This page will be updated regularly as new information and resources become available.

Networking Conversations for California Library Literacy Services Programs

The State Library is hosting twice-monthly networking conversations for California Library Literacy Services staff to connect with one another and share information and resources. To find out more about the calls and receive meeting notes, please contact us.


Ideas from California Library Literacy Services program staff

Topics: staying connected with learners and tutors; tutoring practices; tutoring activities focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic; supporting learners and tutors who are without the Internet.

Staying Connected with Learners and Tutors

  • Create a Facebook group for tutors and learners
  • Schedule drop-in Zoom meetings
  • Hold sidewalk meet-ups
  • Keep a log of check-in calls with learners and tutors
  • Create a guide to online resources and library resources for learners like this one from Read Santa Clara
  • Provide social media links to resources and videos
  • Use to send texts and messages to large groups
  • Set up remote drop-in hour to answer questions
  • Send out ProLiteracy tips
  • Make phone calls just to check in, no pressure for tutoring
  • Hold virtual Open Houses (e.g. on Zoom) for tutors and learners
  • Send greeting cards
  • Make tutor appreciation videos and “we miss you” videos for learners and tutors
  • Connect using email
  • Reach out one-on-one
  • Survey tutors to see who’s still meting and how and what support is needed
  • Use Google Voice to make phone cals from home
  • Mail journals with activities learners can do
  • Start up an “articles club” using the same framework as a book club

Tutoring Practices

  • Send out lesson plans and materials via email or snail mail
  • Have publisher (e.g. New Readers Press) mail material directly to learners
  • Provide curbside pick-up of materials, activity packets, etc.
  • Tutoring on virtual platforms: WhatsApp, Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc.
  • Offer virtual drop-in tutoring
  • Read together over the phone; can use Google phone# for confidentiality
  • Learners take pictures to text to tutors for feedback
  • Upload materials on YouTube
  • Support learners in using Zoom on their phones
  • Support learners in learning from other learners
  • Pilot project: enroll learners for 90-day free trial of Learning Upgrade (Proliteracy). If they successfully use it, then pay subscription for 2020-21 and train tutors on how to observe/support the learner
  • Offer a book club on virtual platforms using e-books

Tutoring Activities Focusing on the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Write 6-word memoirs or essays about their experience
  • Exchange recipes to practice skills
  • Journal about pandemic experiences
  • Start an oral history project

When Learners and Tutors are without the Internet

  • EveryoneOn: Broadband service to income-eligible families at low cost
  • Research carriers that have reduced their fees or opened their wifi for access:
  • TechSoup is an organization that lends technology to nonprofits
  • Some libraries leave WiFi on so that it can be accessed from the parking lot.
  • Conduct lessons via phone, for example, the tutor sends picture of a book and text to learner; the next day they talk by telephone and the learner reads the page to tutor
  • Use phone apps
  • If you can, provide loan laptops or Chromebooks, along with wifi hotspots, for people without access to the Internet
  • Use RACHEL, a portable plug and play server which stores educational websites and makes content available over any local (offline) wireless connection.

Online Resources suggested by California Library Literacy Services program staff

Distance Learning Resources from ProLiteracy: A set of resources, tips, and platforms to help programs and learners continue learning from a distance during a time of health crisis and uncertainty.

Using Virtual Platforms

Conducting Assessments

  • Google Docs and Zoom screen sharing can work for conducting online student assessments
  • Northstar Digital Literacy: a program of Literacy Minnesota, this assessment tests basic computer skills, software skills, and using technology to accomplish tasks.

Tracking Hours

Providing Family Literacy Services

  • Remote Instruction Resources for Family Literacy from the Goodling Institute
  • Use Facebook for Summer Reading Program (virtual storytime on FB)
  • Family Literacy crafts and stories on Zoom twice a month
  • Create google form for parents to document activities with children
  • Send books to families
  • Send family literacy packages addressed to the children
  • Purchase summer learning books, science kits
  • Organize a drive-by book giveaway
  • Use food/nutrition books and food puzzles to tie in with the Lunch at the Library program
  • Give baking demonstration to teach fractions and reading simple ingredients
  • Zoom paint nights
  • Use Ready Rosie
  • Add content in your newsletter about families working at home with children
  • Partner with Parks and Recreation to distribute activity packets
  • Partner with Headstart to connect with families
  • Explore outdoor tutoring and activities

Online Instructional Programs

Digital Resources for Tutors and Learners

Learning Websites

Additional Resources

COVID-19 resource page created by the California State Library and California Library Association: General information on the pandemic, resources for families, resource guides for library staff including youth services and programming librarians, information on working from home, and more.

Pandemic Preparedness: Resources for libraries from the American Library Association.

Quarantine Librarianship: An online space supporting libraries in sharing ideas and developing creative ways to serve their communities.

Solano County Library Literacy Services Master Work Plan: Solano County Library Literacy Services created a working work plan to help organize tasks to navigate the changes during the pandemic and during the current recovery phase.