What is ProLiteracy’s New Tutor Training?

ProLiteracy has developed new tutor training for basic literacy and ESL. There are two workshops: Basic Literacy Tutor Training and ESL Tutor Training. Each workshop can be delivered two ways: In a face-to-face workshop or directly to tutors in an online course.

For the face-to-face workshops, we have developed modular workshop materials. Each module has a PowerPoint slideshow, trainer notes that tell the trainer how to deliver the content, handout masters for the participants, and links to videos. The online courses are also modular. Each module has narrated online screen content, handouts, quizzes, interactive activities, and links to videos. Tutors who take one of the online courses will take an exam at the end of each module and will receive a certificate if they pass (80%).


What is the difference between the face-to-face workshops and the online workshops?

The simple answer is there is no difference. Both the face-to-face and online workshops are complete tutor trainings that cover the same topics, however there are some slight differences, as not every face-to-face workshop activity translates nicely into an online environment.

What topics do the basic literacy and ESL workshops cover?

The Basic Literacy Tutor Training Workshop consists of 12 modules:

  1. Introduction to Literacy
  2. Working with Adult Literacy Learners
  3. Introduction to Literacy Instruction
  4. The Lesson Plan
  5. Assessment, Evaluation, and Goal Setting
  6. Alphabetics and Word Study
  7. Fluency
  8. Vocabulary
  9. Reading Comprehension
  10. Writing
  11. Language Experience
  12. Getting Started

The ESL Tutor Training Workshop consists of 13 modules:

  1. Introduction to English as a Second Language
  2. Working with Adult ESL Learners
  3. Introduction to ESL Instruction
  4. The Lesson Plan
  5. Assessment, Evaluation, and Goal Setting
  6. Vocabulary
  7. Conversations
  8. Pronunciation
  9. Grammar
  10. Reading
  11. Writing
  12. Language Experience
  13. Getting Started

How much does it cost?

Courses are free to individual members, member programs, and anyone who works for, or volunteers for, a member program. What? No way!

Yes, that’s right, these tutor trainings are free. ProLiteracy’s believes it is important for students to have access to well-trained tutors. We know that our member programs are already doing phenomenal things with very little resources. So we are offering these training for free to all of our members. Programs can download all of the materials for the face-to-face workshops for free, and can refer anyone in their program to the online courses for free. Individual members can also take the online courses for free.

Click here for pricing

Do we have to use New Readers Press materials?

No. Both tutor training workshops are based on a lesson plan that teaches tutors how to organize their instructional time with students, and instructional strategies and techniques to complete that lesson plan. The training will prepare tutors to work with any published materials your program uses.

How long do the workshops take to complete?

Each module takes 1-2 hours to complete. For the online workshops, we estimate that the Basic Literacy workshop will take 16.5 hours to complete and the ESL workshop will take 18 hours. The face-to-face workshop times should be similar.

Do I have to use all of the modules or can I just use the modules I like?

You do not have to use (or take online) all of the modules. The training materials were designed to be modular, so you can pick and choose which modules work best for you or your program.

Does the tutor or program need to purchase specific resources or manuals for the tutors to use when taking the training?

No. The handouts in each workshop provide the tutor with all the background information, directions for instructional techniques, and other resources needed for the training.

However, the basic literacy workshop does draw information from Tutor 8 and Teaching Adults: Literacy. The ESL workshop draws from I Speak English and Teaching Adults ESL. Both of these are excellent resources to have available to tutors for reference or additional information on a topic. (Link the book titles)

Do you have a recommended training schedule?

The tutor training materials are modular, so you can use them in the order that makes the most sense for your program. At the moment we do not have any recommended training schedules other than the logical flow of the modules in numerical order. As we get feedback from programs about how they are using the materials, we will develop some model schedules for programs to use as a starting point.

Yes, you can customize the content of the face-to-face workshop materials to reflect the needs of your program. The face-to-face materials consist of PowerPoint slides and PDFs of the trainer notes and handouts. You are free to modify the PowerPoints as you see fit, and you can also modify the PDF documents if you have that ability. If there is a form you would like to modify, please contact Todd Evans at tevans@proliteracy.org. He will share the Word document with you, making it easier to modify.

We do ask that you respect other people’s published work. We have used postings from third-party websites and excerpts from our published materials. In these cases, we ask that you use the materials without modification.

Our program combines training for literacy and ESL tutors into one workshop. Can these materials be used like that?

ProLiteracy understands that the needs of literacy and ESL students, especially at lower levels, are different, and therefore the instructional approaches are also different. However, we also recognize that many programs combine training of literacy and ESL tutors. If your program combines literacy and ESL tutor training, here are some things to consider.

The first three modules for both workshops are very similar and could easily be blended into one workshop for both literacy and ESL tutors. The last two modules, Language Experience and Getting Started, are also very similar and could be blended into one workshop for both literacy and ESL tutors. However, the lesson plans that we have outlined for literacy and ESL instruction are significantly different, as are most of the instructional techniques, and thus would be more difficult to blend together into one training.

If you want to combine literacy and ESL tutors into one workshop, we recommend one of two options:

  1. Use the first three modules and the last two modules from the ProLiteracy materials and combine them with the lesson plans and instructional techniques you are currently using in your workshop.
  2. Begin tutor training using the first three modules to train literacy and ESL tutors in foundational principles in basic literacy and ESL instruction. Next, use the last two modules to prepare literacy and ESL tutors to meet with students and use language experience as their primary approach to instruction. After tutors have met with students for a month (4-8 sessions), separate tutors according to the type of student and use the remaining modules to prepare tutors to work specifically with literacy or ESL students.

Is there any information about learning disabilities in the basic literacy or ESL tutor training?

Module 2 in the basic literacy and ESL tutor training introduces the topics of learning differences, difficulties, and disabilities. Our goal is to provide a framework to tutors for understanding what these terms mean and how they impact instruction. The research on learning differences, difficulties, and disabilities is extensive and, if you think it is important for your tutors to have a more extensive understanding of this topic because of the specific students you serve, we encourage you to seek out additional resources and develop your own component for training in this area. There are resources on learning differences, difficulties, and disabilities on the ProLiteracy Education Network.

If I complete the tutor training, am I a ProLiteracy certified tutor?

No. ProLiteracy does not certify tutors. This would be too difficult, as our programs vary significantly from community to community and have very different needs of their tutors. We do give you a certificate after completing each module and if you complete the entire workshop. These certificates are to recognize your accomplishment and to provide you with something to verify that you took the training.

How do I use my organization membership number for tutors in my program to take the tutor training for free?

You will need to give your organization membership number to tutors in your program. When they create an account on ProLiteracy Education Network, they will be able to enter your membership number. (If they already have an account, they can click the gear in the top right corner and select “My Account”). The system takes 4-5 hours to verify the membership number. After that, the tutor will have access to the tutor training, along with all the other great resources on ProLiteracy Education Network.

Our system will allow multiple people to use the same organization membership number. So, even though multiple tutors will be using the same number, they will each have individual accounts (and individual records) on ProLiteracy Education Network. You can have an unlimited number of tutors associated with your organization membership number.

Do I have to take the exams?

No. The exams are only necessary if you want to print a certificate after each module or at the end of the entire workshop. If you just want the information, you do not have to take the exams.

Are the online modules closed-captioned?

The online modules are not closed-captioned. However, each module has a notes section that contains the script for the audio on each slide. The notes tab is located above the menu on the left for any course. The notes serve the same function as closed-captioning.

What levels of students do the tutor training workshops prepare tutors to work with?

The literacy materials prepare tutors to work with students from beginning level upward, recognizing that beginning level students will have an instructional emphasis on alphabetics and word study with other reading skills mixed in, and instruction for higher level students (those reading above a 3rd- to 4th-grade level) will emphasize vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and writing composition. While the instructional approach is appropriate for students at all levels, tutors working with students who have an academic emphasis (such as getting their GED and continuing their education) will need to rely on published materials to help them identify the specific skills students need to meet those needs (such as the specific skills needed to pass the GED).

The ESL materials prepare tutors to work with a range of students, from little to no English language proficiency to a high-intermediate level. Once students reach the high-intermediate level, they primarily need exposure to English and may benefit more from being enrolled in a literacy class with higher level native English speakers.

Does the training prepare tutors to work in a group setting or just one-to-one?

Both the ESL and the Basic Literacy tutor training workshops prepare tutors to work in a variety of settings, including one-to-one tutoring, small and large groups, and computer labs. The lesson plans will work in any of these settings. When we introduce specific teaching strategies and activities, we provide ideas for how to adjust those activities for one-to-one tutoring or a small group, as well as for lower and higher level students.

I am a Leamos subscriber. When I log in, the system automatically takes me to Leamos. How can I access the tutor training?

Leamos and the Education Network (which houses the tutor training materials) use the same learning management system. You cannot access the tutor training using your login information for Leamos. You will need to create a second account using a different email address.