Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS!


1.  MT LINCS RIB Update

Your Montana colleagues are wanting to know what kinds of materials you use in your program.  Help them out!

1.    Discussions

Go to and click on Discussions. 

Once there, you will see a chart with the topics that have been sent in for this month.  Look at the Request for Resources.  (Some responses have already been posted!)  Can you help?

2.    Comprehension Strategies

Click here to check out two new comprehension strategy postings on RIB Resources.

  • Signals of Confusion
  • SQ3R
3.    ESL website

4.    Family Literacy postings on reading comprehension

Click here to read more postings about reading comprehension on the Family Literacy Discussion List. 

2.  MAACE Summer Conference

Click here for information about the following things:

  • Latest information about the First Annual MAACE Summer Conference
  • Call for Presenters form
  • Letter from MAACE President

3.  MAACE Scholarships for Summer Conference                  

Click here for information about the MAACE Scholarships.

4.  MPAEA Conference 2008 - Early Registration Deadline March 15

Click here for more information.

5.  Special Report - "Living in the Shadows:  Illiteracy in America" - Begins 2/25 on ABC's World News with Charles Gibson


From the Desk of Dr. Sandra L. Baxter, Director                           


Beginning Monday, February 25, ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" will feature a special series, "Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America"
that examines the hidden phenomenon of illiteracy in this country. An estimated 30 million people in the
U.S. cannot read a simple sentence, and
as Senior Justice Department Correspondent Pierre Thomas reports, undiagnosed learning disorders, poverty, and unstable homes are among the
factors contributing to this nation-wide crisis. The problem persists, in large part, because many actively try to conceal it or avoid seeking help.

45 year-old Monica Baxley of
Chipley, Florida was one of those people, hiding the fact that she was functionally illiterate from family, friends,
even her husband for thirty years. She was unable to read newspapers, road signs, or fill out job applications - a painful existence with constant
reminders of her limitation. She finally decided to seek help after becoming frustrated that she couldn't help her daughter with homework. After several
years of intensive instruction with a local literacy group, she went on to earn her GED. She now spends her time tutoring and inspiring others who are

In part two of the series, Thomas travels to
Grand Rapids, Michigan, where one out of every five residents there has difficulty reading or cannot read
at all. The city has pledged to cut the illiteracy rate in half in the next ten years - launching a city-wide campaign to increase awareness of the
issue and enlisting hundreds of tutors and volunteers. Are their initiatives making a difference? For those who have overcome illiteracy, the ability to
read has opened new doors and expanded their opportunities.

"Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in
" will air on "World News with Charles Gibson" beginning Monday, February 25. Thomas' reporting will also
be featured on the "World News" webcast, available on, ABC News Now, Apple's iTunes, and mobile phones.

Jon Banner is the executive producer of "World News with Charles Gibson."
ABC News Media Relations:
Natalie Raabe (212) 456-2418


6.  Focus on Basics Discussion about Impediments to ESOL Learning going on now

Here's a snippit from the discussion:

Dear FOB listers----… Take the case of very low or non-literate ESOL learners for example.  They often fail to thrive, in my observations, because of a number of these factors:
First we can look at how the lack of education impacts phonological skills:  Persons with no literacy necessarily have undeveloped phonological skills--those foundation skills needed for reading and writing.  Because they have not learned how text represents speech, they do not have a sense of sound chunks and the sequence of chunks. The most advanced skill in detecting sound chunks is phonemic awareness-- being able to identify and then manipulate individual sounds in words.  This is a counterintuitive process since we do not naturally hear all the individual sounds in words when someone speaks. It is an awareness that develops as we learn to read and spell.

Yet instruction in reading for these low level learners almost always STARTS with the alphabet, phonics and blending sounds-- which is pretty much graduate school as phonological skills go! 

Then we need to consider all the other things that the lack of education means and how teaching practices may not take those factors into account: 
        **These learners very likely lack experience with pictures and interpreting two-dimensional information; 
        **they don't have the motor skills needed for holding a pencil and writing in spaces or on lines (and they may not easily understand the concept of writing "on" lines); 
        **They don't understand about text and how it represents speech. 
Perhaps most important to remember is that these learners do not have the concepts or language to talk about learning and language that educated learners do... Robin Schwartz

(Robin is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and veteran teacher of both ESOL and LD. Currently she does independent consulting in learning difficulties isn adult ESOL andadult education. While continuing doctoral studies in ESOL and Learning difficulties at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, Robin resides in Wisconsin.)

Click here to read the posts beginning on 2/18.

7.  Proliteracy Courses

ProLiteracy America is offering several facilitated online courses this spring.  Jackie Taylor,Professional Development Editor, ProLiteracy America

New Courses Go Online in March

Young Adult Education: Strategies and Materials (Mar.  24 - Apr. 11)  Topic Area: Serving Young Adults

NEW COURSE!  Creating Engaging ESOL Activities Using Computers II  (Mar. 31 - Apr. 25)   Topic Area - Online Courses: ESL Instruction

Watch for these courses coming in April and May:

NEW COURSE!  Facilitating Adult Learning: Key Concepts for Teaching Adults  (Apr. 7 - Apr. 25)  Topic Area - Online Courses: Training Skills

Young Adult Education: Program Design  (May 5 - May 23) Topic Area: Serving Young Adults

Managing the Multilevel ESL Classroom  (May 12 - June 13) Topic Area: ESL Instruction

Course descriptions and registration available at .  Participation is limited, so please register early!  Questions? Please call 315-422-9121 ext. 283, or e-mail

8.  Special Topics Discussion List on Formative Assessment



Beginning on Monday, February 25th, the Special Topics list will hold a discussion on formative assessment, a set of classroom practices that substantial research in England has shown to positively affect elementary and secondary level student learning outcomes. Not a term widely known in the U.S., formative assessment refers to what teachers and learners do in the classroom to assess learning progress.  An assessment is _formative_ when information gathered in the assessment process is used to modify teaching and learning activities.  It's an assessment _for_ learning,  not just _of_ learning.


A just-published study sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Teaching, Learning and Assessment for Adults: Improving Foundation Skills < > looks at formative assessment practices in adult foundation skills (basic skills) classes in several countries among which were the U.S. and England. We will have as our guests the researchers who did the studies in these two countries. OECD researchers  who studied adult formative assessment practices in other countries may also participate in the discussion.


In my opinion, not an unbiased one as I was an OECD researcher in this study of practices in Flanders Belgium, the study could have an important impact on adult literacy education practices in North America, and formative assessment could -- as has been shown in K-12 and higher education studies -- make an important difference for students' learning.


I hope you will join my esteemed guests for this discussion. I also hope you will invite your colleagues to join us. Instructions for subscribing are below.


To subscribe to the discussion, go to .

You can unsubscribe after the discussion by going to the same web page or, if you prefer, you can stay subscribed for the next discussion, Transition from Corrections to Community Education.


Formative Assessment Guest Experts


Janet Looney

Janet Looney is the project leader of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation program known as What Works in Innovation in Education. Since 2002 its focus has been on formative assessment.  Between 2002 and 2004, the What Works program explored formative assessment in lower secondary classrooms in eight international systems. [See Formative Assessment: Improving Learning in Secondary Classrooms (2005)].  OECD has just published the second study addressing formative assessment for adult basic skill learners, whose web page was provided above.

Earlier in her career Janet taught ESOL in Japan for over two years, and  at the YMCA in Seattle Washington.


John Benseman

John Benseman has been involved in adult education and literacy for over 30 years working as a practitioner and program administrator, but mainly as a researcher and evaluator. He started his working life as a primary (elementary) school teacher, but “became disillusioned with the task of constantly trying to motivate reluctant learners and became much more interested in working with adults who were much more motivated”. After a year of studying adult education in Sweden, he worked in continuing medical education, followed by seven years of running a community-based adult education organization and a similar period of self-employment as a researcher. After 12 years of teaching adult education at the University of Auckland, he moved last year to the Department of Labour to run a national workplace literacy project. The aim of this project is to identify best practice in workplace literacy by evaluating 15 diverse programs throughout New Zealand. They are about halfway through and should complete it late next year. To date they have interviewed about 250 learners and are just starting to get their first post-program data. They expect to have data on about 500-600 learners when it is finished.

John’s PhD was an analysis of New Zealand as a learning society. In addition to a "zillion" reports, he has edited a book on New Zealand adult education and two weeks ago, another one (with Alison Sutton) on New Zealand adult literacy. He “mainly works from home in a study that looks out on to beautiful native bush, including a stream and lots of native birds”. He says "It’s summer here, so life includes jaunts to the beach, enjoying family life, frustrated attempts to lower a very average golf handicap and riding a motorbike to beat the Auckland traffic. My current project also includes a lot of travel round the country to interview people – a duty that I am even paid to do…"


With John Comings, John Benseman did the formative assessment research in the U.S., sponsored in part by the National Institute for Literacy


John Comings

Dr. John Comings was director of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) during its 11 years of funding from the US Department of Education. He is currently Senior Research Associate and lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a consultant on adult education in the U.S. and other countries. His research focuses on the impact of adult literacy programs and ways to support persistence of adult learners.


John Vorhaus

Dr John Vorhaus is Associate Director, Research, at the National Research and Development Centre in Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) at the Institute of Education. He is also Director of the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning. 


John has directed numerous projects on adult literacy, language and numeracy, many of these focused on teaching and learning practices, and also on disadvantaged groups such as offenders, ethnic minority groups and people who are not in education, training or employment.


On-going research is taken up with persons with profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities; their political status, the question of whether and how they are shown respect, and an examination of the teaching and learning practices best fitted to their needs and abilities. 


John has taught philosophy at the Universities of Bristol and London, and also in prison, adult and further education, and he continues to publish in the areas of political philosophy, philosophy of law and philosophy of education.


David J. Rosen

Special Topics Discussion Moderator

In preparation for our discussion Monday on formative assessment in adult foundation (basic) skills classes, our guests have suggested the following readings that will be found at:,3343,en_2649_37455_40026026_1_1_1_37455,00.html l


or at the short form of the web address:


The Case Studies; Literature Reviews; Overview of Policies and Programmes for Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Learners; and Country Background Reports are free and are linked at the bottom of the web page. You will also find information there for ordering the just published Teaching, Learning and Assessment for Adults: Improving Foundation Skills.


Key research which led up to this study, by Dylan Wiliam and Paul Black in England, will be found at:


David J. Rosen

Special Topics Discussion Moderator


9.  Women and Literacy

WE LEARN-Women Expanding Literacy Education Action Resource Network-"promotes women's literacy as a tool for personal growth and social change through networking, education, action and resource development."

WEB SITE:  Their web site ( has information and resources that focus on women's issues with curriculum and ideas for the adult education classroom.

A Natural Resource For Adult Education State Directors and their Staff Members
Dr. Lennox L. McLendon, Executive Director


P.S.  If you no longer wish to receive this mailing, please let me know!  Thanks!
Norene Peterson
Adult Education Center
415 N. 30th
Billings, MT 59101