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(Most current posting listed first)

Click here to return to RIB homepage.

Click here to email questions or postings.

This discussion page is an evolving process.  Besides responses to the initial question, several questions/comments may be posted in relation to many of the professional development activities that have recently occurred for Montana ABLE.  The goal is to make this page more user friendly.  Therefore, you will see a chart (below) at the top of each of the main postings for the month.  All you need to do is click on the topic you would like to read more about.  Then just scroll up to read the postings in sequential order on that topic.  If you want to see discussions that have taken place in past months, just click here on Archives.

Reading Connections and Evaluation:  June

Content Standards ESL Evaluation Funding News Postings Numeracy


Discussion posted




Montana ABLE Funding Update

Billings Adult Education Graduation

GED Online


Focus on Basics

National Mathematics Panel Report


Montana ABLE Funding Update

During one of the Billings ABLE staff meetings, discussion was held about state funding.  An email was sent to Margaret Bowles which asked for clarification of the state and federal funding for Montana ABLE.  Click here to read the response about Montana ABLE Funding.


Content Standards Discussion Posted

Haven't had a chance to read the Special Topics Discussion on Content Standards?  Go to to read all of the postings.


ESL Website

If you and your students have Internet access, here's a website that has very short current news items:

Click a category in the left column.  Click the play button to hear the story while you read.

Donna Price
VESL/Tech Resource Instructor
San Diego Community College Continuing Education Program

Taken from English Language Discussion List


MT ABLE in the News

Montana ABLE programs have been in the news lately.  If there are any more articles about other programs, please forward that info on to MT LINCS.  Thanks!


GED Online

Click here for Billings Gazette article, "Program Expands Availability of GED". 

Adult Education Graduation

Click here for Billings Gazette article, "At Any Age They Are Graduates".

Click here for video of Billings Adult Education Graduation Faculty Award Winner, Leslie Baldwin.



Don't forget the final National Mathematics Advisory Panel final report is available at I would encourage every ABLE program to visit the site to order a copy of the report. As with the National Reading Panel Report,  recommendations in this report will undoubtedly impact instruction in adult education. 

Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Specialist at OPI


Numeracy - Focus on Basics

The new issue of "Focus on Basics" (Volume 9, Issue A) is now available at .  Published by World Education, the theme is Numeracy.

Articles include:

  • using part-whole thinking in math
  • the importance of numeracy in adult basic education
  • designing instruction that addresses all of the components of numeracy
  • techniques for introducing new types of activities into the math classroom
  • the cultural aspects of mathematics
  • teaching algebraic thinking in lower level mathematics classes
  • TIAN: a professional learning model for ABE math teachers

Kaye Beall, Project Director, World Education


Content Standards Discussion

Beginning on Monday, June 9th, and continuing through Friday, June 20th, on the National Institute for Literacy Special Topics list, we will discuss the implementation of state adult education content standards. Experts from several states have been invited to talk about the opportunities and challenges they have experienced as they work with teachers, administrators and others who are developing curriculum, and designing and teaching lessons that reflect their state's content standards. Our guests include: Miriam Kroeger, from Arizona; Raye Nell Spillman, from Louisiana; Karen Lisch Gianninoto, from Maryland; Judy Franks, from Ohio; Pam Blundel, from Oklahoma; Philip Anderson, from Florida; and Federico Salas, from Texas.
I hope you will join us for this discussion. You will find background information on several of our guest experts below.
To subscribe to the discussion, go to: 
You can unsubscribe later by going to the same web page or, if you prefer, you can stay subscribed for the next discussion.
Background on Discussion Guests
Pam Blundell has been involved in Oklahoma's development and implementation of content standards since 2002-2003 when the state held its first discussions around the possibility of introducing the Equipped for the Future (EFF) teaching and learning system to the field. Pam was given the task of overseeing the state's first EFF pilot project in 2003-2004. During the EFF pilot year, the state decided to expand the EFF training and officially adopt EFF content standards statewide. At that time, Pam was asked to coordinate this long-term process. Pam has continued to be directly involved in the implementation and oversight of the integration of content standards into the adult education classroom. This process has involved the development of new tools and training processes and most recently, leading the state's Standards-In-Action (SIA) team. Prior to coming to the state, Pam worked as an adult education teacher integrating EFF standards into instruction.
Judy Franks is currently on staff at the Ohio Literacy Resource Center as a Literacy Projects Coordinator. She was involved originally with the Equipped for the Future (EFF) Standards-based System Reform Initiative, coordinating the Ohio Research Field Sites and training as a Certified State Facilitator. Judy has had experience developing and working with the standards at the program, state, and national levels. As a veteran instructor of training and development courses, Judy's background in adult basic education since 1992 includes family literacy, GED classroom instruction and the development of a workforce training program.
Karen Lisch Gianninoto's involvement with the Maryland Content Standards for Adults ESL/ESOL began when she was working part-time as an ESL instructor. She "was one of the teachers complaining from the field that we needed standards". As a full time high school teacher, she knew how helpful standards were in guiding instruction. Not long after, she was appointed to the ESL Workgroup that developed the content standards document.
Four years ago, she became the ESL Specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education. When she took the position, she was "grateful the content standards were finished. Little did I know that my work was just beginning. Over the past four years, the content standards have been revised three times, the ESL content standards have been implemented in all of Maryland's programs, state trainers have completed a training process, and a training manual was completed. Yet, there is more to learn about standards. Maryland has been most fortunate to participate in the CAELA and SIA Projects funded through OVAE. These projects have helped Maryland refine our training and provided instructors with the tools to understand content standards."
Miriam Kroeger has been involved in Adult Education as a volunteer, teacher, coordinator, administrator and specialist since 1972 and in Arizona since 1978. She has taught adult English learners and adults studying for their secondary school credential at a variety of locations including elementary and secondary schools, community colleges, jails, and prisons; she works with K-12 and adult educators, and has visited teachers throughout the state of Arizona. Miriam has served on state, regional and national committees; on the boards of the Arizona Association for Lifelong Learning, the Mountain Plains Adult Education Association and Arizona Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. She has been on national working groups involved with adult education standards and teacher development and was an original team member in the development and implementation of Arizona's Standards for Adult Learners. She was also a member of the Standards Specialist/Resource Teachers team that assisted programs and instructors in the implementation of the standards. As an Education Program Specialist in the Arizona Department of Education, Adult Education Services unit during the past six years, one of her responsibilities was to spearhead the revisions to the Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies and ELAA (ESOL) Arizona Adult Education Standards. These revisions were published in December 2007, and the training process in understanding and utilizing the standards continues.
Raye Nell D. Spillman has worked in the Louisiana State Department of Education, Office of School and Community Support, Adult and Family Literacy Services for four years. Ms. Spillman holds an undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in the field of education. She has taught in the K-12 public education system and served on numerous committees to advance the education of children and adults. After the approval and adoption of The Louisiana Adult Education Content Standards in October 2006, Ms. Spillman was instrumental in introducing the standards to adult education instructors across the state in collaboration with the Louisiana Association for Public, Community and Adult Education. The following summer, Louisiana applied for and was one of six states accepted to participate in OVAE's Standards-in-Action (SIA) project. Ms. Spillman headed the Louisiana team who accepted their charge to pilot test training materials for implementing adult education standards use in the classroom. Again this year, Ms. Spillman and the Louisiana team are looking forward to participating in Part 2 of the Standards-in-Action project. 

David J. Rosen

National Institute for Literacy
Special Topics Discussion Moderator


Evaluation Response #1

I utilize MT Lincs and NW Lincs whenever I need to give a student a website for skill development.  I know I can trust the content and appreciate the organization.  As a teacher, I would be lost without the help I've received for ESL and reading from this site lately.  Thank you!
My only criticism is that sometimes I get overwhelmed by everything that's out there and how little time I have to deal with it.  Thanks for making it easier by sifting through it all!


Melinda Lynnes
MCC Center for Academic Success


Reading Connections:  May

Conferences Content Areas Content Standards Data ESL NIFL Update Technology and Reading Workplace Connections



MPAEA 2009

Biology website

Nevada Connections

Oregon Content-based Lessons

Reading Connection to Content Materials

Writing Team

Counting Dropouts

MT LINCS Statistics Comparison of 10/07 to 4/08

Discussion List

Highlights from list


Brain and Learning to Read Depends on Language


Catalyst: NIFL newsletter

Reading and Using Technology

Reading in the Workplace


NIFL Newsletter:  Catalyst

Catalyst, the Institute's first newsletter in more than a decade, is here!  The inaugural issue is packed with news and information about the Institute's programs, people, publications, and services. Take a look:


Content Standards for Montana ABLE

Information about applying to be a part of the Montana ABLE Content Standards writing team has now been posted on MT LINCS.

Click here for more information.


How the Brain Learns to Read Can Depend on the Language

A colleague of mine sent me the following link to an interesting article from the online Wall Street Journal dated May 2, 2008. 

Rochelle Kenyon, Moderator of NIFL Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Click here for the article.


MPAEA 2009

The Mountain Plains Adult Education Association Conference will be held March 1-4, 2009 in Las Vegas, NV.  Please submit your sectional ideas as soon as possible to assist the planning committee and plan to visit Las Vegas next spring!!! 

Start saving your pennies and let’s have a great conference in Las Vegas next spring!!!  I can’t wait to see you all there!!

Suzette Fox, MAACE Board Chair

Click here for access to the Call for Presenters form.


Highlights from ELL Discussion (access for complete discussion below under 5/16)

#1  Thoughts from Heidi Spruck Wrigley, Facilitator for ELL Discussion from       5/12 to 5/18

... I wanted to start us off with the two or three things we know for sure from research in reading (though not necessarily from research with adult English language learners – we don’t yet have research that speaks directly to this population).

Heidi Spruck Wrigley 

  1. You learn to read just once (this is also known as “breaking the code”; once you have developed phonemic awareness in one language and you know to decode one language), you don’t need to start all over with developing phonemic awareness in another language – you just need to absorb the rules of the new system – that is, you must learn how English works, not how literacy works.
  1. Knowledge from the first language transfers to knowledge about the second language but transfer is not automatic. You may need to draw your students attention to certain common features of the language.
  1. We make sense of the world by connecting prior knowledge with new knowledge.  We gain meaning from print the same way. So if your knowledge of the world does not match the knowledge of the world that the writer assumes, the text is likely to be confusing to you even if your reading skills are ok.
  1. Reading is an interactive process between the reader, the text, and the writer.  The situation in which you read and write and your purposes for doing so play a role as well (think about opening a letter from the INS – now USCIS or a note from your ex-spouse).
  1. When we read, we activate two types of knowledge – what we know about meaning making (top down processes) and what we know about language (bottom-up processes).  It’s important to keep in mind that the purpose of reading is comprehension.
  1. Although control over bottom-up processes is important for learning to read, it does not follow that new readers must have mastered all sub skills before they can focus on comprehension. Using sub skills effectively enhances comprehension, but control over sub skills does not automatically lead to comprehension.
  1. Language proficiency and reading comprehension are closely related. One way of increasing the reading skills of literate learners is to build language skills.  One way of building students comprehension of (pre) academic texts, is to present such information orally (mini-presentations) and visually (through PowerPoints or video clips) so you can build understanding of concepts without your students getting mired in print.
  1. Vocabulary knowledge is one of the key determinants of reading comprehension. Increases in vocabulary means increases in background knowledge and in reading comprehension, the same as in everything else, the more you know – the more you know


Seven Habits of Successful Readers by Heidi Spruck Wrigley

Click here to access the list.


Reading Time

While the jury may still be out on the benefits of Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), there is a good NCSALL study on using SSR with adult ESL adult learners that shows that “free reading” fared no worse than other reading instructional strategies in terms of student performance on standardized tests.  This may not sound like a ringing endorsement of SSR, but it certainly suggests that it does no harm in comparison to other approaches.  What you are doing in your class seems to fall right in line with this research.  I could also see the benefits of using “free reading” time in a multilevel class where the teacher could assign reading to intermediate and advanced students, while addressing the speaking and listening skills of beginning literacy students.    As I recall, the benefits applied to lower-level ESL students as well.  The bottom line:  read on!

Eduardo Honold, Far West Project GREAT Coordinator, El Paso, TX 79927,


Literacy Problems in Native Language

Here’s another free resource for ESL literacy, now posted on the CAELA site. It’s a copy of a handbook that I wrote as a result of a federally funded study on Promising Practices in Adult ESL Literacy (a national demonstration project) – (Gloria Guth was project director)  I tried to highlight connections between theory and practice along with promising practices from 7 programs that popped up as having classes that focused on adults who struggled with literacy both in the native language and in the second language (English) and employed instructional strategies that reflected what we know about language and literacy learning.

The book includes a chapter on Native Language Literacy and on Assessment and several lesson plans developed by teachers in these programs. 

For those of you who need some practical information right away, check out Tips for ESL Literacy Teachers in chapter 2.  Here is the link  



ESL Discussion on NIFL's Adult English Language Learners Discussion List

A great discussion began on 5/12 on the above discussion list.  Although its main focus has been adults learning English as a second language, much information has been covered .

Go to to access the archives.


MT LINCS RIB Statistics

Interested in just how MT LINCS RIB has evolved?  Click here to look at a comparison of 10/07 to 4/08.


Content-based Lessons from Oregon

Adult Ed Teachers at Sea in Oregon

Adult education teachers are participating in research missions with ocean scientists to develop real life, content-based lessons in reading, writing, math and science, thanks to professional development activities supported by the Oregon System of Adult Education and Workforce Development.  Teachers create or adapt curricula linking ocean sciences, math, technology, critical thinking and communication skills, and disseminate lessons to Oregon’s adult education providers.  Lessons engage adult education students in learning about Oregon’s employment, environmental and economic concerns.  The program also matches ocean scientists with local adult education classrooms through site visits.

Taken from OVAE Notes, 5/8/08


MAACE Summer Conference Cancelled

May 9, 2008


Dear MAACE Members and MAACE Supporters:


The MAACE Board has decided to cancel the 2008 MAACE Conference in Polson, Montana, June 25-27, 2008.  With approximately 30 people attending, the conference would not serve our members effectively and would lose money. The Board felt MAACE funds will be used more effectively by sponsoring advocacy for adult education in Montana at the local, state, and federal levels.   Thanks to those who already registered.  We will be returning registration fees to you as soon as possible.  Please send Steve McCoy a hearty thanks for all of his work and the work of his staff to plan and put together this spectacular event for us.  By pulling together, we will all heal from this disappointment. 


Thanks to those who submitted proposals to present as well.  We appreciate your willingness to share your expertise with your colleagues in the field.  Please re-submit your ideas at a later conference, possibly for the MEA-MFT Educators Conference in Missoula this fall.  We also want to thank Margaret Bowles for securing a contract with our keynote speaker and for being willing to support us in this training endeavor.  A huge thank you goes out to Norene Peterson who has graciously posted our announcements, updated, and maintained our presence on Montana LINCS as well.  Please acknowledge Norene’s diligence and hard work when you get a chance. 


Since the Board felt MAACE funds would be put to better use by sponsoring advocacy for adult education, we will be developing a strategic plan for advocacy at all levels this summer.  We invite you to serve with us and share your expertise in this matter.  We may be surveying the membership for ideas and inspiration to help us build the best plan for our organization and our state.  Please assist us with this project and we will present the results at our Annual Business Meeting, Awards Banquet, and Installation of New Board Members held in conjunction with the Data Quality Institute September 16 &17, 2008, in Helena. 


Thank you, Margaret, for suggesting that we hold our meeting in conjunction with the Data Quality Institute in September.  We are planning to hold our annual business meeting the evening of September 16 in Helena.  Stay tuned for time and place.  We also hope to arrange a fun evening for socializing and networking with colleagues across the state.  The MAACE Board feels this is imperative to the health and welfare of our organization.  Please mark your calendar and plan to attend the Data Quality Institute and the MAACE Business Meeting/Dinner Function September 16!


As always, you may contact me or any member of the MAACE Board with ideas, enthusiasm, questions, or concerns.  We always look forward to discussing adult education with our colleagues. 



Your MAACE Board: 

Suzette Fox (, Jack Eggensperger (, Darrel Hannum (, Steve McCoy (, Yvonne Hauwiller (, and Jean Lemire Dahlman (


Response to Counting Dropouts

For determining Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the Montana graduation formula has always counted the GED recipients as dropouts. However, OPI also employed a completer formula that included all students receiving a high school diploma and a GED. The completer formula was not the formula used for AYP purposes, but was for a variety of reporting purposes. In the fall of 2007, the Office of Public Instruction sent a notice to all school districts to clarify the definition of a high school graduate, reminding them that according to our state definition of a high school graduate, there are no other high school completers.  If a student doesn't graduate with a regular diploma, they are a dropout.

Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Specialist at Office of Public Instruction


Counting Dropouts and Graduates:  Still More People Left Behind


Under a new federal effort to standardize how high school graduation 
rates are calculated nationwide, students who leave school and later 
graduate from adult education programs will still be considered 
dropouts. "In an effort to get a true picture of the nation's high 
school dropout crisis, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings 
announced last week that she will require all states to use a single 
federal formula to calculate graduation and dropout rates, forcing 
some states to completely revamp their data processing systems. 
Spellings did not release the specific formula she will require but 
referenced the National Governors Association's graduation rate as a 

Would such a regulation affect funding for adult education in your 
state? Would it affect how people view the GED or an adult diploma 
awarded by a public high school?

This would increase the national dropout rate, reported recently in 
the America's Promise Alliance study as 30% on average, 50%  in 
cities. If GED and adult diploma holders are counted as dropouts that 
would increase the dropout rate more.

Several years of  "No Child Left Behind"  appear to be leaving many 
more people behind.

Short form of Web Address:

David J. Rosen
Adult Literacy Advocate


Nevada Adult Ed Newsletter Ideas


I gleaned the following web sites from the Nevada Adult Ed newsletter.  Thought maybe you would find them interesting. – Take the TPI and summarize your teaching perspectives. – Doing What Works for education.  The literacy part of this site has not been developed yet!

Suzette Fox, Adult Basic Literacy Education Computer and Business Instructor, Billings


MPAEA Thought

Inclusion of all academic experiences beyond secondary as post secondary  is a paradigm shift for adult education. This is going to require professional dialogue and reflection on instructional delivery, curriculum, and student transition. Montana ABLE is up to the challenge!

Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Specialist at Office of Public Instruction


ESL Website on Body Parts

Oops!  Kathy Jackson of Billings sent this website a month ago!  Sorry for not posting this sooner!

They advertised this site as a good esl learning activity.

Shortcut to:

Ferlazzo's Best ESL Websites

Go to

Ferlazzo's Best Civic Participation and Citizenship Websites

Go to


Reading and Using Technology

On the Learning Disabilities discussion list this past week there has been a fascinating discussion initiated by Glenn Young. He has proposed that it is time to focus on helping adults with learning disabilities learn to read using technology. By this he means having computers and hand-held devices read text out loud, with new readers focusing on their getting meaning, not on learning how to decode text. The archives of this discussion will be found at 
David Rosen

Taken from NIFL Assessment Discussion List


Biology Interactive Websites

The research department at Children's Hospital Boston has developed a series of web-based Flash tutorials to present complex medical and biological concepts in an interactive, user-friendly format. These free science "interactives" are useful for students and educators ...

eSchool News

Click here for more information.


Reading Connections to Content Materials

Many years ago, I worked with a high school student who had a significant learning disability in reading (I was actually tutoring him in math). After many unsuccessful interventions, his parents resorted to reading his homework aloud to him. The result was that rather than receiving Ds and Fs in such subjects as history and English, he was able to maintain a C average.

ABE Professional Development Coordinator
State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, Washington

Taken from NIFL Assessment Discussion List


Reading in the Workplace

In thinking about the dialogue we had about the reading levels required for WorkKeys, our discussion, after further research, this might be a good discussion topic for Montana RIB Update.

Woody Jensen, Director                                                                            Billings Adult Education Center


MAACE Professional Opportunities

Summer Conference at Polson

Margaret Bowles has informed us that Lt. Governor Bohlinger has expressed a strong interest in providing the keynote address at our summer conference in Polson in June!!!
This is a perfect opportunity for us to advocate for Adult Education and to demonstrate to the Governor's Office that we are successfully serving adult learners and are an economic anchor in our communities as we help adults complete their GED and assist them in preparing to enter post-secondary training.  However, in order to do this, we need a strong showing at the conference in June.  We need everyone who possibly can to attend this conference, build a network of professional relationships with others in the state, and share best practices while demonstrating our passion for and commitment to our profession. 
PLEASE email Suzette at right now to let her know if you are coming to Polson in June.  We need to know who will be represented and how many of you plan to attend.  
PLEASE call a friend or colleague serving in adult education right now and encourage them to ride with you and/or room with you.  Have them email Suzette as well!
Join your fellow Adult Educators in Polson in June for our annual MAACE conference and training!  We'll see you there!!
Don't forget to email Suzette!!!

Suzette Fox, Billings Adult Education Center


The annual MEA-MFT Educator's conference will be held in Missoula October 16 & 17, 2008. 
MAACE will once again maintain a presence for professional educators who wish to attend this conference and MEA-MFT has agreed to allow our members to register as members for this conference. 
We will once again share a hospitality room and resources with the Math group.  Rose Steiner and Kathie Daviau have once again been instrumental in scheduling sectionals and setting up this opportunity for MAACE.  Thank you Kathie and Rose!!!
Each presenter for the MEA-MFT conference in October is paid $30.00 and we need sectionals to help defray the cost of our presence.  If you will be attending the MEA-MFT Educator's Conference in Missoula in October, a presenter's stipend would help with gas money!!  Please sign up to share your best practices with other educators by clicking on the following link and signing up for one or more sectionals THIS WEEK!!!

Suzette Fox, Billings Adult Education Center


MPAEA Thoughts


Congrats to the MPAEA Board (Montana Board members Suzette Fox and Jake Gustin plus Detlef Johl, MPAEA treasurer) and Utah for providing an excellent MPAEA conference.

Special congratulations to Detlef Johl for receiving the MPAEA Award of Excellence for Montana!


ABE Moves to Higher Ed
Troy Justesen, Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education at the Department of Education, reminded MPAEA participants that there has been a "paradigm shift" and that in federal policy, Adult Education is now higher education.  Yes, the GED is now considered post-secondary!  He said that this was partly done so that ABE would have more a feeling of self-worth and inclusion. 
Open-entry Versus Fixed Entry Develops Community 
Robyn Rennick, President of National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs (NAASLN), reminded participants that open-entry programs may want to consider changing to fixed entry points so that students can develop a sense of community and feel less isolated.  She encouraged adult ed professionals to ask the following question: 
How is the setup, activity, and my behavior providing an environment of success and community?


Reading Connections:  April

Activities Immigration Material Request Research Visual/Auditory Learning Websites

Activities in Great Falls

Understanding Purpose


Civics and Citizen Toolkit

Material List from Missoula ABE Program

More Book Lists:  Picture Books



Story Structure

The Joy of Reading




Ferlazzo's Best Websites

  • Math

  • Science

  • Social Studies

  • Vocabulary

The Hidden World of Dyslexia



Civics and Citizenship Toolkit

Greetings!  Just got back from MPAEA where I attended a sectional by Barbara Melton of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Have you received your free toolkit? 

"The collection comprises immigration and civics publications, handbooks, multimedia tools, and a quick start guide with ideas for use."  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Go to to register your school for the kit.

You might also want to check out

NP =)

4/22/08 Website

I had heard of the freerice site for vocabulary before, but totally forgot about it.  It's great for our college prep students! (

P.S.  I couldn't stop myself once I logged onto it until I reached 2000 grains!

Melinda Lynnes
MCC Center for Academic Success


Auditory - Sound Learning

Looking for ways to ensure your students are doing quality research from credible sources?

Sound Learning is a launching point to Minnesota Public Radio's content on the Web. This site is designed exclusively for teachers to access timely text and audio clips for use in the classroom. It's your entry into the quality and reliability you have come to expect from MPR.

An integral part of this site are the instructional strategies in English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Music, and Family and Consumer Science. Browse these subject areas for tips and techniques for bringing MPR into your classroom. You're welcome to download and reproduce the ideas that fit the needs of your students.

Taken from MPR website

Click here to access Literacy and Sound Learning:  Strategies for Thoughtful Learning


Digital Video

Visual Learning:  How the Rise of Digital Video is Transforming Education

Taken from eSchool News

“The curriculum is the key—not the media. We’ve fallen into this trap of considering that the use of technology is going to be an automatic silver bullet that’s going to make kids learn more, be more motivated.  But we forget that it’s not the technology, not the media. It’s the content, and it’s the way those media are used. In other words, it’s the pedagogy, it’s the message, it’s the design—it’s the approach—that is the critical element.”

—Michael Simonson, Professor, Instructional Technology and Distance Education, Nova Southeastern University

Click here to go to the article on eSchoolNews.  Then go to p. 25.


Visual Resource III - Hotchalk

NBC News offers teachers access to video archives online

… teachers have free online access to a video vault featuring more than 60 years of historic news and information, thanks to a partnership between NBC News and HotChalk, an online learning management system for K-12 education. To provide primary-source multimedia content that far exceeds what is available in traditional textbooks, NBC News has made available more than 5,000 video resources that can be used to supplement instruction in a wide range of courses. History students can watch the civil-rights movement as it happened and view interviews with key players; science students can see recreated footage of the Ice Age or watch today’s arctic shelves disintegrate into the ocean; and government classes can have access to the latest news on immigration, the presidential race, or international relations …

Taken from eSchool News


Visual Resource II - Graphic Organizers

... Teaching story structure using graphic “maps” is one of the research-supported comprehension strategies (in the Report of the National Reading Panel). Graphic organizers (in general) are also one of the categories of research-based comprehension strategies. You might create a map to make the structure/organization of expository text more “visible.”

Susan McShane (as posted on NIFL's Family Literacy Discussion List)

Here are a couple of websites with  free graphic organizers.




Visual Resource I - Another Adaptation

Google Earth Lessons

"Google Earth Lessons" is a free public resource created by teachers, for teachers, to give educators tools and ideas for using the free Google Earth software in their classrooms. Using the ideas and resources found on this site, teachers of all subjects and grade levels can incorporate Google Earth into their curriculum.

eSchool News

Click here for free lesson plans:  cross-curricular, social studies, math, science, and language arts.


Visual, Auditory, and Blending:  The Three Drills

My experience as a certified O-G tutor and trainer from the Michigan Dyslexia Institute (1990) is that persons with reading difficulties who are able to learn the sound/symbol correspondences have the biggest problem with blending them together.  For those with
dyslexia, that is often where the language processing and decoding breaks down.

The Three Drills (visual, auditory, and blending), have worked well for me in addressing both these areas.  They need to be used at every lesson, adding new phonemes/phonograms to the drills as they are introduced to the student. I have the instructions for doing these drills if anyone is interested.

Betsy S. Gauss 
(as posted on NIFL's Learning Disabilities Discussion List)
Lake Wales Literacy Council Tutor Trainer
Lake Wales, FL 33853

Click here to access a copy of the Three Drills activity.


Story Structure/Story Grammar

I think story grammar is often used to refer to narrative story structure—those elements a reader can expect to find in a story. Narrative story structure would include many types of stories, i.e., fiction, fairy tales, mysteries, plays, and real life adventures.

The following explanation of story grammar comes from an ERIC Digest article, “Strategic Processing of Text: Improving Reading Comprehension of Students with Learning Disabilities,” by Joanna P. Williams.

“Probably the most effective of strategies has been teaching story grammar to use as an organizational guide when reading. Story grammar refers to the principal components of a story: main character, action, and outcome. This technique has been applied by using story maps and by asking generic questions based on story grammar. It has also been used to move beyond the plot level of stories to teach students with disabilities to identify story themes, a more abstract comprehension level than is typically taught to students with learning disabilities.” 

You can access the article at

Expository structure has to do more with informational texts, such as content area material, i.e., science and social studies. It would involve how the text is organized to help readers identify key ideas and make connections between ideas. This is where using skills, such as reading headings and subheadings, reading graphic information, and understanding sequence, comparing and contrasting and classification would come in handy.

The idea is that understanding the structure of stories or expository text increases comprehension ...

Gail J. Price,Multimedia Specialist, National Center for Family Literacy

National Center for Family Literacy


Inside the Hidden World of Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder

Click here to check out this incredible video!  Many of these students attend Montana ABLE programs.


Activities in Great Falls

This year Jackie is using the local newspaper to a greater extent.  She cuts out the political cartoon and we (individually or in group) discuss it.  She uses the cartoon strips to show real life vocabulary connections. She also uses the paper  to get graphs that are printed and incorporates  vocabulary from suggested articles. There has been a great deal of reading and discussion connected to the elections.

Science and social text, as well as fiction and nonfiction, are used.

Steve has used math vocabulary to embellish fun math games we have done in our group, as well as reading strategies for math story problems.

For recreational reading ideas, we occasionally will take a portion from a book and read it in the group activity time.  We welcome others to discuss some of the things they have enjoyed reading. We hope to get the students interested in some of the books. We also keep an abundance of different kinds of magazines on hand for students to read.

In English, students read short stories and then summarize the key concepts or rewrite portions of the story line. Unfamiliar vocabulary in the GED book is identified in order to define.

Vicki Mattingly, Great Falls


Understanding Purpose Activity

I was wondering how I can access the paragraph that goes with the purpose for reading (activity in 4/6 email) or is it copyrighted?

Mellinda Lynnes, Miles City

Response to Understanding Purpose Activity

Melissa, thanks for the great question!  In the 4/6 RIB email, the following information about an activity was given:

Worksheet:  Understanding Purpose crosses over into all content areas.  Click here to download an idea taken from Cris Tovani's book, I Read It But I Don't Get It.

The technique refers to a paragraph and asks a reader to circle what he/she thinks is important.  Then the reader is asked to reread and identify what may be important to a robber.  And finally the reader is asked to reread and identify what is important to a home buyer.  The point is to show the reader that he/she probably had more trouble the first time - without the purpose for reading being expressed.

Actually, any paragraph will work, but you will need to adjust the reader, i.e. robber and home buyer, to make sense with the paragraph. 

For example, I have used an article, "Woman Surrenders Alligator", from the Billings Gazette at

Then I did the following:

  • Read the article.

  • Circle what you think is important.

  • With another color, circle what you think might be important for a law officer to know.

  • With yet another color, circle what you think might be important for someone from the SPCA to know.

If someone has other ideas, please send them on!  NP =)


Ferlazzo's Recommendations for Best Websites

The following information was taken from Larry Ferlazzo's posts on NIFL's Technology Discussion List.


The Joy of Reading

Roger Sutton of Read Roger talks about the reward of reading.  Do Montana ABLE students ever feel this reward? 

Young readers are put in this position all the time, meeting words, sentence structures, and extra-textual references for the first time. It's salutary for those of us concerned with their reading to put ourselves in their shoes, a circumstance more likely to occur for us in reading books for adults. Hard books, the definition of which being completely self-determined. When we hit a patch of French in a novel, we--at least those of us not educated to the standard Eliot expected of her readers--can look it up or shine it on, but either way we're challenged by a text that doesn't give itself up easily. That choice comes more easily to the veteran reader than to the neophyte who's still underlining each word with a finger. Learning how to skip is just as important to reading as learning how to persevere.

But reading difficult books is not just a reminder of how hard it is to learn to read. The sentences in Middemarch are often enormous but also enormously dense--Eliot uses an awful lot of words but few seem extraneous. You really have to pay attention, especially with the audiobook--let your mind stray for a few seconds and you're lost.
But the reward of such required concentration is absorption, a rare and welcome state in a clamoring world.

By Roger Sutton of Read Roger at


Book Titles for Adult Literacy - Picture Books

Just saw another resource for book lists!  This one provides some great titles of picture books.  NP =)

Literacy Connections provides a wealth of information on reading, teaching and tutoring techniques, ESL literacy, and adult literacy. We recommend resources that are useful for teachers, volunteers, and directors of literacy programs. Topics include the language experience approach, phonics, word study, and the best in children's literature.

Click here to connect to Literacy Connections.


Material List

Here is our list of materials for Language Arts ...  I am willing to share materials which I have made up. 

Cathy Smyers, Missoula

Click here for the list of materials.


Reading Comprehension:  March

Material Request Content Areas Research Strategies/Worksheets Websites

Call for Book Titles

Response to Request


Reading for a Purpose

Math and Comprehension


Research Articles

  • How Should We Teach Comprehension

  • How Should Adult ESL Reading Instruction Differ from ABE Reading Instruction

What Does It Feel Like to Have a Reading Problem

Reading Comprehension Strategies


Reading Comprehension Websites I

  • Adolescent Literacy (Grades 4-12)

  • Awesome Stories

  • Nonfiction Passages

Reading Comprehension Websites II

  • Skillswise

  • Thinkfinity


Response to Book Title Request

OMG!  As I began thinking about Cathy Smyers’ request regarding book titles, I once again realized that sometimes I get so caught up with teaching skills that I forget my long-range goal of getting people to enjoy reading.  So I started looking for some booklists that others have recommended.  Of course, that led me on a great trip all over the net.  Was it fruitless?  Never!  I was reminded about some other resources out there that I need to share with all of you.  I have listed those resources first and then provided some links for book titles.  This is so exciting!  NP =)

Reading websites 

Skillswise by BBC

The UK always has some great resources that we can use.  One of the exceptional ones is the BBC site Skillswise at . You can have a student access this site for instruction in the following areas:

  • Fact and Opinion

  • Types of Text

  • Scanning

  • Summarizing (Summarising)

  • Your Stories

  • Skimming

That is not the only thing!  You can also access the homepage at for many other lessons in grammar, spelling, listening, writing, vocabulary, and math!  Check it out!

Thinkfinity by the Verizon Foundation

As I was looking on the NIFL website, I was reminded about .  I had not been there for a while and found the website to provide some great instructional tools for students on Recognizing Supporting Details and Recognizing the Main Idea.  What’s really great is that it is auditory!

Check them out:

You can find many more skills by going to the homepage at and keying in reading (or whatever you want) in the Search!!!

If you find other resources, please share them with your colleagues at MT LINCS.


Emergent readers I

Emergent readers II

General readers

 American Library Association:  ALA

The Notable Books Council of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has compiled its year 2008 list of outstanding books for the general reader. These titles have been selected for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge and for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. This is "The List for America's Readers:"

Young adult readers

YALSA, the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association, named the recipients of the 2008 Alex Awards, ten adult books with specific teen appeal. The awards, sponsored by Booklist, were announced at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, January 11-16.


Pre/During/Post Reading Strategies

Click here to check out the Resource page for some new strategies.


Reading for a Purpose

Many of the students who enroll in adult education classes have difficulty reading, for one reason or another. When you are struggling to read a piece of text, especially text that is part of a test, it is hard to find it enjoyable. The intention in reading test text is not necessarily to learn something that has value to you (or is particularly interesting to you), but to gain enough information to answer questions successfully.

Learners may not think about the various purposes for reading. Their purposes for reading for enjoyment and reading the text on a test are different. Tests are designed to assess certain areas, such as silent reading comprehension, and are constructed to assess certain skills. Presenting graphic information, consumer materials, and reference materials to assess student’s abilities to read and understand these materials probably doesn’t result in the presentation of “interesting” passages. Reading an isolated portion of a play or two stanzas from a multi-stanza poem to answer a question about character traits may leave much lacking in the enjoyment of the play or the poem.

That test passages are seen as boring also might have to do with the background knowledge learners bring to the task. If students cannot relate what they are reading to anything in their experience—when a piece of text has no relevance to students’ lives and experiences—they might very well consider it boring.

Students’ comments about test passages may reflect the importance of building reading skills and teaching background knowledge and comprehension monitoring strategies (i.e., question answering (which includes analyzing questions) and question generating). Introducing reading passages that relate to students’ lives and interests can help build an interest in reading. Introducing test taking strategies might increase interest in different kinds of test passages (and reduce nervousness at test time). Asking students to create their own assessment of a specific reading skill based on a text passage may give them an appreciation for the construction of a test ...

Gail J. Price,Multimedia Specialist

National Center for Family Literacy


Low-level Reading Comprehension Material

I see this is a discussion list to promote the exchange of ideas, resources, and experience regarding literacy, and would like to share that a new independent reading (fiction) series is now out for struggling, emergent and ESL older adolescent and adult readers. These books are for adults and older adolescents, yet are written on a first-grade reading level. The Lexile level is below 200, yet these books are not babyish, boring or condescending … You can find the new adult series entitled JUNKYARD DAN at  .

Taken from AAACE-NLA Discussion List 


Reading Comprehension Websites

Adolescent Literacy (Grades 4-12):

WETA, Washington, DC, the third largest producing station for PBS, has launched, a new site for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12. is a source for adolescent literacy material for parents, practitioners, and all people who want students to be better readers and writers. The site includes articles, information for the classroom, tips for parents, book recommendations, author interviews, a blog, and a free monthly e-newsletter called Word Up! The site includes a section on English language learners and a section en Español.

Taken from NIFL's Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Awesome Stories

Go to

Nonfiction Passages (Taken from NIFL Technology Discussion List)

At the Takoma Park Maryland Library … there are many immigrant
families who desperately want to learn English.  i've been taking some donated computers to some of these families, but a computer on its own doesn't do much good.

I've assembled some children's stories and nonfiction reading passages
(that I wrote) that these families can read. On my macintosh computer I created some Quicktime files of a robotic voice reading these writings aloud -- with each sentence highlighted as its being read. The robotic voice is fairly high quality. It sounds close to a human voice.

You can see a sample quicktime here

and download the entire archive as a zip file from the internet archive
at   (The entire archive is about 140 megabytes and expands to about 350 megabytes.)

These quicktime files are creative commons files that may freely be
distributed on CD-ROM, Flash drives, etc.

Phil Shapiro, public geek, Takoma Park Maryland Library


Teaching Comprehension in Math

The question of should we teach comprehension affects math instructors also.  When teaching how to solve word problems, we ideally base instruction on situational story problems. 

The success rate with problems presented in familiar situations: at work, 98.2%, in context, 73.7%, and without context, 36.8% (Schliemann and Magalhaes).  Additionally, research states verbal stories promote learning, debunking the common misperception that story problems are harder for students than bare equations (How People Learn:  Brain, Mind, Experience and School, National Research Council, 1998).  In fact, verbal problems are often solvable without using the equation. 

In the classroom, teach the context of the problem.  Relate the problem to what the student knows.  Draw pictures or bar models to assist the visual understanding.  Classify the types of problems (change, combine, equalize, compare) so the students see the “big picture” or context of what is being asked.  Ask the student if the problem is action or static.  Avoid key words because the student still may not understand the context of the problem. 

Kathie Daviau
Billings Adult Education Center


Call for Book Titles

We keep a "general book cart" with a variety of reads to encourage recreational reading in our students.  The book cart has a selection of paperback mysteries, fantasy, westerns, romance, some classics, a few children's titles, plus more.  We get them at the Book Exchange, a bookstore that specializes in recycling paperbacks here in Missoula.  Our students are on an honor system to return the book or donate one in its place. (We don't keep real close track here)  Every other year (give or take), we replenish the supply.  How about a call for book titles that our students have enjoyed reading?

Cathy Smyers, Missoula

So, folks, what are some of the books your students are reading?  Do you have any book titles that you recommend they read?


KWL Reading Strategy

The KWL strategy is a great way to get students more actively involved in reading comprehension. 

  • KNOW:  It can activate students' prior knowledge by asking them (and acknowledging) what they already know about a subject. 

  • WANT:  Plus KWL encourages the students to set goals by having them write down what they may want to know about the subject. 

  • LEARN:  Finally, KWL encourages students to assess what they have learned from their reading.

Click here for a sample of a KWL chart.


Difficulties with Reading - Experience It Yourself

... was reminded this time about a site I came upon one day when I was looking for information to help me better relate to my 9 yr old who struggles with learning. I have not seen the original TV program, but the web site below references to amazing hot links which simulate what a dyslexic goes through. Other pages have similar frustrating activities designed to help parents and teachers experience what their kids go through if they have a short circuit in reading decoding or retention skills, math number and spatial issues, writing cognition and graph-motor issues, as well as ADHD barriers to learning.

These really brought the issues home for me far more powerfully than just text. 

Click here to check out the website:

Valerie Otto, Career Transitions, Bozeman


Pre-reading Strategy

Attached is a handout I know it gave out the Route to Reading Workshop (2005), but some might have missed out.  It's part of the pre-reading strategies which are so critical to initiating comprehension.  It's a dual copy, meaning I copy on colored paper and cut in half, so a student can keep it handy in a folder or book.

Click here for a copy of the Pre-reading Strategy.

Cathy Smyers, Missoula


Research Articles

How Should We Teach Comprehension by Nancy Padak

Here is a short article on teaching comprehension.  Research indicates the "summarizing and making inferences are the most important reading comprehension strategies for adult literacy outcomes."  Go to and scroll to page 6 -7.

How Should Adult ESL Reading Instruction Differ from ABE Reading Instruction?

This document discusses "issues specific to ELL and offers suggestions for teaching vocabulary; alphabetics and word analysis; fluency; and comprehension."  Go to .

Above suggestions taken from January 2008 Nevada Connections


Comprehension Strategy

Another comprehension strategy has been posted.


This is a great strategy to get a student to become more active during reading.


Reading Comprehension:  February

Content Reading ESL Websites Family Literacy Discussion List  hosted by Susan McShane Interviews:  ABC News Living in the Shadow Request for Materials  Strategies/Worksheets

Reading and Math

Social Studies





ESL Resource and Strategies






Comprehension Teaching Strategy

Discussion List Highlights




Interview #1

Interview #2

Material Request

Response to Material Request

  1. #1
  2. #2
  3. #3


Reading Comprehension Strategies

  • Cloze Technique
  • Directed Reading-Thinking Activity

More Strategies

  • Signals of Confusion
  • SQ3R


Link to ABC News Living in the Shadows:  Interviews about the struggles of illiteracy

Interview #1 Living in the Shadows: Monica Baxley

Interview #2 Living in the Shadows: Roger Vredenburg


Response to Materials Request #3

Here are some materials that were submitted by teachers  in the Flathead Valley.

Margaret Girkins, Adult Learning Center, Flathead Valley Community College


  • Tell Me More software from Auralog

  • Oxford Picture Dictionary and workbooks

  • Rosetta Stone software

  • That’s Life from New Reader’s Press


  • GED Connections videos/books from KET

  • Critical Reading Series from Contemporary

  • GED Scoreboost from New Reader’s Press

  • PreGED series from Steck Vaughn

  • Ultimate Speed Reader software


More Reading Comprehension Strategies

Two more comprehension strategies have been posted:


Response to Materials Request - #2

Here is a list of some of the ESL material we use in Billings. 

NP =)

New Readers Press (books with tapes or CD’s)

  • Laubach
  • Talk of the Block
  • That’s Life
  • Easy Stories Plus
  • Stories Plus



Response to Request for Materials - #1

For the most part we use Steck Vaughn GED and pre-GED materials for our GED students.  We just purchased TABE Fundamentals for skill development.  For ESL, the instructor is using Grammar in Use Intermediate and Basic Grammar in Use  by Cambridge supplemented with activities off NW LINCS.  We use the following computer software:  GED 21st Century by Steck Vaughn, Access 21st Century by Steck Vaughn, and SkillsTutor.  For higher-level students who need reading skills, we use the Langen series by Townsend Press:  Ten Steps to Building Reading Skills.  For our higher level math students, we like the Number Power series by McGraw Hill.  After that it's a mixed bag of worksheets we've accumulated over the years or lifted from LINCS or other ABE instructors.

Melinda Lynnes, MCC Center for Academic Success


Request for Materials

I would like to know what are the books, workbooks, and accessories most adult education instructors are using to teach not only the ESL population but also the GED and vocational learners. Thank you.

Marie-Anne King, Lewistown


Reading and Math (posting on Assessment Discussion List 9/11/07)

Does the ability to read interfere with success with numeracy?

Try this: Create or select a math worksheet that can be displayed and edited on your computer. Highlight everything. Change the font to "Symbol."  Is it any harder to use now? (Make a decoder by writing the alphabet, numbers, and math symbols in the original font then changing that to "Symbol."  You will see that the numbers and most of the math operators are still the same. Only the letters used to write the WORDS will change.)

Or, an even simpler experiment: Turn a math book upside down, read a chapter, then do all the exercises, writing your answers upside down.

Mary G. Beheler, Tri-State Literacy
Huntington, WV 25701


Reading Comprehension Strategies

Click on the following strategies for ideas for teaching reading comprehension.

Cloze Technique

The instructional cloze is a technique to develop comprehension by deleting target words from a text.  This encourages the student to think about what word would make sense in this sentence as well as the context of the entire story.

Directed Reading-Thinking Activity

A directed reading-thinking lesson is an instructional format for teaching reading that includes three stages:  readiness for reading, active reading comprehension, and reacting to the story.


ESL Resources

1.  On February 12, OPI provided a BEST+ training.  Margaret Bowles shared information about some esl resources.  Click here for a copy of that information.

2.  Following this training, Katya Mandarino-Irish from Great Falls also provided a list of several websites.  Thanks, Katya!  Click here for the list provided by Katya.

3.  Strategy suggested on Family Literacy Discussion List

ESL Reading Suggestion (taken from Family Literacy Discussion List)

What I've done with some success is start with vocabulary, using a multi-modal method by topic with audio CD and a picture dictionary, where students simultaneously hear a word (audio) as they read it and connect it to a picture (visual), then they repeat it (kinesthetic, speech).  We discuss any they don't recognize or understand (comprehension), then they write each word (kinesthetic, writing), to practice its spelling.  We end with another round of listen/see/read/repeat.

The vocabulary basics let us use simple sentences for both comprehension & expression.  Subsequent lessons of the day use the vocabulary words for other work on the same topic, from conversation to grammar.

Nancy Hoover, M.A.Ed.
Mount Wachusett Community College
Gardner, MA


Family Literacy Discussion List Highlights

On the Family Literacy Discussion list, there was an interesting discussion with Susan McShane, author of Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults.  Since the discussion has not been archived yet, below are just a few highlights from the discussion.  

Group Instruction

…  One of the things we’ve found we really have to hit hard is the need for explicit instruction. Most often in adult education settings, that’s not done, and it can be hard to manage in a multi-level group, especially when people are also studying math and writing, etc. The researchers I worked with in writing the book suggested that a teacher could introduce a strategy to the whole group and then have them practice with different materials at their own reading levels. I agree it’s a good idea, but I think it’s easier said than done in some classrooms and programs.  Susan McShane

... Teachers most often assign reading practice activities and ask questions, but don’t necessarily teach comprehension and question-answering strategies.  Susan McShane

Reader Inconsistencies

I do think that it makes sense to begin with one of the comprehension-monitoring strategies. That’s what it’s all about for many of our readers—paying attention to the meaning, so they notice when it’s confusing or when they don’t understand the use of a word for instance. I think some readers focus on “getting to the end of the page” instead of understanding or learning. That may be why they don’t notice when it doesn’t make sense. There’s research to show that some students don’t notice inconsistencies in text they are reading. That means maybe their attention has wandered, or maybe they just are not aware of what active reading for meaning is all about. For them, reading is what they’ve been doing for years, and that’s running their eyes over the text, identifying the words, or getting to the end of the page. Teaching one or two specific monitoring strategies may be a great way to get started on improving comprehension with this kind of reader.

Susan McShane


Comprehension Instruction:  What Makes Sense Now, What Might Make Sense Soon by Michael Pressley

Peer Tutoring Relationships

Roscoe, R.D. & Chi, M.T.H. (2007). Understanding tutor learning: Knowledge-building and knowledge-telling in peer tutors’ explanations and questions.  Review of Educational Research, 77 (4), 534-574.



Another strategy that fits with these suggestions for paraphrasing/summarizing is About - Point. Read a paragraph. In one to two words answer the question, What is this about? (topic). In one to two sentences answer the question, What is the point (main idea).  Example. What is it about? Answer: Dogs. What is the point? Answer: All dogs go to heaven.

Jeri Levesque, Ed.D., Evaluator, LIFT, St. Louis, MO

Language Experience

That's another good idea. An oldie but a goodie--and as you say, it encourages spoken language and may elicit good information about her knowledge and interests. Of course, the tutor has to also do some direct teaching, but there's no reason not to try Language Experience.

For more information about Language Experience, click here.


... Most of our students are ESOL and they require lots of repetition and individualized instruction because of the diverse reading abilities.  I completely support “modeling” and think it is necessary for any student to understand the thought process behind answering questions, coming to conclusions, making predictions, etc. 

Moctezuma, Yvette T.

Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal Teaching is one of the “Multiple Strategies” approaches that the National Reading Panel found to have research support. The strategies used may be two or more of the following: question generating, summarizing of main ideas, clarifying word meanings or difficult text, and predicting what will come next. I think you could probably just do an internet search to get more specific information about it.

Susan McShane


Adults, as well as children, sometimes need to practice visualizing events as they read.  Those pictures are additional keys to memory and comprehension.

I sometimes suggest that readers use a large index card as a bookmark where they can jot down characters, events, paragraph summaries, etc with page numbers as a reference.  This is a good aid to--again--memory and comprehension.

For those where fluency issues undermined comprehension, shadow reading (also called neurological impress) can be helpful.  The instructor actually reads the passage aloud with the student at the same time.  They should keep the pace quick enough to keep meaning in tact, but slow enough for the reader to read along.  Students could also do this oral read along with audio texts--which may keep them more focused on the text rather than just listening.

Dana Newingham,Special Education Consultant, Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation, Oakland City University and Indiana Wesleyan University

Visualizing is another good idea, and writing on the cards would seem to be a variation on the coding/marking text approach to comprehension monitoring. It gets around the need to write in the book, which is a problem in most programs because the students don’t own the books. 

Susan McShane

Teacher Cognizance

Help them to be aware of what good reading is like.

I’ve also suggested that teachers may need to become more conscious of their own strategies, which they probably use automatically and have done so for years. In workshops, I’ve given teachers very difficult texts and told them to pretend they must understand and remember the material and then make notes about what they do as they read. I think doing this might help them to be more aware of their own strategies and then able to model those strategies for adult learners—perhaps by thinking aloud. (Thinking aloud is a teacher strategy mentioned in another posting earlier this week.)

... Teachers most often assign reading practice activities and ask questions, but don’t necessarily teach comprehension and question-answering strategies.

Susan McShane



Comprehension Strategies (taken from 2008 NIFL Family Literacy Discussion List)

Since there are so many possibilities in the broad category of comprehension monitoring ... it’s probably best to start with something that makes sense to the learner and isn’t  too complicated.

One possibility is restating—that is putting what they’ve read into their own words. You can explain that it’s a good way to stay focused on the meaning and to “test” their understanding.  Ask them to stop after the first section or paragraph (or even the first couple of sentences) and try to put what the writer said in their own words. If they can’t do it, that’s a clue that they may need to re-read and think about it more carefully.

Another possibility is a variation on the “coding text” strategy. The book includes an example that has several different kinds of marks to indicate questions, mark important facts, and make other responses to the text. You might start with something much simpler that introduces the idea of marking the text. Maybe they could just underline any words they don’t understand or put a check mark by any important or interesting facts or bits of information. If they begin with just one or maybe two kinds of “codes”, it may be less intimidating.

Starting with one of these simple approaches also makes it easier for you/the teacher to demonstrate and model the strategy.

Susan McShane


Vocabulary:  January

Assessment  Student Response  Strategies/Worksheets Request for   Resources







Vocabulary Strategies

Click on the following strategies for ideas for teaching/learning vocabulary.


Math Vocabulary List

The math vocabulary list that Kathy Jackson of Billings contributed to the Reading is the Bridge notebook is now posted online.  Click here to access it.


Vocabulary Resources Online

Cathy, et al,

I spent a little time searching for some online vocabulary for higher level students. I came across a few sites you might want to take a look at.  I'll look for more.  NP =)


Need for Vocabulary Resources

High ASE Vocabulary for the college-bound student

Missoula teachers are looking for FREE ONLINE vocabulary practice for ASE higher level, college-bound students.  I have searched and searched online (unsuccessfully).  Anything good has a price tag. I already know about the Academic Word List, but really, we need something more in depth which covers Latin/Greek roots, prefixes, suffixes, along with college level words used in context.  I have material in books (with separate answer keys), but people really want on-line (interactive) work.  All suggestions are welcome!  Thanks!

Cathy Smyers, Missoula

Response to Charts and Graphs Vocabulary - Another Math Resource

Options Publishing, Inc (Toll Free 800-782-7300) has two booklets that I have used in my math classrooms that are inexpensive and come in two levels.  These booklets have been shared as a resource in the past so they may already be in use at other Montana ABLE sites. 

The titles are Math Tools  Level I, Grade 3-5 (or Level II, Grade 5-8) A Glossary & Resource for Problem Solving, Cat. Nos. WBO144R and WBO143R.

Check out this company at  We have purchased these in bulk and students will often pay us our cost to have a copy at home.

Rose Steiner, Billings

Charts and Graphs Vocabulary

Recently, MT LINCS had posted a list of GED Social Studies and Science terms.  Does anyone have a vocabulary list  that students encounter when they are working with charts and graphs?  If so, please send it to MT LINCS to be posted.



Webcast on Fluency and Vocabulary Now Archived

This follow-up webcast will focus on specific instructional strategies for two other components of reading, fluency and vocabulary. The presenters will show how all four components provide a natural framework for assessing adult students’ reading ability, and how assessment results can lead seamlessly to a program of instruction to improve students’ reading. 

Click here to access the webcast.



Student Response to Fluency and Vocabulary

Sitting and reading, I can understand it, but not as much as when I hear it.  I know that reading out loud makes many people uncomfortable, but if they can read to themselves and hear it, then they are more comfortable and more confident.  I like to use the amplifier because my brain doesn't tell me what my hearing tells me.  By doing that, I learn more vocabulary.  Or maybe it's that I hear the vocabulary and really know what it is then because I have heard it before.

Montana ABLE Student



Strategy for Fluency and Vocabulary for ESL Students

I pair my students to read.  They help each other with pronunciation, vocabulary, and comprehension.  It also helps them with community.  I pair them with someone different each time they read.  Sometimes, I put a low reader in English with one from the same country who reads better.  That way, one student can explain text in the first  language.  Other times I put people who have different languages together and conversations will start (in English) about the content.  After being paired with different people, the entire class knows each others' names, where they live, how many children they have etc. I meant to ask them this week, how they felt about reading aloud and forgot.  BUT, I didn't ask them to read aloud to each other this week and I noticed they grouped themselves and read aloud and helped each other.

Post on Adult English Language Learners Discussion Group



Vocabulary Resources

Cathy Smyers of Missoula has graciously sent word lists that she had shared at the Route to Reading Workshop. 

I've attached the lists ... which I occasionally add to or update.  The lists are based on surveys of the Official GED Practice Tests -- general knowledge concepts and vocabulary that GED students should be familiar with.  Sometimes, I just have students "look them over" to see if there's anything there that is unfamiliar to them.  Those things are then studied.  Feel free to modify in any way!

Cathy Smyers, Missoula

Click here for the Science Word List.

Click here for the Social Studies Word List.


Vocabulary Resources

Reading Webcast

From Assessment to Practice:  Research-Based Approaches to Teaching Reading to Adults 

Part 2:  Specific Instructional Strategies for Fluency and Vocabulary


Reading for Today's Adults

Word Lists



Vocabulary Assessment

Needing a free Word Meaning Test? 

Go to .

Disclaimer from NIFL

We developed the Davidson-Bruce Word Meaning Test (WMT) and have made it available free of charge on this website. It is an individually-administered oral test of expressive vocabulary.

Please Note: The reliability of the WMT has not been assessed beyond its correlation of .91 with the DAR Word Meaning subtest, a level that was computed from paired administrations of both tests to 75 adults.






Fluency Webcast Oral Reading




Oral Reading Suggestion


It was suggested earlier that the more we get our students to talk math, the more they learn.   Lauren Resnick and Susan Omanson (1987)  Today a staff member mentioned that a student was going to use the amplifier while taking a test.  That seems to fit here.  Remember - some people need to hear themselves in order to understand.  NP =)


Taken from English Language Discussion Group's Discussion on Oral Reading
Interesting discussion on the pro's and con's of reading aloud.  I agree with the ideas that there are some instances where it's helpful.  With beginning readers, it can help to find out if they are really reading the written words, or instead depending on their memory or pictures to say what they think the words are.  But I do that check when small groups are working.  Only volunteers read aloud to the whole class, and it's usually just a sentence or two.
In a completely different context, and as a very individual activity, I sometimes suggest to higher level students that they read their own writing aloud to catch what is not working well.  I run into people who speak pretty well, but in writing, they revert to translating from their first language into English, and when they do that, they ignore everything they know.  Sometimes if they "listen" to it, they catch things that they weren't noticing before.  I wouldn't do this in class where they are exposing their mistakes to the whole class.  It's more a strategy they can use independently. 
Annette Stofer
ESL Instructor
South Seattle Community College



Webcast for Reading Assessment Part 2:  Specific Instructional Strategies for Fluency and Vocabulary

WHEN: Friday, January 11, 2008

TIME:     1:30 PM - 2:45 PM Eastern Time
                12:30 PM - 1:45 PM Central Time
                11:30 AM - 12:45 PM Mountain Time
                10:30 AM - 11:45 AM Pacific Time

Please join us on Friday, January 11, 2008 for Part 2 of "From Assessment to Practice: Research-Based Approaches to Teaching Reading to Adults" webcast.  This follow-up webcast will focus on specific instructional strategies for two other components of reading, fluency and vocabulary. The presenters will show how all four components provide a natural framework for assessing adult
students' reading ability, and how assessment results can lead seamlessly to a program of instruction to improve students' reading.

Click here to register.

This seventy-minute webcast is a part two for the webcast presented on
September 28, 2007: From Assessment to Practice-Research-Based Approaches to Teaching Reading  to Adults
<>. The main purpose of the first webcast was to present a compelling rationale for the use of research-based principles for adult reading instruction. The presenters used two components of reading, word analysis and comprehension, as examples to illustrate research-based practices, focusing on specific instructional strategies derived from the research.

For more information, please contact or call 202-233-2025 or visit us online at:

Jo Maralit



More Fluency Resources

Just thought you might like another couple of teaching strategies for fluency!  Click on the titles to download and print.  NP =)

#1  Echo Reading

Echo reading is a form of modeling oral reading where the teacher reads a line of a story and then the student echoes her model by reading the same line imitating her intonation and phrasing.

#2  Neurological Impress

The impress method uses unison oral reading between the teacher and the student.  The teacher and student sit side-by-side with the teacher reading out loud slightly louder and ahead of the student modeling fluent and expressive oral reading.


Fluency Resources


There is a great resource for working on fluency that I have been using with a dyslexic man here at the Center. It is a program called Read Naturally.

It is a program that was developed to increase K-5 fluency, but it works well with adult readers too. It is graded by reading levels and I purchased the third grade reading level for him. The content themes are not childish (science, heroes, disasters, etc.) and are high interest.  You take a "cold 1minute timing"" of the one minute text. Then the student works on reading along with the CD.. I do a "hot 1 minute timing Day 1 score" after he has read along with the CD, which gets progressively faster with each reading. Then I send the text and CD home with him and he practices his story each day for 3 minutes. At the next tutoring session we do a hot timing, and his score goes up significantly each time. Then we add an additional story from the CD and he adds that to his assigned reading, so there is a constant review fo the old and focus on new stories. His fluency is improving greatly and so is his confidence level as he improves each week on his 1 minute readings.  
I believe I purchased the homeschool packet with 5 CDS and 5 stories per CD for  aprox. $100 and feel it was well worth it!  Check it out!

Ellen Guettler, Bozeman


Thought this site may be interesting to us as we look at improving
reading ability. 

Suzette Fox, Billings


Fluency and Comprehension

An important distinction needs to be made between fluency and comprehension.  There is a strong relationship between the two; however, that relationship is not always what it seems.  We frequently assume someone who demonstrates a high level of fluency as having an equally proficient grasp of comprehension, in many cases this is not true.  Any teacher can cite examples of students who were extremely fluent, that is, they read rapidly, fluidly and with prosody, yet they lacked even a basic understanding of the text.  The opposite is also true.  The fact that an individual has strong comprehension does not automatically mean they are extremely fluent.  Many students may be slow readers, yet they have a strong grasp of the meaning of the text.  The key is to be both a fluent and comprehending reader.  Never assume a fluent reader is a comprehending reader.

Jerry Guay, Hardin ABLE


Fluency and Math

To add a bit to the research, according to Lauren Resnick and Susan Omanson (1987), a positive relationship exists between the amount of verbalization and the amount of learning.  In other words, the more we get our students to talk math, the more they learn.  But more importantly, the deeper the understanding of math concepts.

Kathie Daviau
Billings Adult Education Center


Phonemics and Decoding:  November

 Phonemics - Assessment Ideas for MT LINCS Math Assessment Ideas








Focus on Basics Issue on Learning Disabilities

Take a look at the new issue of Focus on Basics!  Interesting reading on the Implications of the Phonologic Model of Dyslexia:

The problem is that the affected reader cannot use his or her higher-order linguistic skills to access the meaning until the printed word has first been decoded and identified.   "The Neurobiology of Reading and Dyslexia", Sally E. Shaywitz & Bennett A. Shaywitz, Focus on Basics.

The following message is posted on behalf of Barb Garner:

Learning disabilities is the topic of a new issue of "Focus on Basics", now available at (click on "Focus on Basics" near the top of the right column on the homepage).

Articles range from neurology and dyslexia to legal issues related to serving students with learning disabilities, to best practices shared by skilled teachers, to three states' approaches to serving students with learning disabilities, to addressing the needs of ESOL learners, to technology, to transitions to college, to changing practice at the program and classroom level: there's something for everyone. 

Read on!

Barb Garner, Editor


Math Website for Calculator Practice

Here's something exciting!  One of our neighbors, Laurel Kaae of the Williston Adult Learning Center in North Dakota, emailed MT LINCS with a suggestion that the Missouri Valley Adult Education Association's website provides a link to calculator worksheets.  Thanks, Laurel - good neighbors make good friends!  (At first I didn't see the link.  It's right above the map.  Click on Onlline Lessons...)  NP =)

We use the calculator worksheets at:
If you scroll down there are calculator worksheet links there.



Response to Math Assessment Strand

I thought that I would respond to the math assessment question by sharing some of these worksheet generators.  These are computational worksheet sites. 

Unfortunately, I had a tough time figuring out how to post this.  After some help from my coworker, I was able to have this posted.  Thanks, coworker who will remain nameless.  =) 

(Thanks, KJ, for pointing out the problem with posting.  So now if any of you do not have the original email, you can read them in the Archives and still send postings by clicking on the link at the top of this page.) NP =)

Back to what I was saying, when I use these worksheet generators I save the answer keys in a folder with the student’s name on the file.  If the student has more than one printed worksheet, I use their name plus a 1, 2 , or…etc. after the name.  Any questions????  Feel free to email me, Kathy Jackson at (or just click here and email your thoughts to MT LINCS so that others who may have the same question may see KJ's response.)

Worksheet Generators


This one of my favorites.  The pre-algebra computational worksheets are great.  Be sure to check out order of operations and exponents (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Scroll down this webpage to access an awesome worksheet generator for fractions.  It also has other types of worksheets that can be generated.

RHL School

This is a great whole number worksheet generator that I use.  In order to print it correctly you need to change the printer to landscape.  The numbers change every time you click on the type of worksheet that you want.

Kathy Jackson, Billings



Request for Syllabication in Word

There was a request for the syllabication activity to be posted in Word.  It is now on the Resources page.  Feel free to edit as you wish.  The activity works much better with teacher instruction and modification.  I know that we read from left to right, but most of the time I have the students syllabicate the word from right to left - begin at the end of the word and go over and up!  For some reason when they do this, there is less interference from past learning and the accent comes out right.  Try it!   NP =)


Response to Syllabication Activity

I am so excited about this activity!  I used it today with my case study student.  He caught right on and was so extremely delighted that he could successfully chunk and sound out those longer words...When he sounded out "anthropology", he recalled that his wife had taken a class in it.  COOL!   It's soooo easy! 

Cathy Smyers, Missoula


Response to Case Study:  Breaking words into syllables

Cathy, I have posted an activity that you might use to help students learn to break larger vocabulary into syllables.  Click here for the Syllabication activity.  NP =)


Case Study - Send suggestions for Strategies/Materials to MT LINCS

Sample Case Study

Student Background

Male, Native American, 23 years old, sporadic formal education



First Language


Learning Difficulties


 Test Results:

  • Silent Comprehension (TABE):  6.8
  • Word Recognition (WRAT):  8.1
  • Oral Reading Rate:  90 wpm (below normal for this profile)
  • Word Meaning (DAR):  4.0
  • Spelling (DAR):  4.0


My student has been attending classes 2-3 times per week since mid-September. A posttest showed no change, so I decided to consult the ARCS profiles for some guidance.  

 ARCS Information and Further Assessment

I entered the above scores into Match a Profile” in the ARCS website.  His result matched Profile 6: Low Even Skills.  Several strategies are recommended under “Suggestions for Instruction.”

For Word Recognition/Phonological Awareness, an additional assessment was used to determine any gaps (unmastered phonics elements).  I used the “Phonemic Awareness Assessment” (LDA of Minnesota) and a basic phonics assessment from an old textbook, New Beginnings in Reading (Contemporary). My student aced both tests.  

I also administered the RAN test to check for signs of dyslexia (since I had wondered about that possibility).  He did this quickly and perfectly. 

Moving on to Spelling, four questions are posed to determine prerequisite skills for accurate spelling.  My student shows mastery in automatically sounding out words with short or long vowels (including nonsense words), but when the words are longer (multi-syllabic), he struggles.  This was apparent in the timed oral reading as well.  He needs work on word “segmentation and chunking” as suggested.  The ARCS research also notes that, “The better a reader can decode even unfamiliar words in isolation, the better he or she can read connected text.”  

In the Word Meaning (vocabulary) area, it’s interesting that my student recognizes more words (8.1) than he can orally define (DAR Word Meaning, 4.0).  The research notes that within this Profile 6 “…some native speakers of English also score as low as GE 2 on the Word Meaning subtest…and the average Word Meaning GE for native speakers is only 4.6.”  This information affirms that though this rate is low, it is normal for this level.  The research goes on to say that even when students “…become able to read text at a higher level, we cannot trust most of their vocabulary learning to figure out word meaning from context....Teaching new concepts and information will automatically involve teaching unfamiliar words.  When appropriate, use these vocabulary words for spelling and word recognition instruction.”  Finally, there was a suggestion to help me determine my “learner’s comprehension potential when his oral reading accuracy is low.” (My student’s score is 90 wpm; profile average is 133.) 

Give a listening comprehension test -- Listening Comprehension Assessment:  A teacher can assess a learner's listening comprehension by reading aloud passages from graded books or from silent reading comprehension tests that offer grade equivalence (GE) scores. The learner answers comprehension questions orally. Listening comprehension tests are often teacher-constructed, informal reading assessments.” 

I am still working on this one!


The other huge factor affecting my student’s learning is his self-reported ADD.  We reviewed several coping strategies including “chunking” the work, varying the type of work (computer, paper work, and review with teacher), taking short breaks, identifying key distracters, and multi-sensory processing. 

Cathy Smyers, Missoula


After you read through the posted Case Study, do you have any suggestions for strategies or materials that CS could try?  This is way you can all help each other.  Just click here and email your thoughts to MT LINCS.    


Response Another Use for MT LINCS

This is a terrific idea!  What a way for Montana ABLE colleagues to help each other out!  I would be more than happy to post any "Case Studies" that you send.  Again they will be anonymous.  NP =)  


Another Use for MT LINCS

Here is an idea for how we can share info via LINCS:   How about a monthly "case study" where teachers (anonymously) submit a brief description of a student (again anonymously) whom they need assistance with in determining a learning plan, figuring out a disability, etc... I know I could use ideas with some of my challenging students!  We would simply send our thoughts to MT LINCS and have them posted.  We then could also share resources or materials we've developed which might be useful. 

Montana ABLE Participant



Response to TAAS Question

Go to the Academic Therapy website at .  In the left-hand column, key in TAAS in the search box and click Go.  NP =)



You mentioned the TAAS (Test of Auditory Analysis Skills).  Where can we get it? 

Montana ABLE Participant


Response to Phonemics Testing

In regards to Phonemic Awarness, you are correct that most of the assessments are done on youth. I remember that Louisa Moat had researched the importance to stress phonemic awareness and phonics which are linked to speech sound (auditory and oral) to written and reading difficulties.  I would suggest to contact MT OPI Reading First and asked if they have an adult assessment to use or at least give you a contact number or email to Moat.

Montana ABLE Participant


Response to Comment about  Discovering Intensive Phonics

The Discover Intensive Phonics program has a phonemic awareness supplement (elementary version) in the direct instruction and a minimal assessment on the skills taught in the supplement.  There are several activities listed in the Sound Essentials (games & activities) that deal with phonemics.  The DIP software has a phonemic awareness component that teaches skills in phoneme isolation, manipulation of phonemes, syllable recognition, rhyme, and oral segmentation.  There is an assessment on the software for those phonemic skills as well.  It is separate from the Interim Assessments (which are phonic-skill based).

The DIP program is primarily structured around the explicit and sequential instruction of phonics.  However, the specific skills for phonemic awareness are so important, that is why the supplement in the direct instruction materials and software are now included in the program.  I hope this answered your question.  If not, feel free to email back or call me.

Joan Parrish

HEC Reading Horizons / Finger Works  Publications

Distributor & Trainer


Phonemics Activity

Click here for Phonograph Activity.


Phonemics Assessment

I've attached an article and assessment for adult phonemic awareness and was wondering if anyone knows anything about it or has used it ...
I have used the TAAS, but that doesn't assess all the pieces of phonemics.  I seldom need to test phonemics so haven't been too concerned about it up until now, but I think we do need something that's adult oriented. So many of the assessments are for children.  Another reason to test phonemics came out of Sue Barton's overview of dyslexia (she was in Missoula three weeks ago).  She maintains that dyslexics need intensive phonemic instruction (and, of course, she has a product/methodology to sell which I suspect is similar to Wilson).  Also, I learned that Discovering Intensive Phonics really doesn't assess or teach phonemics per se (although it does a good job with phonics).

Anyway, I'd appreciate any feedback on this ... Maybe someone else out there has used this assessment or has something better.

Cathy Smyers, Missoula

Reading:  Phonemic Awareness

Click here for the article, Reading:  Phonemic Awareness,  from the Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota website.

Thanks, CS, for sharing your googling expertise! =)


Assessment:  October

Reading Assessment Discussion



Interest Inventory Discussion



Math Assessment Discussion



Follow-up from MABLE discussion in Billings:  MT LINCS Participant Usage - Stats



Posting #3 (The comments in this posting vary greatly:  ARCS, Learning Preference Inventory, Participant Sign-in, Math Assessment, etc. - definitely some interesting reading!)


Response to Assessment - Math

This post is from the Billings ABLE Math Department.  We are aware that some others may be looking for help in student assessment in math.

Our approach has been to TABE test initially and then use an open-answer, in-house assessment for identifying the skill strengths of our students.  Our instruction is then based upon the skill areas that need to be strengthened. 

If you have specific questions, please post them (send them to MT LINCS) and we will do our best to answer them in this discussion.  We would like to invite you to contact us if you are in Billings and are interested in seeing what we use for our in-house assessment. 

Kathie Daviau, Kathy Jackson, Jesse Sauskojus, & Rose Steiner 


Response to Accessing Participant Usage

Glad you asked the question below!  The server which hosts MT LINCS  is located at the Ohio Literacy Resource Center.  Tim Ponder is able to provide us with data about the number of visits to this website.  So far we have had 169 actual visits, averaging 4 per day, and, no, they are not from the same person!!! =)  NP =)

Click here for RIB stats.

Accessing Participant Usage

Are you able to see how many people actually access the comments (ie. is it getting used regularly?).   Montana ABLE Participant


Response #2 to question about GED stats regarding wages earned

Here are the resources that I use: 

  1. Working Together:  Aligning State Systems and Policies for Individual and Regional Prosperity put out by the Workforce Strategy Center in December of 2006.

  2. The US Census Bureau American FactFinder:

  3. Or you can just go to and look under people and then median earnings by education attainment.

  4. Lastly College Board put out a report that I like at that talks about earning potential.

Renee Bentham, Missoula


Response #1 to question about GED stats regarding wages earned

Check out the following link from NCSALL: - Is the GED Valuable to Those Who Pass it?

If anyone has another resource, please email MT LINCS.  NP =)


Question about GED stats regarding wages earned

I have a question.  Did I hear ... a quote (at the Character Ed Conference) to the effect that GED grads make $150 - $200 more per week than non GED workers?   Where did you get those numbers?  Do you have the citation? 

 Inquiring minds want to know.  Thanks.

Rick Whitman, Montana Women's Prison


Result from MABLE Meeting:  Sign-in Form for Programs without Student Schedules

At the MABLE meeting in Billings, smaller programs were discussing how to keep track of drop-in students.  The Livingston program sent the form below to MT LINCS to post along with the following info: 

The attached document is our sign-in sheet.  Students seem to have adapted to this new way of signing in with little angst.  We developed this form to determine in what activity/activities a student spent time.  We do not have classes; we develop individualized lesson plans based on the TABE results and Contemporary’s Achieving TABE Success Correlation Charts.  The student is to use the correlation chart as a progress check list ... This new approach began when we received most of the different levels of the workbooks.  The students seem to appreciate having a concrete list of assignments.

Click here for the Sign-in Form. (pdf version)



You can get more information about the Diagnostic Assessments of Reading (DAR) at the following website:  NP =)


ARCS Reading Assessment

I think the website is a great way for adult ed teachers to learn more about reading.  Where can I get the DAR?  Montana ABLE Participant


Response #2  to Learning Preference Inventory request

We have used the CAPS/COPES/COPS with students who are looking at going to college.  We had some additional funding to support that and were able to have a retired Career and Vocational Counselor teach it.
Another great, free resource is MCIS.  They use the O*NET Interest
Profiler to help narrow down possible career options.  I really like
MCIS and it is free to anyone who wants to use it at this point.  The
website is

Renee Bentham, Missoula


Response #1 to Learning Preference Inventory request

Have you looked at the Study Skills section on the MT LINCS Pilot Project.  There are various links to learning style inventories.  Go to the Pilot Project by clicking on and then click on Study Skills.   NP =)


Other Inventories

RE: other inventories: I am using a learning preference inventory (a learning modality survey), but would love someone to post one that they are using. Mine was a hard copy I came across and the print quality is  not  very good. I would also like to see career inventories other folks might be using.... Montana ABLE Participant

ARCS Reading Assessment

The ARCS reading asessment website has been a great assessment tool for helping me work with low literacy students. I  administer the DAR (Diagnostic Assessment of Reading) and enter those scores into the website profiler. The website profiles give me tools and information on how to most successfully work with each individual reader. I like that it is research based, and that I am not "guessing" about what my student needs to improve in reading.

Introduction:  September

Reading is the Bridge Workshop




Webcast - From Assessment to Practice:  Research-Based Approaches to Teaching Reading to Adults

The following questions have been provided by both Dr. Davidson and Dr. Kruidenier in order to set the stage for Montana ABLE!  Thank you, Ros and John!

  1. Why is reading broken down into its component parts for research, assessment, and instruction in reading?

  2. What is the most important conclusion that can be drawn from the assessment profiles research?

  3. What does the research say about adult beginning readers’ phonemic awareness and word analysis abilities?

  4. If you can't do a comprehensive assessment of your learner's reading abilities, which reading sub-skills do you think are the most important to assess before planning instruction? 

  5. Would knowing what formal research has found out about adult readers influence how you teach?

Posting #2


I am hoping that by using some of the information presented in the webcast, I will be more able to deal with all of the multi-levels in my classroom.  Montana ABLE Participant


I thought the webcast was a great refresher/summary of what we learned at the Bridges Training.  The Bridges binder and the assessment information available through ARCS reading profiles are also great tools that are helping me provide research based instruction with my low/intermediate readers.  I thought the webcast was a great way to disseminate professional development information!  Montana ABLE Participant

Review of Reading is the Bridge

Posting #1


Reading is the Bridge Response
We have started using the Vocabulary Study Form for our students.  Each day students come, they add one word to their lists, add their definitions, look up the dictionary definitions, and use them in sentences.  We encourage the students to use their words with us, with family, and with friends until the words become comfortable for them to use We have also put our own "Word of the Day" on the white board each day. The result of this has been an enthusiasm to use new words and to check out what the word on the white board will be each day!  The main modification we've made is to the Vocabulary Study Form we received at the conference---we retyped it landscape orientation so students have more room for definitions and sentences.
Melinda Lynnes
MCC Center for Academic Success

Click here to download the Vocabulary Study Form.


I got a lot out of the Bridges workshop!  Since then I have been playing with more 'explicit  instruction' with my low level readers to increase comprehension.  I have made some site copies of the 7 strategies of Successful Readers sheet and put it in clear covers, and I use it when I work with ABE readers.  I also have been doing more with direct instruction on Bloom's Taxonomy with all my students, and when we correct Practice Tests, etc. we discuss what level of thinking the question was addressing.  I  am using graphic organizers and KWL charts a lot for Social Studies and Science.  I love the handout resources and am passing a lot of them on to my tutors to use in 1-1 tutoring.  I have a ton of high ESOL folks in my GED tract this year and have been using the Language Builders (Contemporary) worksheets with them.
They love them.

I hope to start doing more with vocabulary next.
Little by little!
Ellen (Bozeman ABLE)