Teaching Reading to Adults: A pack of resources and ideas for adult literacies tutors

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This tutor/teacher pack contains many strategies and ideas for teaching reading to adults
Resource URL:
J. Gawn
J. Derrick
S. Duncan
I. Schwab
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Learning Connections: Professional Practice Seminars (Scotland)
reading, comprehension, strategies, grouping
Number of Pages: 
Product Type: 
Instructional Strategies
Target Audience: 
Skill Level: 
NRS EFL 1--ABE Beginning Literacy
NRS EFL 2--ABE Beginning Basic Education
NRS EFL 3--ABE Intermediate Low
NRS EFL 4--ABE Intermediate High
Required Training: 
No training required. 

This tutor/teacher pack contains many strategies and ideas for teaching reading to adults. It covers topics such as working with low level readers, working with mixed ability groups, finding appropriate materials, teaching and learning approaches. Each topic includes at least one case study to exemplify the strategy. It provides links to resources on reading theory. Some of these are not active or may be hard to open by clicking on the link, but Do work if typed into a search engine. Resources (both online and hard copy) include books, articles on: the theory and practice of reading, effective teaching and learning, policy documents, learner texts, and learning disabilities. An abundant glossary would help to support a teacher new to reading. Pages 52-66 include information about the researchers and a short evaluation of their work. Pages 68-95 include support materials from the authors. The resource ends with a “Rights of the Reader,” a simple but provocative piece, that could provide interesting discussion in an adult class.

What the Experts Say: 

This resource is a treasure for adult educators who plan and implement professional development programs for literacy teachers and tutors. Focusing specifically on teaching reading to adult students, the tutors and teachers are asked during the first seminar to identify areas in which they need professional development. They then worked in groups, called “teacher learning communities”, to promote collaborative learning and to implement action research projects in their classrooms. Since the tutors/teachers were from various locations in Scotland, they depended on emails for communication within their groups. Resources could also be accessed at the project website. Two follow-up seminars were held to report on the action research projects and to meet in their groups.

The resource provides interesting materials related to reading strategies from the practitioner research illustrated by case studies. Links are provided to supporting research and additional resource materials. (Note: a few of the links did not work. Unfortunately, no web address was provided for the links.) For example, the resource provided excellent and detailed instruction on how to give feedback to adult learners to improve their future performance. It also stressed that autonomy is the goal of teaching and learning, recognizing the importance of transferring reading instruction outside the classroom. An interesting “Rights of the Reader” affirms learner control. A glossary of technical terms is also provided

The materials draw heavily on the fields allied to reading research. These deal with literacy from a cognitive psychology and a sociological viewpoint. To some minor extent linguistics is also included. McShane writes explicitly on applying research in reading instruction typically done with elementary or secondary learners to adult learners. Citations are given in an annotated bibliography, which help the reader assess the usefulness.

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