Every year, Literacy Unlimited produces an in-house publication called Write On. Write On showcases short texts written by LU learners.

Click here for more information about Write On and how to submit in the FAQ section.

This year our theme is You Matter.

There are lots of ways we matter to others. Whatever the reason, we all matter to someone or something.

In this year’s Write On, we would like to read a short text from your learner on this theme.

Helping a learner write their text?

If your learner would like to submit a text but you are unsure where to start, here are two approaches you can take as a pre-writing activity to get you warmed up.

Click on each tab below to find out more:

Brainstorm some questions:
Who do you matter to?

Did you make someone’s year a little brighter?

Did you help a friend or family member at a difficult moment?

Did you work in the community or provide financial support to your family?

Do you take care of a pet or tend a garden?

Are you appreciated for your cooking, musical skills, sports or good humour?

Do you help your children with their school work or to practice a sport?

Jot down all the ideas, make word lists, create flash cards.

Create Mind maps – Write ‘You Matter’ in the middle of the board in a circle. Ask your learner why they matter? Write their ideas around the central theme. Ask follow on questions. Develop a mind map of their ideas.

When you are both ready, start writing.

Step 1: Watch this video together

There is a lot of difficult vocabulary in this video. And the presenter speaks quite quickly. You can still use it with any learner. However, you might need to adjust your approach.

Here are some strategies for using this video with a lower level reader/speaker:

Before you watch the video

  • Talk about title “You matter”. Ask “what do you think this means?”
  • Review some vocabulary. Write the words on a whiteboard or post-it notes. Vocabulary in this video include: leadership, courage, communication, commitment, patience, empathy, significant, you matter. Your learner doesn’t need to be able to read or spell these words. It helps if they understand what they mean.

Watch for the first time

  • Slow down the video play speed to make it easier to follow and understand. You can slow down a video in YouTube. Go to the Settings menu at the bottom of the screen. Choose Playback Speed and select 0.75.
  • Listen for general meaning. Tell your learner they don’t need to understand everything. For the first time, just think about these three questions: “who is talking?” “who are they talking to?” “what are they talking about?”

Motivational speaker, JB Kellogg, challenges us to look at ourselves and all the things we do for each other.

Watch for a second time

  • Listen for more information. Use the pause button as you watch. Pause once in a while. Read the text on the screen. Talk about what it means before you move on. Jot down any words your learner wants to remember on a post-it note.
  • After watching a second time, reflect and discuss.

Step 2: Reflect and Discuss

Talk about these Questions:

  • What does it mean ‘to matter to someone’?
  • Who matters to you, to your learner?
  • Do you matter to someone? Why? How?
  • Think about vocabulary like: significant, important, needed by, work for, serve, help, support
  • Jot down your learners ideas on a whiteboard, sticky notes or a note pad. You’re probably ready to start writing!

Start Writing

Use an approach that is appropriate to your learners writing skills.

Here are some ideas for different levels – beginning writers, intermediate writers, and advanced writers. Click each tab to read more!

  • Assisted writing – let your learner tell you their story while you write it down. Read and revise, the text with your learner. Ask your learner to copy the text (or part of the text) them self. This is sometimes called a Language Experience Approach. You can see it demonstrated in this YouTube video from Solano Literacy.
  • Use pictures to tell a story – talk about a picture (or series of pictures) with your learner (perhaps even ask them to bring one in) – writing a caption to describe the picture or tell the story.
  • Model writing – provide your learner with a ‘model’ text. This text might be something you have written, or a text written by someone else (you might find a suitable text in one of our previous issues of Write On – see the blog post to read one). Review the model text with your learner. What is the structure of the text, the vocabulary used, or the verb tense that is used? Using the model text as a guide. Learners can now start to write their own text.
  • Sequencing – You can cut up a larger text and ask your learner to sequence the sentences. This is a good way of reviewing a model text.
  • Cloze texts – using a model text with words missing can be used to build vocabulary around a topic.
  • Interviewing your learner before they start to write. This can be verbal or you can have a written Q/A session. Use questions to draw their story out – e.g. What happened next? How did you feel? Describe this person? What did she say?
  • Mind maps – ask your learner why ‘they matter’ or ‘who they matter to’. Draw a map of their ideas.
  • Vocabulary Building – Use the mind map as a basis for building vocabulary – synonyms, antonyms
  • Develop an idea – ask your learner to focus on an area of the mind map that is most interesting to them – build a new mind map around this single idea
  • Discussion – help your learner develop and organize ideas
  • Drafts – Let your learner write their text alone.
  • Review and edit your learner’s text. Read your learners text back to them. Ask “does that sound right to you?” Make edits and additions with your learner. Ask your learner to read it out to you. Add any additional punctuation needed as your learner reads.

Other Tutoring Resources

Have fun with this. And Write On!


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