Literacy and Numeracy for Adults: Write to Communicate

National Centre of Literacy & Numeracy for Adults, New Zealand
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This excellent website from the National Centre for Literacy and  Numeracy for Adults in New Zealand has developed research to practice materials for educators and adult learners on Learning Progressions (from low literate to higher literate levels) for Numeracy (Make Sense of Numbers to Solve Problems, Reasons Statistically, Measure and Interpret Shape and Space), and Literacy (Listen and Speak to communicate, Read with Understanding, Write to Communicate.) This profile addresses the section on Write to Communicate, although all of the sections contain the same elements. These elements include: well-detailed curricula for each of the sections, other educator resources, learner resources, assessment for learning, professional learning and communities.

The Teaching Adults to Write to Communicate: Understanding the Learning Progressions resource is based on research of effective adult literacy practices and was developed to support the learning process. It is based on a premise of three elements--know the demands, know the learner, know what to do—all leading to planning targeted lessons and activities to support learning progressions. This pdf download is over a hundred pages long and is supported by a chart that clearly shows the progression of writing from a low level to a high level for the main elements of writing: audience and purpose, spelling, vocabulary, language and text features, planning and composing, and revising and editing.

The activities described to support the writing process are: using a shared writing approach, sharing quality work, using writing frames, organizing and linking ideas, using templates and acronyms, shared paragraph writing, word maps, clustering, structured overviews, clines, concept circles, pair definitions, and brainstorming.

The slogan for the Centre is:

"Through learning there is life; through life there is learning."

This website delivers just that opportunity.

Required Training

Materials are self-regulating, though a basic understanding of the writing process would be helpful.

What the experts say

This website and the documents available there could be very useful to adult education programs and instructors. In each area, oral language, reading, writing, and numeracy, the instructional suggestions are organized into a general progression of learning goals for learners at various levels. Instructors are given advice about analyzing the demands (what learners need to do) and the learners (current skills) in order to plan instruction. Informal assessment is an integral part of instruction.

The document on writing includes instruction in skills (spelling, vocabulary, and grammar) and composition (purpose/audience, planning/composing, and reviewing/editing). A range of instructional activities are explained in sufficient detail for instructors to design their own activities. Many of the instructional suggestions are excellent. Assessment and instruction are clearly linked in ways that support initial assessment and progress monitoring.

I would give this document a very high rating for usefulness to adult education instructors.