HLC Offers Online Tutoring

The Hillsborough Literacy Council is pleased to announce that starting in March, 2021 we will be beginning individual tutoring online. These online services will help reinvigorate our tutoring programs while we await our ability to conduct tutoring sessions in the library branches. We are very excited about these new tutoring sessions for multiple reasons. Of course, they resume the services that many residents of Hillsborough County desperately need; and furthermore, online tutoring also alleviates other issues that many of our tutors and students encounter, and which have blocked many people from getting a tutor in a timely manner. The main challenges are conflicts in student or tutor schedules, lack of transportation, being located too far from a library branch, or lack of child care for students. Online tutoring can solve all of those problems as well as keep people safe during the pandemic.  

We are aware that there are some technical challenges to getting all of our students tutored online, as well as the challenge of getting people with limited reading ability to have digital access, but we are already working to resolve those issues. 

The student and tutor matching process will proceed as it had in the past, with some modifications. Tutors will take a new training to get acquainted with the online tools we will be using. After the training they will be eligible for a student match. We encourage everyone who is interested in tutoring online, either tutors or students, to contact the Literacy office so that we can be sure to get you signed up. 

Email: adultliteracy@hillsboroughcounty.org 
Phone: 813-273-3650 

HLC Services Update

As you all know, the services of the Hillsborough Literacy Council have been disrupted for the past number of months due to the Covid pandemic. Since we rely heavily on the library for our tutoring space, and since the libraries have been closed since March, we were not able to continue with our normal mode of service. Although the libraries are reopening soon, study rooms will remain closed, and we will not be able to resume our typical mode of operations in the near future. Therefore we are taking steps to move our operations online for now. We have begun by offering online Conversation Corners nearly every day, and sometimes twice a day. Please look here for the schedule. We are also working on getting some other digital learning tools up and running. People will be able to access these tools on their phones, no matter what type of phone. Keep an eye out for that in the next few weeks.

Once we and our tutors have some experience working online under our belts, and once we have some lesson plans and materials for  an online format, we will begin offering one-on-one online tutoring. We hope to have these services all running fully by January.

I would like to note that during the Covid pandemic, the two members of the Literacy Department are often called to provide emergency services to the county as part of our duties, which has divided our attention; however, we are working to get the Hillsborough Literacy Council running at full steam as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience.

Learn English with the Library Video

Many of you may be wondering if the library has other ways people can improve their English and Literacy skills from home, especially during these times of social distancing. If you don’t know about your free access to Mango with your library card by now, I would be shocked. We promote that wonderful product everywhere we go. However, we do offer more than that for online use. Much more, in fact. Fortunately, our amazing Melissa Nye has made a video with our great Matthew David that shows you how you can use several other online library resources to pursue language learning goals. The video is called Learn English with the Library and not only does it cover language learning resources, some of these resources can help you improve your writing skills even if you are a native English speaker. For example, we can help those of you who need more help getting your writing up to a higher academic level. Oh, and there are great international movies to watch and so many options that I simply have to recommend that you check out the whole video here.  

Thank you for watching! I know you will find ways to carry on your educational adventure until we can meet in person once more. 

Annual Assembly and Visions 2020 Available Online!

2020 has changed a lot about our lives, but it didn’t stop the Annual Student and Tutor Appreciation event hosted by the Hillsborough Literacy Council 

Despite the slowdown to our services that Covid-19 has caused, we were able to put together a virtual Annual Appreciation Assembly on September 26, 2020. Although we weren’t able to meet face to face, we still had a great time listening to our guest speaker, Csaba Osvath, who did perhaps the best presentation for the online format we could have hoped for. It focused on the world of online game play and its intersection with language and literacy. I highly recommend that all of you check out what Csaba had to say, and the beautiful way in which it was presented. In fact, watch the whole assembly here.  

You’ll notice that as always, News Channel 8’s Rod Carter was our MC, and he did a wonderful job! You just can’t ask for better friends. 

Every year, we release the new edition of Visions during the assembly. This year is no exception. You can find Visions 2020 on our website, or at this link. Do to the interruption in our services, we did not have as much time to solicit as many new writings as we normally would, but we did combine the new writings we received with some from previous years to make a full edition. We also included some tips and ideas on how to incorporate using those writings in a tutoring session or two. We hope you all enjoy the wonderful stories you will find. 

We look forward to planning next year’s event and to be working with all of our students and tutors in whatever ways we can. Until then, please enjoy the Annual Assembly and Visions 2020 digitally and continue to stay healthy until we see each other again. 

Use the HLC’s Online Visions Archive to Support Your Learners

Did you know that tutors have access to a huge pool of HLC student writing? And, there are plenty of ways to use it to support ABE or ESOL students at any levels, and lots of other benefits, too. Keep the conversation going with Visions! 

Our archive has decades of material.  Taking a look at more of our students’ writing gives everyone a wider appreciation for the range of their abilities, and the diversity of people we serve.  For tutors, ESOL or ABE students, reading Visions is a memorable experience that directly relates to the community around us. 

Tutors often look for authentic texts and low-level readings to explore with their learners. Why not use the more personalized material generated by our community members?  Longer or shorter, poetry or prose, these pieces are written by students who are closer to the level of other students, and with life experiences that they may have in common with the learners you are helping.  

Give adult learners practice with a range of strategies by using our Visions archive. We suggest: 

  • pre-reading activities, such as discussing a topic similar to the one found in the text  
  • retelling the story, or summarizing the text 
  • identifying main ideas and supporting details  
  • asking or answering open-ended questions  
  • skimming and scanning for certain facts  
  • using notes and graphic organizers,  
  • and applying a text to one’s own life 

To get you started, we made a lesson plan focusing on adjective usage, with suggestions for leveling up or down. Access it here, and adapt it to your student, situation, and needs.  Let us know how it goes! 

Having read this post, do you have any other ideas for using Visions?  Let us know! There are many more possibilities we’ll share to support development of critical thinking, fluency, recognition, comprehension, vocabulary development, motivation, reflection, and more. 

Access our Visions archive here.