  • Workforce literacy and job-related issues
  • Health literacy
  • Life skills (budgeting, map-reading, filling out forms, etc.)
  • Conversation skills
  • Phonics and phonograms
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Math and financial literacy
  • Much more!

However, we also know that it can be difficult to know where to start when you're planning lessons — and that's often because there are so many options, not too few! Please find below a selection of websites that we recommend. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but we hope it may be helpful.

ESL; Listening & Speaking

English Media Lab - Games, quizzes, MP3s, videos and more to help practice English online

Multilevel ESL activities - try these in While You're Waiting, or even in your regular class!

ELLLO - English Listening Lesson Library Online

Boggles World ESL - printable resources for language learning

ESL Cafe - for ESL tutors and students

Many Things - an interesting and popular resource for ESL

1 Language - free ESL resources and ideas

ESL Partyland - ideas for tutors, resources and lesson plans

Using English - resources, reference and ideas for ESL tutors

ABE; Reading & Writing

Reading Workshop - explore phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and more

Literacy Connections - promoting literacy and a love of reading

OTAN (Outreach and Technical Assistance Network) - for educators of adults

English Express - a website for adult learners

Guide to Grammar & Writing - exercises, activities and reviews from basic to more advanced

English Zone - grammar, reading, paragraph writing and vocabulary activities

Grammar Bytes - definitions, exercises and handouts on all types of grammar

English for Everyone - free printable worksheets on many different topics

Step Forward - interactive grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading (The full version of this software is available in the Literacy Advance computer lab)

News for You Online - website companion to the very popular new readers' newspaper, published weekly and available at Literacy Advance Wilcrest. Login codes are available in every weekly issue; some content can be accessed without logging in.

This I Believe - essays and personal stories written by people from all walks of life. Many stories have an audio-file so you can listen as well.

CNN Story Archive - stories arranged by topic.

One Minute Readers online - short readers designed to help new readers challenge themselves.

Lesson Plans

ESL Lesson Plans - for many different levels, and on many different topics

Using English ESL Lesson Plans - search by ability or by topic

Internet TESL Journal Lesson Plans - hundreds of lesson plans contributed by tutors around the world

ESL Flow - lesson plans arranged by topic and by level

TCALL (Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning) Lesson Plans - for ESL, ABE, Workforce Literacy, GED and Study Skills

Math, Reading and Writing lesson plans for the adult learner

How Adults Learn & Adult Education

ProLiteracy update on the GED - In 2011, the American Council on Education announced that it was forming a new, for-profit business to significantly revise and administer the GED test in partnership with Pearson, a for-profit educational publishing company. The new company is called the GED Testing Service, and the new GED test is scheduled for release in 2014. Read more about what this means, at the link above.

Adult Learner Persistence Project - What's the difference between dropping out and stopping out? How can we help adult learners persist in their learning and make real progress towards their goals? This great site from the New England Literacy Resource Center presents findings and suggestions.

Managing Stress to Improve Learning - Another winner from the New England Literacy Resource Center, this site aims to equip learners in adult education programs with strategies for managing a high level of chronic stress that interferes with effective learning and the ability to reach life improvement goals for themselves and their families.


About Reading and Reading Difficulties - Reading and writing are fundamental skills that every individual needs to possess. They provide the foundations for almost every area of personal and economic development. Yet some people struggle more than others. Why?


Total Physical Response - A popular approach for teaching ESL, this site collects a lot of different resources and information about Total Physcial Response (TPR) in one place for ESL tutors to use as appropriate.

Family Literacy

10 Things to Know about Reading at Home - simple activities to bring reading into everyday life.

Reading Rockets - ideas for parents.

Family Literacy Bags - themed bags from Reading Rockets encouraging hands-on fun based on books.

Lil' Fingers Storybooks - an animated storybook site for toddlers to read with their parents.

Children's Storybooks Online - illustrated stories for older children.

Family FUNdamentals - activities for families for literacy and math.

Building Blocks to Reading - 26 activities to help children become readers.

Computer Literacy

Good Typing - typing practice online

Computer Tutorials - free tutorials on topics such as computer and internet basics, Windows, Word, Excel and more

Basic Computer Skills - learn about computers, email, word processing and web

Other Resources

Financial Literacy Tips & Resources - practical resources on finances from Life Literacy Canada.

Culturosity - grow your global mind with this link to global cultures

Conversation questions - start some great discussions

The Sounds of English - focus on pronunciation

USA Learns - literacy and life skills

Sporcle - test general knowledge and reading ability in themed online quizzes

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