Montana LINCS Update
1/25/09
Greetings from Montana LINCS

1.  Responses and Questions to MTLINCS Research Item #7:  Distance Learning and Literacy

Two of your Montana colleagues have responded to the following question:  Should you consider reading level of the online learner? 

Click here to check out their responses and questions about the Distance Learning Project.  Click here to send a response to MTLINCS to help out your friends!

2.  Distance Learning Tools

More tools have been posted on MTLINCS!  Check them out!

3.  MTLINCS Calendar

There will be a lot happening this week in Montana:  ABLE Directors' Meeting, Leadership Academy Meeting, and MAACE Board Meeting.  Click here to access the calendar on MTLINCS.  

4.  Book Clubs for ABLE Students

About a year ago Cathy Smyers of Missoula suggested that ABLE colleagues share titles of books they might share with their students.  MTLINCS has created a list of books that have a mixture of titles for both teachers and students.  Just recently on the Diversity Discussion List, the following information was posted:

 Do any of you have book clubs or know of book clubs in adult literacy programs? On WeNews, I came across an article called Mumbai Book Club Breaks Up a Cloistered Routine By Taran N. Khan. The description of the article is:
 In a women's reading club in the northern part of Mumbai, members cast off their burkas and tackle the literary merits of the author-of-the-month. For many, it's a rare chance to break the cloistered domestic routine.
 You can find it at http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=3892  
 Here is an excerpt from the article:
 "Most of my life, I couldn't even tell if a book was the right way up," says the cheerful 30-year-old. "But now, I hate anything that interrupts me when I'm in the middle of a good read."
 Does anyone feel like sharing their experiences with running or partaking in a book club for adults who are new at reading, or struggling with reading?

 Daphne Greenberg
 Associate Professor
 Educational Psych. & Special Ed.
 Director
 Coalition for the Study of Adult Literacy
 Georgia State University
 P.O. Box 3979
 Atlanta, Georgia 30302-3979

I facilitated one of the WE LEARN book groups ... and started facilitating my second group of ESOL learners this week. The group is in an adult ESOL program, so we're not reading current novels, we're reading pieces designed for this readership.
What excites me about the experience is the mutual learning that goes on---just like in any book group. For example, our first semester group started by reading a one page piece in the September 2004 "Change Agent" entitled "My Life as a Teen Mom" (p. 9). This prompted a two-session discussion on different cultures' reactions to teen pregnancy. A discussion like this could easily have come up in the regular ESOL classroom, it just happened to come up here. 
 
For another look at adult learners' reading (rather than book groups per se), see Sondra Cuban's article "Reading for Pleasure" in Focus on Basics at http://www.ncsall.net/?id=276
Barb Garner
Former editor of "Focus on Basics"

Have any of you implemented Book Clubs for your students?  If so, please click here and share your thoughts!  Also click here to access the MTLINCS Book Club.

5.  Working with Adult English Language Learners with Limited Literacy

There will be a focused discussion on the electronic list for those working with adult English language learners next week, January  26- 30.  

Background: 

Some of you work with learners whose native language is not English.  In many situations, learners with limited literacy in their native language must study with other students with more educational background and literacy experience in high-beginning and intermediate ESL classes. The obstacles to effective learning persist at these levels, but most textbooks they receive assume a certain level of literacy, and use complex print to teach primarily language acquisition. In addition, instructional approaches can often privilege print literacy skills over oral language strengths.

This discussion will explore the issues of working with those with limited literacy and preferences for learning through the oral modes. How can strong oral skills be used to promote literacy? Are there promising methods for focusing on literacy development for learners with limited print literacy? And how do teachers plan lessons when a class has vastly different prior experience with formal schooling and different strengths across literacy and oral language skills?  

 The guest facilitator is Martha Bigelow.  Dr Bigelow teaches in the Second Languages and Cultures Program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. She has studied how English language learners (ages 16-28) with low print literacy make use of oral feedback, and has examined the strengths and challenges that older students with limited formal schooling and low literacy bring to oral language development in English. She has also studied the Somali and English literacy skills of young Somali women (ages 17-21) who are newcomers to the United States and have had limited formal schooling. 

In preparation:
If you would like to do a little pre-reading before the discussion, you can read a brief article on Dr. Bigelow's work with Somali women; it's on a Web page of the University of Minnesota at  
 
 
You can also read a brief synthesis of recent research and promising practices for working with adult English language learners; it's on the CAELA Network at
 
 
For more information, including a bio of Dr. Bigelow, see the full announcement at

http://www.nifl.gov/lincs/discussions/englishlanguage//09programs.html 

  
To sign up:
For those of you not already on the adult English language learners discussion list, here's the link to join:
http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/englishlanguage
Miriam Burt, Moderator, Adult English Language Learners discussion list
mburt@cal.org

6.  Where in the World Are You?

Click here (http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/opi/opiableww.htm) to find out WHO MT LINCS has captured now?  This person is in the center of everything! 

P.S.  Remember -- if you are having trouble with the links in this email, go to the Email Archives at the top of the MTLINCS homepage at http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/index.htm  .  Also if you no longer wish to receive this mailing, please let me know!  Thanks!

Norene Peterson
Adult Education Center
415 N. 30th
Billings, MT 59101

norenehp@bresnan.net