Literacy for Life Conference 2018

Literacy for Life 2018

April 21, 2018
8am - 4pm 
Brower Student Center
TCNJ- The College of NJ 

Click here to view presentations from the conference. 

Click here to see photos from the conference. 

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.

To read about this year's conference presenters visit 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 3/28 $70)
  • $100- Non members 
  • $30- Adult learners 

Conference Schedule


Assemblyman Jamel Holley 

We are pleased to announce Assemblyman Jamel Holley as our conference keynote speaker. Jamel Curtis Holley is a member of the NJ General Assembly representing the 20th District and is the first African American to represent his district in the legislature. Holley previously served as Chief of Staff to NJ’s Deputy Majority Leader, Councilman at Large in the Borough of Roselle, and Mayor of Roselle from 2011-2015. Holley is regarded as one of the most engaged young activists in his community. Known for his spirited energy and focus, Jamel has incorporated advocacy with accomplishment to improve issues important to his constituents. Holley earned his B.A. in criminal justice from New Jersey City University and his M.P.A. from Kean University.

Read Assemblyman Holley’s full bio here or visit his website:


_______Session One 9:30 - 11:00_______


Champion, Invite and Invest: Becoming an Ambassador for Your Organization

This interactive session will focus on using your passion for literacy to drive donations and open opportunities for your organization. Using proven methods and personal experience, we will spend time shifting our thinking about how we raise funds and give real life examples to help you see results. 

Lara Pimentel, ProLiteracy 

Target Audience: Board Members & Executive/Program Directors


An Introduction to “Know Your Rights” For ESOL Programs

Teachers and tutors that work with immigrant students are at the front-lines of increasingly harsh and constantly shifting immigration policies. Their students and communities are facing increased raids, detentions and deportations.  In this dangerous context, teachers and tutors can play a key role in supporting students by sharing legal information and tailoring lessons to cover relevant language.  This workshop will begin with an overview of immigrants’ rights and present a framework to help immigrant students learn their rights during immigration enforcement actions (“Know Your Rights)”.  Then the workshop will turn to a presentation of sample ESOL lessons that have incorporated “Know Your Rights” materials.  The lessons themselves combine review of legal information with opportunities to work on English vocabulary, grammar and conversation.  

Lauren Herman, Make the Road New Jersey
Erik Jacobson, The Critical Teaching and Learning Forum

General Audience: Board, Staff, Teachers, Tutors, Trainers, Adult Learners 


Acing the Interview: Practical Skills for Adult Learners 

In this workshop, students will learn how to successfully navigate the interview in today's job market by learning key strategies and hearing examples from experts in the field. Topics will include choosing the right areas of the resume to highlight, key phrases of the interview, and making a good first impression. Students will also have the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback.

Christine Larsen-Britt & Laura Ann Repsher, Rowan University

Target Audience: Adult Learners 


Financial Literacy

LV Salem Cumberland has created a simple but comprehensive curriculum that addresses the needs of low-income clients. Lessons cover topics such as budgeting, understanding interest, paying down debt, check-writing, and improving credit scores. Participants in this workshop will practice financial literacy activities and become familiar with resources to use with students, including budgeting games, spending trackers, and debt-reduction techniques.

Laura Stanton, LV Salem-Cumberland Counties

Target Audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, ESOL Tutors, Trainers 


Valuing Tutor and Student Literacies: Building Everyday Writing Skills for Success

Home literacies. Work literacies. School literacies. Tutors, like our student writers, have many ways of knowing and learning. This session focuses on issues surrounding identity and literacy that pertain to both tutors and students. Participants will be guided through hands-on activities, such as freewriting and concept-mapping, that demonstrate how cultural and social identities impact both our students' writing and our own tutoring. This workshop provides participants with time to reflect on their own literacies, as well as how these identities impact their work as tutors. The workshop will conclude with the group developing strategies to help students build everyday writing skills for success in real-life writing scenarios.

​Donna Mehalchick-Opal & Celeste Del Russo, Rowan University

Target Audience:  Basic Literacy Tutors, ESOL Tutors, Trainers 


Steps for a Successful Job Search

Does your student need a job, but doesn't know where to begin? In this workshop, participants will learn a breakdown of the different stages of the job hunt from initial search to final offer, as well as best practices for instructors on how to guide the adult learner through the process of finding employment. Participants will learn how to organize and advise each step of the process, identify their students' marketable skills, and help them secure their best opportunity. We will also share general advice and caveats for each area so that participants will emerge best equipped to guide their students through the job search process.

Maggie Bonanni, Rutgers Camden

Target Audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, ESOL Tutors, Trainers


Learn to Lesson Plan Using ProLiteracy’s New Basic Literacy and ESL Tutor Training

ProLiteracy’s new Basic Literacy and ESL Tutor Training materials are designed around guiding tutors in how to organize their instructional time with students. In this workshop we’ll examine the generic lesson plans used in ProLiteracy’s basic literacy and ESL tutor training. Participants will then learn how to adapt the lesson plans to a variety of instructional settings, including using published materials, classroom and 1-1 settings, and beginning and advanced students.

Todd Evans and Robin Morgan, ProLiteracy

Target Audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, ESOL Tutors, Trainers


ESOL Drilling Techniques that Work!

Some of us remember endlessly repeating inane dialogs in our high school foreign language classes and vow not to inflict that torture on our own students. But perhaps there is a place for some drilling in our lessons? When done correctly, drilling techniques can help students improve their English pronunciation and increase their comfort in interacting with others. We will explore how to create realistic, interesting drills and then practice leading drills so that when you use them with students they will be effective. Students will attend the workshop to help demonstrate drilling techniques at different levels and to participate in a discussion of how best to include drilling in literacy lessons.

Catherine Mitch, Literacy NJ Mercer

Target audience: ESOL Tutors, Trainers

_______Session Two 11:15 - 12:45_______

ProLiteracy’s New Basic Literacy and ESL Tutor Training

Come learn about ProLiteracy’s new Basic Literacy and ESL Tutor Training materials. These comprehensive training materials will help you prepare prospective tutors to successfully teach ESL and literacy students in a variety of instructional settings. The modular training materials include training manuals, slides, handout masters, and videos you can integrate into your existing face-to-face workshop. These same modules are also accessible in an online format that allow programs to train a few tutors at a time or use a blended approach to tutor training.

Todd Evans and Robin Morgan, ProLiteracy

General Audience 


Student Poster Session 

Celebrate the accomplishments of the adult learners from our programs by joining us in this informal poster sharing session. Walk around and enjoy the student learning exhibits. Speak to the learners themselves and find out what they are currently working on and achieving in their tutoring sessions, classes, and personal learning endeavors.

Saranda Karpuzi, Literacy NJ Gloucester

General Audience: Board, Staff, Teachers, Tutors, Trainers, Adult Learners 


Using Public Speaking to Run a Student Led Program

Do you want maximum student participation and minimum teacher prep time? If so, then come to our workshop and learn techniques to increase your ESOL adult student responsibilities to their greatest potential. Partake in an actual hands-on Public Speaking class, while learning the theory behind the pedagogy.

Diane Venus & Darnelle Richardson, Jersey City Literacy Program

Target audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, ESOL Tutors, Trainers


Small Group Goals Training

Goal-based tutoring can be a challenge when working with a small group of individual students. This workshop will show tutors how to generate common goals during small group tutoring, and how to use those common goals to create lesson plans. We will review goals - their characteristics, the importance of goal-based tutoring, and examples of student long-term and short-term literacy goals. We will then narrow down student goals to SMART goals. Using a small group goals worksheet that we provide during the workshop, tutors will be shown how to create general common LT, ST & SMART goals for their small groups. We will then use these goals to create lesson plans for future small group tutoring sessions.

Mary Garrett, Literacy NJ Gloucester

Target Audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, ESOL Tutors, Trainers


Math Literacy in the Kitchen [THIS SESSION HAS BEEN CANCELLED]

Join this workshop to learn how LV-Camden is using cooking to teach math literacy. The presenters will model a four unit, eight hour program designed to: aid participants in making positive changes in food selection and preparation, assist in label reading for confident dietary changes, and support participants in making intelligent consumer food decisions at the grocery store. Participants will apply mathematical functions to food labels and look at recipes to make a healthy snack based on the size of the class, while discussing what math function should be applied to each activity and how to accommodate different learning styles.

Mikala Allen & Carol Rachfalski, Literacy Volunteers of Camden County

Target audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, ESOL Tutors, Trainers


Understanding Dyslexia

This presentation is an overview of Dyslexia, understanding it, how it is manifested, modifying myths, and how it can be remediated. The information will include a review of historical information including dyslexia being recognized in public education. The discussion will also include what it means to be an adult dyslexic.

Charlotte Fahey, Literacy NJ Ocean

Target audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, Trainers


Teaching American Culture through Current Events [This workshop is now FULL]

News headlines about bullying, gun violence, sexual harassment, pay inequality for women, etc. can be used as a laboratory to explore culture issues in the USA for new immigrants. Discussing how these issues are dealt with in their own countries can reveal insights about other cultures, and stimulate conversations about rights and wrongs, ethics, and cultural diversity. This workshop will be co-presented by a conversation group leader, who will share successful discussion topics and resources, and one of the students in the group, who will discuss how some of these topics have had an impact on her family, and on her social and work life.

Phil Armenio & Carolina Mancilla, Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Trainers

_______Session Three 2:30 -4:00________

Naturalization 101 

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: Board, Staff, Teachers, Tutors, Trainers, Adult Learners 


A Single Step: Putting Yourself in the Shoes of the Learners

In this workshop, participants will all become language learners. They will see what it feels like to learn Arabic with a native Arabic speaker. After an interactive Arabic language lesson, the group will discuss the differences between Arabic and English and debrief the language immersion experience.

Emily Vosseller & Faleeha Hassan Alabboodi, Literacy NJ Gloucester 

General Audience: Board, Staff, Teachers, Tutors, Trainers, Adult Learners 

Step into Writing 

Join this workshop to have fun while improving your writing skills. We will use pictures, interviews, and conversation as starting points for a variety of writing activities.

Susan George, Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County

Target audience: Adult Learners 


Tips & TrIcks: Teaching Reading and Writing for the HSE Tests   

This will be an interactive workshop on creative and engaging ways to instruct students in reading and writing. The emphasis will be three-fold: provide test-taking techniques; teach focused reading skills; and practice specific writing, grammar, and essay methods. These skills will help students learn how to de-stress and conserve time while taking the High School Equivalency tests. Building confidence and alleviating fear are key to becoming a successful test-taker! Tutors will not only actively participate, but will also walk away with handouts that can easily be used or adapted to their own classroom needs.

Dr. Barbara Trueger, Jersey City Literacy Program

Target audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, Trainers 


Digi-what? Digital Skills for the 21st Century Classroom [This workshop is now FULL]

In this workshop, attendees will discover new websites and look at different methods to help  enhance their tutoring sessions with varying forms of technology including apps, games, videos, and more. Bring your smartphone, your sense of humor and your patience as we identify new ways to tackle technology and bring our lesson plans into the 21st century to help share the wide world of digital literacy with our students.

Rebecca Powers - Literacy NJ Burlington

Target Audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, ESL Tutors, Trainers 


Conversation Classes for New Language Learners [This workshop is now FULL]

One of the most challenging teaching situations is encouraging conversation among beginning language learners. How quickly can new language learners begin engaging in meaningful conversations in English? The complexities of grammar, vocabulary, and culture are daunting to students and teachers alike. The workshop presenters have drafted a ten-week curriculum for beginning language learners. The model lessons are designed to help teachers facilitate useful conversations on a variety of practical topics. Participants will have an opportunity to practice the activities and offer important feedback about the topics, language level, pace, and practical application. The curriculum was prepared for use in conversation classes, but the activities can be adapted to individual tutoring.

Phyllis Frakt & Catherine Mitch, Literacy NJ Mercer

Target audience: ESOL Tutors, Trainers


Cross-Cultural Communication in the Classroom

There is a huge gap between societies who have access to information, technology, education, and economic opportunities, and those populations who do not. This presentation will focus on how Development Communication and  Cross-Cultural Communication can help us to improve relationships among students and tutors.The group will discuss how understanding the different traditions in communities around the world will improve connections across cultures and can influence positive changes in society.

Claudia Trani-Melgar, Guardian Angels Regional School/Saint Clare

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Trainers


Or click here to download the form as a pdf.


Return to the top of the page.