[Technology 1315] Milestones in Adult Literacy

Share: Share on LinkedIn! Print page! More options

Archived Content Disclaimer

This page contains archived content from a LINCS email discussion list that closed in 2012. This content is not updated as part of LINCS’ ongoing website maintenance, and hyperlinks may be broken.

tsticht at znet.com tsticht at znet.com
Tue Oct 2 16:38:19 EDT 2007

October 2, 2007

Milestones in the History of Adult Literacy Education

Tom Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education

In a number of venues in the last few years I have presented a speech
entitled "The Shoulders on Which We Stand." This presentation has reviewed
a number of great adult literacy educators who have worked to teach reading
to adults from the time of the Civil War to World War II. After the
presentation I have often been asked for references to any papers I have
written about this history of adult literacy education, and I have provided
a reference to papers on the www.nald.ca library web pages. But those papers
do not include any photographs or other graphics that I use in my

Now the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) has produced a new electronic
newspaper series called QEd. This e-newspaper is available on the
www.nifl.gov web site. The QEd will present a series of five e-papers on
the scientific evidence for adult literacy educators. Additionally, the
series will provide a series of brief notes from my presentation on The
Shoulders on Which We Stand called Milestones. According to the first
issue, "Milestones features some of the exceptional people who have been
part of the long history of adult literacy education in the United States.
It also illustrates the movement toward integrating professional wisdom and
scientific approaches in teaching reading to adults."

In the NIFL newsletter in addition to text there are photos or other
graphics that those who have attended my presentation have asked about. Now
you can acquire a series of historical Milestones with text and photos that
can be used to inspire adult educators in their work by letting them see
that they are part of a long term effort by some people just like
themselves. These are people dedicated to helping adults learn to read and
write and they provide The Shoulders on Which We Stand today. The text of
the first Milestone follows.

by Tom Sticht

One of the earliest accounts of teaching an adult to read
comes from the slave Harriet A.Jacobs (1813-1897).Even
though it was unlawful to teach slaves to read,Jacobs ’owner ’s
daughter taught her to read and write.In 1861,after she
became a free woman,Jacobs wrote "Incidents in the Life of a
Slave Girl Written by Herself "(Jacobs,1987/1861).In the
book she tells how she helped an older black man,a slave like
her,learn to read:"I taught him his A,B,C —his progress was
astonishing —At the end of six months he had read through
the New Testament and could find any text in it."
Later,Jacobs taught literacy to former slaves in the
Freedmen ’s schools during Reconstruction following the
Civil War."

You will find a photo of Harriet Jacobs in the first issue of the QEd.
Collect all five issues of the QEd for a nice illustrated set of Milestones
of adult literacy education in the United States.

Thomas G. Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education
2062 Valley View Blvd.
El Cajon, CA 92019-2059
Tel/fax: (619) 444-9133
Email: tsticht at aznet.net