Volume 66 | March 18, 2023

Greetings, Tutors! 

In his 1989 inaugural address, President George H.W. Bush shared his vision of ‘a thousand points of light’ and invoked the nation to serve fellow citizens, ‘illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.’

National Volunteer month takes place in April and is dedicated to honoring volunteers. We will commemorate this month by recognizing the incredible impact that you have in helping students improve their English language skills and furthering their understanding of American culture. You are the heart of Literacy DuPage, and you have kept our pulse strong. We celebrate you and your service. Thank you!

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need help with tutoring strategies.

With gratitude and hope,

Carol Garcia

Your Tutor Support Specialist


Tutor Resources

Stages of Language Development

While it is important to note that adult ESL students come with different cultural and educational experiences that can affect their language development, researchers beginning with Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell (1983) have identified the following general stages of second language acquisition:

  • Pre-production: Also called the “silent period” when the student is taking in the target language, but not speaking it.

  • Early Production: The student begins to try speaking using short phrases, but the focus is still on listening and absorbing the new language. Many errors occur at this stage.

  • Speech Emergent: Words and sentences are longer, but the student still relies heavily on context clues and familiar topics. Vocabulary increases and errors decrease, especially in common or repeated interactions.

  • Beginning Fluency: In social situations, speech is fairly fluent with minimal errors. New contexts and professional or academic language are challenging, due to gaps in vocabulary.

  • Intermediate Fluency: Communicating in the second language is fluent, especially in social situations. In new situations or in professional or academic areas, speech is approaching fluency, but some gaps in vocabulary knowledge still exist. There are very few errors, and the student is able to demonstrate higher-order thinking skills, such as opinion and analysis, in the second language.

  • Advanced Fluency: Student communicates fluently in all contexts and can maneuver successfully in new circumstances and when exposed to new professional or academic information. The student may still have an accent and use idiomatic expressions incorrectly at times, but is essentially fluent and comfortable communicating in the second language. 

Not all students' experiences fall neatly into these categories, and prior educational experiences and literacy in their primary language can have a great impact on the language acquisition process. Most researchers believe that it takes from five to seven years to reach advanced fluency, if a student has strong first language and literacy skills and that it can take between seven to ten years for students with less language proficiency in their first language (Robertson and Ford 2008). Knowing a student’s proficiency level will enable a tutor to differentiate their instruction and address the language needs of their student more directly. This info graphic represents the needs of each stage of language development. 

Researchers have also found that students generally progress much more quickly from beginning to intermediate level (commonly two to three years) than from intermediate to advanced (often four or more years). This is likely because the lower levels of proficiency require simpler vocabulary and sentence patterns and involve language situations that are highly contextualized (familiar, recurrent, and supported by non-linguistic clues, such as gestures and intonation). 

Full proficiency, on the other hand, means students must have command of more complex sentence structures and vocabulary. They must have the professional or academic language to function well in less contextualized situations (for example, a workplace discussion or an academic essay) where they must clearly communicate their ideas on a higher level with more abstract concepts.

For examples and suggestions of appropriate instructional strategies for these stages of language acquisition, explore this resource.

Strengthening Your Growth Mindset

Have you ever experienced doubt that you can learn something new? Literacy Minnesota recently shared an excellent resource to help challenge the voice in our heads that says we cannot grow and evolve as individuals and as tutors.

Check out this article to adopt a growth mindset: Three Ways to Incorporate a Growth Mindset into Your Tutoring and Teaching

Join Us for Our After-hours Social!

Registration for Literacy DuPage’s “Reading Between the Vines” after-hours social on Thursday, May 18th at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton is now open at https://reading-between-the-vines-LDP.eventbrite.com

Literacy DuPage greatly appreciates your hard work and commitment, and we invite you to use the promo code, TUTORTICKET, to purchase a ticket at the discounted price of $50. The code is for tutor use only. Please use this code to purchase a ticket for yourself, and kindly purchase General Admission tickets for your guests.

We hope you will join us on May 18th!

Community Resources

This spring, the College of DuPage is hosting information sessions on their Early Childhood Education and Care Program.

Check out their flyer.

The Health Connection HUB is dedicated to connecting community members to quality care and services and helping providers to deliver competent, compassionate, and efficient care.

Find free or reduced-cost services for healthcare, housing, food, and other social supports.

Resources offered by DuPage County Health Department:

  • On 3/1, all pandemic SNAP benefits were eliminated. For clients needing benefit assistance, DuPage County Health Dept has 5 sites. Call 630-682-7400 option 2 for an appointment and option 7 for a benefit appointment

  • At the end of March, Medicaid redeterminations return. If clients wish to update their address with Medicaid/SNAP, call 877-805-5312 or go to Medicaid.illinois.gov. Flyers are in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Russian, Tagalog, and Urdu. If Medicaid can’t find you, benefits will stop.

  • There is a free vending machine for NARCAN at the Health Department's Wheaton campus community center in the lobby at 115 County Farm Road.

Social Service Fair at College of DuPage

Wednesday, March 22

9:30-1:30 a.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Jack H. Turner Conference Center Student Resource Center (SRC 2000)

Join us for an open house dedicated to social services available in our area.

Representatives from DuPage County organizations will provide information on health and dental care, educational support, immigration services, transportation, housing, and other available assistance. All community members are welcome.

Loaves & Fishes helps with tax return preparation. It is an IRS-approved VITA site offering FREE help on state & federal tax returns for low-income households. (Annual income of $60,000 or less). 

The YWCA counseling department is hosting an adult-survivor workshop. Space is limited.

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