Starting Your Own Literacy Program

 

Quick Checklist for Program Organization

1.    Get support/approval of those in charge.
2.    If program, put together an e-mail list of supporters. Send regular updates of progress and needs. If ministry, put together an e-mail list for prayer requests and support. Send out first one before you begin planning.
3.    Gather information about other classes provided in your immediate area. Call and introduce yourself and ministry/program. Ask day, time, and curriculum of their classes. Let them know day, time, and curriculum of your classes.
4.    Have organizational meeting to make budget and choose curriculum. Order curriculum. Purchase TV/VCR for Adult Literacy class.
5.    Organize childcare.
6.    Look for grants. If in Tarrant Baptist Association, apply for New Ministry Grant.
7.    Advertise for teachers with teacher requirements posted.
8.    Send teachers to training.
9.    Have organizational meeting with teachers to give out curriculum and resources.
10.    If ministry, have time of commitment and prayer in worship service.
11.    Organize flyer distribution week before registration: put date and info in newsletter/bulletin, make up flyers and assignments for homes and area businesses, meet and distribute week before classes begin. If mailing postcards, focus on one zip code initially.
12.    Organize registration: Make placement notebooks for each teacher with appropriate placement test; copy enough registration and information sheets for adult students and children; make sign-in notebooks for each class; make director’s ministry resource and curriculum notebook for teachers to check out curriculum and resources, also to keep up with receipts and orders; make signs; assign rooms that have tables and chairs.
13.    Hold registration during class times. Place students immediately after registration. Give students information sheet.
14.    Classes begin week after registration.



Organization
*Ministry Suggestions

1. Choices Of How It Will Be Led - Many literacy programs are led by a single director because one person had it on their heart to see it happen. When more than one person has been a part of the initial start, the program is sometimes lead by co-directors, a committee, or group. Even if a single director leads, it’s best to encourage others to head up separate aspects of the program such as student recruitment, snacks, break time, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and end of year fellowships, if you decide to include these. *Above all responsibilities, ask each person involved in the work to commit to pray daily or weekly for it. Successful ministry hinges on this more than anything else.

2. Choices Of How, Where, And When Classes Will Be Held - Teachers should have input in these choices. Start out with classes, wherever you hold them, once a week for at least an hour and a half to two hours. If you hold two-hour classes, take a fifteen-minute break in between. Volunteer ESL teachers often experience burnout because they try to teach too much initially. It’s better to add time then to tell your students in the middle of the semester that you will have to cut out one class time. It is also hard for all students who are attending ESL classes to attend more than once a week on a regular basis. Some programs work through this desire to offer more than one class by having one group of teaches teach on a Tuesday night, while another group teaches on a Thursday, both being totally separate. If you decide to offer the classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays to the same students, COORDINATE everything. Either offer the same lesson twice with different activities or present the lesson on Tuesday and make Thursday your extra activity practice night with more reading and writing time. Make sure there is a person in charge of all classes each night for emergencies and decisions.
The following is a list of suggested places and ways to offer classes:
Church Building – classes held in the morning, evening, or both  
Storefront   Library/Libraries   Apartments   Homes  
Partner with Independent School District – classes in schools
Partner with Refugee Relief Organization like World Relief – classes in homes, church, or organization
Partner with Business/Businesses – classes in business
Partner with Another Church – classes in their church, your church, another church, community center, or school 
Partner with a College or University - classes at school or in a house/building used by a denominational student union 
Volunteer to Teach in State and Federal Penitentiaries or County and State Jails
Partner with a Non-profit such as a Boys and Girls Club – classes at organization
Short or Long Term Mission Trips – classes in schools, churches, businesses, and homes   

3. Initial Decisions – Be flexible enough to consider providing classes in more than one location if the opportunity presents itself. Even if there are a few teachers, it might be more helpful to the community to provide a class in the church or organization and one in nearby apartments. Let the desire of the individual teachers who volunteer in the program direct your classes and where they are held. If someone who is burdened for international students comes forward, look for the best way to channel that desire. Perhaps partnering with a local college providing an evening conversation class would be the best fit for that teacher and the prospective students. A Fort Worth businessman who owned a local lawn company began to teach his fellow employees after work. Retired teachers have found new ministry opportunities teaching in the prison system. Seminary students preparing for international mission work have begun early as they tutored refugee families in their homes. Please don’t just assume that your classes are to be held at one location on one day or night.
     
4. List Program And Prayer Needs – It is helpful to make a list of program needs so that supporters can be involved in contributing and keeping the cost down. *Make a concise list of prayer and program needs for director/directors and teachers to pray over at least once a week, as the ministry’s kingdom effectiveness is dependent on prayer above all things.
Enable teachers to plan, and teach classes effectively.
Enable students to become fluent in English as quickly as possible, be consistent in attendance, come to a personal relationship with Christ, and grow in Him. 
Bless the fellowship between all people involved in the ministry.

5. Keep Ministry/Program Before The Church And Supporters - This is extremely important for continued support and as a means of providing a teacher base. Regularly e-mail program news, sending information in the body of an e-mail, not as an attachment, as many will never open it. Consider a semester newsletter with student stories and needs to supporters, or host an open house each semester. *Going before the church for a quarterly or yearly report at the church business meeting is also a good idea. Send out a prayer request e-mail with a minimum of about 5 per e-mail, as people are more likely to pray for the ministry when they immediately read it rather than each day. Develop continual daily and weekly prayer support apart for this by sending out a separate request, allowing those who would commit to e-mail back their daily or weekly commitment.


6. Find Out About Your Community – Go to the U. S. government census web site and get the facts about your community through your zip code at http://factfinder.census.gov

7. Find Out About The Other ESL Programs In Your Area – If you are in the Fort Worth area go to the HOPE home page and click on “Local Programs.” Call or look on the web sites of the local adult education departments within the independent school districts, local literacy councils, libraries, refugee relief and resettlement organization such as World Relief and Catholic Charities, college ESL departments, or associations of churches.

8. Presenting The Idea Of Literacy Classes And Working With Your Church Staff Or Another Organizational Structure – First, gather the information listed above so that those you are going to work with can understand the need in your community and what is now being done to meet that need, then write it in the form of a proposal with a budget included.

9. Training And Resources For Planning - It’s best to attend an appropriate training workshop such as English as a Second Language, Adult Literacy/GED, Tutoring Children and Youth, or Citizenship where you will have an opportunity to see available material and speak with a trainer/consultant before you begin. Please contact one of our staff through www.hopeliteracy.com to view curriculum and plan for a sound ministry start. You will find current trainings listed on the HOPE website under “Training Information.” HOPE ESL Executive Director, Harry Wilson can also give you names and contact information of others throughout Texas and the U.S. who provide training. *Southern Baptist Churches in Tarrant Baptist Association may want to look into applying for a new ministry grant at http://www.tarrantbaptist.org/default.asp?action=getform&form=83
or go to the main website at www.tarrantbaptist.org and type in “New Ministry Grants.” Include a planned budget with the paper work. 

Items To Include In A Budget -
ESL
1.    Program costs - cost of outreach and placement test copies, gallon Zip-Lock bags for fliers, sign-in notebooks for each class, placement notebooks for each teacher, director’s notebook, resource notebook
2.    Curriculum Beginner – Intermediate class – Teachers -Teacher book, student book, picture dictionary 
                                                                       (Extra – Zero Prep Activity Book, Pronunciation Contrast)
                                                                       Students – student book, picture dictionary (Extra – 
                                                                       Workbook)
Curriculum Advanced class – Teachers – 3 discussion books, idiom book, pronunciation book, Azar   
                                                                   Grammar, dictionary, thesaurus
                                                 Students – Idiom book, Azar Grammar, dictionary
3.    Classroom resources for each class- 1000, 3x5 cards, pack of pens, pack of pencils, thin line colored markers, notebook paper, 5 poster boards, dry erase markers and eraser, stapler, scissors, paper clips, quart baggies
4.    Break expenses - snacks and perhaps prizes for large group games  *Utilize Sunday School classes and small groups within your church for help in this area.

Initially budget for at least ten students per class. Many programs have students pay half the cost of books, paying them out during the semester if they can’t pay all at once. Some choose to use a curriculum like Crossroads or Word by Word Picture Dictionary Program, which has reproducible student pages instead of purchasing individual books.  If program pays for books, do not allow students to take them home for about a month, until you know they are going to be regular in attendance.

Citizenship
Supplies same as above but add copies of eligibility worksheet to placement materials
Curriculum – Teachers – Teacher book, student book, Citizenship Kit from USCIS, map of U.S., notebook with
                                         copy of Guide to Naturalization, practice test questions and answers, practice sample 
                                         sentences
                       Students – Student book, copy of practice questions and answers, copy of practice sample 

sentences
10. Classes - Plan on having as many classes as you have teachers or if your teachers have heavy schedules you may want to place co-teachers in each class to take turns planning and leading the lesson each week. Remember a substitute will be needed from time to time. It will have to be the director unless provision is made for this in the beginning. Student levels will range from illiterate, zero level, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Provide a separate class for students who are illiterate in their own language and English. If possible, keep class sizes to no more than 15 students per class.


11. Child Care – Provision for childcare will need to be considered for English students children. Providing a tutoring or homework helps time is a good idea. Plan to have a class for both younger and older children with two teachers per class for safety. * In a church ministry setting it is best to hold adult classes when children’s programming is offered. If there is no ongoing childcare when classes are offered, consider providing Bible activity time if a tutoring time is not possible. Work closely with your preschool and children’s coordinators to make your ministry a success for all.

12. Recruiting Teachers – Recruit teachers through support base from e-mails and newsletters, web site, field education students, area school, church, business, library, and Wal-Mart bulletin boards. Be specific about your teacher requirements, as this can help prevent problems later on. The following is an example to put on a flyer asking for teachers.

Our ESL Ministry needs teachers who are able to:
* teach Wednesdays from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
* anticipate planning each week for approximately 30-60 minutes using a class level
   lesson plan
* send a postcard to students when they’ve been absent for two weeks in a row
* attend and help with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and end of year parties
* be regular in attendance and *prayer for the ministry


13. Provide Initial Teacher Training And In-service- Some program directors allow teachers who have never had any kind of training to begin teaching because they are so desperate for teachers. This is harmful for the students who attend because their teachers then get “on the job training” through them. High student dropout is the result of this. Each aspect of literacy is unique and involves specific knowledge of learning and teaching. It’s best for all teachers to go through an appropriate basic training workshop and have in-service each year as curriculum and communication activities are always being added. Literacy is a very transient work. You can never have too many teachers. If some volunteer before they can attend a training workshop, have them assist another more seasoned teacher for a while.

14.Commitment/Prayer Service – It is encouraging to all those involved in providing classes to have a special time set aside to recognize the new program. It continues to encourage support and raise awareness. This recognition time can be held in a regular meeting of the support organizations or church with a meal. *This is a great time for special prayer.


15. Ordering- Order your catalogs from the publishers to order curriculum or go to the publisher’s websites and choose your curriculum with the input of your teachers at least two weeks before classes begin, as it will take about that long for books to come in. They will appreciate having time to thoroughly look over their books before classes begin. If you can afford it, order your teacher materials and 5-10 student books and picture dictionaries for each class. It’s best to stay in one curriculum for your beginner through intermediate ESL classes, so that you can all use the same type of placement test, have students graduate from one level to the next without any problems, and save money. Don’t feel pressure if you need to wait to order student books. You can put in a separate order for your students when you have an idea of how many you’ll need.

16. Curriculum and Material Stewardship-However you choose to do it, whether on computer or through a notebook system, keep up with the curriculum you order, as well as the number of materials and supplies you use. I’ve tried many different ways but finally found that the notebook method was the simplest and the best for everyone in the ministry. It is especially good when the director will have to be gone for any length of time or will not serve a long time as director. In the notebook system, have one notebook where you record all the books, materials, and supplies you check out at the beginning of the year and all through the year, to each teacher/class. Use one or two notebook pages per teacher/class. If you can have a supply closet that is easily accessible to all teachers, keep the notebook in it and make sure your teachers NEVER take anything without writing it in the notebook under their name or class name. This will help you access the materials and supplies you will need the next year. Each year give your teachers their books and supplies in a Rubbermaid like tub. Have them turn all of them in to you at the end of the year in the same tub. You can also use a large book bag that your teachers can keep. Make sure you have listed the items you’ve given them in the notebook at the beginning of the year. Give them a list too and let them know you will need everything turned back in that can be used again on the last day of classes. This will assure that you get the books and materials back with as little waste as possible. That teacher may not teach again and another will need to use those books and materials. Have a sheet in the front of the notebook for curriculum, material and supply request that you can fill each month, or have your teachers buy what they need, keep the receipt and turn it in to you. Write all supplies in your notebook under that class or teacher’s name. In the same notebook have a separate section for the orders of curriculum you make through the year and copies of the order forms. At the end of the year you just take everything out of the notebook and file them in the church’s file cabinet under the literacy ministry with that year’s date.

17. Attendance-Have an attendance notebook filled with notebook paper for each teacher. Simply have the teacher write the date of each class at the top of the page then write their name as they come in and have the students write theirs as they arrive. Keep these notebooks at the church where you will be, so that you’ll know what teacher is not there on time and you can take the notebook to the class and get it ready. Do not let the teachers take them home. Keep them where you will regularly be before classes start. If you are teaching in apartments keep them in the tub that you keep with you as a “supply closet.” It’s best to keep postcards and stamps in the pockets of the notebooks for the teachers to write a quick note to the students who have been out two weeks in a row. When the year is over take out the different class attendance records and put them in a literacy ministry file to keep with the other records for the year. These records will be important years down the road if you apply for grants. Even if you don’t think you will, someone else may. *It helps to remember that this ministry is God’s and that you are a steward of it.

18. Recruiting Students - Decide how far you want to advertise.  Start with the neighborhood and apartments nearest your site that are largely populated with non-English speakers then add one new neighborhood each semester or year as you have teachers. Student response from fliers for ESL classes is about ten percent and for citizenship, three to five percent. Four hundred flyers equal about twenty students for citizenship class at five percent and 40 for ESL classes. Do outreach within roughly a mile radius of your site if you don’t want to look at neighborhoods as your guide. Count the number of houses, stores, restaurants, gas stations, and laundromats. Make up that many flyers, giving brief information: English Classes, day, time, address, contact phone number, free community service, and childcare. Buy the large Ziplock bags. Put enough flyers in them for each street or for each group for those going to the businesses, and a Mapsco page with the streets that group is going on, highlighted. Enlist all supporters, not just teachers, to take part in the flier handout. List class information on the hosts web site. Buy a plastic sign for about a hundred dollars that you can hang on your building. Put your info on the radio, the T.V. public service announcements, in the newspaper, area school, library, Wal-Mart bulletin boards, in area businesses. Give flyers out at the fall carnivals by having a clown at a table making balloon shapes!
*Ask your youth group, college/singles or volunteers to meet for lunch after church then hand out flyers for one hour with some groups going door to door, others to businesses or mall parking lots only. Don’t knock on doors; you’ll wear out your welcome fast through the years, just attach them to the door. Publicize the flier handout as a mission project.

19. Registration Form – Include the following information on your registration form: student name, address, phone number, emergency contact name and number, languages spoken, number of years of school, names and birthdates of children attending with them, any special needs of those children.

20. Information Sheet – When the placement interview is complete give out an information sheet that list the following: beginning and ending dates of classes, day and time of class each week, days that class will not meet (follow the local school schedule if possible), contact person and their number, restate that childcare is available but that they must register children when they register.

21. Registration – Make sure the initial contact with students is excellent because you may only have one contact. Smile and do your best to put students at ease. Hand out flyers a week before you have registration. Set registration during the times you will normally have classes; use the same rooms you’re planning on using for classes, if possible. Put up signs so that students can find the classrooms. Serve refreshments. Enlist outside helping this. *Ask a Sunday School department or class to provide them.  Have one person who is bilingual sit at a table near the door to welcome students and have them sign-in. If you expect students of different languages other than your interpreter, prearrange for others to be able to take a telephone call from you in case you need an interpreter and if they absolutely cannot come to registration.  You must choose whether to allow the students to fill out the registration form after signing in, before you place them, or you can make the filling out of the form part of your writing test. You can only take time to do this if you have enough teachers helping and are not overwhelmed with students. Base the amount of time you spend placing students somewhat on the number of people who have come to registration and the amount of time you have to test. It’s best to also test citizenship students who do not speak English as their first language. Make sure all students indicate on their registration form whether they will need childcare, the names ages and grade of the children, and if they have special needs. Work with your preschool and children’s coordinators to have enough workers and to help those workers understand how to help the children who can’t speak English. You could do this by planning a special training time for them. Chapters are correlated topically and grammatically in the ESL curriculum, Side by Side and Voices of Freedom, citizenship material. Side by Side has a good ESL test that can be used for your ESL and citizenship students. Have teachers give the placement test in separate rooms, if possible or as far away from one another as they can be. Remember placement testing is not a teaching or coaching time. I’ve always allowed friends or family members who come with the student to sit with them during placement, but I do ask them not to speak or help the student. As soon as a teacher finishes placing one student they can look on the sign-in sheet and call out the next registering student’s name, then strike it out. Each teacher should use their own testing notebook, with plenty of registration and information sheets for the students they will see. Make sure each teacher keeps it with them during the semester, as they may need to test new students when the director is not able. Have an information sheet to give each student when they finish testing that gives information on the classes and semester such as holidays and beginning and ending times, what they need to bring, and curriculum you’re using. Have enough copied so they can give them to friends. 


22. Placement/Fluency Levels - To better prepare our students in learning English as a Second Language we must first understand what their needs are.  To do this we administer a placement test.  Students are placed in classes according to their speaking ability, not by their comprehension. The students who attend ESL classes are found in one of the categories below.

Illiterate – students of any speaking level may not be able to read and write in English or their first language, though most often this need is found in beginner students. We might say a student is a zero level illiterate student, an illiterate beginner, intermediate, or advanced student.

Zero Level or Novices - have basically no English vocabulary. They find it difficult to even give personal information like their name, address or phone number.

Beginners – speak very limited English, usually fewer that 100 words, rarely use complete sentences, may read English but not comprehend, need practice with dialogues, reading, writing and grammar.

Intermediates – have fairly good oral and written vocabulary range, but when they converse in sentences, their grammar is very poor, especially need help with prepositions and verb tenses.

Advanced – usually can converse freely in English, but with some structure and pronunciation problems, need to work on pronunciation, idioms, slang, vocabulary expansion, and writing.

23. Placing Students in Classes - Before all the teachers leave for the night, place the students! Do not wait until later! If you have three ESL teachers, you will have three ESL classes. It will be the same for citizenship. Put the registration sheets and placement tests in three piles on a table from lowest to highest. The only exception to this will be if you want to have a separate class for those who are not literate. You can then break your students up into two literate classes and one non-literate. Give each teacher a copy of their student’s paperwork to keep for the semester. I encourage you to keep registration open all semester.

24. Placement Tool - Find one that works for you. Don’t use one that takes longer than 15 minutes if you regularly have 30 plus people who come to register. You can use the one included in the NAMB TELL Manual, make up your own, or use one that comes with the curriculum like Side By Side. Have each teacher test students as they arrive during registration. During the year it’s best if the director places those who are new. They can then take them to the appropriate level class. Always place a student in a lower class when in doubt and always according to their speaking level. If you are creating your own be sure to include comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. You can simply use your registration sheet questions as part of the placement then add on.

25. New Classes Each Year – It’s best to keep the teachers with the students they started with and all go up a level, adding a lower level and new teacher each year. In this way, friendship is forged between teachers and students. It is a special blessing from the Lord to teach the same students through many levels and to see their own friendships with one another.

26. Room set up –It’s best if each class can have their own room, if not put them as far away from each other as possible. Use tables so that students can write comfortably.

27. Encouragement -Teachers, students and ministry volunteers all need regular encouragement. All can be encouraged through: regular prayer, encouraging words, short thank you notes to those who make cookies once a month, recognition at the end of the year party for their attendance, particular service and achievements, the giving of certificates and small gifts such as a framed picture to a teacher, of the whole class, or a picture of the class, to each student. However you are led make it a priority to encourage.

28. Teacher’s Meeting - If you need to have a teacher’s meeting, let classes out 15 minutes early; make up an agenda of things that need to be discussed; stay on track and move quickly through your list, beginning and ending on time, so that teachers don’t dread this.


 29. Use Holidays To Share Christ And Culture - Students can truly benefit from teachers taking the time to share the Christmas story and exchange Christmas traditions in homes during the Christmas season.  The same can be done during Thanksgiving and Easter. Our students only see us in class. Opening our doors to them brings about a deepening in fellowship. Have each person bring a favorite dish from their country and share their favorite traditions. Sing a Christmas Carol. It is important that we share our whole lives as a example to our students. They only see us in class. You might want to have an angel tree for your student’s children.

30. *Vacation Bible School – VBS is a great time to provide a week of Bible Study and intensive English class for parents of children who attend VBS. You may want to use another format than the norm, for the week. Put all levels together, but break into small groups for practice. Have student testimonies with students translating. Learn songs and actually have a craft for fun, encouraging fellowship among the students who aren’t normally grouped together.

31. End of Year Celebrations – As the last day draws near, plan a celebration with certificates for completing the year and attendance. Have a special meal together or have volunteers bring different desserts for the celebration. Include a sharing time for students to tell what they have appreciated most.

32. Take Pictures! The semester and the years fly when you’re having fun? You’ll want to remember your student’s faces. You’ll want to make displays. Your teachers and students will want pictures. Take plenty each semester.

33. Recognize the Program/Ministry’s Anniversaries Before The Host Organization/Church – Have a slide show or video presentation. *Within a service, have a special prayer and recognition time.



Registration

Name:___________________________________________________________________________________

Address:_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Home Phone:_______________________   Cell or Work Phone:___________________________________

Birth Date:_________________________   Gender: Male  /  Female  


School Years Completed:   0   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    GED   Other:____________

Languages Spoken:________________________________________________________________________

Emergency Contact Name:_________________________________ Phone:__________________________

Children Enrolled in Childcare:                                              Birth Date:                                      Grade                 

________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

Children’s Special Needs:__________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

Person/Persons Allowed to Pick-up Children:_________________________________________________
For office use****************************************************************************

Interview Date:_____________________    Interviewer:_________________________________________                  

Literacy Grade Level:_______________________     Class Assignment:____________________________

Room #:___________________________      Site:_______________________________________________

Teacher/Teachers:_________________________________________________________________________




Registration

Name:___________________________________________________________________________________

Address:_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Home Phone:_______________________   Cell or Work Phone:___________________________________

Birth Date:_________________________   Gender: Male  /  Female  


School Years Completed:   0   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    GED   Other:____________

Languages Spoken:________________________________________________________________________

Emergency Contact Name:_________________________________ Phone:__________________________

For office use*****************************************************************************

Interview Date:_____________________    Interviewer:__________________________________________                 

Literacy Grade Level:_______________________     Class Assignment:_____________________________

Room #:___________________________      Site:________________________________________________

Teacher/Teachers:_________________________________________________________________________

Notes:____________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________




Student Information Sheet Example
(To be given to students after placement)


Site:
HOPE Literacy
1701 T Square
Fort Worth, TX 76120

 Director’s Name: Dr. Harry Wilson      Phone: 817-999-9357

Teacher’s Name: Cindy Harrison          Phone: 817-988-6818

© 2017 - Hope Literacy Inc | Executive Director: Harry Wilson | Phone 817.999.9357

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