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2021 Winter Toolkit

Building Literacy in the Digital Age

Workshop (90 minutes) = redShowcase (20 minutes) = green
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Monday 2/22Tuesday 2/23Wednesday 2/24Thursday 2/25Friday 2/26
Morning10-11:30 AM: “I Read it But I Don’t Get It”: Strategies to Promote Comprehension 10-11:30 AM: Facilitating Virtual Writing Workshops 10-11:30 AM: Beyond Tutoring: The Power of Mentoring Students
Afternoon2-2:20 PM: Acing the HiSET Essay 1-2:30 PM: Standards- Based Reading Instruction Using the News, Both In-Person and Virtually? Show Me! 

4-5:30 PM: Creating Lesson Plans for Online Instruction
12-12:20 PM: Mapping Adult Literacy & Numeracy by State & County

3-4:30 PM: Using 
Technology to Advance Learner Capabilities

1:30-1:50 PM: Community Connect

2-2:20 PM: Next Chapter Book Club

4-5:30 PM: Document Cameras and Drawing Tablets
1-2:30 PM: Google Basics
Evening6-6:20 PM: Maine’s Connecting with Opportunities Initiative 6-7:30 PM: Teaching with Short Stories 6-6:20 PM: Developing Rapport in a Digital World

Workshop Session Descriptions (90 minutes)

“I Read It But I Don’t Get It!”: Strategies To Promote Comprehension
Tuesday, February 23rd from 10-11:30 AM

Susan Bennett-Armistead, UMaine College of Education and Human Development

We read to understand. Unfortunately, some of our learners encounter texts that challenge their comprehension. In this session, we will identify comprehension issues and learn researched-based strategies that improve comprehension.

Standards-Based Reading Instruction Using the News, Both In-Person and Virtually? Show Me! 
Tuesday, February 23rd from 1-2:30 PM

Greg Stultz and Rebecca Eller-Molitas, New Readers Press

Greg and Rebecca show how to facilitate evidence-based reading instruction using News for You print and online–in-person or virtually, synchronously or asynchronously. Literacy Volunteers of Bangor subscribes to News for You Online for tutor and student use; all other attendees will receive a free two-week access code to News for You Online.

Creating Lesson Plans for Online Instruction
Tuesday, February 23rd from 4-5:30 PM

Ashleigh Briggs, Briggs Solutions for Business

What are the similarities and differences between teaching in person and online? What should instructors consider when transitioning to a virtual environment for the first time? This session on lesson planning for online instruction will highlight some tools to help instructors and students adapt and model some of the features for engagement available in Zoom: whiteboard, polls, and breakout rooms.

Using Technology to Advance Learner Capabilities
Wednesday, February 23rd from 3-4:30 PM

Virginia Marriner, Domingo Cheleuitte, and Dick Thompson, Literacy Volunteers of Augusta

Join Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta (LVA) to learn about an exciting new program that facilitates virtual learning and helps to address one of the most significant barriers that hinder digital skill development–lack of appropriate technology tools. LVA identified that a future for our agency and the people we serve is through technology. In collaboration with our Technology Consultant, LVA developed a program that provides a uniform device to learners and tutors. This allows for the devices to be set up with the same apps and software, while also operating the same for tutors and learners alike. We will discuss initial start-up, training, funding, support, and security; share policies that guide the program; introduce you to a tutor/learner pair working with the tablets; and provide plenty of opportunity for questions.

Teaching with Short Stories
Wednesday, February 24th from 6-7:30 PM

Eileen McAvoy and Claire Levesque 

Short stories are readily available, accessible to students who aren’t yet ready for a longer text. They provide an opportunity to improve reading comprehension, fluency, critical thinking, vocabulary skills, and more. There are many free resources for finding stories and we will explore these. In this session, we lead a discussion of “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant and share tips about incorporating short stories into lessons with adult students at a variety of reading levels. Participants will receive a link to read this story prior to the session along with a list of discussion questions. We will also explore various resources tutors may use in preparing lesson plans for students using short stories.

Facilitating Virtual Writing Workshops
Thursday, February 25th from 10-11:30 AM

Barb Averill, Sara Beech, & Elizabeth Cooke, Literacy Volunteers of Franklin & Somerset Counties

LVFSC had a four-session virtual writing workshop series in July that has become a much anticipated monthly class. This session will be about our process in planning and implementing the pilot series, what we learned, and how the writing workshop has evolved. We will talk about creating accessible writing activities for a wide variety of learners and how we tie our writing activities in with other class topics. There will also be time for participants to experience a mini writing workshop during the presentation.

Tech for Teaching: Document Cameras & Drawing Tablets
Thursday, February 25th from 4-5:30 PM

Vanessa Richards, Ellsworth Adult Education

This year, as much of learning is remote or at least six feet apart, there have been several challenges in working with learners, especially one-on-one. Graphics drawing tablets have been very helpful in giving lessons to learners, both one-on-one and in groups, in-person and remotely. Drawing tablets are affordable, starting at $35, and easy to use. We will discuss how to use the Kami app to open and complete worksheets, ways to use it like a whiteboard, how to record your lesson as a video, how to make notes on a PowerPoint presentation, and how to share files with learners. Drawing tablets can be connected to desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and even phones. We’ll save lots of trees if we transition to this fun digital tool!

Beyond Tutoring: The Power of Mentoring Students
Friday, February 26th from 10-11:30 AM

Literacy Volunteers of Bangor’s Poverty Team: JoAnne Rollins, Gianna Marrs, Claire Levesque, and Eileen McAvoy 

In this interactive workshop, our goal is to demonstrate the power of mentoring to empower students to identify and reach their goals. A video case study will be shown for active discussion. We will explore strategies and best practices for literacy tutors and advocates to act as mentors and resource guides for their students.

Google Basics 
Friday, February 26th from 1-2:30 PM

Meredith Eaton, Literacy Volunteers of Bangor

Google Applications are free for personal use and offer a wide range of functions, from email to document collaboration and storage to video meetings. In this session for beginners, participants will learn about what Google has to offer and become more closely acquainted with the features of a few useful apps for remote tutoring: Docs, Drive, and Meet.

Showcase Session Descriptions (20 minutes)

Acing the HiSET Essay
Monday, February 22nd from 2-2:20 PM

Emily Nash, Ellsworth Adult Education

Writing the essay required as part of the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) often fills adult students with dread. This showcase session outlines the expectations and scoring for the HiSET essay and gives helpful tips for preparation and test-day approaches.

Maine’s Connecting with Opportunities Initiative 
Tuesday, February 23rd from 6-6:20 PM

Doug Dunbar and Leah Gulliver, Eastern Maine Development Corporation

Learn about Maine’s hopeful and life-changing Connecting with Opportunities Initiative. It’s changing the trajectory of many lives and giving people new purpose by opening doors to education, training and employment. This relatively new initiative is one of several “Workforce Development” programs available to assist your students and others in your life who are ready to further their education or secure meaningful employment. Eastern Maine Development Corporation is a non-profit economic development organization headquartered in Bangor and offering services to many areas of the state. Join this energetic presentation to learn about significant services available to support individuals who are unemployed or earning little and need support with education and/or securing a good job.

Mapping Adult Literacy & Numeracy by State & County
Wednesday, February 24th from 12-12:20 PM

Meredith Eaton, Literacy Volunteers of Bangor

Recently released data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), a survey conducted in 40 countries, measures key cognitive and workplace skills needed for individuals to participate in society and for economies to prosper. This showcase session will introduce the PIAAC Skills Map, then focus on state- and county-level findings comparing Maine and Penobscot County to US data.

Community Connect
Thursday, February 25th from 1:30-1:50 PM

Barb Averill & Sara Beech, Literacy Volunteers of Franklin & Somerset Counties

Our Community Connect classes started as monthly classes that brought presenters from community organizations together with students and tutors for conversational learning about the presenters’ areas of expertise. In response to COVID 19 we began to do weekly classes with participants in their own homes as well as three physical classroom spaces. This presentation will be about why we began Community Connect and how it has changed in response to COVID 19.

Next Chapter Book Club
Thursday, February 25th from 2-2:20 PM

Karen Corbett, Bangor Public Library

Next Chapter Book Club is a community-based book club for adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our members (including some who cannot read) love books for the same reasons most people do. We all enjoy being transported to different worlds where we meet interesting characters and learn new things. Taking that journey with a group of friends makes it even more delightful and fun. The Next Chapter Book Club has chapters in the US, Canada, and Europe. Bangor Public Library is the only affiliate in Maine. Learn more about the club, how it started as an affiliate in Bangor, and how we have adapted to a virtual model during the pandemic. Then members of the book club will join us to share their own thoughts and experiences.

Learner Engagement in a Digital World
Thursday, February 25th from 6-6:20 PM

Ashleigh Briggs, Briggs Solutions for Business

Tutoring, teaching, or training while separated by screens can be disorienting, lacking many of the nonverbal cues most of us inherently recognize from in-person interactions. This session will teach strategies to engage participants, check for understanding, and build rapport in a virtual environment, whether interacting with one learner or a group.

Presenter Bios

Barb Averill

Barb Averill, Executive Director of LVFSC since 2015, earned a master’s degree from USM in Special Education in 2009, and went on to establish the first elementary charter school special education program (K-8) in Maine. The first half of her career was as a small restaurant/bakery owner. Barb loves to be outdoors playing with her yellow lab all year round, though she will always find time to read and write. Poetry is her latest obsession.

Sara Beech

Sara Beech, LVFSC Administrative Assistant and Tutoring Program Coordinator since 2016, is a full time education master’s student at Goddard College and a board member of the Wilton Free Public Library. Sara has always pursued alternative education pathways. Can you believe she tried to become a Literacy Volunteers tutor at the age of 9?  Sara and her children raise goats, play a variety of games, read books, and of course–write. They all love to dabble in playing musical instruments.

Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D.

Susan Bennett-Armistead is an Associate Professor of Literacy as well as the Director of the Maine Writing Project at the University of Maine. She publishes articles and books and speaks internationally on working with children and families. A past board member of Literacy Volunteers of Bangor, Susan is part of the Basic Literacy tutor training team and has led family literacy and book groups for female inmates at Penobscot County Jail. She is the mother of seven children.

Ashleigh Briggs

Ashleigh Briggs is a Business Consultant and owner of Briggs Solutions for Business. Her career has focused on technology and software training, most of which has been conducted remotely. While working with two technology startups, she developed distance learning curricula and training plans, and taught teams how to deliver education from a distance. Ashleigh has a passion for coaching and teaching and volunteers her time supporting local entrepreneurs as the chair of Bangor area’s Solve for B: Entrepreneurial Meet-Up. Ashleigh earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and holds a Personal Trainer certification from the American Council on Exercise.

Domingo Cheleuitte

Domingo Cheleuitte has a lifelong interest in computers and technology. For as long as he can remember, he’s tried to find new uses of technology for entertainment, but also for how they could facilitate and improve his life. He has a B.A. in computer science from Thomas College. Domingo was introduced to LVA by Richard Thompson close to a year ago, and he has been working on projects that he finds interesting and fulfilling because they help others to improve their lives. He believes that the organization does tremendous wonders to embolden and educate the community, and Domingo is very proud to be a part of the work they do.

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke, LVFSC Volunteer, has collaborated with LVFSC as a Maine Humanities Council Scholar, leading book discussions for over 20 years. Elizabeth began teaching at age 7, on “snow days” when neighborhood kids came to her house for ”school,” where she taught A. A. Milne poetry. She grew up to be a classroom teacher for 37 years, and continues her life’s work as writer and teacher of writing because she still loves seeing the ”write to discover” miracle occur in new writers. She adores her dogs and cats, children and grandchildren, and did not try to teach them to write.

Karen Corbett

Karen Corbett is a Reference Librarian at Bangor Public Library and a former Basic Literacy tutor with Literacy Volunteers of Bangor.

Doug Dunbar

Doug Dunbar is a Recovery and Re-entry Workforce Specialist at Eastern Maine Development Corporation and a familiar face assisting at Literacy Volunteers of Bangor’s events since 2018. In 2020, he was certified as a Basic Literacy tutor.

Meredith Eaton

Meredith Eaton is the Program Manager at Literacy Volunteers of Bangor. She trained as a Basic Literacy tutor in 2005, when she answered an ad for adult literacy tutors in a local weekly paper. She was drawn to adult literacy tutoring after working at UMaine’s Writing Center during her time there. After changing her major from art history, Meredith eventually earned her Bachelor of University Studies eleven years after she started college. Meredith both hates cilantro and loves black licorice.

Rebecca Eller-Molitas

Rebecca Eller-Molitas began her teaching career in Japan. Since returning to the U.S., she has been fortunate to teach and lead in both community-based organizations and community colleges. Rebecca has worked in many areas of adult education including ABE, GED, ESL, digital literacy, and transitions. She currently represents New Readers Press and teaches ESL at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys books, carbs, and very slow jogging.

Leah Gulliver

Leah Gulliver is the Assistant Director of Workforce Services at Eastern Maine Development Corporation and a former Basic Literacy tutor with Literacy Volunteers of Bangor.

Claire Levesque

Claire Levesque is a Literacy Volunteers of Bangor tutor and member of Literacy Volunteers’ Tutor Training and Support Committee. She has a B.U.S. in Elementary Education and Secondary English and taught Adult Education for over 13 years. She enjoys teaching and learning, with a special interest in writing and poetry. Claire has three children and seven grandchildren and lives in Hudson, Maine with her husband and fifteen chickens.

Gianna Marrs

Gianna Marrs is a Literacy Volunteers of Bangor tutor since 2016 and now a member of the Tutor Training and Support Committee. After an initial career in music overseas, she focused on student access to higher education through her 29-year career at the University of Maine Office of Student Financial Aid. She holds a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a M.Ed. in higher ed from UMaine. Gianna stays active by hiking, and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, online yoga classes.

Virginia Marriner

(Photo: great-granddaughter trying great Gram’s glasses) Virginia Marriner is the Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta (LVA) and has held that position for the past seven years. Virginia retired from 30 years at DHHS, where she oversaw child protection, foster care, and adoption; administered several federal programs associated with child welfare; and was the legislative liaison for Child and Family Services. She is a graduate of the University of Maine and a licensed social worker. Virginia donates time to numerous boards and organizations. Virginia (Ginny) is a mom of two, grandmother of six, great-grandmother of seven and lives with her unique 17-year-old cat, Rain, who despite her name, is always looking for a spot in the sun.

Eileen McAvoy

Eileen McAvoy enjoyed a long career as an educator and an advocate for young children and their families. Her teaching experiences range from preschool children through college students. A lifelong learner, she enjoys sharing her love of books and reading with others as a Basic Literacy tutor with Literacy Volunteers of Bangor. Eileen is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington and enjoys gardening, baking, and quilting.

Emily Nash

Emily Nash is the Humanities Teacher and Orientation Coordinator for Ellsworth Adult Education.

Vanessa Richards

Vanessa Richards is an instructor and advisor with Ellsworth Adult Education. She holds an M.A.T. in Life & Physical Science and has loved working with adult learners at all levels for 16 out of 20 years of teaching experience. Vanessa advises adult learners and instructs courses in mathematics, science, computer applications, career pathways, and college transitions. Vanessa is committed to helping adults discover their strengths, build confidence in themselves, and realize they really can accomplish their goals. In her free time, she loves to travel and explore the outdoors.

JoAnne Rollins

Joanne Rollins is a Literacy Volunteers of Bangor tutor and board member. JoAnne is certified in Moderate Special Needs and has a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Fitchburg State College. She is retired after three decades of teaching special education and third grade. JoAnne can often be found in her kitchen preparing homemade jams, jellies, and baked goods to share with friends and family.

Greg Stultz

Greg Stultz loves to serve. As a young man, Greg served as an aircrewman in the U.S. Navy. His earliest work experience in adult education involved eight years in Japan serving as a trainer and ELL instructor. Over the last 22 years, Greg has served at the Syracuse Christian and Missionary Alliance as a Sunday school teacher, deacon, and elder. Since 2008, he has served as an Educational Sales Consultant and the Training Coordinator for New Readers Press (NRP), a publishing division of ProLiteracy. Lastly, let it go on record that for the past 29 years, he has been serving himself second and third helpings whenever his wife isn’t paying attention.

Dick Thompson

Dick Thompson is the current chair of Literacy Volunteers of Augusta’s Board of Directors. He had a long career of both professional and volunteer contributions to the state and its citizens. He served  in state government for 34 years, most recently as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. From 2011-17 he managed information technology across the University of Maine System campuses. He is currently chair of the UMA Board of Visitors and a Commissioner on the Maine Library Commission, committed to support citizen access to literacy and information technology.

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