Literacy for Life Conference 2014

November 1, 2014

The Conference Center at Mercer County College

To register for this year's conference online, read the workshop descriptions below and then fill out the conference registration form on the next 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.To read about this year's conference presenters visit our bio page.

Registration fees

  • $55.00 - Tutors, Trainers, Staff and Board Members of LNJ affiliated programs (after 10/3 $65)
  • $100.00 - Non members (after 10/3 $110)
  • $30.00 - Students

Conference Schedule

Workshop Descriptions

Session One 9:15 - 10:45


Board Members as Community Ambassadors

Target Audience: Board/Staff

Believe it or not, the most important part of a board member's job is NOT accomplished at the board meeting. The real important work begins once the board meeting is over and the board member becomes the organziation's ambassador. Just what does this mean and how do you go about doing it? What are the benefits that will derive from your efforts? This workshop will focus on best practices for board members in the areas of raising visibility, identifying and recruiting volunteers, raising needed funding and spreading the word about our educational programs.

Les Loysen, Loysen Consulting


Dyslexia: Making it Personal

General Audience

The interactive simulation gives you firsthand knowledge about challenges and frustrations faced by people with this language-based learning disability. The brief overview to follow will give you the facts and help to dispel some persistent myths and misconceptions. You'll experience what dyslexia is like - and understand it like never before.

Mark Brugger & Deborah Lynam, Learning Ally


Using the English Dictionary

Target Audience: Adult Learners

Looking up a word on the internet may not tell you all you need to know about the word. Many words have more than one definition. Some words may be used as a verb or a noun. This session will help you determine correct usage. We will also study the abbreviations used in the dictionary.

Tim Fogler, Trainer, Literacy NJ - Middlesex County Programs


Teaching Adult English Learners Who Are Emergent Readers (Double Session)

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

This highly interactive workshop outlines foundational principles for teaching reading to emergent readers through demonstration, discussion, and application to practice. Participants will take away many practical ideas they can implement in their instruction immediately. Upon the completion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Explain terms describing learners with limited print literacy skills
  • Define balanced literacy and name activities that build bottom-up & top-down reading skills
  • Summarize the value and role of contexualization in literacy instruction for this level
  • Apply strategies to differentiate instruction to address needs
  • Share useful resources and network with others doing this challenging work

Susan Finn-Miller, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 & LINCS Trainer


iTeach ESL: Using Smart Phones and Tablets to Enhance ESL Tutoring [CLOSED! This session is now full.]

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

iTeach ESL will equip tutors with hands-on information about apps, websites, podcasts, blogs and other social media helpful for tutoring. If you have a device that can go online and you have used it for anything beyond making a phone call, you are ready for this workshop! Please bring your smart phone, tablet, or other device to the session.

Denise Arlaus, Tutor, LV-Pascack Valley


Strategies for Teaching Comprehension

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

By utilizing prior knowledge and internalizing the text, students can become purposeful, active readers. This interactive workshop will enable tutors to teach their students ways to achieve comprehension through connecting with the text, visualization, questioning, inferring, and synthesizing. Each strategy will be modeled by the presenter as well as the workshop participants.

Joanne Cooney, Community Board Member, Literacy NJ - Ocean County Programs


Tips & Techniques for Encouraging New Writers

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

This workshop will focus on ways to provide effective writing instruction for adult literacy students. We will discuss tips and techniques for encouraging new learners to write and how to help them become more proficient writers. Participants will practice writing exercises they can use with their students.

Perrine Robinson-Geller, Board President, Literacy NJ


Public Speaking for Educators

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Have you ever taken the time to evaluate your presentation skills? Have you ever asked your trainees or students to evaluate your presentation style? During this workshop tutors and trainers will practice presenting information to an audience flawlessly by eliminating filler words, which often interrupt the flow of messages. You will have fun presenting a short segment from the Trainers Guide or from a teacher's guide and will receive feedback from your peers. Whether you are presenting a learning technique to students or trainees, this workshop will help you to present information to your audience in a clear and succinct manner.

Darnelle Richardson, Program Director, Jersey City Literacy Program & LNJ Master Trainer


Decoding Strategies for Literacy Development (Part One)

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Participants will learn powerful strategies in developing essential skills necessary for strong fluency and comprehension. These strategies, when applied using an explicit, systematic and age appropriate approach, rapidly improve grapheme-phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary and spelling. This method supports a variety of instructional scaffolding models designed to rapidly move students from foundational skills into reading comprehension. By utilizing a logical approach, older learners are able to “break the code” of the English Language.

This workshop provides hands-on involvement as attendees participate in acquiring the requisite knowledge and skills allowing them to effectively teach foundational strategies using this approach.

Matt Crismon, Reading Horizons

Session Two 11:00 - 12:30

Program Leader Roundtable

Join your fellow Executive and Program Directors to share current initiatives, discuss successes and challenges, and exchange ideas for collaboration between network partners.

Elizabeth Gloeggler, CEO, Literacy NJ


Public Speaking 101

General Audience

Are you afraid of speaking in public? Come and share your experiences. If you are afraid to speak because your nerves usually take control of your body, your palms become wet, you stammer or forget what you wanted to say, this workshop is definitely for you. In a fun and engaging way, you will learn how to build your self-confidence and improve your communication skills even if English is not your first language.

Darnelle Richardson, Program Director, Jersey City Literacy Program & LNJ Master Trainer


Naturalization Information Session

General Audience

During this session, USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) will provide an overview of the Naturalization eligibility and filing requirements. They will also share information regarding the Naturalization interview and Oath Ceremony. USCIS will provide helpful tips regarding Customer Service Tools and the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law (UPIL) initiative.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – Newark District


Activities that Work for ESOL Conversation Groups [CLOSED! This session is now full.]

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

In this session, the presenters will share materials, activities, and resources that worked well in their different ESOL Conversation Groups. In addition to improving the listening and speaking skills of students in a cultural context, participants will explore the use of conversation as a tool to enhance all language skills. Participants are encouraged to bring their own successful lesson activities to share with the group.

Jacqueline Simon, Rider University (retired)

Joan Jobbins, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District (retired)


Digitally Enhanced Tutoring [CLOSED! This session is now full.]

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Learn how digital tools can enhance your tutoring sessions and improve student motivation. Gain hands-on experience with integrating technological and collaborative tools at the moment of learning to support student performance. Participants will have access to computers and are encouraged to bring any devices they currently use in tutoring (i.e. laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.). Minimal computer and internet experience necessary.

Elizabeth Allen, Drexel University


From Stress to Success: Solving Math Word Problems

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Math word problems are a source of anxiety for students. In this workshop, we will examine teaching strategies and classroom activities that draw on students' own experiences, engage students in active reading and problem solving, alleviate stress, and make math accessible and fun. These strategies and activities are appropriate for beginning, intermediate, and advanced math students.

Todd Evans, Program Manager, ProLiteracy


Using Music to Enhance Higher Order Thinking Skills

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Do your students struggle with locating the main idea and other reading comprehension skills? Do they lack the passion for reading? If so, join us for a session which will provide you with an alternative approach to teaching these skills. Music can help shape students' understanding of the reading process and make it more enjoyable. Some topics that will be covered include (1) locating the main idea and supporting details and (2) focusing on literary writings and identifying musical selections that correspond to theme, character, settings, etc. Participants will be involved in demonstrations of these strategies.

Joseph Caniglia, Instructor, Hudson County Community College


An Apple a Day...Understanding Nutrition Labels

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Do you ever have trouble reading the nutrition labels on the food you buy? This workshop will offer you some suggestions to use with your students to help them understand how to read food labels. The goal is to help them make healthy choices and plan healthy meals. Many hands-on activities will be part of this presentation.

Vivian OKrepky, Master Trainer, Literacy NJ


Decoding Strategies for Literacy Development (Part Two, you can not register for this section unless you attend Part One)

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Matt Crismon, Reading Horizons

Session Three 2:45 - 4:15

Designing Tutor In-Service

Target Audience: Board, Staff, & Trainers

Literacy NJ tutor training is an introduction to collaborative adult education. Come to this session to learn more about how to develop a plan for in-service tutor training sessions that broaden the scope and value of what volunteers learn in their initial training. In small groups you will design an in-service training module.

Connie Schwein, Master Trainer, Literacy NJ


The Promises of Adult Education and the Realities of the Workforce

General Audience

In recent times, governments and advocacy organizations alike have argued that the key return on investment in adult literacy learners is a better-educated workforce. Framed this way, outcome measures for adult literacy programs focus on workforce participation and economic gains made by individual learners. This workshop will call into question this model and highlight often ignored economic realities that adult education takes place in. Participants in the workshop will be asked to discuss the implications of this for program development and advocacy.

Erik Jacobson, Professor, Montclair State University


Student Roundtable

Target Audience: Adult Learners

Come and meet fellow students from throughout the state. Everyone will have a chance to share their success stories and challenges. We will talk about ways that students can take leadership roles in their local literacy programs.

Brenda Boylan, Literacy NJ


Teaching Vocabulary: Practical, Research-based Approaches to Instruction

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

This interactive workshop will engage teachers in describing essential components of vocabulary and what it means to know a word, determining which words are important to teach, evaluating approaches to vocabulary instruction, developing effective vocabulary lessons, and planning ways to support learners to learn vocabulary independently. Teachers will take away many practical ideas for teaching vocabulary effectively.

Susan Finn-Miller, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 & LINCS Trainer


Pronunciation: Music of English

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Learning to speak a language involves many elements. It can be an exciting and frustrating experience. This workshop will explore beyond the sounds of language. It will include practical and enjoyable activities using the language patterns that help create the music of English.

Elizabeth Wilk, Master Trainer, Literacy NJ


Teaching Math with Facebook and Educreations

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Technology is becoming more prominent in today’s classrooms. Students use computers, tablets, and smart boards while learning. In mathematics, these tools can be useful for teachers to engage students and strengthen communication. Instructors can utilize Facebook combined with applications like Educreations to transform an iPad into a recordable whiteboard. Lessons can be accessed by students on any computer or iPad with internet access. At the end of the session, participants will be able to use this application and have the opportunity to experiment and leave with a sample.

Claudia Delgado, Instructor, Hudson County Community College


Formula for Success with Reading Disabilities

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

With Dyslexia, the main barrier for a learner is being able to translate text into meaningful content - but the path towards overcoming this barrier is not singular. There are multiple elements, each with unique characteristics, that when put together can set your student on the path towards achievement and success. This session will address three key elements of a comprehensive program - evidence-based reading intervention, assistive technology, and the tips and tools needed to enhance self-advocacy. The speakers will demonstrate live use of audio-book technology from Learning Ally on computer and mobile devices.

Mark Brugger & Deborah Lynam, Learning Ally


Poetry Like Bread: Using Poetry to Increase Reading Comprehension

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers, & Trainers

Following Roque Dalton's dictum that "poetry, like bread, is for everyone," the presenter will demonstrate how to use poetry as a tool to improve reading comprehension and recall. The presenter will provide a brief background about the levels of reading comprehension and provide samples of accessible poetry and a hands-on demonstration of how to create basic comprehension and critical thinking questions.

Lauren Schmidt, Instructor, Passaic County Community College


To register for the conference online and pay by credit card click here.

To register for the conference by mail and pay by check click here to download the PDF version of the registration. Mail check and form to:

Literacy New Jersey
224 Main St.
Metuchen, NJ 08840

Back to top of page