[Libs-Or] Seeking advice toward starting an English conversation group

Gitlitz, Deborah gitlitz at wilsonvillelibrary.org
Wed Jan 23 13:10:17 PST 2019

I'd also love to hear what you include in any supplies kit for such a group.

A few examples, from my memory and that of Lisa Regimbal at MCL:

*         atlas

*         Apples to Apples

*         pens and paper

*         some kind of ESL activities book for the volunteer, like Zero Prep:Ready-to-Go Activities for the language classroom

*         topics discussion cards, one brand is Table Topics,

*         one of those big picture books, like What the World Eats.

*         Anomia  -- plus what other games?

*         Story Cubes

*         your phone is very useful for those obscure grammar questions

*         Lisa says "One of our moderators likes to use a projector, but with a small group have a laptop, so you can look up the home towns of participants is always fun."

*         Name tags (especially for large or ever-changing groups)

Another tip from Lisa "I think the biggest deal is listening and counting to ten before you try to fill the quiet space while everyone is thinking of something to say."

She also sent me this info: "The original materials for Talk Time came from Tacoma Community House<http://www.tacomacommunityhouse.org/literacy-now-downloadable-materials/> Talk Time Handbook<http://www.tacomacommunityhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Talk-Time-Handbook.pdf>. The handbook is pretty ancient, but it is exhaustive."

We welcome your ideas!


From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us<mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>> on behalf of Martin, Greg <gmartin at wilsonvillelibrary.org<mailto:gmartin at wilsonvillelibrary.org>>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 12:06 PM
To: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us<mailto:libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>
Subject: [Libs-Or] Seeking advice toward starting an English conversation group

Hello Fellow Librarians,

Our library is nipping around the edges of providing an English conversation group, geared toward non-native English speakers of all backgrounds. We're soliciting advice from any library who presently has or had such a group, (especially those libraries outside large metropolitan areas). If this describes your library, would you take a few moments to let us know the answers to questions like:

Who runs your group? a (paid) professional, a volunteer, or no one?

How often does it meet, and how do you determine the best days and times for your community? Do dates and times change during the year? Did it take awhile to 'ramp up' your program?

What is the attendance, and does it vary? How do you keep track of participants? Would you say you have much structure in your program?

What do you wish you could do in addition to what you already do?

Thanks very much for any insights you can provide us!


Greg Martin
Adult Services Librarian
Wilsonville Public Library

503.682.8685 Fax
martin at wilsonvillelibrary.org<mailto:martin at wilsonvillelibrary.org>
[Wilsonville Library logo]

8200 SW Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville, OR 97070

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