Literacy for Life Conference 2019

Literacy for Life 2019

April 27, 2019
8:00am - 3:30pm 
Brower Student Center
TCNJ- The College of NJ 

To register for this year's conference online, read the workshop descriptions below and then fill out the conference registration form on the registration page. When you submit the form you will be taken to the payment page. To register for the conference by mail and pay by check, click here to download the PDF version of the registration.

Because our workshops fill up quickly, we ask that you pick two per session. If you have any questions, please call us at (732) 906-5456.

You can read about this year's conference presenters on our bio page

Participants will receive certificates at the end of the day showing 6 hours of professional development.


Registration fees

  • $60 - Tutors, Trainers, Staff and Board Members of Literacy NJ affiliated programs (after 3/29 $70)
  • $100- Non members 
  • $30- Adult learners 

Conference Schedule


_______Session One 9:00 - 10:30_______


Engaging Young Volunteers

This workshop will focus on how to recruit and engage young volunteers in the 18-25 range. Participants will learn how to network and partner with colleges and universities, as well as community organizations, to recruit, engage, and choose projects that will encourage young volunteers to contribute to the success of your nonprofit organization.

Laura Repsher and Christine Larsen-Britt, Rowan University

Target Audience: Board Members and Staff/Program Administrators


Creative Workshop Designs Using ProLiteracy’s New Tutor Training Materials

Now that ProLiteracy has released its new Basic Literacy and ESL Tutor Training Materials, you may be asking yourself “How can I use them effectively?” In this workshop, we’ll discuss different workshop designs, including a combined basic literacy and ESL workshop, a short pre-service training with additional in-service training, and blended training. The group will discuss how to customize the training materials to meet local needs and where to begin integrating these new materials into current training.

Todd Evans, ProLiteracy

Target Audience: Board Members,Staff/Program Administrators, Trainers


Naturalization 101

This introductory session highlights the naturalization eligibility and filing requirements and provides insight into the naturalization interview and oath ceremony. The session will include helpful customer service self-help tools, as well tips for individuals seeking legal immigration assistance.

Kelly Ayala, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—Newark District

General Audience


Become a More Confident Student 

In this workshop, we’re going to learn techniques we can practice to become more confident. For example, our facial expressions, posture, and gestures are important tools that we sometimes overlook. We will learn how to improve our body language and tone of voice to communicate with others with strength and conviction.

Perla Rotemberg & Melissa Bernstein, Literacy NJ Middlesex

Target Audience: Adult Learners


Making Mathematics Second Nature

Does your students' math anxiety and lack of comfort with numbers hinder their learning? Learn a variety of ways to lessen their anxiety and help them gain confidence. Participants will be asked to work with others in low stress hands-on math skills building activities using dice and Math Learning Circles. Participants will use a 20 by 20 multiplication chart and be shown how to use it to teach division along with addition and subtraction. Participants will also be provided with sample math test problems and will practice different approaches to teaching problems in non traditional ways.

Robert Rowlett, Prospect College: Career Pathways Program Coordinator

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESOL Teachers & Tutors, Trainers


Fake News: Helping Your Student Find Credible News Sources

This workshop is designed to coach tutors on how to help adult learners critically analyze and question online and print news sources. Participants will learn how to help their students identify credible news sources, question media output, and conduct research on current events to ensure that students are receiving accurate information in today's over-saturated media.

Jennifer Tole, Rowan University

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESOL Tutors and Teachers, Trainers


An Easy Guide to Working with Small Groups

Are you transitioning from one-to-one to group tutoring? This workshop will provide help preparing lessons to use with small groups, and include group management techniques and specific activities and materials to encourage conversation and promote the sharing of ideas and opinions within the group. Emphasis will be on structuring lessons around practical topics, with “Occupations” as the topic of discussion for this workshop.

Barbara Hathaway and Nancy Lama, Literacy NJ Union

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors and Teachers, Trainers

Engaging Activities for the ESOL Classroom

In this workshop, tutors will learn how to think beyond the traditional classroom setting to create interactive and dynamic ways of engaging ESOL students. From grammar games to self-esteem boosters, tutors will learn a multitude of fun exercises as well as how to tap into their own creativity to develop a motivating and fun ESOL class.

Valerie Tomaszewski, Literacy NJ Burlington County

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors and Teachers, Trainers


_____Session Two 10:45 - 12:15_______


Harnessing the Power of Stories 

The language we choose and the strategy we put behind communicating ideas are more important than we sometimes realize. In this interactive workshop you’ll learn how to inspire rather than just inform by unleashing the storyteller inside all of us. Your mission comes when you know how to “put why before what” and practice “messaging in three acts.”

Jon Shure, Taft Communications 

Target Audience: Board Members and Staff/Program Administrators

Literacy NY Online Tutor Training: Builds Capacity, Promotes Positive Outcomes

Literacy New York, a support organization for 34 volunteer literacy organizations in upstate New York and Long Island, implemented facilitated online training in 2015 to prepare volunteers to teach adult basic literacy and English language learners. The suite of training-- Intake to Outcomes or I2O-- has grown to include training in Math Basics and Numeracy, as well as Employability Soft Skills. Participants will learn how training is delivered effectively online and how it is managed, maintained, and updated to reflect changes in teaching methodology, funding, and WIOA legislation. Computers will be provided so participants can sample the training.

Kathy Houghton, Literacy NY

Target Audience: Board Members,Staff/Program Administrators, Trainers


Student Roundtable: Tips & Tricks for Excelling at Learning 

Students will have a round table discussion on the tips, and tricks that helped them improve their English. Students will talk to each other about the lessons, resources, and homework that they found most helpful. There will also be an option of being recorded, to share their tips with other fellow students who missed this discussion. Talk about your success, share it with each other, and keep improving!

Meenakshi Nalalagappan & Melissa Bernstein, Literacy NJ Middlesex 

Target Audience: Adult Learners


Integrating Critical Thinking Into Every Lesson

It’s not enough for students to learn skills, strategies, and processes for reading, writing and math. For students to be confident and successful in using these skills, they need to be able to understand and evaluate information and solve problems. In this workshop, teachers will learn how to integrate critical thinking skills into every lesson. Participants will learn techniques to help students build skills in gathering information, use graphic organizers to understand it, and then use questioning techniques to examine the information critically. Application of strategies will include reading, writing, and math.

Todd Evans, ProLiteracy

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESOL Tutors and Teachers, Trainers

Choose and Use Reading Levels that Work for Your Student

Tutors are often challenged by the idea of selecting reading materials that are level-appropriate, yet still challenging for their student. In this workshop, participants will learn how to determine a student's reading abilities using sample texts, as well as how and where to find and use the proper materials in the classroom and tutoring sessions to ensure students are increasing their reading comprehension skills. Participants will also learn how to pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues to determine a student's area of struggle, and how to react effectively so that reading becomes a positive and enjoyable experience for the student.

Fay Crooks, Literacy NJ Gloucester County

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESOL Tutors and Teachers, Trainers

Vocabulary Development Strategies Using Multiple Literacy Resources CLOSED- this workshop is now full

Students need to internalize vocabulary development strategies beyond the classroom to become independent readers and advanced speakers. The workshop will present useful strategies of instruction to help educators present a deeper level of classroom work on vocabulary development. Participants will explore the vocabulary pyramid, vocabulary transfers from other languages, activities that focus on reading samples from texts and poetry, and other strategies that help students to read between the lines and not get “stuck” on vocabulary words. Participants will receive material that can be used immediately in their classes.

Diana Sefchik, Raritan Valley Community College and Seton Hall University

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESOL Tutors & Teachers, Trainers

Identifying Your Student's Marketable Skills

This workshop will help provide tutors and staff with the tools needed to assist students in a more focused job search. Tutors will learn how to help their students accurately identify their skills and how to leverage their abilities to help them enhance their resume, ace the interview, and land an appropriate and long lasting career in their intended field.

Maggie Bonanni Land, Rutgers Camden

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESOL Tutors & Teachers, Trainers


_______Session Three 2:00 -3:30________


Cultural Literacy: Know Yourself First

The best cultural literacy starts with understanding their own cultural conditioning and worldviews. This interactive workshop will offer tools to better communicate and interact with students from marginalized populations, with a focus on two aspects of cultural diversity: (1) understanding the impact of early messages on the individual and how those messages shape prejudice, stereotypes, bias, and implicit bias; and (2) the development of diversity skills, including cultural self-awareness, empathy, cultural interaction, tolerance of ambiguity, awareness of stereotypes, and intercultural communication.

Robin Parker & Pamela Smith Chambers, Beyond Diversity Resource Center

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESL Tutors, Trainers, Staff/Program Administrators, Board Members

Reaching the Finish Line: Setting Goals as an Adult Learner

Setting goals can help us focus our learning. In this workshop, students will learn how to set specific goals. We will set goals for education, careers, and in our personal lives. We will also break down goals into stages. Each student will leave with a plan of the steps needed to reach their goals.

Donna Tchir-Spence, Literacy NJ Ocean County

Target Audience: Adult Learners

Career Pathways in Adult Education

Participants in this workshop will learn about a curriculum modeled around in demand careers, designed for students who are studying to obtain their high school diplomas. This workshop will also spotlight ideas for ESL programs in need of Integrated Education and Training (IET) components. 

Joe Spencer, Rowan College of Gloucester County

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers and Trainers


Steps for Success: Supporting your basic Literacy Students

Learn about a curriculum designed to assist your basic literacy students in identifying goals, creating a reading routine and discovering independent learning resources. The goal of the program is to establish learning habits in the lives of our basic literacy students so they are better equipped to succeed as they challenge themselves to learn new skills. Participants will receive a set of lessons they can use with their students.

Rebecca Powers, Literacy NJ Burlington County

Target Audience: Staff/Program Administrators, Basic Literacy Tutors & Teachers, Trainers

Everyday English: Incorporating Real World Skills Into Conversation Groups CLOSED- this workshop is full

Adult English language learners are often pressed with urgent and important needs. In this workshop, participants will learn how to structure and develop ESOL conversation groups and activities for advanced students that center around real life situations and goals. Participants will learn how to identify students' conversational goals and obstacles, as well as methods of creating student-led speaking activities and role playing exercises that allow students to increase their ability to navigate the English speaking world. 

Ronda Brown, Literacy NJ Gloucester County

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors and Teachers, Trainers

Using Free Technology to Increase Student Engagement

This workshop will review several free digital tools that tutors and teachers can use to develop hands-on activities for students and to connect with students outside of meetings. The presenter will share some example projects and work with participants to brainstorm potential projects they can take up with their own students. Participants will have the opportunity to stay connected after the conference using the tools presented. The workshop will take place in a computer lab, so participants do not need to bring their own computers.

Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University

Target Audience: Basic Literacy/ESOL Tutors & Teachers, Trainers

Culture as an Asset in Assessing Student Proficiency

This workshop will discuss and break down the various ways of accurately assessing students’ language levels using non-formal assessments. Tutors will learn how to informally determine their student’s language abilities as well as how to create appropriate language goals and access pertinent content. A special focus will be on how culture plays an important role in language acquisition, and how tutors can use multiculturalism in assessing their students. Attendees will also have the opportunity to practice activities that can help determine language level and discuss how curriculum can be modified to meet the needs of individuals at any stage of language acquisition.

Charlotte Perez, Literacy Volunteers of Camden County

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors and Teachers, Trainers, Staff/Program Administrators




Or click here to download the form as a pdf.


Return to the top of the page.