LCUP tutors work with students with greatly varied degrees of experience and skill. One of the most challenging tasks for a tutor is teaching newcomers to speak, read, and write English who have immigrated to this country with very limited ability to communicate.
David Muething, LCUP volunteer and board member, is meeting that challenge tutoring Vilmos and Agnes Garda, who recently emigrated from Hungary to Palm Harbor. His ?assistant? is the Gardas? nine-year-old son, Matin, who is playing an instrumental role in helping his parents learn English.
The Gardas moved to the United States seeking better economic opportunities. Matin studied some English in school in Hungary and has quickly built upon his language skills being immersed in English in elementary school. He accompanies his parents to tutoring sessions with David at Palm Harbor Library and helps translate from English to Hungarian when needed. He also ?repairs? (corrects) his parents at home when they make mistakes, his mother says.
The Gardas agree the most difficult part of learning English is the sheer multitude of words (currently more than 1 million) and all the different vowel sounds (23).
David has served as a literacy tutor in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties for four years and has tutored students from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Iran. When he tutors new immigrants with limited English, said David, he begins with a handout of the alphabet.
?I recite each letter and then pronounce the sound it usually makes in a word,? he said.? ?I teach the concept of vowels versus consonants. I then teach short and long vowel sounds.? I create a handout of commonly used phrases needed for survival and use Google Translate
(https://translate.google.com/) to provide the cross-reference in their native language.?
He then uses picture books with common everyday scenarios (grocery shopping, cleaning house, driving, walking around) and begins teaching basic vocabulary and sentences. ?Building on this base, David begins introducing simple grammar lessons and phonics lessons, always patiently repeating and reinforcing what his students have learned over and over as they begin to feel more comfortable with their newly acquired skills.
For information on how you can become an LCUP volunteer tutor or receive tutoring services, contact LCUP at (727) 298-3080 ext. 1724 or firstname.lastname@example.org.