Author JV Torres Runs For VP of Baltimore Teachers Union

JV Torres, author of “I Want To Learn English,” has joined The Unity Slate and is running for Vice President of Middle School for the Baltimore Teacher’s Union. The Unity Slate is comprised of many seasoned teachers from diverse backgrounds and all with extensive experience working in public schools. This group of teachers and paraprofessionals bring leadership skills that are desperately needed in the Baltimore Teacher’s Union. Please share this video with all educators in the Baltimore area. Thank you for your support.

Consonant Blends Practice

Beginning English learners have a tough time with blends in general. That’s why I dedicated an entire section of “I Want To Learn English” to focus on consonant blends. It is an articulation activity that can be stretched out and morphed to include word definitions and conversation starters. Of all the activities in the textbook, this is one teachers tend to get a lot of mileage out of. For example, on one class, there were both Spanish and Portuguese speakers that learned their languages shared many similarities in words from this lesson. Even the teacher learned a great deal as nearly an hour of instruction time had gone by before they even got to the conversation piece. If you haven’t ordered your copy of “I Want To Learn English” to use with your beginner English learners, make it a point to order one asap by clicking HERE. And be sure to have students use this video for additional practice.

Article in Colorín Colorado

I get to share some of the things I learned as an ESL teacher. There have been some hard lessons, but after more than 20 years in this line of work, there are some realizations I wish I had known in the beginning. I share 7 of this bits of ELL teacher wisdom in the article published in Colorín Colorado. Take a look and if you want to add any of your own advice, feel free to leave a comment. Click HERE to read the article.

TESOL International Convention 2017

In 2016, I went to the TESOL Convention in Baltimore, Maryland because it was in my neck of the woods and there was much networking to do. For all intents and purposes, my time there was well spent. And though I met so many people and made some very good connections, a part of me longed to be included in the presenters circle. Well, this year, I get my chance.

I put the notice out a few months ago that I will be presenting my research at TESOL 2017 and certainly I am quite excited about that. Just having my proposal accepted is an honor in itself, but I know there is a lot of more work that needs to be done. The interest in furthering research into the effects of infusing phonics with contextual instruction for adult and secondary learners is growing. This presentation is something I hope will generate even more interest from other professionals in the field and join me in collecting more data and adding to the conversation. If you are going to the TESOL International Convention in Seattle, please come to my session. Thank you.

A Sample of IWTLE

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I am happy to announce there are several programs currently using the IWTLE textbook with beginners. At the end of 2016, various programs and schools in Pennsylvania, Missouri, California, New Jersey and Maryland started using the textbook with beginners and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In an effort to support instructors, I keep an open channel of communication with programs and even provide some sample instructional videos to help in the process of implementing the lessons. There are, of course, people who purchase the textbook through amazon and other sources and they don’t always communicate with me directly, but the streaming of the audio files tells me people in other countries are also using IWTLE. These include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Mexico, Colombia, and several others. For instructors looking for some instructional ideas, or would like to see how I implement aspects of the textbook, I will share some videos of me working with actual students in my class. I will try to produce more videos as time goes on. Please feel free to contact me directly or share your comments. Thank you.

Reading and Writing Workbook

Since the release of the “I Want To Learn English” textbook this past spring, its reception and demand has steadily increased. This past summer more schools, community colleges and learning centers have been piloting and adopting the “Swing Differentiation” model the textbook employs. This, as you can imagine, is welcomed news. With it has also come some new requests. In speaking to ESL coordinators and directors at community colleges, the conversation of a reading and writing strategy for beginner level ESL students has consistently come up. Naturally, I have been asked if this is something I would be working on. Well, as it so happens, I have been working on a reading and writing workbook for beginners.

This workbook complements the IWTLE textbook in that it incorporates the themes from its four units. These include the phonics components of vowels, digraphs, consonant blends, diphthongs and other elements of the textbook. I figure it would be a good idea to look a little closer at the characters, the situations throughout the book, the puns (of course) and explore various cities throughout the United States. I recently mentioned to someone in a meeting about the textbook that it is in the “trial stages.” What this means is I already have lessons, activities and components being tested with students in the fall semester. Once these trials are complete and data supporting its effectiveness is concluded, it will be published.

What makes the coming months even more exciting is there will be additions made online (this website) for students and instructors to interact with that continues the work in the IWTLE textbook. There will also be more assessments available for instructors and more listening activities for students to practice with. And more video lessons will be available for both students learning and instructors to see modeled lessons and to give ideas and strategies to use the components of the textbook in their classrooms. For students, there is a video on short vowels that was recently posted (see You Tube video below). Others will follow, so stay tuned.