Treasure trove tesol2011

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  • 1. Teaching Pre-Literate Adults: A Treasure-Trove of Resources
    Andrea Poulos, University of Wisconsin- Madison
    Jen Sell, Literacy Network of Dane County, Madison
    Patsy Vinogradov, University of Minnesota
  • 2. Agenda for this session
    Clarifying “pre-literate” learners
    Balanced literacy
    Student generated
    writing and reading materials
    Extensive reading
    Published materials
    Teacher resources
    Where to find these treasures?
  • 3. Pre-literate?
    We prefer: emergent readers, or more specifically- emergent adult ESL readers
  • 4. Our approach: Balanced Literacy Instruction:
    Phonics is important and needs to be taught explicitly to low-literate adult ESL learners, but it is best taught in contextualized, meaningful lessons.
    Adult learners have tremendous resources for learning; teachers need to tap into their life experiences, strengths, and interests in order to develop language and literacy effectively.
  • 5. Whole-part-whole
    Method of teaching reading that starts with a whole text then pulls out specific parts (ex: vocabulary from thematic unit or a story) to analyze for phonics/phonemic awareness skills, then goes back to the text to practice in context.
  • 6. NIFL/NCSALL ALRWG Webcast
    After Scarborouth, H. (2001)
  • 7. Balanced literacy with adult emergent readers
    In every lesson, keep going up and down the ladder.
    Remember that phonics should only be one part of a much larger, engaging, comprehension-focused reading curriculum.
  • 8. Student-generated writing and reading
    Language Experience Approach (LEA)
    Literacy Network “HOME Project”
    Life Writing and Literacy Narratives wiki
    Journal entries and responses
    Picture stories and photo books
    Student newsletters
  • 9. Language Experience Approach (LEA)
    Students tell a story (often a shared experience)
    Instructor (or another scribe) writes the story down verbatim
    Why do it?
    Connects the spoken and written word
    Values life experience; versatile and motivating
    Provides material for countless reading activities
    Making it Real: Teaching Pre-literate Adult Refugee Students, by AlysanCroydon
  • 10. Literacy Network “Home Project”
  • 11. Life Writing collaboration and wiki
  • 12. Extensive Reading
  • 13. Published materials
    Look for published resources that feature…
    research-based, systematic instruction
    top-down and bottom-up activities
    text that is free from stereotypes
    content that is interesting and meaningful to adults
  • 14. Published Student Books
    Very Easy True Stories, Sandra Heyer
    Ventures,Cambridge University Press
    Picture Stories, Fred Ligon and Elizabeth Tannenbaum
    Sounds Easy, Sharon Bassano
    Tailored Tales, Lia Conklin
    English for Everyday Activities, Lawrence Zweier
  • 15. Decodable textbooks
    Talk of the Block
    Ann Haffner
    Sam and Pat
    Jo Anne Hartel, Betsy Lowry, Whit Hendon
  • 16. Teacher Resources
    Teacher training video:
    Building Literacy with Adult Emergent Readers
  • 17. LESLLA: Low-Education Second Language and Literacy Acquisition (for adults)
    2011 LESLLA Symposium
    September 29 – October 1, 2011
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Proposals being accepted NOW until May 25, 2011.
    Conference website:
  • 18. 3 Key Readings:
    Bigelow, M., & Schwarz, R. (2010). Adult English language learners with limited literacy. National Institute for Literacy. Available:
    Vinogradov, P. (2008). "Maestra! The letters speak.” Adult ESL students learning to read for the first time. MinneWITESOL Journal, 25. Available:
    Vinogradov, P., & Bigelow, M. (2010). Using oral language skills to build on the emerging literacy of adult English learners. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. Available:
  • 19. Treasure map?
    Click on:
    For Teachers of Adult Low-literate ESL
    Visual on next slide! 
  • 20.
  • 21. Questions? Comments?
    What treasures can you add to our collection?
    Thank you!