Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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1.  Montana ABLE January Regional Meetings:  Cohorts and Data


Participants at the first regional meeting on Cohorts and Data learned a lot of valuable information.  For those of you in the West, you have some great training ahead!


                    January 31

Missoula Dickinson Lifelong Learning Center

9:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.


Contact Carol Flynn for more information.


2.  Montana ABLE ShopTalk


Click here   to access ShopTalk Summary: 

·       January Conference 

·       MTLINCS Research

·       Teacher Effectiveness Committee

·       ESL Update

·       College and Career Readiness Subcommittee

·       National Training Institute for Teaching the New Assessment

·       High School Equivalency Update

·       MABLE Update

·       Standards in Action

·       Directors Meeting/TABE Training

·       Program Monitoring


3.  Research Snippet:  Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, National Academy of Sciences, 2012



The last piece of information cited from Improving Adult Literacy Instruction cited two of the major components of reading:  decoding and fluency.  In June 2007, Montana OPI provided a reading workshop by John Kruidenier, author of Research-based Principles for Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction, for Montana ABLE staff.  Several reading resources are still available on MTLINCS.  You may click on the items below to access resources for Decoding and Fluency or click here and scroll through the resources.


·        Fry Instant Word List

·        Phonograph Approach (phonemics and decoding strategy)

·        Three Drills


·        Chunking

·        Echo Reading

·        Neurological Impress

MTLINCS promised you more research this time about vocabulary and reading comprehension.  Hang on, Folks, there is a lot of interesting information below.  Read the research and think about the strategies you are using.  You just may be on the right track!




… for those who have acquired basic decoding skills, the aspect of lexical (word) processing that has the greatest impact on reading is vocabulary knowledge and, more specifically, the depth, breadth, and flexibility of knowledge about words (Beck and McKeown, 1986; Perfetti, 2007). Vocabulary also tends to grow with reading experience…


… For less skilled readers, explicit instruction, combined with discussion and elaboration activities that encourage using the words to be learned, can improve vocabulary and facilitate better reading comprehension (Curtis and Longo, 2001; Foorman et al., 2003; Klinger and Vaughn, 1999; Stahl and Fairbanks, 1986) …


The following are some suggested strategies for vocabulary instruction.


Beck and colleagues (Beck and McKeown 2007; McKeown and Beck, 1988) articulated principles for developing a teacher’s ability to deliver effective vocabulary instruction:


(a) introduce vocabulary through connected language (discussion, elaboration activities) instead of only dictionary definitions,


(b) provide multiple opportunities to interact with new words and word meanings in a variety of engaging contexts, and


(c) use activities that engage learners in deep and reflective processing of word meanings.


For those of you who are teaching the content areas of science and social studies, remember that vocabulary is a key.


For example, because academic texts (e.g., those in science or history) include specialized vocabulary that is not part of everyday spoken language (Beck, McKeown, and Kucan, 2002; Kamil et al., 2008), the teaching of content needs to be integrated with explicit teaching of words and phrases used in a discipline (Moje and Speyer, 2008).


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 53 - 54


Reading comprehension requires a blending of multiple tasks.  For the accomplished reader, these are automatic.


Reading Comprehension


Components and Processes


First, comprehension requires adequate and sustained attention.


Second, comprehension requires the reader to interpret and integrate information from various sources (the sentence being read, the prior sentence, prior text, background knowledge, and extraneous information) …


Third … readers must decide how hard to try and how long to persist in reading a text … A rich and complete understanding involves making inferences, retrieving prior knowledge, and connecting components of text that may not be contiguous on the page. It also requires attending to semantic connections given in the text. Two types of coherence relations—referential and causal—are central to many types of texts …


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 56 - 62


Key Findings from Research


·       First, different texts and challenges to comprehension require the use of different strategies.

·       less skilled readers often have limited knowledge of narrative or expository text structures and do not rely on structural differences in text to assist their reading (Meyer, Brandt, and Bluth, 1980; Rapp et al., 2007; Williams, 2006).

·       Strategy instruction depends heavily on opportunities to draw from existing knowledge and build new knowledge (Alexander and Judy, 1989; McKeown, Beck, and Blake, 2009; Moje and Speyer, 2008; Moje et al.,2010).

·       Strategy instruction seems most effective when it incorporates ample opportunities for practice.

·       Understanding of text improves if readers are asked to state reading goals, predictions, questions, and reactions to the material that is read (Kamil et al., 2008; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000a; Palincsar and Brown, 1984).



Key Strategies from Research


·       First, rich discussion about text may increase both literacy outcomes and understanding of content (Applebee et al., 2003).

·       Second, readers of a range of ages taught to read using texts and language practices valued in the disciplines show enhanced understanding of the content and ability to engage critically with the content (Bain, 2005, 2006; Palincsar and Magnusson, 2001).

·       Third, close study of the linguistic structures of textbooks and related texts appears to enhance students’ understanding of the content (e.g., Schleppegrell and Achugar, 2003; Schleppegrell, Achugar, and Oteíza, 2004).

·       Findings also suggest that the critical analysis of text, such as asking readers to consider the author’s purposes in writing the text; the historical, social, or other context in which the text was produced; and multiple ways of reading or making sense of the text may encourage deeper understanding of text (Bain, 2005; Greenleaf et al., 2001; Guthrie et al., 1999; Hand, Wallace, and Yang, 2004; McKeown and Beck, 1994; Palinscar and Magnusson, 2001; Paxton, 1997, Romance and Vitale, 1992).


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 56 - 62


Yes, reading comprehension requires many strategies and takes time and practice to improve.  However, research demonstrates that ABLE staff have a continual challenge:  retention.  This is not the retention of material but the retention of students!


The range of skill components to be practiced and the amount of practice required are substantial for the developing reader. At the same time, available evidence suggests that adult learners do not persist in formal programs for anywhere near the amount of time needed to accomplish all of the needed preskill training and reading practice (Miller, Esposito, and McCardle, 2011; Tamassia et al., 2007). Consequently, it is important to better understand how to motivate longer and deeper engagement with reading practice by adult learners.

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 62



What might be some way to address student retention and improve reading comprehension?


It is likely that selecting texts that are compatible with learning goals will result in more persistence at deep understanding.

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 62



What types of activities are you doing with your students to increase their vocabulary and reading comprehension?


Stay tuned:  Writing Research Coming!

National Information

4.  ESL:  ELL-U Book Groups Starting Now


Taken from LINCS Community:  Adult English Language Learners

The Working with Emergent Readers Club and Teaching Vocabulary Club will kick-off their new Book Groups today. Book Groups provide users with the opportunity to read and discuss materials with their peers online. Join the conversation led by an ELL-U faculty member, who will provide guiding questions for reflection and supervise spaces for discussion. Book groups convene every two weeks for online discussions on a reading selection from the book. Participants can join at any time!

Teaching Vocabulary Book Group Selection:

Vocabulary Myths: Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Teaching, by Keith Folse

This book group is moderated by Dr. Susan Finn Miller, and will begin on January 14, 2013 and will end on March 22, 2013. Participants will need to purchase this book. To join, click here!

Emergent Readers Book Group Selection:

Learning for LIFE: An ESL Literacy Handbook, by Bow Valley College in Calgary, Alberta (Canada)

This book group is moderated by Dr. Martha Bigelow and will begin on January 14, 2013 and will end on April 5, 2013. This book is available as a free PDF online. To join, click here!

5.  Professional Development Opportunities Via World Education

Taken from LINCS Community

Click here to access information about several professional development opportunities coming your way.

College Readiness for Adults: Beyond Academic Preparation!

The overall objective of this course is to assist educators, counselors, administrators and postsecondary partners to better prepare their students for postsecondary education. Together, we will identify, organize, and reflect on the broad array of readiness skills and abilities that adults need to be successful in postsecondary education and training. Then, each of us will consider how to change our practice to incorporate what we have learned. The course was developed and written by Cynthia Zafft, Principal Investigator for the National College Transition Network, World Education

Course Instructor: Jody Maloney

Principles of Diagnostic Assessment and Teaching in Adult Reading Instruction

This six-week course has three parts. The first part consists of readings, discussion boards, and self-quizzes on the components of reading and diagnostic assessment. The second and third parts use the case study approach to give participants the opportunity to practice scoring and interpreting adult learners' assessments in reading.

Course Instructor: John Strucker

Teaching Reasoning and Problem Solving Strategies

Numerate adults do more than calculate figures. They think about the relationships between mathematical concepts and real-life situations. They look for patterns, make predictions, and evaluate their conclusions. They can form problems, represent them, and solve them. They apply critical thinking skills. This course examines mathematical reasoning and problem solving strategies and provides numerous teaching strategies and activities that you can apply to your teaching right away.

Course instructor: Amy Vickers

6.  Reading:  Leveled Texts and Audio Versions of The Change Agent

Taken from LINCS Community:  Reading

Here is some exciting news!

… There is evidence that students who need to improve their reading fluency can benefit from actually reading texts aloud. But the level of the text must be right--challenging without being frustrating. To support this need, The Change Agent staff have determined the reading level of all the articles in their last five issues. (TCA is a semi-annual magazine with articles written by students on themes of interest to adult learners--e.g., financial literacy, the challenges of sticking to ed goals.) Students also benefit from hearing oral readings of texts, so the staff has produced audio versions of many of the leveled texts. Subscription costs are reasonable, ranging from packages of hardcopies and/or access to the Web-based print and audio versions (the latter only $15/year.) This resource came about because our STAR-trained teachers here in Massachusetts were running low on leveled texts of interest to adults. Here's the link:

Carey Reid, Staff Developer, SABES @ World Education, Inc.

7.  Technology:   Purposeful Professional Development

Taken from LINCS Community:  Evidence-based Professional Development

Researcher, teacher and teacher educator Erik Jacobson has written in Adult Basic Education in the Age of New Literacies (Vol. 42, Peter Lang Publishing, 2012. Page 79.) “When it comes to technology, this means that professional development should start with the kinds of questions a teacher wants to answer. Thus, rather than beginning with the latest technology, professional development efforts should start with the issues and problems teachers and learners are wrestling with. That is, teachers should identify a need and then look for a tool that would be a good fit. This stands in contrast to starting with the tool and then asking, ‘Now what can you do with this?’ “

David Rosen


What do you think?  Have you identified a need and then looked for the tool?


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 .  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