Literacy for Life Conference 2013


Annual Conference - April 20, 2013

The Conference Center at Mercer 

1200 Old Trenton Road

West Windsor, NJ


Keynote Speaker Workshops Registration ~ Directions

Keynote Speaker

Nelson Lauver

As a young boy, Nelson Lauver fell through the cracks of an educational system that was ill prepared to deal with a student who couldn’t learn like the rest. Socially promoted he graduated from high school and received a diploma he struggled to read. He knew he was different...he just didn’t know why.

Today Nelson is an acclaimed author, journalist, nationally syndicated broadcaster, and educational rights advocate. A natural communicator and humorist, Nelson is a highly regarded speaker who shares his own story as a way of helping others realize their maximum potential.

As the host and creator of The American Storyteller Radio Journal from 2001 to 2010, Nelson offered radio listeners across the country a daily 4-minute slice of the American experience.  Affectionately dubbed “The Rockwell of Radio” Nelson authored and narrated over 300 short stories for AST.  Most of these stories are now available to listen to and download on  Ironically, Nelson’s stories have now become tools for ESL learners throughout the US and around the world, as well as adult literacy teachers and their students. You can visit his website at:

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This Year's Literacy for Life conference will provide 24 workshops designed for participants involved in every aspect of adult literacy education.  We look forward to bringing together adult learners, tutors, instructors, staff, and board members from programs throughout New Jersey.  A catered luncheon will be served directly following the General Session featuring Keynote Speaker Nelson Lauver.

Please review the workshop descriptions.  After selecting your workshop choices, you can either print out the registration form and mail it along with your fee or register online and either pay online or mail in your check. Once we receive payment, we will email you a letter confirming your registration and workshop selections.  Professional Development certificates will be provided on request at the conference.

Workshops at a Glance (pdf)

Workshop Descriptions:  Session One - Session Two - Session Three


Session One (9:15 am - 10:45 am)


1. What Employers Expect

This workshop will focus on what employers are expecting in regards to specific set of skills from job-seekers that match the skills necessary to perform a particular job.  It will also address what jobs are in demand in the current economy as well as what is needed to achieve them.    

 Garret Gega, Middlesex County Department Of Workforce Development

Target Audience: Adult Learners


2. Using Your Learning Style

We each have our own way of learning new information. This workshop will help you think about different learning styles, find out how you learn best, and give you study aides that can help you be more successful.

Chris Sienkielewski, Three Bridges & LVNJ Master Trainer

Target Audience: Adult Learners


3. The Future of Literacy in New Jersey

This past year, a report on adult literacy in NJ was created for the State Council of Adult Literacy Education Services (SCALES).  Through a separate initiative, libraries throughout the state were surveyed to gain a picture of the literacy services they offer. Join this presentation for a summary and analysis of the literacy report and the role played by the library system.

Joe DaRold, Plainfield Public Library

General Audience


4. Using Music to Enhance Higher Order Thinking Skills

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 alternate 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 and Sharon D'Aagastino, Hudson County Community College

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


5. Learning With Technology

During LVNJ’s recent mini-course, the Collaborative Technology Project, six teachers experimented with various ways to use technology to support student learning. Join this session to learn about some of their successful projects and other ways you can use free and easily accessible technology with your students. We will also present learning strategies for teachers and others who want to improve their own technology skills.

Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University, Dale Muto, Ciarco Learning Center, Belinda Ruiz, LV-Ocean County

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


6. Learning Words: Understanding How to Build Vocabulary

We all know that a strong vocabulary is essential for the success of both our ESL and literacy students. The challenge we face as tutors is: How do we teach vocabulary in a meaningful way so that students can understand, remember, and use new words? This workshop will answer that question by providing tutors with an understanding of simple, research-proven steps for effective vocabulary instruction. A variety of activities and games that support vocabulary building will be shared. Learning Words was offered at the 2011 conference and is back by popular demand.

Daniel Scibienski, Greater Brunswick Charter School & LVNJ Master Trainer

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


7. Teaching Word Analysis Strategies

This presentation will focus on practical ideas for teaching word analysis strategies to adult basic skills students. While primarily focusing on phonics, there will be some discussion of syllabication strategies for higher level readers, as well as some discussion of fluency. 

Ilene Milman, Speech and Language Therapist

Target Audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


8. Building a Board that Works Effectively

What makes up a “perfect” board member? How and where do we find them, and how do we get them started? Join this session to explore these and other important questions relating to board recruitment and development, as well as discussion of important policies such as term limits and board giving and getting.

Les Loysen and Jennifer Loysen, Loysen Consulting

Target Audience: Board & Staff


9. Hot Topics for Trainers

This winter, we surveyed trainers to find out which workshop topics would be of the greatest interest.  The three most popular responses were:  Lesson Planning Instruction, Working with Disruptive Participants, and Responding to Homework Succinctly. Join this roundtable discussion to explore how you can improve these aspects of training.

Connie Schwein and Liz Wilk, LVNJ Master Trainers

Target Audience: Trainers (and those preparing to become trainers)



Session Two (1:15 pm - 2:45 pm)


10. Interviewing Skills and Resume Review

In this tight job market, with employers able to be picky about who they hire, it’s easy for job seekers to wonder if they have what it takes to get the job. With all the qualified candidates out there, what are employers looking for? Who will get the interview? I will discuss the key things that employers are looking for when they review job applicants.  Bring along your resume for review and recommendations.

Jody Bramson, Middlesex County Department of Workforce Development

Target Audience: Adult Learners


11. An Apple a Day…

Do you ever have trouble reading the nutrition labels on the food you buy? This workshop will help you understand how to read food labels to make healthy choices and plan healthy meals.

Vivian OKrepky, LVNJ Master Trainer

Target audience: Adult Learners


12. Body Talk--Interpreting Non-Verbal Communication

If you can effectively read and interpret the nonverbal communication of students, and
manage how students perceive you, you will enjoy greater success than tutors and teachers who lack this skill. Do you know what your body is telling your students? Do you know what students are telling you with their bodies? Let’s examine images, video, and maybe- if we are a daring audience- do a bit of role playing and assist one another to become more in tune with what our bodies are telling students, and with what students are telling us with their bodies.

Paul Bogush, Moran Middle School

General Audience


13. Family Literacy through "Alphabet Lunch" & Children’s Literature

As the family is considered to be one of the most powerful indicators of success for children, it is important  to consider programs that provide opportunities for parents and children to discover their own strengths, enhance parenting skills, and engage hands-on learning experiences together.  This workshop will provide ideas on how to develop and use such tools to benefit your students .

Chris Sienkielewski, Three Bridges & LVNJ Master Trainer

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers & Trainers, Program Leaders


14. Writing Can Be Fun

Writing is important for any student trying to develop his or her language skills. However, tutors and teachers often have a difficult time getting students to write. Trying to put one’s thoughts down in a way that makes sense, and at the same time trying to remember all of the rules of grammar and spelling, can be daunting to anyone, especially a new writer. The activities in this workshop will help students with sentence construction, vocabulary development, description and detail, composition and creative writing, and spelling.

Todd Evans, ProLiteracy

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers & Trainers, Adult Learners


15. Tech Tools for Vocabulary Development

Join this session in the computer lab to explore websites you can use with your students for reading and vocabulary development. The presentation will feature Quizlet and Free Rice, as well as include a list of other programs that can be helpful for your students. 

Kitty Mazzarella, Hudson County Community College

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


16. Maximizing Student Abilities: Strategies for Learning Disabled Students

Experience some of the frustration and anxiety that learning disabled students suffer. Examine types of learning disabilities and ways to provide direct instruction. Join us to learn techniques that will get your student on the road to success. Questions welcome! Share your successes! Disability does not mean inability!

Dawn Harrison and Susan Petrow, Literacy Volunteers of Union County

Target Audience: Basic Literacy Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


17. Fund Raising – It’s Not Just Grants

How and where can you find new donors for your nonprofit? This session will cover the fundraising process, including donor identification, cultivation, solicitation and follow up. The role of board, staff, and fundraising committee and basic rules of fundraising will also be explored.

Les Loysen and Jennifer Loysen, Loysen Consulting

Target Audience: Board & Staff



Session Three (3:00 pm - 4:30 pm)


18. Student Roundtable

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

Brenda Boylan, LVNJ

Target Audience: Adult learners


19. Using Jobs4Jersey and other Online Job Search tools

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development have created a set of online tools that are easy to use to aid individuals to find new careers, training opportunities and new jobs. Come learn how to use the Jobs4Jersey and OnRamp online tools and other job search resources to enhance your literacy program and help your students search for employment.

Mary Ellen Clark, NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development

General Audience


20. How to Speak American English

Communicating effectively is one of the most important goals in learning to speak a new language. This interactive workshop will provide an overview of the physical speech mechanism and focus on strategies that can be used to master some of the challenging sounds non-native learners encounter in American English.

Carol Salomon & Joan Spring, Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County

Target Audience: ESOL Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


21. Preparing Students for the GED

Many students are now eager to pass the GED before the current test expires. This workshop will focus on specific strategies tutors can use to help their students pass the individual portions of the test, including both the specific content areas and test-taking methodology. Lesson planning and instruction for groups will also be discussed.

Scott Kuchinsky & Carol Bamdad, Literacy Volunteers of Plainfield Public Library

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


22. Comprehension Strategies for New Readers

This workshop will provide discussion and demonstration of instructional strategies to help students gain a deeper understanding and engagement with text. Participants will practice a series of strategies that foster comprehension, including techniques to use before, during, and after reading.

Perrine Robinson-Geller, LVNJ Board Member

Target Audience: Tutors, Teachers and Trainers


23. From Stress to Success: Math Strategies that Work

Math is a special source of anxiety for students. This means that in addition to teaching basic math skills, teachers need to build student confidence in math, help students see the connection between numbers and what goes on in their lives, help students develop important critical thinking, decision making, and problem solving strategies, and make math fun and interesting. 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, and make math accessible and fun.

Todd Evans, ProLiteracy

Target Audience: Math Tutors, Teachers & Trainers


24. Social Media for Nonprofits

This workshop provides an overview of how nonprofits can effectively use social networking including Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and You Tube.  Learn how "listening"online will impact your engagement.  Learn how to integrate your social media and website presence.  What are reasonable goals for your online presence and how will you measure success?

Marion Conway, Conway Consulting

Target Audience: Board & Staff

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Registration/Payment Options:

Register by mail:  Click here to download the registration form.

Register online: Click here to register online. 
You will have the option to pay online through PayPal, or you may send in your check.  *Please note, if you register online and pay by check, your workshop choices will not be confirmed until we receive payment.


$55 Tutors, Trainers, Staff and Board Members of LVNJ affiliated programs (after 3/23 $65)

$100 Non-members (after 3/23 $110)

$30 Students

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