The Institute's programs and services encourage the development and provision of high quality adult education and literacy services.
Individually, they address some of the most important challenges facing the field, including how to improve accountability, use technology to its full advantage, and meet the needs of adults with learning disabilities. Together, they help build and support an integrated system that allows us to serve adults as effectively as possible.
- Bringing technology to the literacy field through LINCS, a state-of-the-art Internet-based information and communication system. LINCS operates through a network of partners nationwide to provide a single point of access to a broad array of literacy-related information and public discussion lists as well as technology training opportunities. For more information about LINCS and to review grant quarterly reports, please go to About LINCS.
- Learning To Achieve is a five-day training program designed to help adult education and vocational training practitioners, social workers, and other human service providers improve their knowledge of learning disabilities (LD) in adults. The program offers instruction on how to actively support adults with LD in educational and workplace settings, and prepares participants to share what they have learned with interested colleagues who did not attend the training.
- Connecting those in need of adult, child, and family literacy services with information about programs in their communities through America's Literacy Directory, an easy-to-use on-line searchable database.
Improving reading instruction in adult education programs
- The Institute published two research-based publications on adult reading instruction: Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults: First Steps for Teachers and Teaching Adults to Read: A Summary of Scientifically Based Research Principles. Designed for teachers and tutors, First Steps provides ideas and examples of how to use research-based instructional approaches in the adult education classroom. The summary focuses on findings from the scientific literature on teaching adults to read.
- The Institute launched the newsletter QEd (2006) to provide information on topics in adult reading instruction for teachers of reading and basic skills.
- The Institute offers an online reading assessment tool to help adult education teachers understand their students' reading strengths and needs so they can provide more targeted instruction. The instrument can be found here and provides a mini-tutorial on teaching adults to read.
- Supporting Research to Improve Reading Instruction
The Institute contributed $10 million to a national research program to build understanding of how adults learn to read and how to teach reading to adults effectively. The Institute partnered with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the U.S. Department of Education on this five- year, six-study effort.
- Identifying Successful Adult Literacy Programs
The Institute convened a panel of nationally recognized experts to devise a rigorous approach to identifying and studying literacy programs with positive student outcomes. The project explored what programs do and how well students learn.
- Understanding the Role of State and Local Adult Literacy Policy
Through a national survey, the Institute explored relationships between adult literacy policies and student outcomes to learn more about the contributions policy can make in the use of evidence-based practices; accountability; professional development; and interagency coordination.
- Exploring Literacy in Communities
The Institute, in March 2007, convened a national summit for representatives of community-wide literacy efforts to discuss how public, private, and non-profit organizations come together to support literacy. The forum focused on evaluating community-wide efforts. Information the Institute gathered on these measures resulted in the Guide to Performance Management for Community Literacy Coalitions. The Guide addresses how community literacy coalitions and their partner organizations can track the progress they make in improving literacy in their communities. Practitioners can then use this information to improve their activities and therefore, the effectiveness of their work.
- Comprehensive Program Planning
The Institute works with nationally recognized experts and stakeholders to plan new initiatives to fill gaps in knowledge and services in the areas of adult English language acquisition, adult literacy, workforce basic skills development, and education and employment outcomes for youth with learning disabilities. .
- Encouraging Evidence-Based Practice
The Institute, in partnership with the Institute of Education Sciences, and its grantee, the National Center for the Study of Learning and Literacy, convened to work on strengthening the quality of adult literacy research. The initiative resulted in the development of commissioned papers on methodological challenges; and the launch of 3 one-day pilot workshops for practitioners to plan for changes in services based on evidence.