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Work Wise for Tutors


Work Wise for Tutors is a curriculum developed by Partners in Reading (PAR) at San José Public Library. The curriculum focuses on the development of reading, writing, problem solving and English Language skills that are needed on the job.

Work Wise for Tutors is based on lessons delivered at employment sites for custodians and housekeepers. The content was determined through an in-depth needs assessment that included input from employees, employers and supervisors; observation and analysis of job tasks, work documents and manuals; review of existing curricula and performance standards; and the delivery of instruction and feedback from participants. Lessons focus on workplace subjects embedded with the necessary literacy and language skills. The content and skill clusters targeted are based on competencies required to perform specific job tasks rather than a particular academic level of performance.

The curriculum features ten units, with each unit typically providing material for multiple lessons depending on the ability of the adult learner. The unit topics include both generic content and content specific to custodial services and housekeeping. They are:

  1. Understanding Tools, Equipment and Supplies
  2. Understanding Work Schedules
  3. Writing Notes
  4. Responding to Complaints
  5. Reporting an Injury or Accident
  6. Giving Instructions
  7. Calling in Sick
  8. Finding the Way (Directions and Maps)
  9. Handling Stress
  10. Your Paycheck


Please see links for curriculum samples. For additional units or more information, please contact Judy Klikun at Partners In Reading, San José Public Library (408) 808-2361 or

Features of the Curriculum

Work Wise has a user-friendly format that includes detailed lesson plans for the adult literacy tutor and related instructional material for the adult learner. Directions are simple and clear, providing guidelines for

instruction as well as the instructional activities and materials. Each unit is a standalone instructional component that can be delivered as it is presented or customized to the vocational interests of the adult learner. Instructional activities and methods are detailed and can be used as a template for integrating other vocational content into the interactive and multi-sensory methods and activities presented.

Lesson Plans

Work Wise for Tutors follows a format for each of the lessons. The lesson plans include:

  1. An Overview of the lesson including the objective, materials needed, vocabulary words, and suggested activities.
  2. Pre-test specific to the content of the unit that provides information for the tutor regarding the learner’s needs and skills. Can be used to plan the areas to emphasize in the lesson.
  3. Warm-up Activity to engage and generate interest and / or an Introduction to the topic and objectives.
  4. Presentation explains the new concepts and suggests strategies for instruction.
  5. Learning needs to be reinforced in many ways and should be reintroduced over time. The Practice suggests activities and instructional material that provides opportunities for integrating the new concepts and practicing skills.
  6. The Application section suggests additional opportunities to apply the content of the unit.
  7. The Evaluation includes the post test. This is the same document as the pre-test , but follows the tutoring lessons and gives the tutor an idea of what the learner has absorbed and learned.

Lesson Plans Samples

Instructional Materials

The instructional materials include worksheets, dialogues, forms, maps, selections from books and material to download from the Internet. Most copies are included with the curriculum. Suggestions for their use are detailed in the Lesson Plan.