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LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

Learning Connections
Professional Practice Seminars:

Teaching Reading
to Adults
A pack of resources and ideas for adult
literacies tutors
Judith Gawn, Jay Derrick, Samantha Duncan and Irene Schwab

A collection of ideas, strategies, innovations, resources and terribly


clever practices. (Comment from one of the participants evaluation
sheets)

July 2009

LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

Contents
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Section A: Background
Who the pack is for
How the pack came about
About the teaching programme
Aims and objectives of the teaching programme
The rationale for the teaching programme
What the tutors did and what info was drawn on
Suggestions for using the pack as a teaching and CPD resource

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Section B: Teaching and Learning Activities based on classroom investigations and case studies
Talking to learners about reading
Stimulating interest in reading
Linking reading to practices outside the classroom
Working with beginner readers:
The Language Experience approach
Using Phonics
Working with mixed ability groups
Reciprocal reading
Working with specific groups of learners
Finding and using appropriate materials:
Choosing texts
Simplifying texts
Teaching and learning approaches:
Giving feedback on reading
Identifying errors in reading
Reading for comprehension

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Section C: CPD activities

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What happened on the Professional Practice Seminar programme


Organising a tutor-led investigation
Further ideas for CPD activities

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Section D: Links to resources on the theory of teaching reading 33

Irene Schwabs presentation for the PPS programme: Working with Mixed
Ability Groups
Sam Duncans paper for the PPS programme: What are we doing when we
read? adult literacy learners perceptions of reading This is a draft version
of a paper to be published in Research in Post-Compulsory Education in
autumn 2009
Jude Gawn and Jay Derricks paper for the PPS programme: Effective
teaching and learning
Wendy Moss: Notes on the theories on the teaching of reading (see
references)
Victoria Purcell-Gates: Theres reading...and then theres reading process
models and instruction.
Allan Luke and Peter Freebody: The four resources accessed by literate
people.
Lighting the Way: the best available evidence about effective adult literacy,
numeracy and language teaching
From Assessment to Practice: Research-Based Approaches to Teaching
Reading to Adults: a webcast
Internet video resources on theoretical aspects of teaching reading

Section E: Further information and resources

Reading links to key articles


Links to websites
Useful books / packs

Section F: Glossary
Section G: Facilitators of the PPS programme
Section H: Participants in the PPS programme
Section I: Support Materials

LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

Section A: Background
Who the pack is for
This pack has been produced for adult literacies practitioners in Scotland who are working
with adult learners to develop their reading skills. It is intended that it will support both
teaching and continuing professional development. In the pack there are lots of ideas for
reading activities and resources which came from the practitioners involved in the
programme.

How the pack came about


The pack has been put together by drawing on the experiences of a group of practitioners
who took part in three continuing professional development (CPD) seminars in Glasgow and
Edinburgh in late 2008/early 2009. The seminars were funded by Learning Connections, a
Division of the Lifelong Learning Directorate of the Scottish Government and delivered by
Jay Derrick of BlueSky Learning Ltd, in collaboration with Judith Gawn from NIACE and
Irene Schwab and Samantha Duncan, both teacher educators from the Institute of
Education, University of London. More information about the facilitators can be found in
section G.
During the programme the tutors undertook classroom activities and investigations into
approaches and methods to teaching reading to adults. This pack contains ideas that were
tried out and evaluated by the participants, together with other materials and resources
recommended by participants and facilitators.

About the programme


The CPD programme consisted of three seminars alongside self-directed investigations into
classroom practice undertaken in tutors own classrooms. The first seminar in November
2008 aimed to stimulate thinking about the teaching of reading to adults, and about
aspects of their work the tutors felt more, or less, confident about. Working in small
groups they identified specific issues they wanted to work on and planned a classroombased investigation aimed at finding out more about effective classroom practice. Over the
following three months the tutors carried out their investigations and evaluated them with
the help of other colleagues on the programme.
The second and third seminars (January and March 2009) provided opportunities for the
participants to share their experiences and evaluate their investigations. There was also
expert input on three topics:

LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

Working with beginner readers, and using phonics

Working with mixed ability groups

Effective teaching and learning

At the end of the third and final seminar, participants produced reports on their
investigations setting out what they had done, what had worked, what hadnt and why.
The 50 participants who attended the programme were organised into nine groups. This
was done broadly on a geographic basis, in order to maximise the potential for group
members to communicate and support each other between the seminars. Mostly,
communication and interaction happened via email, although at times members did meet
up between the seminars. This emphasis on the importance of informal communication
between colleagues is a feature of the model for professional development known as
teacher learning communities (Wiliam 2007).
Participants also had access to the Learning Connections Virtual Learning Environment
(VLE), which enabled them to communicate with the group as a whole, and to access
programme documents and information.
The programme aimed to promote co-operative working between the tutors as
professionals to share and develop their own skills and knowledge. The facilitators also
provided support via email between the seminars and participants were encouraged to be
as proactive as possible, so as to get the most benefit from the programme.

Aims and objectives of the programme


The broad aims of the programme were to:

provide a framework and activities enabling tutor-led professional development


focusing on the teaching of reading to adults
evaluate this model of practitioner development
compile a tutor pack of resources and findings from the action research on
effective practice in the teaching of reading to adults

The specific objectives of the programme included:

More effective and sustained professional learning by participants


A greater impact on effective classroom practice in the future, along the lines
suggested by research findings

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A higher level of professional confidence and autonomy indicated by the


motivation and ability of practitioners to organise and sustain their own
professional development
Action research findings on the effectiveness and practicability of teacher
learning communities in the context of Scottish adult literacies work
A model for future professional development programmes focusing on different
CPD teaching topics

Participants were involved in the planning of the structure and content of this pack, as well
as contributing their experiences and the valuable insights they gained from the CPD
programme.

Rationale for the format of the programme


The facilitators approach to the teaching of adult literacy was informed by a social
practices view. Encompassed in that view is a belief that tutors need to have a thorough
grounding in the range of cognitive, psychological and social theories about the
development of literacy skills in order that they can critically evaluate their practice and
provide the most appropriate strategies and support for learners. The teaching of reading is
viewed as a collaborative activity in which tutors and students work together in an equal
partnership. This view is embedded within the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Curriculum
Framework for Scotland (Communities Scotland 2005) and has been widely written about
by David Barton, Mary Hamilton, Ute Papen and others (see resources and references listed
in Section E below)
This overarching perspective also informed the approach to teacher development.
Particularly for teachers with experience, the most effective professional learning must
include collaborative, practical (classroom-based) and informal elements. Research by
Hattie, Sadler, Black and William and others (see references in Section E) strongly suggests
that the most important factor in student persistence, progression and achievement is the
quality of classroom teaching and learning, and that formative assessment approaches 1
are likely to be a key part of effective teaching and learning.
The research findings about effective teaching and learning in the adult literacies classroom
apply equally to teacher training and development. Recent development projects in
Scotland and elsewhere (see for example Ackland 2008) have pointed to the value of

RecentlydefinedinanOECDpublicationonadultlearningasfollows:Formativeassessmentreferstothefrequent
assessmentoflearnerunderstandingandprogresstoidentifyneedsandshapeteaching.Formativeassessmentis
sometimesreferredtoasassessmentforlearning,distinctfromassessmentoflearning(testsandexaminations)
(Looney2008).AnearlierOECDpublicationalsoemphasisedtheimportanceofsystematicpractice,inwhichformative
assessmentisafullyintegratedfeatureofteachingandlearning(OECD2005).

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incorporating action research into teacher training and development. This aligns well with
an emphasis on formative assessment approaches and suggests that teacher development
activities, both initial and in-service, should also be planned and organised formatively, so
as to be most effective and to have maximum and sustainable impact on classroom
practice.

What the tutors did


The tutors identified a range of issues/relating to reading that they wanted to work on,
many of which were related to encouraging a greater interest in reading, in developing
reading stamina and in developing student autonomy. Tutors wanted to know and
understand more about working with beginner readers and with mixed ability groups,
addressing individual reading difficulties and encouraging learners to read more outside of
the classroom. Choosing appropriate texts and finding stimulating and relevant reading
material was another area where tutors felt they needed more ideas. On the basis of their
identified issues, the tutors chose to focus on a specific action that they could take in the
classroom as a form of mini-investigation. The idea was not for tutors to be told what they
should do, but for them to try things out, see what worked and what didnt and why.
Investigations and approaches that the tutors decided on included:

Talking to learners about the reading process

Actively involving learners in choosing texts

Setting up a self-directed reading group

Using the Language Experience approach with beginner readers

Focusing on phonics

Focusing on error analysis

Using the 6 Book Challenge to stimulate reading

Improving the quality of feedback on reading

Investigating triggers that would engage people with reading

Looking at reading outside the classroom and linking with reading in the classroom

Using song lyrics to engage learners in reading activities

Focusing on reading for pleasure

Paired reading

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Differentiating approaches to address learning styles

Improving the assessment of individual reading skills and interests

Involving learners as critical readers of others texts

Encouraging active, critical reading

Often the approaches that tutors took involved more than one of the elements on this list.
Sometimes tutors tried one thing, found it didnt work for their group or individual learners
and then tried something different. The main objective was that the tutors reflected on
how things worked in order to develop, refine or occasionally reject their approach.

Suggestions for using this pack as a teaching and CPD resource


You can use the ideas and resources in this pack in your own classroom teaching or you
can use them as part of professional development activities, individually or collaboratively
within a teacher learning community (See Section D).
Whatever you choose to use, it is important to remember that not every approach will work
for every learner. It is up to individual tutors to try things out and find what works. In the
case studies, we have included information about what went well and what didnt work so
well which we hope will provide some pointers to things to do and things it may be best
to avoid.

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Section B Teaching and Learning Activities


Talking to learners about reading
Research suggests (see for example, Duncan 2009) that it is important to talk to learners
about the how of reading as well the why or the what, in other words to get learners to
reflect on what they are doing when they read. Encouraging learners to talk about their
perspectives on reading can help the tutor understand more about the learner and about
how they are approaching reading. Being explicit about the approaches that you use as a
tutor, and involving learners in evaluating those approaches, including what works or
doesnt for them, can help to give the learner more say over the process.
Case Study: Learners thinking and talking about reading
Onetutordecidedshecouldonlyhelpherlearnerswiththeirreadingifshehadagoodideaofwhatreading
istothem,howtheydefinedorunderstoodreading.Shewasworkingwithagroupoftenlearners.She
startedbyinterviewing/meetingwitheachlearnerindividually,askingquestionslike:

Whatisreading?
Whatarewedoingwhenweread?
Whatkindsofthingsdoyoureadorwanttoread?
Whatseasyaboutreading?

Whatsharderaboutreading?
Howwouldyouhelpsomeonewhowantedtolearntoread?
Thetutoralsoranafocusgroup,askingsimilarquestionstothewholegroup,askingthelearnerstomake
mindmapsonflipchartpaperwiththeirideas.Withthelearnerspermission,sheaudiotapedthe
individualmeetingsandfocusgroups.Shelistenedtothemoverandovertocomeupwithalistofwhat
readingwastoherlearners.Next,shegavethislisttothelearnersandtheydiscussedit,bothintermsof
whattheyeachagreedordisagreedwith,butalsointermsofidentifyingwhatitmeantfortheirlearning.
Forexample,manylearnersfeltthatyouneedtostartbyreadingeasybooks(withwordsyoualready
know)overandover,beforeyoucanprogresstomoredifficultbooks.Thetutorandlearnersdiscussedhow
thismeanttheyshouldstartbypractisingreadingbookstheyalreadyfindeasierandonlywhentheyare
veryconfidentwiththese,moveontomoredemandingtexts.
Tutorevaluation
Learnerswerekeentodiscusstheirownideasaboutreadingandfeltpleasedthattheseideaswerebeing
takenseriously.Thetutorwashappytogetsucharangeofideaswhichcouldbetranslatedintoideasfor
teaching.Thewholeprocesswaseffectiveinfocusingthe learnersandthetutoronthinkinghard about

whatkindofactivityorexperiencereadingreallyis,insteadofassumingthatwealreadyknowthis.Ittakes
timetospeaktoeachlearnerindividuallyandtolistentothetapesandtakenotes(buttimewellspent!)

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Starter activity
Introduce a discussion about reading. You can do this in pairs or in small groups. Ask
learners what they can remember about learning to read, what sort of strategies they use
already and why they find reading difficult. Ask them to think about how they see someone
who is a reader and someone who is a non-reader. Ask them why they think it is important
to be able to read and whether it is more important to read some things than others.
Development activities:

Ask learners what they would most like to read. Encourage them to talk to each
other about their choice and explain why they have made it.

Reflect on what you are supporting your learners to be able to do. Do you want
them to read well technically, or do you want them to be active and critical readers,
or both? Be explicit with your learners about your approaches to reading as a
teacher and be prepared to justify why you think the way you do. Do your learners
share the same reasons for improving their reading or do they have different
motivations?

Talk about why people read and the different things that people read. You could
show a variety of reading materials. Is it more important to be able to read some
things than others? Why? Will understanding this make it easier to make choices
about what you read?

Encourage the learners to read critically. Talk about what they think the writer is
trying to say to the readers, whether they have a particular point of view or why
they might have written what they have. Is the writer successful in getting their
point of view across?

Involve learners in evaluating what you are doing. If you try something new around
reading, let the learners know, ask them to tell you what they think about it,
whether it helps them or not and why.

Set up a reading group if learners are interested. Encourage them to choose what
they want to read and take responsibility for organising. There are lots of reading
groups in local libraries, some of which are run specifically for new readers. (Link?)

Further reading:

Understanding what reading is all about Teaching Materials and Lessons for Adult Basic
Education Learners, NCSALL, July 2005

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Stimulating reading
One of the first tasks was to think about how to stimulate reading as a fun and enjoyable
activity in the classroom. Tutors felt it was important to:

Let the learners lead on what they wanted/interested them

Encourage a passionate interest in reading by focusing on learners own interests

Build up a resource bank of texts fiction and factual books, magazines,


newspapers, pictures, postcards, books with tapes/CDs.

Case Study: 6 Book Challenge


Onetutorbuiltupabankofresourcesbutthestudentsshowedlittleinterestuntilthetutorinviteda
librarianfromthelocallibrarythatwasrunningthe6BookChallenge.Thisgrabbedtheinterestofthe
learnerswhoallgotinvolvedinlookingatthebooksthatthelibrarianhadbroughtin.ThetutorsaidThere
wasarealbuzz.Onelearnerreadthreebooksinaweek.Thenextstepistoproduceaquarterlymagazine
towhichthelearnerswillcontributetheirbookreviews.Thetutorfeltthewholeexperiencehadhelpedto
bondthegroup.

Starter activity
Start up a conversation about what people read now and what theyd really like to be able
to read. Talk to the students about something you have read recently and why you enjoyed
it. Get hold of a supply of books from your local library or a collection of Quick Reads.
Development activities

Read a short story to the group stop at various points to discuss or ask questions
about what they think might happen next.

Record short stories from the radio and listen as a group.

Take part in the 6 book challenge.

Ask students to make a mental note of all of the things that they might read on their
way to and from the learning centre or when they are out shopping. What things
would they really like to be able to read?

Encourage an atmosphere where students feel keen to come in and tell the others
about what they have read.

Put student writing up on the wall if you can and encourage students to read each
others work.

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Case Study: From watching films to reading books

Onetutornoticedthatalthoughherstudentswerenotconfidentaboutreadingoutsidetheclassroom,
someofthemwereverykeenonfantasyandhorrormovies.Therewasintenseconversationaboutthe
latestHarryPotterfilmandthefilmsbasedonStephanieMeyersvampireseriesofnovels.She
suggestedthattheymightliketotryreadingthebooksthatthefilmsarebasedon,helpingeachother
whileintheclass.Afteratentativestart,thiswasverysuccessfulindeed,asotherfriendsofthese
studentswerereadingthesebookstoo,anditenabledtwostudentsinparticulartoreadwholebooks
whichwouldhavebeenfartoodauntingbefore.Thetutoralsostartedstudentsthinkingaboutgenres
offilmsandnovels,forexamplebyhavingdiscussionsaboutbooksbasedjustonlookingatthecover:
Whatdoyouthinkthisbookisabout?Whodoyouthinkwouldlikethisbook?Shethenextendedthis
bywritingshortsynopsesofbookstostimulatethesamediscussions.Finallyshegotstudentstowrite
theirownveryshortsynopsesofbookstheyhadbeenreading,andbeganextendingtheworktoinclude
reviewing.Alloftheseactivitiesgraduallyhelpedpeoplewhodidnotconsiderthemselvestobereaders,
togainmuchmoreconfidenceasnewmembersofthereadingclub.Thetutorsaidthatakeyelement
ofthisstrategyistokeepextendingthework,sothatstudentsgettoseethemselvesasreadersin
general,aswellasreadersofaparticulargenre.

Linking reading to practices outside the classroom


A social practices view of literacy makes strong links between what people read and write
at home or work and what they do in the classroom. If reading in the classroom isnt
interesting and relevant to what the learners need or want to read in their daily lives, they
wont be motivated to practice those skills outside.
The first thing is to find out from learners what they would be interested in reading. You
could ask learners to tell you about their hobbies and interests, but also think about those
situations where they wanted or needed to be able to read something and couldnt.
Case Study: Setting up a reading resource box
Severaltutorswantedtheirlearnerstobecomemoreselfmotivatedandtoreadforpleasureoutsidethe
classroom.Thetutorsdecidedtofocusonfindingtextsforlearnersthatsuitedtheirpersonalinterests,
whetherthatwasfictionorhobbies,andcollectedtogetheraresourceboxofbooksthatlearnerscouldtake
homeandkeepiftheywantedto.Learnerswereencouragedtoreadathomeandmakeanoteofanynew
orunfamiliarvocabularythatcouldthenformthebasisofspellingworkinthegroup.
TutorEvaluationLearnerswerecertainlymotivatedbyreadingbooksthatrelatedtotheirowninterests
andbythefactthattheycouldkeepthebooks.Somelearnersjoinedthelocallibrarysothattheycould
borrowmorebooks.Thetutoralsofeltithelpedthatlearnersdidntfeelunderpressuretoreportbackon
whattheyhadreadortostudyittodeath.Notalllearnerstooktoit.Itwastoomuch,toosoonforsome
learners.

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Starter activity:
Put together a resource box with books and other reading materials on a variety of topics
autobiography, romance fiction, true life stories, cookery books, sports manuals, specialist
magazines etc. Try to find books that will be of interest to your learners and of about the
right level for them involve your learners in putting the resource box together and ask
them to contribute ideas and examples of books they have enjoyed. Encourage learners to
borrow a book but dont pile on the pressure to finish it.
Development activities:

Use some time in the session to discuss what people have read, what they enjoyed,
and what they didnt. Ask people to say why they were motivated to read the book,
and if they didnt finish it, why not?

Encourage learners to write mini-reviews of what they have read for other learners

Ask the group to suggest other things that people might want to read: If you
enjoyed this, then you will also enjoy reading ....

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Working with beginner readers


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The Language Experience approach

Working with new readers can often be challenging, but several tutors found that the
Language Experience approach worked well. Language Experience is a method for
encouraging reading by using the natural language and words of the learner for the
composition of reading texts, which they can then use for reading and writing practice. A
more detailed explanation and examples of this approach can be found in a recent article
by Jane Mace, called Language Experience, whats going on?.

Here is another case study:


Case Study: Using the Language Experience approach
Atutorworkingwithalearnerwhohadsufferedastrokeandlosttheuseofhisrightside,wasstrugglingto
helphimlearntoreadagainandwritewithhislefthand.ShefoundthatusingtheLanguageExperience
approach,andreadingbackwordsthathewasfamiliarwith,increasedhisconfidenceandhismotivation.
Initially,theyfocusedjustonpeoplesnamesandsinglewords,andthenmovedontowholesentencesand
paragraphs.Thetutorfeltthatitwasimportantthatthelearnerwaswillingtotalkabouthimselfandfind
topicsthathadanemotionalconnection,sotheytalkedaboutSundaysandthebirthofagranddaughter.
Thelearnerwasveryhappytofindthathecouldreadhisownwords.Inthewordsofthetutorsomething
clickedandhewassoonabletorecognisethosewordsinothertexts.Soonhebegantorecognisethe
punctuationandfoundrhythminthetext.
Anotherlearnerinthegroupwouldnttalkaboutthemselves,butwasinterestedinlearningtocook.The
tutorusedthesameapproachtoworkoneasyrecipes.Thelearnerisnowmovingontolongertextsand
readingbetter.

Starter activity
Find a topic that the learner is interested in talking about. Ask them to say a couple of
things about that. Write down the learners words verbatim (ie word for word) using a
neat, readable cursive script. Initially keep the text to no more than three sentences, and
only one short sentence if the learner is a very new reader. Read the text back to the
learner and check that is what they want to say. Now read the text together or encourage
the learner to read it on their own.
Development activities

Write out the sentence or sentences again, keeping the original as a master copy.
Cut up the second copy into single words and ask the learner to re-order them,

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using the master as a guide. Ask the learner to read the text again to make sure it
is the same.

Ask the learner to identify single words which word says...?

Pick out key words for learning to spell. Keep a word bank on cards.

Record the learner reading the text. Erase stutters and pauses and give the learner
the recording so they can listen to themselves reading while they follow the text.

Identify words that have been learnt in other texts.

Things to be aware of
This activity can be time-consuming for the tutor in terms and therefore needs to be
planned in carefully so that other students dont feel neglected.
This is an activity that can be transferred to groups but is best done on a one-to-one basis.
Providing the students are willing, you could pair them up to help each other with
reordering sentences, identifying words and practising reading. Some students may find the
personal aspect threatening until they feel confident with the teacher and the group.
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Using Phonics

Using a phonic approach with beginner readers can really help to move them on,
particularly if they have never learnt about sound-symbol relationships before. An
understanding of phonics can help students to decode unfamiliar words providing they have
a regular sound-symbol correspondence, eg how now brown cow. However, there are lots
of words in the English language that are irregular or where the sound is spelt in a variety
of different ways. For example, there are a number of different sounds for the ough
spelling: rough and tough may be ok, but what about cough, through, borough, dough,
bough! Tutors also need to be aware of regional differences in how a student is
pronouncing a word which could lead to confusion. It is important to remember that
although phonics may be the answer for some words, that students will need a range of
strategies for decoding unfamiliar words. Its also important not to spend too long focusing
on this within a session 20 minutes or so is quite long enough.
Most of the resources and reading schemes based on phonics are for use with children and
not suitable for adults, so tutors may have to make their own. The important thing is to be
very systematic when introducing phonics and explicit with the students about why and
how you are using this approach. For a good explanation of the phonic approach see
chapter 5 of the NRDC Literacy Teachers Handbook, (2009, in press). If you dont have
access to a suitable reading scheme, then flash card games and word dominoes are a

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useful resource. There is a suggested order for teaching phonics in the English National
Adult Literacy Core Curriculum, and the topic is also dealt covered in a NIFL webcast on
teaching reading, and a Teachers TV video debate.

Working with mixed ability groups


Many of the tutors on the programme were working with very mixed groups of both
beginner and fluent readers and they wanted their learners to become self-motivated and
to read for the pleasure of it. The challenge was to provide each individual within the group
with appropriate reading material and to give them sufficient time and attention to keep
them motivated in their reading. In any group, a tutor needs to make sure that they
differentiate their approaches and materials according to the individuals reading readiness,
interests and learning profiles. In a mixed ability group there will be a range of differences
between individuals relating to their existing skills, knowledge and understanding, their
prior experiences of life and learning, their attitudes, motivation, interests and learning
style.
Organising learners on a course into flexible groupings or pairs can mean that all of the
learners can have access to the same content but have different learning outcomes
according to their interests, abilities and learning preferences. Several tutors found that
investigating their learners different learning styles and addressing those through different
activities helped. Understanding the different strategies that learners were using to
approach the decoding of texts meant that the tutors could pair up learners or organise
them in small groups to help each other.
Case Study: Group reading of plays and short stories
Onetutorwantedtoengageherlearnersmoreactivelyinreadingtogether.Havingassessedthatmostof
thelearnerswerecomfortablewithmoreactive,kinaestheticapproaches,shesuggestedtheyreadaloud
anddiscusshowtheythoughtthelanguageofthetextssoundedtothem.Initiallyshetriedtoencourage
thelearnerstomakeupandperformaplaythattheytaped,buttherewasnointerestinthat.Insteadthe
tutordevisedtwoshortplays,wherethetextswerebasedonconversationsbetweenthelearners.The
playswereengagingandamusingbecausethelearnersrecognisedthemselves,thingstheyhadsaidand
topicsthathadbeendiscussed.Thelearnerswereencouragedtomaketheirownchangestotheirparts
andthewordstheyused.Followingonfromthisatalatersession,thegroupreadthroughshortstories,
takingitinturnstoreadaloud.Thegroupthenamendedandreconstructedthetextsforthemselves.They
discussedthevocabularyandsuggestedalternativesthatwerebettersuitedtotheirowneverydaylanguage.
Thelearnersstartedhesitantlyatfirst,butwarmedtothetaskandproducedalotofalternativewordsand
expressionstomakethestorymoreunderstandabletothemselvesandtheirvernacular.Therewas
discussionabouttheuseoflanguageandwhypeoplewouldchooseonewordratherthananother,what
effecttheycouldbetryingtoachieveandthepossibilityofusinglanguagetoobscuremeaningandtosimply
showoff.

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Tutorevaluation
Theactivitiesbuiltthelearnersconfidence,intermsoftheiruseoflanguageandgenerally,andtheirability
tochallengeandtoarticulatetheirideas.Thetasksledontocriticaldiscussionsofreading,howwespeak
andthewordsweuse.Theactivitieswerefunandchallengingandwereameaningfulwaytoreadaloud.
Theplaysbasedonthelearnersconversationshelpedtoreinforcetheideathatvernacularisvalidandthat
thewordsweuseareworthdiscussingandrecording.
Writingascriptcanbetimeconsuming.Somelearnersstillstruggledwithreadingtheirpartsanddidnt
progressverymuch.

Many of the tutors tried out approaches that involved the learners as critical readers of
texts. They wanted the learners to be more engaged and motivated by choosing texts for
themselves rather than choosing for them.
Case study: Involving the learner as a critical reader
Onetutor,whowasworkingwithlearnerswithmentalhealthdifficulties,hadaccesstotwowritersin
residencewhowereproducingshortstoriesbasedoncharactersfromthelocalarea.Thesuccessofthe
readingmaterialwasinthefactthattheyreflectedlocalexperiencesandlocalknowledge.Thelearners
wereaskedtoreadthestoriesascriticalreadersandhadthechancetomeettheauthorsandfeedback
theirideasandcomments.
Tostimulatethelearnersinterest,thetutorreadsomeoftheshortstoriestothem,stoppingatexciting
momentstodiscusswhattheythoughtmighthappennext.Thisrequiredthelearnerstoasktheirown
questionsofthetextandmotivatedthemtowanttofindoutmore.

Several tutors found that pairing students up to read helped with their motivation and
allowed the tutor some time to give attention to those most in need. This needs to be set
up carefully, with clear ground rules agreed by learners about how to give your partner
time and space to work things out for themselves, when to jump in and help, what sort of
questions the pairs might ask each other about what they have read. Activities such as this
also need to be monitored and evaluated to find out how and what ways they benefit
learners. Ask learners directly about this and whether they might want to change in any
way how the activities are carried out.

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Case study: Paired reading


OnetutordecidedtousetheQuickReadsbooksonashortcoursewithyoungpeople,manyofwhomwere
quitedisengagedfromlearning.Sheintroducedthelearnerstothelibrarywhereallofthebookswereon
show.Thelearnerschoseabookwhichtheycouldtakehomeandreadintheirowntimeandattheirown
pace.Thetutorpairedupthelearnersaccordingtotheirinterests:Itwasinterestingtoseehowthey
chosethebooksaccordingtocovers,pictures,blurbs.Thetutorwantedthediscussionbetweenthepairs
tobeinformal,sodidnotsetanyspecificquestionsanditdidntmatterhowfartheyhadgotwiththebook.
TutorEvaluation
Itwashelpfulthatitwasntoverlyplannedormonitoredwithlaboriouswritingexercisesattached.The
tutoralsoreflectedonwhatmoresheneededtofindoutaboutherlearnersandaboutherownknowledge
oflanguageandreadingapproaches.Shefeltthatitwasagoodactivityforfindingoutthevocabularythat
learnersfounddifficult.ThefactthatsomelearnersspokeacommonlanguageathomebutreadinEnglish
becausetheyfounditeasierhadmotivatedhertolookattheimpactofmothertongueontheirliteracy
capabilitiesinEnglish.Itwasdifficulttoassesswhattheimpactofpairedactivityhadhadonthelearners
individualreadingdevelopment.Therewasverypositivepeerpressuretochooseandreadabook,butit
wasunclearhowmotivationaltheactivityactuallywas.

The benefits of paired reading can be extended by the use of reciprocal reading, in
which tutor and student, or student and student, take turns leading a conversation about a
piece of writing. The technique is summarised here. The idea is that in leading the
conversation the students will be predicting, questioning, summarising and clarifying
misleading parts of the text, and thus continually checking their understanding of it. The
technique implies the belief that making sense of texts, especially if the context is
unfamiliar, is best done in collaboration with others. Further summaries and discussions of
this powerful technique can be found in Section E.

Working with specific groups of learners


Many of the tutors on the programme were working with particular groups of learners, such
as young homeless people or young parents. They found it was important to base their
approach to reading within the specific context or situation in which the students were
learning. This meant developing activities and learning materials specific to that context:
Case study: working with homeless young people
Atutorworkingwithagroupofhomeless1619yearoldscontactedherlocalradiostation.Onwork
experienceattheradiostationtheyoungpeoplerealisedthattheyneededtodeveloptheirreadingand
writingskillsinordertodotasksrequired.ThetutorusedthecontextsofDJingandradiotechnologyto
helpthemdeveloptheirreading.

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Case study: working with single parents


Anothertutorwasworkingwithagroupofsingleparentswhodecidedtowritebedtimestoriesfortheir
children.Theyreadanumberofstoriestogetherandthenchoseastorywheretheycouldusethestoryasa
templatebutwithdifferentcharacters,beginningsorendings,tomakethemrelevanttotheirownfamilies.

Case study: working with traveller women


Atutorworkingwithagroupofyoungwomentravellersfounditveryhardtofindsuitablematerials.She
askedthewomentowritestoriesabouttheirownexperienceswhichtheysharedandreadtoeachother.
(Fortextsspecificallyabouttravellerexperiences,seeFurtherInformationandResources)

Many of the tutors were interested in developing phonic approaches to reading, particularly
where learners had specific difficulties in reading. One tutor used the language experience
approach combined with phonological exercises. Phonics can really help some students
and the tutor recommends persevering even if it seems hard initially. She suggests: Make
it fun! But if, after a while, it really doesnt seem to make sense to the learner, try another
approach.
Case study: Language Experience combined with a phonic decoding approach
Topicsfordiscussionwerediscussedwiththelearnersandthenthetutorscribedthelearnersstory.The
textwasthenusedforthelearnertoreadandforthetutortoidentifyanydifficultiesthelearnershadin
reading.Thetutordevisedarangeofphonologicalexercisestohelpwithsoundingoutandspellingthe
words.Sheencouragedthelearnerstoidentifywordstheywantedtospellandtotypeupthestoryifthey
could.Thetutorsaysthattherearebenefitsforlearnersatalllevelsandthattheyallenjoyedit.For
beginnerlearnerstheyaremorerelaxedbecausetheyrecognisetheirownwords.Forbetterreadersthis
approachhasencouragedthemtobemorepreciseandnotjusttryandguesswhatthewordmightbe.The
tutoralsousedthetexttohelplearnersconsidertheuseofpunctuation.

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Finding and using appropriate materials


1

Choosing texts

Many tutors were keen to motivate their learners to read more widely and to be more
independent in their ability to choose what to read. The key to this, they agreed, was
finding texts and materials that were of personal interest to learners and emotionally
engaging (passionate interest texts). This required that the tutors find out more about
their learners interests, hobbies and purposes for reading.
Case study: Encouraging learners to be self-motivated readers by choosing their
own reading material
Agroupoftutorsfocusedontailoringbookchoicestolearnersinterests,withtheaimofencouraging
learnerstobeselfmotivatedreadersforbothpleasureandfurtherlearning.Thetutorsdiscussedwiththe
learnerswheretheirpersonalinterestslayandfoundbookstomatchthoseascloselyastheycould.Book
choicesincluded:visualdictionaries,booksonautism,poetry,historyoffarmingduringthewar,Catherine
Cooksonnovels,booksonfishing,Disneybooks,DungeonsandDragonstypefantasy,sportsmagazinesand
newspapersections,learnerauthoredstoriespublishedbyNIACEandotherpublishers,historicalfiction.
Somelearnerstooktothereadingeasierthanothers.Forothersitprovedtobethoroughlyenjoyableand
spurredthemintojoiningthelocallibraryforthefirsttime.Thebigquestioniswhetherlearnerswilltake
thenextstepoffindingtheirownreadingmaterialindependently.
Tutorevaluation

Overallithadapositiveimpactonlearners.Onelearnerisnowdevelopingherownshortstorywritingwith
awriterinresidence.Ithasalsohelpedthetutorstounderstandmoreabouttheirlearnerswishesand
motivations.Accompaniedvisitstothelocallibrarycanhelplearnerstotakethebigsteptowardsbecoming
moreindependentreaders.
Somelearnerswhohadnevershownaninterestinreadingforpleasuredidntparticularlyenjoythisactivity
andmorethoughtwillneedtobegiventohowtoengagethem.

Sometimes tutors need to look for materials outside of their own comfort zones and try
different activities with learners. This is particularly the case when working with groups of
younger learners, although the tutor in the case study below felt that the most positive
thing she had learned from her investigation was that tutors should not be afraid to try new
activities with learners: I was surprised at how quickly the learners were able to relate to
the materials and how open and interesting the discussions were that took place.

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Several of the tutors had used song lyrics as reading material with their learners. Mr
President by Pink was recommended! Tutors on the programme suggest its a good idea to
build up a bank of interesting song lyrics.
Casestudy:Usingsonglyricstoengageyoungpeopleinreadingactivities
Onetutorwasworkingwithagroupofyoungpeople(1625)withverybasicskillsinreadingandwritingand
lowselfesteem.Noneofthemclaimedthattheyread,althoughtheywerenotunwillingtodoso.Finding
suitablereadingmaterialsforthemhasbeenaproblemsoshedecidedtousesonglyricstoengagethemin
readingandaskedthemtobringinmusicthattheylikedtolistento.Thegroupdiscussedwhattheyfeltthe
songswereaboutandmadegroupnotesabouttheirthoughts.Usingoneofthesessionstofocusonusing
theinternettosearchforsonglyrics,thetutorthenaskedeachlearnertopickasongandprintedoutthe
lyrics.Eachsongwasusedasaminiproject.Thetutorhelpedthelearnerstobuilduppersonalwordbanks
andshealsocreatedwordcardsandsoundcardgamesthatrelatedtothewrittentext.Shealsofound
computerbasedactivitiesthatrelatedtotheareastheywantedorneededtoworkon.Somestudents
movedontoreadingshortstorieswithaccompanyingCDstolistento.
Tutorevaluation
Theactivityreallyswitchedtheyoungpeopleontolookingatwrittentextsandgainingmoremeaningfrom
them.Knowingthattherewasntarightandwronganswertotakingmeaningfromwordswasreally
important.

Simplifying texts

Sometimes students will struggle with reading what they want to read because the text is
too difficult. It is a good idea to produce a simplified version to make texts easier to read,
but be careful not to lose the original ideas or other features which made the text
interesting in the first place. Although lots of words can be replaced by more easily
decoded alternatives, you may want to leave in some harder words which are key to the
meaning or which the student is keen to be able to read.
To simplify a text:

Leave out any unnecessary information

Replace long or difficult words with easier synonyms

Make complex sentences into simple or compound ones

Shorten sentences that are too long or convoluted

Use active rather than passive verbs

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Enlarge the font use Ariel or Comic Sans

Dont put too much on a page and leave plenty of white space around the text

Use double line spacing

Use illustrations to help with understanding

Learning Connections has produced a guidance leaflet for simplifying texts.


NIACE/BSA has produced an updated version of their free guide to readability.

Effective teaching and learning approaches


This section draws on recent research on the most effective teaching and learning
approaches and techniques. These apply in general to any teacher teaching any subject to
any group of students in any situation, though the specific context will influence how they
are used. You can find out more about this research and its implications by following up
the references given in Section E on effective teaching and learning. Participants in the
PPS programme focused on three areas under this heading: giving feedback, identifying
errors, and reading for comprehension.
1

Giving feedback on reading

Most teachers are familiar with giving feedback either orally or written. Often feedback
focuses on the content of a piece of work or the performance of a skill. Something along
the lines of:
You read that well, its much more fluent. Just be more careful with noticing the
word endings. Well done.
This type of feedback, usually referred to as the praise sandwich, can become very bland
and meaningless, with the tutor merely commenting on how the student has done. A
more useful model is one where the feedback is a two-way, interactive dialogue between
tutors and students and between students themselves. The purpose then becomes not just
about giving the student information about the progress they have made and practical
advice about what to do next or how to improve, but to listen to the students responses,
to check their understanding and motivation and to monitor any changes in their purposes
and aspirations. It is an opportunity for the tutor to become more aware of their own
perceptions of their students strengths and weaknesses and of gaps in their knowledge. It
can give the tutor insights into the different approaches or strategies that the student is
bringing to the reading task. It can also help the tutor understand which tasks and
purposes for reading are important to their students and what their feelings are about how
they think they learn best.

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Casestudy:Givingfeedbackonreading
Twotutorsfocusedonimprovingthequalityofthefeedbackthattheyweregivingtolearnersabouttheir
reading.Theyalsoattemptedtoassesstheimpactonlearnersofgivingmoreandbetterfeedback.
Thetutorswerekeentoprovideusefulfeedbacktotheirlearnerswhichhelpedthemtothinkaboutthenext
stepstheyneededtotake,andtomoveawayfromblandcommentssuchasfantasticorbrilliant.They
reflectedonthepurposesoffeedback,whichtheyidentifiedaspraise,correctionandcheckingfor
understanding.Theyfeltitwasimportantnottooverpraiseasthiscouldinthelongrunbecome
meaningless.Theyagreedthatcorrectionwasnotaboutthetutortellingthelearnerwhattheyhadgot
wrongbutthatfeedbackshouldbeundertakenasadialoguebetweenthetutorandthelearner,ideally
askingquestionsthatencouragethelearnertospotmistakesforthemselves.Checkingforunderstanding
wasalsoaboutdialogue,forinstancerephrasingsomethingthelearnerhasjustreadtoassesstheir
comprehension.
TutorEvaluation
Bothtutorsfeltthattheyhadbecomemorereflective,thattheexercisehadconcentratedtheirmindsand
thatthequalityoftheirfeedbackhaddefinitelyimproved.Howevertheyalsofeltthattheyneededtoknow
moreabouthowtomeasuretheimpactoftheirchangesonlearners.

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Identifying errors in reading

The tutor in the case study below built her classroom investigation around analysing errors
in learners reading. Although initially worried that she was focusing on the errors, the
strategies she used helped her to more accurately identify the specific areas that learners
needed to work on. She is still concerned about whether focusing on errors may have a
negative impact or whether accuracy is more or less important than understanding.

Casestudy:Erroranalysistoaddressreadingaccuracy
Onetutordecidedtofocusonanalysinglearnererrorsintheirreading.Shelistenedtoeachlearnerreading
andmarkedtheerrorsonaseparatesheet,tapingthereadingifthelearnerfeltconfident.Tapingthe
readingalsoallowedhertothinkaboutpaceandfluency.Sheanalysedtheerrorsundertheheadings:
substitution/omission/addition/repetition/transposition/pronunciation.Shealsomadeanoteof
wherethelearnermanagedtoselfcorrect.Thismadehermoreawareofthetypeoferrorbeingmadeand
howoftenthelearnermadeit.Itallowedhertoplangroupworkaroundspecificareassuchaswordendings
andbeginnings,letterpatternsandsightwords.Theactivitypromptedagroupdiscussiononhowpeople
usedifferentstrategieswhentheycometoanunfamiliarwordwhichhelpedbuildgroupcohesionand
confidence.Thetutoralsolookedattheuseofpunctuationandhowthishelpedinexpressionwhenreading
aloud.
Tutorevaluation
Identifyingandanalysingthetypeoferrormadethegroupmoreawarethattherewasareasonfortheerror
andithelpedthelearnerstoseethattheywerenottheonlyonesmakingmistakes.Thetutoralsofeltit
helpedwithspellingandwriting.Notingandacknowledgingwhenthelearnerwasselfcorrectinggavean
opportunityforpraiseandconfidencebuilding.Tapingthereadingandplayingitbacktothelearnergave
themanopportunitytohearthemselvesreading,withtheerrors.Whentheytapedthesamepassagebeing
readafterworkingonerrorcorrection,theyreallynoticedthedifference.
Theonetoonereadingandtapingwastimeconsumingandonlyworkedwhenthetutorhadavolunteer
withher.Initiallyitwasdifficultmarkingtheerrorsasthestudentread,althoughthiswasaskillthatthe
tutorimprovedafterafewruns!

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Reading for comprehension

We are all agreed that whilst it is important to be able to decode unfamiliar words, the
main thing is that students understand and can gain meaning from what they read. This
means understanding the explicit meanings and being able to read between the lines, to
think about what the implicit messages are. Students therefore need to be introduced to a
range of comprehension strategies. These might include:
Introducing the reading text with a discussion about what the students know already about
this topic and what they might expect from the text

Familiarising the students with key words that appear in the text

Stopping during the reading at suitable points to highlight what may be unfamiliar
ideas or vocabulary, to discuss unexpected or controversial ideas, or to ask
questions about what might come next

Encouraging students to summarise what they have read or explain to each other

Asking students a series of questions, either oral or written, about factual details or
vocabulary but also to stimulate thinking about why something might have
happened as it did, whether the students agree with what they have read, or what
might happen next.

Encouraging students to ask questions for themselves about what they have read

One tutor found that encouraging her students to listen to a story with their eyes closed
and visualise what was happening in the story actually helped with reading and
comprehension.
CaseStudy:Improvingreadingforcomprehension
Oneofthetutorsusedanapproachwhichinvolvedthelearnerinvisualisingthestoryasshereadsinorder
tohelpherdevelopreadingfluencyandimprovecomprehension.Thetutorbeganbyprovidingthelearner
withavarietyofsynopsesofarangeoftexts.Sheaskedthelearnertochoosewhatshewantedtoreadand
tothinkcriticallyaboutthereasonswhyshehadchosenthatparticulartext.Thetutorprovidedbookson
CDandstoriesaccompaniedbypictures.AsthelearnerlistenstotheCDshecloseshereyesandvisualises
thestory.Thetutorsaysthatthislearnerisabletorememberandunderstandmoreofthestorythanshe
usedtobeabletodo.Ithasalsoencouragedhertoreadmoreforpleasureonaregularbasis.Thetutor
alsofeelsthelearnerismorerelaxedinherapproachtoreading,shespendslessenergyondecodingthe
textandiskeentoreadontofindoutwhathappens.

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Section C - CPD Activities


1

What happened on the PPS programme

The reading programme on which this pack has been put together was based on a model
of professional development known as teacher learning communities. It was proposed by
Dylan Wiliam (Wiliam 2007) for the sustainable organisation of continuous professional
development of teachers. The model advocates that small groups of teachers meet
periodically to evaluate innovations and experiments in classroom practice that each has
carried out in their teaching since the last meeting. The aim is collectively to share and
improve practice and understanding, but also to improve motivation and professional
autonomy. Teacher learning communities can be supported by inputs of various kinds
from outside the group from time to time. The model incorporates features of effective
teacher development as found by research in the USA, England and Scotland among
others, including study circles, peer coaching, and teachers investigating their own
classroom practice (NCSALL 2003, Learning Connections 2008, Davies et al 2007).
2

Organising your own tutor-led investigations

During the first of the seminars, we took the tutors through a series of questions, to help
them think about particular issues or problems they wanted to address in relation to
teaching reading in their groups. The process helped them decide on a particular problem
to try to deal with, and then helped them think about exactly how they would try to
address it, in terms of making a specific change (or innovation) to their classroom practice.
The process also got them thinking about how they would be able to decide if the changes
they had introduced into their practice, had made any difference: in other words, what
evidence they would be looking for, to see whether the changes were useful and deserved
to be kept, or not useful, and so dropped. Carrying out this process of deciding on an
innovation in practice, seeing what happens and evaluating it, is a process of classroom
investigation, and would be an example of practitioner research.
In the PPS programme the idea was that the tutors would collectively evaluate their
innovations in the second and third seminars of the series. But any group of tutors who
meet up periodically and talk about their work, could carry out this sort of process it
doesnt need to be provided or led by anyone else, or highly formalised, or involve
travelling long distances to conference halls! It just takes a group of tutors motivated to
improve their practice by a process of classroom investigations and experiments, followed
by collective reflection and evaluation.

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We provide here adapted versions of the pro-formas used during the series, which you
could use (and amend or adapt) to organise your own classroom investigations.
First, the initial process of deciding which problems to try to address. We call this Problembased development process for practitioner action research, a six step process for setting
up your investigation. It is a one page form.
Next, the planning sheet for your investigation. This gets you set out clearly what you aim
to find out in your investigation, what actions you will take, and how you will assess
whether any improvements have taken place. It is a one page form.
Finally, the report sheet for your investigation. This is where you record what happened
and what action you have decided to take as a result of your investigation. Again it is a one
page form.
The case studies that appear throughout this pack are all examples of simple classroom
investigations that could be undertaken by any tutor. Its always easier, and more fun if
there are colleagues to discuss things with, but you could do it on your own. This way you
build up knowledge, experience and craft wisdom about your teaching based on your
evaluation of what actually happened in your classes.
3

Further ideas and suggestions for CPD

Of course, classroom research projects are not the only way to engage in continuous
professional development. Reading, surfing the net, and talking to colleagues informally
about teaching are also important aspects of CPD, as well as the more traditional forms it
takes, such as attendance at conferences or training courses. All these activities are
formally counted as legitimate CPD work in the English system now, in which every post-16
teacher has to undertake 30 hours per year of CPD, recorded by the Institute for Learning,
which licenses teachers to work.
The internet
This pack hopefully gives an inkling of the rich resources for teachers that are available
through the internet. Of course, you will have to develop your quality antennae: a lot of the
material on the net is of low quality or even misleading or wrong, so you will need to take
care. Again it is often a good idea to do this with someone else, or in the context of a
group of colleagues.

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Reading up on teaching reading


We believe teachers need to have a positive attitude towards research into their areas of
work. It is a problem that research reports and articles are often written for other
academics rather than for teachers, but persevere! The reports and publications from
organisations like NRDC, NCSALL and Learning Connections (see the references section),
are designed with teachers in mind, not just academics. After all, what is the point of
academic research into the most effective ways to teach reading, if it is never read by
teachers?
Accessing research reports isnt always easy, but more and more publications can be found
on the web, as our references section shows. Where something relevant and interesting
hasnt been published on the web, then you will have to get it from a university library,
which may mean asking a favour of someone who works or studies there. Or you could ask
your training manager to buy the book it is in for your organisations CPD resource centre.
Improving feedback
Discuss what makes effective feedback with your colleagues. It is common sense that some
kinds of feedback are more useful to learners than others. We can teach ourselves how to
give the most useful and productive kind, and avoid feedback that can demotivate
students. This isnt just about praising students, though encouragement is important.
Research findings say that it is also important to be constructive, and this may mean
pointing out errors and showing learners how they can improve their work.
In general, research suggests that the purposes of feedback are:
It helps clarify what good performance is
It facilitates the development of skills of self-assessment and reflection in learners
It delivers high-quality information to students about their learning
It encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning
It encourages positive motivation in learners
It provides information to teachers to shape teaching
In order to be most beneficial, oral and written feedback should normally:

focus on the task rather than the person


be highly-focused, constructive and practical, including advice about how specific
aspects of the work could be improved
avoid general statements of praise or criticism. Praise given on its own, without
specific advice about improving the work, can be frustrating to students and may not
increase their motivation. One study found that learners given praise or grades only,

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did no better than those who were given no feedback at all, and that the work of
learners given only constructive advice, improved considerably (Butler 1998)
be given as soon as possible: research suggests that oral feedback is more effective
than written feedback
emphasise appropriate success criteria and relate to the learning objectives of the
student(s)
aim to develop the learners own understanding of quality and ability to assess their
own performance, whatever the subject and context, by drawing attention both to
successful areas of work and to problems
reflect high expectations of the learner, and should avoid being patronising
not be quantified, though reference to appropriate level descriptors may be
appropriate. Giving grades or marks can demotivate students, especially those who
are least confident, and particularly if the grades are made public and compared
be part of an ongoing dialogue and continuous process of assessment: the giving of
feedback does not guarantee that students will pay attention to it. Part of the
teachers role is to check whether their feedback is having an impact on the
students work

Discuss these points with colleagues, and work out how you can apply them in practice.
Improving classroom questioning
All tutors use questioning as part of their teaching. But it is worth trying to improve your
questioning technique, because some questions are more useful than others. In general,
questions should aim to increase learners own thinking and learning about the topic, and
some types of question do this better than others. Discuss classroom questioning with your
colleagues. Here are some ideas to get you going, based partly on Swain et al (2006):
Teachers need to develop a repertoire of questioning techniques, and share ideas with
colleagues to maintain and develop this repertoire. Double questions, leading questions,
rhetorical questions and closed questions (those looking for a unique correct answer) can
discourage students from reflecting on the problem, or from revealing that they do not
understand it. These kinds of questions can even foreclose learning and should usually be
avoided.
Much more useful are open questions that require students to think about the problem and
to find their own words to answer it. These might take the form of:

challenging (how/ why did you do that?),


checking (do you know?),

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uncovering thinking (can you explain this?),


offering strategies (have you thought about.?),
or re-assuring (are you happy with that?).
Sometimes a devils advocate question (are you sure?) can be useful

There are also issues to consider for the way questioning fits into your overall approach to
teaching, and into your planning:

Increase waiting time for answers this extends learner thinking time, and so
encourages them to think about answers rather than trying to get it right first time
Move away from limited factual questions to open questions and problemsolving tasks which involve learners in discussion and encourage collaborative
working
Teachers need to become more skilled at framing questions that
a) help them to learn more about the pre-knowledge of learners and to identify
gaps, misconceptions in knowledge, and
b) will explore issues that are critical to the development of learners
understanding

Follow up activities need to provide opportunities to extend understanding

Students can be encouraged to think and talk more by the right kind of questioning and
listening. This can produce useful outcomes in terms of knowledge about the students
understanding and their pre-conceptions, as well as time for the teacher to think about
responsive strategies, while they listen to their students.
Self- and peer-assessment
The third area you could think about with your colleagues is how to design and carry out
activities involving self- and peer-assessment by learners. Research on effective teaching
and learning states clearly that in principle most effective learning is likely to include selfand peer-assessment. Yet researchers found that these were not being widely used by
teachers. Here are some ideas to start your thinking off.
The increased autonomy of the student should be a central objective of teaching and
learning in all education, and particularly in ALLN. Students need to be able to practice the
skills and knowledge they acquire through their learning in real-life situations, whether this
is at work, in their roles as citizens, parents and carers, and also in subsequent education
and training situations. It is therefore important that teaching and learning goes beyond
the ability to perform well in the artificial environment of the classroom. Students need to

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be able to use their new skills as confidently and fluently as possible when they do not
have the support of the class and the teacher. They need to develop the ability to perform
and simultaneously to monitor their performance, and that of others they interrelate with,
in the same way that we all do when we are driving a car: we get better at it with practice,
until it becomes mostly routine. This applies equally to speaking and listening, reading and
writing, and also to dealing with real-life situations and decisions of various kinds which
require mathematical understanding, confidence and skills.
We therefore need to build self- and peer-assessment practice into all learning tasks.
Through these activities students can practice and develop their capacity to make critical,
aesthetic and practical judgements of the quality and effectiveness of their developing skills
and knowledge. If they are not encouraged to develop these skills fluently as part of their
learning, what they learn will be de-contextualised and more difficult to transfer between
different situations outside the classroom. This fluency can only be developed through
practice, and students may need to be provided with relevant conceptual tools and
vocabulary, as well as practical collaborative experience of making, exchanging and
discussing judgements of the quality of their own and others work. This type of
assessment activity involves students talking together and with their teacher about practice
in different contexts, and about learning, assessment, and success criteria, developing the
ability to reflect on and evaluate their own and others performance.
Relatively few ALLN teachers observed in research studies use these activities very much at
all, and those that do tend not to integrate them into all aspects of the course. It may be
that part of the reason for this is that teachers are nervous about challenging their
learners, some of whom may appear to lack the confidence to taking a more active and
participatory role in learning. With some learners there may be cultural barriers based on
their previous experience of education. Addressing this situation does need careful
preparation, but can produce great benefits: improving confidence in learning is a key aim
of most adult students, who are generally highly-motivated to learn.
Self- and peer-assessment activities will also provide rich evidence for the teacher upon
which to base further developmental questioning, and to give constructive feedback to
individuals and to the group as a whole.
As an introduction to peer-assessment within the group, students can be given model
answers, both good and not so good, and asked to suggest ways in which they could be
improved. This exercise could be arranged to follow one in which students had worked on
developing their own list of appropriate assessment criteria, allowing them to use their list
on a real piece of work. Groups of students can design questions on the relevant topic for
the other groups, and then assess the answers given against both official and unofficial
assessment criteria.

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For your CPD activity, we suggest you think about the very real difficulties that could arise
with self- and peer-assessment by learners, and how these could be prepared for and
managed. But remember that the activities can be very simple, and that if it can be turned
into a game, within the context of a group who are relaxed with each other, then much can
be achieved. Here are three sample activities involving self- and peer-assessment: how
could you use these in the context of teaching reading?
1. As an introduction to peer-assessment within the group, students can be given
model answers, both good and not so good, and asked to suggest ways in which
they could be improved.
2. Students work on developing their own list of appropriate assessment criteria,
allowing them to use their list on a real piece of work.

3. Groups of students can design questions on the relevant topic for the other groups,
and then assess the answers given against both official and unofficial assessment
criteria.

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Section D - Theory
Irene Schwabs presentation for the PPS programme: Working with Mixed Ability
Groups.
Sam Duncans paper for the PPS programme: What are we doing when we read? adult
literacy learners perceptions of reading. This is a draft version of a paper to be published
in Research in Post-Compulsory Education in autumn 2009.
Sam Duncans presentation on Working with Beginner Readers, including Phonic
Approaches
Jude Gawn and Jay Derricks paper for the PPS programme: Effective teaching and
learning
Jude Gawn and Jay Derricks presentation for the PPS programme
Wendy Moss: Notes on the theories on the teaching of reading (see references)
Victoria Purcell-Gates: Theres reading...and then theres reading process models and
instruction. What does it mean when adults come to us for help with reading? What is it

that they want help doing? What do they mean by 'reading'? What do we, as teachers of
adults, think they mean? And what do we mean when we say we teach 'reading'? Available
at: www.ncsall.net/?id=771&pid=460
Allan Luke and Peter Freebody: The four resources accessed by literate people. Read
about these ideas at this Tasmanian Education Department site for English teachers:
http://wwwfp.education.tas.gov.au/english/liteng.htm#four Alternatively, read Luke and
Freebodys own online paper (rather long and theoretical, but good), together with
comments and discussions from other practitioners and academics, at:
http://www.readingonline.org/research/lukefreebody.html
Lighting the Way: a snappy summary of the best available evidence about effective adult
literacy, numeracy and language teaching, from the New Zealand adult literacy organisation
Te Ako Mo Te Ora, or Learning for Living.
From Assessment to Practice: Research-Based Approaches to Teaching Reading
to Adults: a webcast from the National Institute for Literacy in the USA, consisting of a
talk given by three US experts, Susan McShane, John Kruidenier, and Rosalind Davidson, in
2007. A transcript of the talk, the slides from the presentation, and responses from
participants at the event, are all provided too. It can be accessed at:
http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/webcasts/assesspractice/webcast0928.html A short overview of the
webcast by Jay Derrick can be accessed here: (insert link 5 here)

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Susan McShane: Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults: First Steps for
Teachers. Washington DC: National Institute for Literacy, The Partnership for Reading and
National Center for Family Literacy, 2005. Sam comments: I think overall this is the most

useful on phonics (it deals with lots more than phonics but also gives a really good clear
overview of all the sound-symbol issues- what she calls 'alphabetics' and defines key terms
- and gives classroom tips- really good!
Teaching content is teaching reading: brain science suggests that teaching reading
needs to be about more than skills and vocabulary; an entertaining but serious
video/presentation by Professor Daniel Willingham, at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiP-ijdxqEc
Talking Point Phonics: a televised debate on the pros and cons of approaches to
teaching reading that emphasise the primary importance of phonics. On Teachers TV, at
http://www.teachers.tv/video/2999
School matters Michael Rosen on literacy: a Teachers TV video in which Michael
Rosen criticises the present policy enthusiasm for phonics based teaching, and explores
alternatives, at: http://www.teachers.tv/video/5417
NRDC Research briefing on Formative Assessment: summarises the key messages
from NRDC and other research and development activity on formative assessment in adult
learning. Available at: http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=153#

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Section E - Further information and resources


Books, articles and papers on the theory and practices of reading and adult
literacies in general
Barton D and Hamilton M (1998): Local Literacies: reading and writing in one community.
London: Routledge
Barton D, Hamilton M, Ivanic R (eds, 2000): Situated Literacies: reading and writing in
context. London: Routledge. Jay comments: 13 papers from the New Literacy Studies

researchers and theorists.

Brandt D (2001): Literacy in American Lives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jay
comments: an inspirational read about the way literacy practices change over time and

what this can tell us about the changes in society, families and work. Not just about
reading, but reminds us why we do what we do!

Brice Heath, S. (1983). Ways with Words: Language, life and work in communities and
classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Brooks G, Burton M, Cole P and Szczerbinski M (2007): Effective Teaching and Learning:
Reading. London: National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and
numeracy (NRDC), also available online at www.nrdc.org.uk
Burton M (2007a): Reading Developing adult teaching and learning: practitioner guides.
London: National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy
NRDC, also available online at www.nrdc.org.uk
Burton M (2007b): Oral reading fluency for adults. National Research and Development
Centre for adult literacy and numeracy NRDC, also available online at www.nrdc.org.uk
Burton M, Davey J, Lewis M, Ritchie L, Brooks G (2008): Improving reading: phonics and
fluency. National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy NRDC,
also available online at www.nrdc.org.uk
Campbell P (2007): Teaching Reading to Adults: a balanced approach. Edmonton Alberta:
Grass Roots Press
Clanchy M T (1984): Learning to read in the Middle Ages and the role of mothers, in G.
Brooks & A. K. Pugh (Eds.), Studies in the History of Reading (pp. 33-39). Reading:
University of Reading School of Education. Sam comments: May be difficult to find
Coles G (2000): Misreading reading. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann. Jay comments: This

book challenges the validity of the indisputable scientific evidence about teaching reading

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on which much British and American policy is based. It shows how much of this evidence
is based on the findings of very few, small scale and essentially politically biassed studies,
and makes the case for more independent research.
Crowther J, Hamilton M, Tett L (eds, 2001): Powerful Literacies. Leicester: National
Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE)
Duncan S (2009): What are we doing when we read? adult literacy learners perceptions
of reading, Research in Post-Compulsory Education 14 (3)
Freire P (1972): Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin. Jay comments: Classic

analysis of the role of literacy teaching and education in preventing social and political
emancipation, and how this can be avoided.
Hamilton M, Barton D, Ivanic R (1994): Worlds of Literacy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
Herrington M and Kendall A (eds, 2005): Insights from research and practice: a handbook
for adult literacy, numeracy and ESOL practitioners. Leicester: National Institute for Adult
Continuing Education (NIACE). Jay comments: An essential resource for literacies

practitioners, consisting of a selection of 71 articles from issues of the RaPAL Journal,


published quarterly since 1986. It starts with a paper inviting practitioners to embrace
research within their practice as a means of developing their critical, investigative,
professional stances, and explaining RaPALs position on the importance of integrating
research and practice. The bulk of the book is made up of the selection of articles and is
organised under themed headings. It concludes with a paper on learning about dyslexia
through research and practice.
Huey E B (1968). The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading. Cambridge,
MA: The M.I.T. Press. Sam comments: THIS IS GREAT!! It has some interesting bits

about how sounds - symbols have been taught in recent history (including something on an
ancient greek, or roman?- who forced his slaves to dress up as letters of the
alphabet and move around to teach his son to read...
Hughes N, Schwab I (eds, 2009 in press): Teaching adult literacy: principles and practice.
London: Open University Press. Details at http://www.mcgrawhill.co.uk/html/0335237355.html
Klein C and Millar R (1990): Unscrambling spelling. London: Hodder and Stoughton
Klein C (2003): Diagnosing Dylexia. London: Basic Skills Agency
Lankshear C and Knobel M (2003): New literacies: changing knowledge and classroom
learning. Buckingham: Open University Press. Jay comments: A passionate discussion of

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the ways in which literacies are changing as a result of digital technology, and the
implications of this for teachers.
Lindsay A and Gawn J (2005): Developing Literacy: supporting achievement. Leicester:
National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE)
Mace J (2004): Language Experience: Whats going on? Literacy Today (39) available at:
http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Pubs/mace.html
Manguel A (1996): A History of Reading. London: Penguin
McCaffrey J, Merrifield J, Millican J (2007): Developing Adult Literacy: approaches to
planning, implementing and delivering literacy initiatives. Oxford: Oxfam GB
McShane S (2005): Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults: First Steps for
Teachers. Washington DC: National Institute for Literacy, The Partnership for Reading and
National Center for Family Literacy. Sam comments: I think overall this is the most useful

on phonics (it deals with lots more than phonics but also gives a really good clear
overview of all the sound-symbol issues- what she calls 'alphabetics' and defines key terms
- and gives classroom tips- really good!
Millar R and Klein C (1986): Making sense of spelling. London: DCSL
Morgan E and Klein C (2000): The dyslexic adult in a non-dyslexic world. London:
WileyBlackwell
Moss W (2005): Notes on Theories on the Teaching of Reading, Research and Practice in
Adult Literacy (RaPAL) Bulletin (56)
NCSALL (2005): Understanding what reading is all about: teaching materials and lessons
for adult basic education learners, July 2005, available at:
http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/teach/uwriaa.pdf
Palincsar A and Brown A (1984): Reciprocal Teaching of Comprehension-fostering and
Comprehension-monitoring Activities, in Cognition and Instruction 1 (2) pp117 175 Jay
and Irene comment: This is the main article outlining the technique of reciprocal reading,

the research it is based on, and the argument that it is a technique that produces good
results. It is long and demanding, but well worth a look, and is downloadable from:
http://people.ucsc.edu/~gwells/Files/Courses_Folder/ED%20261%20Papers/Palincsar%20
Reciprocal%20Teaching.pdf
Papen U (2005): Adult Literacy as Social Practice more than skills. London: Routledge.
Jay comments: this is a clear and accessible overview of the social practices view of adult

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literacies teaching and learning. As well as explaining the theoretical aspects of this
approach, Papen also illustrates the practical implications of the theory for teachers in
classrooms. Highly recommended.
Pennac, D. (2006). The Rights of the Reader (S. Adams, Trans.). London:
Walker Books. Sam comments: Again, more journalistic than academic, but really, really

lovely! Pennac proposes 10 rights for readers in relation to teaching approaches.


Purcell-Gates V (undated): Theres readingand then theres reading: Process Models and
Instruction, available at: http://www.ncsall.net/?id=771&pid=460
Tett L, Hamilton M, Hillier Y (eds, 2006): Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Language: policy,
practice and research. Maidenhead: Open University Press
Wolf M (2008): Proust and the Squid: The story and science of the reading brain.
Cambridge: Icon Books. Jay comments: Proust and the Squid is a fascinating and

passionate book about reading, written by Maryanne Wolf, Professor of Citizenship and
Public Service at Tufts University in the US, where she is the director of the Centre for
Reading and Language Research. 'We were never born to read', Wolf begins. 'No specific
genes ever dictated reading's development. Human being invented reading only a few
thousand years ago. And with this invention, we changed the very organisation of our
brain, which in turn expanded the ways we were able to think, which altered the
intellectual evolution of our species.' She details the neuroscience behind reading, and
makes the case for the tranformative powers of reading on human cognition. She discusses
the earliest known examples of written language, the question of whether reading online is
making us 'stupider', and why dyslexia can be a gift. Why it's called Proust and the Squid,
you'll have to read it to find out! Very stimulating and life-affirming, highly recommended.
Books and articles on effective teaching and learning, including teacher
development
Ackland A (2008): Professional development through professional enquiry, in Reflect (12),
the magazine of the National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and
numeracy (NRDC) pp 5-7, also available online at
www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=155#
Black P and Wiliam D (1998a): Assessment and Classroom Learning, Assessment in
Education 5 (1) pp 7-75
Black P and Wiliam D (1998b): Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom
Assessment. London: Kings College London School of Education.

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Black P, Harrison C, Lee C, Marshall B, and Wiliam D (2003): Assessment for Learning:
Putting it into Practice. Buckingham: Open University Press
Butler R (1998): Enhancing and undermining intrinsic motivation: the effects of taskinvolving and ego-involving evaluation on interest and performance. British Journal of
Educational Psychology (58) pp1-14
Davies P, Hamilton M, James K (2007): Maximising the impact of practitioner research: a
handbook of practical advice. London: National Research and Development Centre for adult
literacy and numeracy (NRDC), available at:
http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=123#

This handbook is for everyone who would like to conduct small-scale action research
projects within their own organisation: from senior managers to individual teachers or
teams planning to work collaboratively. It is a practical guide on how to initiate and
manage practitioner-research programmes, based on the experience of 17 practitioner-led
research projects funded by the NRDC between 2004 and 2006.
Gardner J (2006): Assessment and Learning, ed J Gardner. London: Sage

Hattie J (2003): Teachers make a difference: What is the research evidence? Paper
presented at the Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference on Building
Teacher Quality, October 2003. Available online:
www.visionschools.co.nz/assets/documents/john_hattie.pdf
Learning Connections (2008): Practitioner-led research: the Individual Learning Planning
(ILP) Process, available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1046/0063543.pdf
Looney J (2005): Formative Assessment Improving learning in secondary classrooms,
Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. Paris: Organisation for Economic CoOperation and Development
Looney J (2008): Teaching, Learning and Assessment for Adults improving foundation
skills, Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. Paris: Organisation for Economic
Co-Operation and Development
Richardson V (2003): How Teachers Change, National Council for the Study of Adult
Literacy and Learning (NCSALL), Research Report 25, available at:
http://www.ncsall.net/?id=395
Sadler R (1989): Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems,
Instructional Science (18) pp 119-144.

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Swain J, Griffiths G, Stone R (2006): Integrating formative/diagnostic assessment


techniques into teachers routine practice in adult numeracy. Research and Practice in Adult
Literacy (RaPAL) Journal (59) pp17-20
Tracey S (ed 2008): Practitioner Research in Essential Skills: perspectives on engagement
in learning. Belfast: The Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) Northern Ireland.
Available at:
http://www.literacy.lancs.ac.uk/rapal/docs/Practitioner_Research_in_Essential_Skills.pdf
Jay comments: this is a new report containing case studies of Practitioner Research in

Essential Skills, (what Literacies is called in Northern Ireland). It reports on projects looking
at text messaging, learner motivation, giving praise, literacy and job impacts, the role of
talk in learning writing, tutors' responses to errors when learners read aloud, peer learning,
and others.
Wiliam D (2007): Content then process: teacher learning communities in the service of
formative assessment, in Ahead of the curve: the power of assessment to transform
teaching and learning (pp 183-204), edited by D. B. Reeves. Bloomington, IN: Solution
Tree
Policy documents

Adult literacy and numeracy in Scotland (ALNIS), Scottish Government 2001, available at:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/158952/0043191.pdf

An Adult Literacy and Numeracy Curriculum Framework for Scotland, Scottish Executive
2005, available at: http://www.aloscotland.com/alo/38.html

Skills for Scotland: a lifelong skills strategy, Scottish Government 2007, available at:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/197204/0052752.pdf

Skills for Life Core Curriculum Documents, Department for Education and Skills 2002
onwards, all available at: http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=sflcurriculum

Skills for Life Learning Materials, Department for Education and Skills 2005 onwards, all
available at: http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=201231

Independent review of the teaching of early reading, Jim Rose, Department for Education
and Skills, March 2006

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Learner texts

Romany and Traveller Family History Society: a range of publications at


http://www.rtfhs.org.uk/
Texts about traveller experiences:
o The Yellow on the Broom by Betsy Whyte, Berlinn 2005
o Red Rowans and Wild Honey by Betsy Whyte, Corgi 1991
o The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl fishers in the Highlands of
of Scotland, by Timothy Neat, Canongate 1996
Quick Reads: http://www.niace.org.uk/quickreads/user/index.php This is a rapidlyexpanding series of short but complete books written by high-profile authors for
adult new readers. Authors include Andy McNab, Ian Rankin, Colin Jackson, Maeve
Binchy, Scott Quinnell, and many others.
Resources on Traveller culture, collected for the use of schools, but much of it useful
for adult learning too:
http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/subjects/literacy/traveller/#poems
Secrets, by Sue Torr (Gatehouse Books 2009). Sue was a dinner lady when, at the
age of 38, she finally admitted that she couldn't read or write. Secrets is an
autobiographical account of the difficulties she faced in a life without literacy. It has
been designed for both beginner and confident readers, with standard text on the
left-hand page and a simplified text on the facing page. Secrets also makes
fascinating reading for children of primary and secondary school age. For more
information, go to: http://www.gatehousebooks.co.uk/book/7

Working with learners with learning difficulties and disabilities


Bradley A (2001): Induction: Starting Work with People with Learning
Disabilities. Kidderminster: BILD.
Scottish Government (2007): Effective Learning for Adults with Learning
Difficulties: Research Summary.
Websites and other resources

ALO was
created by Learning Connections, part of the Scottish Governments Lifelong Learning
directorate, and it contains a growing bank of Scottish based learning and teaching
resources, training materials and useful research and reports.
Adult Literacies OnLine: http://www.aloscotland.com/alo/CCC_FirstPage.jsp

The National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy
of the UK (NRDC): http://www.nrdc.org.uk Dedicated to conducting research and

development projects to improve literacy, numeracy, language and related skills and

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knowledge. On this site you can download all the NRDC publications, including research
reports, effective practice guides, and research briefing papers.
Research and Practice in Adult Literacy (RaPAL)

RaPAL is an independent network of learners, teachers, managers and researchers in adult


basic education and literacy across the post-16 sector. Established in 1985, it is supported
by membership subscription only. Membership contact: Jessica Abrahams:
j.abrahams@lancaster.ac.uk For other contacts, including RaPAL Journal, see the website:
www.literacy.lancs.ac.uk/rapal/rapal.htm
The Adult Literacy Education Wiki: http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Main_Page

This US-orginated site is a portal for accessing all sorts of resources on adult literacy: one
of its many sections is on Reading. As a wiki its content is added to by anyone, though it is
carefully moderated (wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning quick). It inevitably has an overemphasis on the context of teaching in the US and Canada, but dont let this put you off, it
is a vast and rich range of resources give yourself time to explore it!
The Excellence Gateway: http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=home

This is a portal for practitioners at all levels within the learning and skills sector in England.
Here you can access resources, inspire innovation and share good practice. With quality
improvement at its core, the Excellence Gateway offers support and advice, and
opportunities to participate. It has a specialist section on adult literacies under the heading
Skills for Life.
The Adult Literacy and Numeracy Australian Research Consortium (ALNARC):
http://www.staff.vu.edu.au/alnarc/ ALNARC give information on research into literacy and

numeracy within Australia.


The National Agency for Adult Literacy of the Republic of Ireland (NALA):
http://www.nala.ie/ NALA is an independent membership organisation concerned with

developing policy, advocacy, research and offering advisory services in adult literacy work
in Ireland. As well s providing detailed information about adult basic skills work in Ireland,
NALA's site also has reserach reports and teaching resources for tutors and employers.
The National Adult Literacy Database of Canada (NALD):
http://www.nald.ca/index.htm Provides a single-source, comprehensive, up-to-date and

easily accessible database of adult literacy programs, resources, services and activities
across Canada.
The
National Institute for Literacy, a federal agency, provides leadership on literacy issues,
including the improvement of reading instruction for children, youth, and adults.
The National Institute for Literacy of the USA (NIFL): http://www.nifl.gov/

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The New Zealand Literacy Portal: http://www.nzliteracyportal.org.nz/ The New

Zealand Literacy Portal is designed to provide a knowledge base of adult literacy


information contributed by both New Zealand and international organisations.
Reciprocal Reading: The main article outlining this technique and the research on which
it is based is by Palincsar and Brown, and is listed in the references on teaching reading. It
is long and demanding but well worth a look. Here are four other sites summarising the
technique and discussing its practical implications:

http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/promising/tips/rec.html a summary of the


technique, focusing on children, but relevant to adults
http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/atrisk/at6lk38.htm handy
summary of Palincsar and Browns research
http://ed-web3.educ.msu.edu/Literacy/stuwork/recip.htm useful summary of the
strategy
http://www.adrianbruce.com/reading/room4/recip/ again aimed at children, but
practical, with ready-made cards you could adapt for work with adults

TALENT (training adult literacy, ESOL and numeracy teachers) is a website developed as

part of a partnership project involving the boroughs and colleges of Tower Hamlets, City of
London, Islington and Hackney and initially funded by the London Development Agency. It
provides teaching materials, training, details of vacancies and professional development
support. The website is a mine of information for literacy teachers anywhere:
www.talent.ac.uk
A portal for teachers of English run by the Tasmanian Education Department:

http://wwwfp.education.tas.gov.au/english/liteng.htm
Headway provide advice for helping people with brain injuries / strokes:
http://www.headway.org.uk/
Quick Reads: http://www.quickreadsideas.org.uk/This is a rapidly-expanding series of

short but complete books written by high-profile authors for adult new readers. Authors
include Andy McNab, Ian Rankin, Colin Jackson, Maeve Binchy, Scott Quinnell, and many
others.
Reading for Pleasure Campaign:
http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/vitallink/readingforpleasureideas.html - this site includes

ideas packs for readers at all levels (up to Entry level 2, and Entry 3 and above in the
English system) and for different contexts.

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Learning Connections has produced a guidance leaflet for simplifying texts, which
can be downloaded from:
http://www.adultliteraciesonline.com/alo/viewresource.htm?id=454
NIACE/BSA has produced an updated version of their guide to readability. Available
free at: http://www.niace.org.uk/development-research/readability
Vital Link: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/vitallink/
BBC RaW: http://www.bbc.co.uk/raw/
Internet video resources: a small selection. NB: it is hard to find videos about adult
literacy learning, and most of these suggestions focus on young people or children. But
they have useful ideas in them that may well be transferable. The main sites, such as
Youtube, Teachertube, or Teachers TV, contain thousands of resources relevant to teaching
of all kinds. The best thing is to explore them for yourself, and save the ones you like in
your favourites folder:

Teaching for the future natural born readers: a Teachers TV video about
inspiring A Level students to enjoy reading their set text, Pride and Prejudice, at:
http://www.teachers.tv/video/300
Lessons from beyond the classroom literacy behind bars: a Teachers TV
video about what literacy work in prisons can help teachers working in schools and
colleges, at: http://www.teachers.tv/video/23892
Hot research good readers, bad readers: a short Teachers TV video on
dyslexia awareness, at http://www.teachers.tv/video/2622
Pay attention: This motivational video presentation was created in an effort to
motivate teachers to more effectively use technology in their teaching, at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEFKfXiCbLw&feature=related

CDs
The Wheel (2007): Learning Connections, Communities Scotland. Available as a book
and a CD ROM, this is a visual tool to help learners and tutors plan what they are going to
do, and to look back at the learning that has taken place. There are prompt questions to
help with the process, and tutors can help learners break learning goals down into small
steps. Learners and tutors can record and save what they have said, and their notes can
be arranged to form a learning plan. Available as a zipped folder at:
http://www.aloscotland.com/alo/files/TRAININGMATERIALSFORWHEELCD.zip
An interactive tutorial on the Wheel can be downloaded at:
http://www.aloscotland.com/alo/files/alo_wheel_tutorial.zip

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Publishers
Avanti Books Resources Guide. An guide to the huge variety of basic skills support
materials that are available, including those produced by Avanti and by other publishers,
large and small. The guide is revised and updated regularly, with new titles conveniently
highlighted. All titles can be ordered from Avanti. Cost 3.50 including p&p.
Contact: Avanti Books, Unit 9, The io Centre, Whittle Way, Arlington Business Park,
Stevenage SG1 2BD. Phone: 01438 747000. Fax: 01438 741131. Website:
www.avantibooks.com.
Brown and Brown resources. Brown and Brown is a publishing company that focuses on
materials to support adults' and children's learning, including ESOL, open learning/family
learning, adult basic education and teacher training. To order a publications catalogue call
016973 42915 or email info@brownandbrownpublishing.co.uk.
Gatehouse Media Ltd publishes and distributes books and resources for use with adult
literacy learners, including materials written by adult learners and suitable for beginner
readers; talking stories on audio-cassette, interactive CD-Rom readers; and student
worksheets.
Contact: Gatehouse Media Limited, 80 Walton Road, Stockton Heath, Warrington WA4 6NP.
Tel: 01925 267778. Email: info@gatehousebooks.com. Website:
www.gatehousebooks.com.
NIACE: Details of all NIACE's publications and other activities may be found on the
organization's website: www.niace.org.uk.
One Nation, Five Million Voices
http://www.nms.ac.uk/our_museums/national_museum/things_to_see/scotland_a_changin
g_nation/one_nation_five_million_voice.aspx (not sure if this is the correct link as viewing
is restricted from SG pcs) but this is a very useful resource which shows people talking
about Scotland a written accompanying text with a picture of the speaker alongside it
means that viewers can follow the text while the person is speaking

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Section F Glossary
Many of these explanations have been taken from the Adult Literacy Education Wikis
section on reading (see references).
Affix
Affixes are word parts that are either attached to the beginnings of words (prefixes) or to
the ending of words (suffixes). The word unhelpfulful has two affixes, a prefix (un-) and a
suffix (-ful).
Alphabetic Language
A language that that uses letters and letter combinations to represent sounds of speech.
Alphabetics
Alphabetics is the use of letters to represent spoken words. Because spoken words are
made up of smaller, more basic sounds (phonemes), alphabetics includes phonemic
awareness, or knowing how phonemes are combined to make words. It also includes
phonics or letter-sound knowledge--knowing the relationship between letters or letter
combinations and the sounds they represent and how these are put together to form
words. The word cat, for example, is made up of three sounds represented by the letters c,
a, and t.
Assessment
The gathering of information from several measurements to show strengths and
weaknesses on a particular ability, or of a particular attribute. The terms, assessment and
test are often used interchangeably.
Assisted Oral Reading
Assisted oral reading refers to a mature reader's support of a learner's oral reading by
helping with word recognition, or by reading orally along with him/her. Paired reading
(partner) and choral reading (whole class) are forms of assisted oral reading.
Automaticity
Automaticity of a skill is achieved when it can be performed with little or no conscious
attention to its execution. Automaticity of word recognition frees conscious attention for
comprehension.
Blend
To blend sounds is to join one to another seamlessly. Sounds of individual letters, digraphs,
and dipthongs are blended to form syllables. The individual sounds of c, a, and t flow from
one to the next as they are blended to form cat.

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Collaborative Oral Reading


In collaborative reading, teacher and student alternate or read a passage in unison.
Consonant Blend
Two or three consecutive consonants, each altering its own sound just enough to join
seamlessly to its neighbour. Examples are: bl, str, and sn.
Components of Reading
The several sub-skills of fluent reading ability. They are often categorized as Print
(Alphabetic) skills and Meaning Skills.
Critical reading
Reading in which the reader is able to take a critical, independent view about what s/he is
reading, and perhaps to disagree with it.
Decode
To decode is to attach sounds to letters and groups of letters that make up a word and
then to blend them to say the word.
Digraph
A digraph is two letters together that make one sound. Examples of consonant digraphs
are: ch, sh, and ck, and of vowel digraphs, ea, aw.
Diphthong
A diphthong is a vowel sound produced when the tongue moves or glides from one vowel
sound toward another vowel or semivowel sound in the same syllable, as in buy and the
vowel sounds in bee, bay, boo, and bough.
Differentiation
In teaching groups, differentiation is teaching differently to different students, depending
on their needs. This doesnt necessarily mean teaching different material; it may mean
using learning activities in which different learners can be engaged in different ways.
Direct Teaching
Teacher-directed instruction of specific skills.
Encode
To encode is to "write the code" for a spoken word, to spell. It is the opposite of decode.
Error analysis
A way of getting information about what learners strengths and weaknesses, to help with
future planning and so as to be able to give formative feedback.
ESOL = English for Speakers of Other Languages

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Expressive Vocabulary
Expressive vocabulary refers to the body of words whose meanings are known well enough
to use them in speaking or writing.
Feedback Constructive responses to performances within contexts of learning: it should
ideally follow any learning activity or piece of work carried out as part of learning. The
most effective feedback is task- rather than ego-focused, given soon after the
performance, and should indicate how the work could have been improved, and what the
learner should do next to improve it.
Fluency
Reading fluency is the ability to read accurately and smoothly at a rate close to that of
speech with appropriate intonation and rhythm.
Formative Assessment An approach to teaching and learning aiming to ensure that all
the teachers activity maximises learning. It emphasises the importance of feedback,
classroom questioning, collaborative learning tasks, and self- and peer-assessment, and the
need for these activities to be integrated into the learning programme. It is important to
distinguish formative from summative assessment activities.
Independent Reading Level
The reading level at which at least 95% of words can be read accurately.
Language Experience
A teaching approach used in adult literacy education which entails the teacher acting as a
scribe to create a text in the student's words; free from concerns about their spelling,
punctuation or handwriting, the student can concentrate on the process of composition.
The scribing is an essentially interactive and collaborative process, giving the student the
chance to think about exactly what words and styles they wish to use. The text can stand
as a piece of writing by the student, and it can also be used as a text for practising reading.
Lexicon
Generally, a dictionary; In reading it can refer to a reader's receptive/listening bank of word
meanings.
Listening Comprehension Tests
Listening comprehension tests are graded passages that are read aloud by the teacher to
which students answer comprehension questions. They are helpful in assessing English
language comprehension of ESOL learners and for assessing text comprehension ability of
beginning and low intermediate native English readers.
Literacies This term reflects the social practices view that adult literacy involves more than
simply reading, writing and spelling skills: rather it sees that people exercise a wide variety

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of different literacies associated with different social situations and tasks. For example, it is
often understood to include everyday tasks involving mathematical or computer skills and
knowledge.
Mixed Ability Groups
Literacy learning groups which have not been streamed in any way according to ability.
Native Speakers of English (NSE)
NSE means that the first language a person learned to speak was English.
Onset
The part of the syllable that comes before the vowel. Some syllables begin with vowels and
therefore do not have onsets.
Orthography
The writing system of a language - spelling.
PA= Phoneme Awareness
The ability to isolate separate sounds (phonemes) in a word and be able to manipulate
them. Tests of phoneme awareness may require the deletion or substitution of phonemes
in a given word. For example, a deletion task: "Say plant", "Now, say it again, but don't say
/t/ (say the sound of t); or a sustitution task: "Say plant", "Now change the /p/ to /s/ (say
the sounds of the letters) and say the word".
Paired reading
A situation set up by teachers in which two learners read and discuss texts together, within
a larger group of learners, so as to gain confidence and independence.
Peer-assessment
Learners engaging in assessment and evaluation of other learners. Research suggests that
learning the skills to assess others performance helps their own learning, as well as helping
improve confidence and autonomy.
Phonics
The study of the relationships between letters and the sounds they represent; also used to
describe reading instruction that teaches sound-symbol correspondences, such as 'the
phonics approach' or 'phonic reading'
Phonological Awareness
Metalinguistic awareness of all levels of the speech sound system, including word
boundaries, stress patterns, syllables, onset-rime units, and phonemes; a more
encompassing term than phoneme awareness
Productive Vocabulary
The body of words whose meanings are known well enough to become part of a person's
speech.

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Prosody
As applied to reading, reading with appropriate intonation and rhythm.
Questioning A common activity of teachers, used to check that learning has taken place.
Recent research suggests that some kinds of questions support learning more than others,
where they encourage developmental thinking and problem-solving. This suggests that
teachers should aim consciously to develop their repertoire of questioning techniques.
Receptive Vocabulary
The body of words we know well enough to understand when listening or reading.
Receptive vocabulary is the larger bank of known word meanings because it includes
productive vocabulary. Receptive vocabulary is often called listening vocabulary.
Reciprocal reading A technique used to develop comprehension in which teacher and
students take turns leading a dialogue concerning sections of a text. Four activities are
incorporated into the technique: prediction, questioning, summarizing and clarifying
misleading or complex sections of the text.
Reliability of Tests
A test has high reliability if it consistently gives the same results under different testing
conditions, with different examiners, when administered in different places, or between two
forms of the test.
Rime
The part of a syllable that comes after the vowel and the vowel is the rime. Syllables in
which y is the vowel such as -bly and other syllables that end in a vowels, such as po-lice,
do not have rimes, only onsets.
Self-assessment
The ability of an adult learner of reading to evaluate their own performance. Research
suggests that learners should be given the opportunity to develop these skills as a planned
part of their learning.
Social Practices
This view of literacy and learning argues that reducing literacy to the technical skills of
reading, writing and spelling is mistaken, because people in fact use multiple literacies
depending on the social contexts they are in. Its implications for teachers are that they
need to understand the literacy practices that learners already use in their lives, in order to
help them develop and expand them.
Standardized Tests
Tests that are administered and scored according to set procedures and under the same
conditions so that learners' scores have the same meaning and are not influenced by
differing conditions.

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Structural Analysis
Structural analysis commonly involves the identification of roots, affixes, compounds,
hyphenated forms, inflected and derived endings, contractions, and, in some cases,
syllabication. It is sometimes used as an aid to pronunciation or in combination with phonic
analysis in word-analysis programmes.
Summative Assessment
An activity or activities which may take place as part of the learning process, whose
primary purpose is not to support learning, but to measure it, in order to allow certification
or the award of a qualification. Summative assessment can also be used to produce data
to measure the effectiveness of the teacher or the organisation in which they work. It is
therefore quite distinct from formative assessment, but summative assessment activities
can in principle be used formatively, for example by providing information for formative
feedback.
Text
Any piece of writing. Strictly, anything which can be interpreted or read could be seen as
a text, but it usually refers to documents.
Visual Memory
In the context of language, visual memory is the ability to remember forms of letters, sight
words, and spelling patterns of phonetically irregular words.
Vowel
A voiced speech sound made without stoppage or friction of the air flow as it passes
though the vocal tract.
Word Attack Assessments
Word attack assessments are tests of phonics. They are most often lists of pseudowords
that are made up of the phonic elements being assessed. For example, these words could
test mastery of final e constructions: fipe, sele, or tane. If real words are used there is the
possibility that the learner will recognise them using their visual memory so that little
information would be gained about the reader's mastery of particular phonetic constructions.
Word Meaning Tests
Word meaning tests assess a person's knowledge of words by how well she/he is able to
define or describe a given word. The more completely a word's meaning is expressed, the
better it is known, and the more likely it is to be in the person's productive vocabulary.
WPM = Words per Minute

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Section G Facilitators of the PPS programme


Jay Derrick

Jay Derrick has worked in adult, community and further education in England since 1975, as a volunteer,
teacher, outreach worker, curriculum manager, and Head of Departrment, specialising in adult literacy and
numeracy, and community- and work-based education and training, and working in the voluntary sector,
LEAs, and in FE colleges. Since 2003 he has worked as an independent researcher, evaluator, and
development project manager, specialising in teaching and assessment, teacher training development, and
workplace basic skills. Contact him at jay.derrick@blueyonder.co.uk Website: www.bluesky-learning.com

Publications:
Hughes N, Schwab I (eds, 2009 in press): Teaching adult literacy: principles and practice. London: Open
University Press. Details at http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335237355.html
Derrick J, Gawn J, Ecclestone K, (in press) Improving Formative Assessment in Adult Language, Literacy and
Numeracy Programmes: A Rough Guide. Leicester: NIACE
Derrick, J. and K. Ecclestone, (2008) English-language Literature Review, in Teaching, Learning and
Assessment for Adults: Improving Foundation Skills. Paris: OECD Publishing; available at:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/172251338713
Derrick J, Gawn J, Ecclestone K, (2008) Evaluating the 'spirit' and 'letter' of formative assessment in the
learning cultures of part-time adult literacy and numeracy classes Research in Post-Compulsory Education 13
(2)
Derrick J, Ecclestone K, Merrifield J, (2007) A balancing act? The English and Welsh model of assessment in
adult basic education, in Measures of Success: Assessment and accountability in adult basic education, ed P
Campbell. Edmonton: Canadian National Literacy Secretariat/Grass Roots Press
Derrick J (2006) Performance measurement within adult literacy, language and numeracy: practitioners
perspectives, in The Social Practice of Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Language, ed M Hamilton, Y Hillier, L
Tett. Maidenhead: Open University Press

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Judith Gawn

Judith Gawn is the London Region Programme Director at NIACE with responsibility for literacy, language and
numeracy (LLN). Judith has over 25 years experience in adult literacy work, as a teacher and teacher trainer.
Since joining NIACE in 2004 she has worked on the regional achievement programme working with key
strategic bodies and providers in the region to raise achievement in LLN. She was involved in research into
formative assessment in LLN provision as part of the Improving Formative Assessment (IFA) project from
2005 2007.
Contact Judith at judith.gawn@niace.org.uk
Publications
Hughes N, Schwab I (eds, 2009 in press): Teaching adult literacy: principles and practice. London: Open
University Press. Details at http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335237355.html
Derrick J, Gawn J, Ecclestone K, (in press) Improving Formative Assessment in Adult Language, Literacy and
Numeracy Programmes: A Rough Guide. Leicester: NIACE
Derrick, J. and K. Ecclestone, (2008) English-language Literature Review, in Teaching, Learning and
Assessment for Adults: Improving Foundation Skills. Paris: OECD Publishing; available at:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/172251338713
Derrick J, Gawn J, Ecclestone K, (2008) Evaluating the 'spirit' and 'letter' of formative assessment in the
learning cultures of part-time adult literacy and numeracy classes Research in Post-Compulsory Education 13
(2)
Gawn, J. and Lindsay, A. (2005) Developing literacy: supporting achievement. Leicester: NIACE

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Samantha Duncan

Sam Duncan studied language, literature and film in Scotland before becoming an adult literacy teacher in
2000. She now works in London as a teacher educator and adult literacy teacher at the Institute of Education,
University of London and City and Islington College. Sam is researching the role of literature in adult reading
development for her EdD. Contact Sam at s.duncan@ioe.ac.uk
Publications
Duncan S (2009): What are we doing when we read? adult literacy learners perceptions of reading,
Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 14 (3)
Hughes N, Schwab I (eds, 2009 in press): Teaching adult literacy: principles and practice. London: Open
University Press. Details at http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335237355.html
Casey, H., Derrick, J., Duncan, S. and Mallows, D. (2007). Getting the practical element right: A guide for
literacy, numeracy and ESOL teacher educators. London: NRDC.
Duncan, S and Mallows, D. eds. (2007) Voices on the Page. London: New Leaf Publishing.
Duncan, S. (2007). A Passion to Write. Reflect, 8. London: NRDC.
Duncan, S. (2007). Stories that sum up something real. Reflect, 7. London: NRDC.
Duncan, S. (2006). Voices on the Page. Reflect 6. London: NRDC.
Duncan, S. (2005). Words, power and sound. Reflect 4, London: NRDC.

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Irene Schwab

Irene Schwab is the course leader for the PGCE/PgCE Literacy and ESOL at the Institute of Education,
University of London. Her field of interest is adult basic education and she is a specialist in adult literacy
teaching and teacher education. She was one of the writers and editors of 'Language and Power: materials
for the multilingual classroom'. She is currently working on a handbook for adult literacy teachers based on
recent research and developments in the field. She was part of a small team rewriting the Adult Literacy
subject specifications (the subject and subject specific pedagogical knowledge required for Adult Literacy
teaching) for the new English Skills for Life ITT qualifications starting in September 2007.
She is Treasurer of RaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacy) and is on the editorial panel for the RaPAL
Journal.
Field of expertise:
Adult literacy, in particular
a) the development of reading skills, especially critical reading
b) language variety and literacy development
c) adult literacy teacher education
Contact Irene at i.schwab@ioe.ac.uk
Publications
Hughes N, Schwab I (eds, 2009 in press): Teaching adult literacy: principles and practice. London: Open
University Press. Details at http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335237355.html
Schwab I (1994): Literacy, language and identity. In M Hamilton, D Barton and R Ivanic (eds)m Worlds of
Literacy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
ILEA Afro-Caribbean project in Further and Adult Education (1990) Language and Power: materials for the
multilingual classroom . London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Schwab I and Stone J (1986): Language Writing and Publishing: work with Afro-Caribbean students. London:
Inner London Education Authority Learning Materials Service

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Section H Participants in the PPS programme


The following literacies tutors participated in the Learning Connections Professional Practice
Seminars on teaching adults to read, November 2008 to March 2009:
Cecile Robb, Gail Squires, June MacDonald, Isobel Sinclair, Susan Stewart, Steve Lynn,
Mary Rigby, Aileen Pollachi, Lewis Atha, Natasha Partington, Janice McAvoy, Dehra
MacDonald, Linda Chambers, Christine Russell, Elizabeth MacKintosh, Fiona Smillie, Judith
Nelson, Doreen Wales, Abdah Javaid, Kathleen Walker, Sharon Doyle, Ann Swinney,
Teressa Niven, Clark Whyte, Davy McFarlane, Shirley Gauld, Joan Melton, Sean Hurl,
Pauline Healey, Diane Brown, Sharon Allison, Margaret Traynor, Marie Clark, Sally Smith,
Jacqueline Pollock, Susan Doherty, Anne Thomas, Elaine Monsen-Elvik, Marilyn Holmes,
Barbara Reynolds, Karen Riddell, Merlyn Bell, Isobel Macrae, Eily Scott, Soozin Rogers,
Heather Pirie, Katrena Wilkie, Bill McKiernan, Douglas Henderson, Lorna McNeil, Helen
Adam, Ann McKenzie.
They worked for: East Renfrewshire Council, Buddies for Learning Renfrewshire, North
Ayrshire Community Education, East Ayrshire Community Learning and Development,
Inverclyde, Castlemilk, Langside College, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire,
Addaction Volunteer Centre, Gorbals, Perth and Kinross Council, Clackmannanshire Adult
Education, HMP Aberdeen, Glasgow Community Learning, North Lanarkshire, Glasgow
Culture and Sport, South Lanarkshire, Motherwell College, CLAN Edinburgh, Inch
Community centre Edinburgh, Highland Adult Literacies, Aberdeenshire Council, Argyll and
Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, and Fife Council.
Learning Connections staff:
Fiona Macdonald, Katherine Ashe, Peter Lanigan
The facilitators would like to thank all the participants and the Learning Connections staff
for their contributions to making this a very useful, stimulating and enjoyable event.

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Section I: Support Materials


1.

Final Report of the programme

2.

What are we doing when we read? adult literacy learners


perceptions of reading
Samantha Duncan, Institute of Education.

3.

Notes on assessment and effective teaching and learning with


adults
Jude Gawn and Jay Derrick, March 2009

4.

Notes on the NIFL Webcast by Jay Derrick

5.

Problem-based development process for practitioner action


research

6.

Classroom Innovations Plan

7.

Classroom Investigation: Report

8.

The Rights of the Reader

9.

Beginning Readers Phonics

10.

Lighting the Way: A summary of the best available evidence


about effective adult literacy, numeracy and language
teaching

11.

Applying Research In Reading Instruction For Adults


First Steps For Teachers

12.

PowerPoint: Effective Teaching and Learning

13.

PowerPoint: Working in Mixed Ability Groups

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PROFESSIONALPRACTICESEMINARS:TEACHINGREADINGTOADULTS
OCT2008JULY2009
FINALREPORTONTHEPROGRAMME
BACKGROUND
BlueSkyLearningLtdwascommissionedbyLearningConnectionstoprovideaprogrammeofprofessional

developmentseminarsfocusing onthe teaching ofreadingto adults, aimed atliteraciestutorsacross


Scotland,betweenOctober2008andMarch2009.Theprogrammewasscaffoldedaroundthreeseminars,
thefirstheldinGlasgowonNovember11th2008,withthesecondandthirdtobeheldinJanuaryandMarch
2009,inEdinburghandGlasgowrespectively.ThispaperistheevaluationreportbyBlueSkyLearningLtdof
theprogrammeasawhole.

RECRUITMENT
Theprogrammeaimedtorecruit50tutors,andwasmarketedthroughthedistributionofaflyerand
coveringletterusingdistributionlistsprovidedbyLearningConnections.Theseconsistedoflistsof:
TheScottishLiteraciesPartnerships
ScottishCollegesofFurtherEducation
Nationalvoluntaryorganisationsinvolvedinadultliteraciesprovision
ApersonalcontactlistprovidedbyKatherineAshe
174flyerswereemailedonthe20thand21stofOctober,allowing10daysbeforetheadvertisedclosingdate.
Thiswasatightscheduleasthetargetaudiencewaspractisingtutors,butinmostcasestheflyersweresent
tointermediaries,oftenquitedistantfromtutors,suchascollegeprincipalsorvoluntarysectordirectors,
andwewererelyingontheflyersbeingforwardedtoappropriatestaffassoonaspossible.Whenemails
werereturnedasundeliverable,theywerefollowedupandfurtherflyerssentassoonaspossible.This
happenedinabout20cases.
Interestedtutorswereinvitedtoapplyonlineusingasurveymonkeyfacility,usingahyperlinkprovidedin
theflyer.About15enquirieswerereceivedfromtutorsforwhomthisappearednottowork.Mostlythis
wasbecausetheirPCswereconfiguredtoblockthelink.Asfarascanbedetermined,allthesecaseswere
dealtwithsatisfactorily,eitherbysendingadviceabouthowtoreconfigurethePC,orbysendingthefullURL
ofthesurveymonkey.
Bytheadvertisedclosingdateforapplications,311008atmidday,40applicationshadbeenreceived.It
wasagreedtoextendtheclosingdatetoMiddayon3rdNovember,andbythisdate52applicationshadbeen
received.Lateenquirieswereencouragedtoapply,astheyweretoldthateveniftheydidntgetaplace
theirnameswouldbeonfileforfutureevents.Bythetimetheseminartookplace,therehadbeen65
applications,andonemorehascomeinsince.

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Therewassomemisunderstandingabouttheneedforindividualstoapplyseparately.Intheeventsome
applicationswereinthenamesofmorethanonetutor.Followupemailsensuredthatsomeoftheseledto
alltheindividualsapplying,butthiswasnotalwayssuccessful.
Applicantswereinvitedtoindicateiftheywouldneedfinancialsupporttoattendtheprogramme,inrelation
mainlytotransportandaccommodation,butpossiblyincludinglossofearnings.Nofirmcommitmentswere
madeintheflyertoprovideanyfinancialsupport.
Applicantsfortheprogrammecamefrommostareasofthecountry,asindicatedinthechartbelow:

25

20

15
Applicants and enquiries
Participants
10

ee
un
d

Fi
fe

re
Ed
in
bu
rg
h
H
i
g
Ab
hl
an
er
de
d
A
e
ns
D
um rgy
hi
le
fri
an re
es
d
an
Bu
d
te
G
al
lo
w
ay

M
P

rk
sh
i

La
na

la

sg
ow

an
d

en
fre
w

sh
i re
A
yr
D
un
sh
ba
ire
Pe
r
rth ton
an shir
C
e
d
la
Ki
ck
n
m
ro
an
ss
na
ns
hi
re

Com
municationswerereceivedfromtheCoordinatorsoftheLiteraciesPartnershipsinHighlandandMoray,
indicatingthattheywereveryinterestedintheprogramme,butthatthelogisticaldifficultiesingettingtheir
stafftoitweretoogreatonthisoccasion,andaskingfortheprogrammetoberunfurthernorth.These
enquiriesareadditionaltothoseinthechartabove.

SELECTIONANDATTENDANCE
Theadvertisingflyerhadmadeitclearthatapplicantswereexpectedtocommittoattendallthreeseminars
andengageinsmallscaleresearchworkinbetweenthem.Ithadalsostatedthatintermsofselectionfor
theprogramme,tutorswithmoreexperience,thoseteachinggroupsofstudents,andthoseapplyingas
membersoflocalprofessionalgroups,wouldbegivenpreference.Thevastmajorityofapplicationsfitted
thefirsttwocriteria,andabouthalffittedthethird.Onlythreeapplicantswerenotselectedbecauseof
inexperience,andonebecauseshesaidwasntteachinggroups.Onewasnotselectedbecauseshehadnt
completedmostofthequestionsontheapplicationform,andtwoverylateapplicationscameafterthethe
programmewasalreadyfull.

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56tutorswerefinallyselectedfortheprogrammeoutof65applicants.Intheevent6ofthesedidntturn
up.Emailswerereceivedfrom3:onewasill,andtwohaddecidedtowithdraw(onebecauseshehad
decidedshewastooinexperiencedafterall).Onepersoncameasasubstituteforaselectedtutor.One
personturnedupwhohadnotappliedandwhohadnotbeenofferedaplace.Shehadassumedthat
becausehercolleaguehadappliedandbeenaccepted,shewasincluded.Thefirstseminartookplacewith
52tutorsparticipating.

8peoplewithdrewfromtheprogrammecompletelybetweenthefirstandsecondseminars,leaving
44stillontheprogramme.Infiveofthesecasesthereasongivenwasincreasedworkortraining
commitments:forthreeinthiscategorytheyhadbeensentoncompulsorytrainingbytheir
managerandwereunabletogivemoretimetothisprogramme.Twopeoplewithdrewduemainly
topersonal/familyreasons,andonebecauseshefelttheprogrammewastooadvancedforher
andshewasntbenefitting.Thislastcaseisworryingas,tutorswereselectedforthisprogramme
partlyonthebasisofexperience.Thisisprobablyacaseofatutorwhohasnthadaccessto
substantialprofessionaltrainingandwhohaslearntherskillsentirelyonthejob,possiblyinan
isolatedsettingandwithlittleprofessionalsupport.

Itwasdisappointingthatonly26people(59%)attendedthesecondseminar,outofthe44remainingonthe
programmeafter8withdrawals.Apologieswerereceivedfrom9people(3oftheseweregivenby
colleaguesontheday).9sentnoapologiesorexplanationfortheirnonattendance.Ofthe9apologies
received,4wereduetosickness,2tounavoidableworkcommitments,and3unspecified.

27participantsattendedthethirdseminar,with7sendingapologiesand11notlettingusknow
eitherway,inspiteofaspecificrequestforconfirmationeitherway3weeksbeforetheevent.

WHATHAPPENEDATANDBETWEENTHESEMINARS
CLASSROOMINVESTIGATIONS:PRACTITIONERACTIONRESEARCH
Ingeneral,theseminarserieswentaccordingtoplan.Ithadbeenenvisagedthatduringthefirstseminar
participantswouldfirstlyidentifytopicsconnectedwiththeteachingofreadingtoadultsaboutwhichthey
felttheyneededsupportanddevelopment,andsecondlydecideonandbegintoplanaclassroom
investigationthattheywouldcarryoutduringtheperiodtheprogrammewasrunning.Participantswould
startcarryingouttheirinvestigationsbetweenthefirstandsecondseminars.Theywouldcommunicate
informallywithcolleaguesintheregionalgrouptowhichtheyhadbeenassigned,andbringaninterim
reportontheirinvestigationtothesecondseminar,whereallthereportswouldbeevaluatedand
investigationsamendedorevenchanged.Thesameprocesswouldhappenbeforethefinalseminar,at
whichallinvestigationswouldbecollectivelyevaluatedandfindingsclarified.
DIRECTINPUTSESSIONSONTHREEKEYTOPICS
Theonlywayinwhichtheprogrammeneededtochangefromthisplanwasthatafterthefirstsessionin
whichparticipantshadidentifiedtheirdevelopmentneeds,itwasclearthatsomedirectinputonparticular
topicswouldbeuseful.Almostalltheparticipantshadindicatedtheywouldlikesomeinputoneither

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workingwithmixedabilitygroups,workingwithbeginnerreadersandusingphonics,oronmoreeffective
teachingapproaches.Itwasthereforeagreedtoarrangeforinputsessionsonthesetopicstobe
incorporatedintothesecondandthirdseminars.Intheendparticipantswereabletoattendeachofthe
inputsessions,anditisclearthattheywereverypopular.
HIGHPROFESSIONALEXPECTATIONSOFTHEPARTICIPANTS
Theheartoftheapproachadoptedbythisprogrammewastheclassroominvestigations.Mostofthe
participantswhoattendedthefinalsessionhadindeedcarriedoutinvestigationsandhadproducedreports
onthem,soitseemsthatoverallabouthalfoftheoriginalcohorthadcarriedoutthetaskstheprogramme
requiredofthem.Itmaybethatforsomeatleastofthepeoplewhodidntattendthelaterseminars,the
focusonclassroominvestigationswaspartofthereasonfortheirnonattendance.Itseemedtothe
facilitatorsthatsomeoftheparticipantswereexpectingatraditionalCPDapproachinwhichtheywould
onlyhavetositandlisten.Wealsofeltthattherewereverywidevariationsinwhatmightbecalled
professionalconfidenceamongtheparticipants,reflectingverydifferentworkingsituationsandexperience
ofprofessionaltraining.Ourapproachhadhighprofessionalexpectationsoftutorsconfidencetoinitiate
andcarryouttheirownresearchproject,anditmaybethatforsomeoftheparticipantsthiswaslacking.
Forothers,theevaluationsheetssuggestthattheprogrammemighthavehelpedtutorsseethemselvesand
theirroleinadifferentlight,andmayactuallyhaveincreasedtheconfidenceofsomeofthem.
THEMOODLE
Anotheraspectoftheprogrammewhichitwashopedwouldaddvaluewasthemoodle.Thiswassetupas
partoftheLearningConnectionsVLE,afterthefirstseminar.Nomorethanabouthalfoftheparticipants
loggedontoitatall,andthosethatdidmadehardlyanyuseofittoaskquestions,participateindiscussions
orrespondtoideasandquestionspostedbythefacilitators.Atthesecondseminaranevaluationsession
washeldspecificallyonthemoodle,andfollowingresponsesreceived:
Mostofthecommentsreceivedconsistedoffactorsthatworkedagainstpeopleusingthemoodlefreely.
Theyincluded:
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

Peoplenothavingenoughtimeatworktoexploreit,playwithit,andgetusedit
Findingitcomplicated,notveryuserfriendly
Thattheycouldntgetittoworkimmediately
Thatonlinecontributionsneededtimetoconstructtextsthatweredefendabletimetheydidnt
have
Thattheydidnthavetheconfidencetoputtheirowncommentsonline,thattheyfeltexposed
Thattheyfelttheyneededanintroductiononhowtouseit
Thattheydidntreallyknowwhatitwasfor,whatthepointofitwas
Somepeoplefoundithardtonavigatearoundit
Onepersonsaiditclashedwiththeirpreferredlearningstyle

Positivefactorsidentifiedbyparticipantsincluded:
o
o

Thatitsupportednetworkingwell,andmadeiteasytocontactpeoplewithsimilarinterests
Thatitwasfairlyeasytofindyourwayaround

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o
o
o

Thatitwasexcellentforsharinginformation,andlinkingwithpeopleresearchinginthesamearea
Thatitwasgoodbackupwiththeimplicationthatitwasasupporttoolratherthanamajortool
forlearninginitsownright
Thatitisausefultoolandworkswellifyoulikeit

Onepersonwhowasnewtomoodles,anddidnotfeelcomfortablewithit,butdidstruggletogetloggedon
andfindherwayaroundsoastouseitaspartoftheprogramme,wantedtoknowwhythereissomuch
emphasisononlinetoolsasdriversfornewkindsoflearning.
Forsomepeopleonthisprogramme,themoodleappearstohavebeenalmostasteptoofarforthemin
relationtotheirprofessionaluseofdigitaltechnology.Themoodleconceptwasclearlyunfamiliar;their
fluencywithotherlessunfamiliarapplications,evenaswidelyusedasemail,wasnotgreat;manyofthem
clearlyhaveverylimitedaccesstocomputersatwork;andmostofall,theycouldnotseewhatthepointof
themoodlewas.
Foranothergroup,generallymoresophisticatedintheiruseofdigitaltechnology,eventhoughitwas
unfamiliar,theywereabletologonandexploreit.However,evenforthisgrouptheyarenotusingit
activelyandinteractively.Themostcommonexplanationmadeinthefeedbacksessionwasthatpeople
donthavetimeatworktoexploreapplications,toplaywiththem,andthisholdsthembackfromrealising
thepotentialforprofessionaldevelopmentoftheseapplications,evenwhentheyhavethetechnical;
competenceandconfidencetohavego.
Whileintheconceptionofthisprogramme,themoodlewasseenasanimportanttoolforenhancing
communicationbetweenparticipantsbetweentheseminars,andalthoughthiselementoftheconception
hasnotapparentlybeenhighlydeveloped(thoughwedontknowtheextenttowhichparticipantshave
beenintouchwitheachotherbyemail),theprogrammehasnotbeenfatallycompromisedbythe
participantsoveralltentativenesswithusingthemoodle.Theprogrammehas,however,neededtochange
itsemphasisfrombeingwhollyfacilitative,participantled,actionresearchproject,toonewhichismore
trainerled,moreinputdriven,andlessinteractivethoughtheextenttowhichthishashappenedhas
variedfordifferentparticipants,animportantminorityofwhomarestillpursuingtheoriginalobjective,
thoughstillwithoutmakingextensiveuseofthemoodle.
Evenforthismoreconfidentgroup,themajorityofcommentsmadeaboutthemoodlearenegativeintone:
thereisclearlyanxietyaboutcommittingoneselfinwhatisseenasapublicspacepeoplewantmoretime
tothinkaboutwhattowriteandchoosetherightwordsthiscanbeseenasshyness,butalsoasfarof
makingmistakes,orbeingexposedtounsympatheticpeopletheydontknow.Inthissituation,evenasking
questionscanbefelttoberevealingignoranceasmuchasbeingconstructive.

OUTCOMES
PARTICIPANTSATISFACTION
Participantswereaskedtocompleteevaluationformsaftereachseminar,andthenumbercollected
representsover90%ofthenumbersattendingacrossthewholeprogramme.Theoverwhelmingmajorityof

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theresponseswereverypositiveandenthusiastic.Detailedanalysesoftheresponsescanbefoundinthe
reportsforeachseminar,butthesalientpointswerethese:
Peopleweregenerallyhappyaboutthevenuesfortheseminars,especiallytheGlasgowones.
Themostusefulaspectsoftheserieswere:

theopportunitytoshareideasanddiscussissueswithotherpractitioners
therationaleandoverallorganisationoftheprogramme
alltheinputsessions,butparticularlytheoneonbeginningreadersandphonics
evaluatingotherpeoplesprojectsproducedlotsofgoodpracticalideas

Aspectsoftheprogrammewhichcouldhavebeenimprovedwere:

therewasntenoughtimetogeteverythingdone
themoodlewasdemandingandtooktimewhichsomeparticipantsdidnthave
thereshouldhavebeenanextraseminar,atthebeginning,bywayofintroduction
theprogrammeshouldhavebeenrunoveralongertimeframe
thereshouldbemorePPSprogrammesontopicssuchasNumeracyandWriting

Thewaysinwhichparticipantssaidthattheprogrammewouldhaveanimpactontheirpracticewere:

itprovidednew,innovative,butpracticalideas
itmadeparticipantsmorereflectiveandthoughtfulabouttheirwork
itmotivatedparticipantstotryoutnewideas
itincreasedparticipantsprofessionalconfidence

TUTORPACK
A56pagetutorpackonteachingadultstoreadhasbeenproduced,tobemadeavailablethroughtheweb
fromSeptember2009.Basedonwhathappenedduringtheprogramme,itreportsontheclassroom
investigationsandshowshowawiderangeofdifferentapproachesandactivitiescouldbeusedaspartof
adultliteracieslearning,whilestressingthatwhatworkswithonegroupmaynotbeappropriatewith
another.Thepackalsohassectionsontheorganisationofcontinuousprofessionaldevelopment,an
extensivelistofresourcesintheformofbooks,articles,websitesandothermaterials,andaglossary.

IMPACT
AnimpactsurveywascarriedoutinJuneJuly2009,usingasurveymonkeyreportformwhichwassenttoall
participants.ByJuly24th,9returnshadbeenreceived,andthisreportdrawsonthem.
7ofthe9answeredyestothequestion:haveyoumadeanyspecificchangesorinnovationsinyour
approachestoteachingasaresultoftakingpartintheprogramme?Ofthetwothatdidntansweryes,one
saidthathergrouponlyhasonestudentatthemoment,butshewantstoconductminiresearchesinthe

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future.Theothersaidthatattendanceathergrouphadbeenverypoor,butthatshetoohopestomake
changesinthefuture.
Threeofthesevensaidtheyhadbeenusingmorelanguageexperiencewiththeirlearners,onesaidshehad
beenusingmoregroupworking,oneisusingmaterialsfromtheWorkingwithMixedAbilitiesinputsession,
oneisdifferentiatingmore,oneispayingparticularattentiontofeedback,andsaidthatshepresentedtoher
tutorseminaronthetopicofphonics,followingthedirectinputsessionwhichwaspartoftheprogramme.
Onetutorisencouragingandsupportinglearnersinreadinginasmallgroup.Thefeedbackfromthemis
thatitisscarybuttheyarethrilledwiththemselvesafterwards.Anothertutorhopestohavestudents
workingtogethermore,andgivingfeedbacktoeachother.Oneintendstoexperimentwithreciprocal
reading.
Barriersidentifiedbytheresponderstomakingchangesintheirteachingapproachesincludepoor
attendance(thoughthisisforperfectlyvalidreasons),havingtofocusinshortsessionsnotjustonreading,
butalsoonemployment,writing,andnumeracy,ienothavingenoughsustainedtimetodedicateto
effectiveapproachestoteachingreading.
Effectsthenewapproacheshavehadonstudents,includethattheyarevaluingtheknowledgetheyalready
havemore,theyareenjoyingworkingtogethertowritetheirownsoapbasedontheirownlives,thatsome
likelanguageexperiencebutthatsomedont,thatlanguageexperiencehashelpedstudentsgainconfidence
thattheycanlearntoread,thatthenewapproachesseemtohavemadethelearnersmoreenthusiasticand
ableandwillingtotrydifferentthings.Tworesponderssaiditwastooearlytosayforsure,butonesaidthat
shebelievedthatherownkeenerinterestinreadingassomethingyoucanteachmusthaveabeneficial
effectonlearners.
Intermsoftherespondersownprofessionaldevelopmentinthelightoftakingpartintheseminars,onesaid
therehadbeennoimpactonplansforherownprofessionaldevelopment,andonewasundecidedabout
thefuture.TwosaidthattheyhavebeenparticipatingintheTQALdiplomapilotandthattheseminarshad
helpedsupportreflectingontheirpractice,aswellasgivingtheminformationtheycouldsharewithother
TQALparticipants.AnothersaidItisgreattoseetheworkbeingdoneinprisonsorwithexcludedgroups,I
amjustabouttoenter3rdYearatGlasgowUniandwasveryinterestedtofindouthowtheyaretargeting
theseparticulargroups.Willkeepthecontactsmade.AnothersaidIwouldwelcomeanyothersuch
programmeonanytopicatallthishelpstogetnewideasandalsotobecomeamorereflective
practitioner.
Fiveofthenineresponderstotheimpactsurveythoughtthatthemostimportantelementsofthe
programmewhichhelpedthemdevelopandimprovetheirpracticeweretheopportunitytoshareideasand
discussionswithotherpractitioners.Onesaidshewasinspiredbytheideaofcarryingoutherownmini
researchprojects,andfortwothemostimportantaspectoftheprogrammewasthenewknowledgeitgave
themonencouraginglearnerstointeract,andthecontentoftheinputsessions.OnesaidIhadbeen
consideringtryingthisprocessforawhiletheprogrammegavemetheincentivetopushitforward.

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CONCLUSIONS
RECRUITMENTANDMARKETING
Giventhetimescalesinvolved,therecruitmentprocesswasverysuccessful.Thetargetnumberofrecruits
wasachieved,andwithapplicantsfromareasonablespreadoflocationsthroughoutScotland.Therewas
someconfusionaboutthesuggestionthatpeoplemightapplyasgroups:infutureprogrammesthis
requirementwouldneedtobestatedmuchmoreclearly.Itisalsoclearthatmanypeoplewouldprobably
haveattendedseminarsbasedfurthernorth,butfeltunabletocometoGlasgoworEdinburgh.
ATTENDANCEANDRETENTION
Attendanceattheseriesdroppedoffeffectivelybynearly50%.Inabouthalfthesecases,wedontreally
knowwhy,astheydidnttellus.Oftheothers,themostcommonreasongivenwaspressureofwork:either
theyhadbeentoldbetheirmanagertoundertakesomeotherdevelopmentactivity,leavingnotimeforthis
one,oranurgentandunavoidabletaskhadcomeupjustbeforethedayoftheseminar,preventingthem
attending.Manyofthesesentininterimreportsoftheirinvestigations,indicatingthattheywerestill
engagedwiththeprogramme.Afewhadpersonalreasonsfornotattendingtodowithfamilyorsickness.
PROGRAMMEDESIGN,PLANNING,ANDOPERATION
Theprogrammewascarriedoutaccordingtoplan,butalsowasabletoincorporatedirectinputsessionson
threetopicschosenbytheparticipants,notoriginallyplanned,whichallparticipantswereabletoattend.
Themoodlewashardlyusedatallbyparticipants.Afewappeartohavebeenresistanttothetechnology,
somehadminimalaccesstocomputers,somehadtechnicaldifficultiesloggingon.Themajorityappearnot
tohavebeenconvincedofitsusefulness.Itmighthaveworkedbetterifaspecificelementofthefirst
seminarhadbeenusedtointroduceparticipantstothemoodle,andgetthemloggedon,butevenifthishad
happenedIthinkithastobesaidthatwefailedtoconvincethemajorityoftheparticipantsthatthemoodle
wasausefultool.ItisrecommendedthatLearningConnectionsconsidersmountingamoredetailedand
focused studyoftutors'ICTskills and confidence, theiraccessto theinternet, andtheirattitudesto using
digitalcommunications,toprovideafoundationforastrategicimplementationofmoodletechnologyin
relationtothecontinuousprofessionaldevelopmentofadultliteraciestutors.
IMPACT
IthinkwecansaywithsomeconfidencethatforatleasthalftheoriginalparticipantsinthePPSprogramme,
theexperiencehasgiventhemincreasedmotivationandinsomecasesincreasedconfidence,new
knowledgeintopicsofinteresttothem,and,perhapsmostsignificantly,agreatersenseofagencyand
planningintheirapproachestoteachingreading,andtotheirownprofessionaldevelopment.Althoughwe
onlyhadninereturnstotheimpactsurvey,allofthemsupportedthisassessmentoftheimpactofthe
programme.Sodidalmostalloftheevaluationsheetscollectedaftereachseminar.Thosecollectedafter
thelastseminarareparticularlysignificanthere,astheywerecompletedbypeoplewhohadmostly
attendedallthreeseminarsandwhoseveryattendanceuntiltheendindicatestheyfelttheprogrammewas
ofvaluetothem.

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Itisnotunreasonabletoassumethatsomeofthosewhodroppedoutalsobenefittedintheseways,atleast
tosomeextent.Weknowthatabouthalfthosewhodroppedoutdidsoforreasonsunconnectedwiththe
seriesitself,andmanyofthemexpressedregretatnotbeingabletoattend.Onthisbasisagainitis
reasonabletoassumethatatleasthalfofthosewhodroppedoutalsoderivedsignficantbenefitsfromthe
programme,perhapsanother10or15,somakingatotalof35to40outoftheoriginal52participants.
Theimpactofthetutorpackisofcourseyettobeseen,butitcontainsalargerangeofreferencesand
materialswhichshouldbeofongoingusetoliteraciestutorsandteachertrainers,aswellascasestudiesand
approachesfromtheprogrammewhichmayeasilybecopied,imitatedandadapted.Itisintendedalsoto
bemotivational:toinspiretutorstovaluetheirworkandtheirownreflectionsontheirexperience;alsoto
supportanincreasedsenseofprofessionalconfidenceandautonomy,bygivingthemideasandpractical
approachestotheirownprofessionaldevelopment,andbyencouragingthemtolooktotheirlocal
professionalpeergroups,whetherinformalorformal,forsupport,collectivediscussions,andpracticalideas
inthefuture.Hopefullyitwillhaveadegreeofpositiveimpactbeyondthe50tutorswhoparticipatedinthe
programmeitself,especiallyifitslaunchisaccompaniedbyamarketingstrategy.Whateverqualitiesithas,
andtheinformationitcontains,arenotofthesortthatislikelytobecomeoutdated.
OVERALLCONCLUSIONS
Itisclearthatformostofthosewhoparticipatedintheprogrammeitwasagreatsuccess.Thiswasinspite
oftheclearsensethatitsdesignwasunfamiliartomostofthem,anditsemphasisontutorledclassroom
basedinvestigationsasamodelforprofessionaldevelopment,wasnotonlyunfamiliar,buthighly
challengingforsomeofthem,duetowidelyvaryinglevelsofprofessionalconfidence.
Ibelievethatthistypeofprogrammecouldbeevenmoresuccessfulifitbecomesamorefamiliartypeof
professionaldevelopmentpackage.Itsclearthatatleastsomeofthetime,tutorsneedfacilitation,
leadershipandoversightinrelationtotheirprofessionaldevelopment,howeverenthusiasticallysomeof
themmayembraceitsideasoftutorautonomy.Thisismuchmoretrueofthosetutorswhoareless
experienced,havehadlessaccesstotraining,aremoreprofessionallyisolatedandlesssupportedbya
professionalcommunityonadaytodaybasis,andwhoarelessconfident.Butinasituationwheretutors
werefamiliarwitharangeofdifferentmodelsofsupportfortheirCPD,ofwhichPPSprogrammeswereone,
thentutorsmightselectthismodelfromarangeofothers,knowingbetterwhatthisentailedintermsofthe
expectationstheprogammewouldhaveofthem,andwhetherthiswasthetypeofprogrammeappropriate
forthematthatstageoftheircareer.Thiswouldhopefullyleadtohigherratesofattendanceandmore
focuseddevelopmentworkwithin the programmeitself.Many ofthe tutors comments onthe evaluation
formssuggestthatthisisareasonableconclusiontodraw:particularlytheonesthatsaidtheprogramme
shouldhavebeenrunoveralongertimescale,thatthereshouldhavebeenafourthseminar,beforethe
others,actingasanintroductorymodule,andthosethataskedforfutureseminarseriesonawiderrangeof
topics.
Connectedwiththisdiscussionistheissueofthemoodle,anddevelopingastrategicapproachtoaddressing
thewiderangeofdifferent,butmostlynegativeoruninterested,attitudestowardsdigitaltoolsshowedby
mostoftheparticipants.

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ItisobviouslytooearlytosayverymuchabouttheimpactofthePPSprogrammeontutorsclassroom
practice,andontheirorientationtoprofessionaldevelopment,notleastbecausetheTutorPack,an
importantaspectoftheprogrammeduetobelaunchedintheautumn,isnotoutyet.Itissuggestedthata
furtherimpactsurveyiscarriedoutinayearstime,andthataswellasparticipants,otherstakeholderssuch
assomeoftheirlearnersandmanagersmightbeincludedinthesurvey.
JayDerrick
BlueSkyLearningLtd
July27th2009

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Whatarewedoingwhenweread?adultliteracylearnersperceptionsof
reading
SamanthaDuncan,InstituteofEducation.
Thisstudyusedindividualinterviewsandfocusgroupstoask21adultliteracylearnersataLondonfurther
educationcollegewhatreadingis.Itfollowsagroundedtheoryapproachtobuildamodelofreadinginthe
formofsixinterrelatingaspectsandsevenkeyfindings.Thesefindingsincludeinsightsonmetalanguageand
phonicdecoding,thedistinctionbetweenhowwereadandhowwelearntoread,motivationandlearning
toread,theplaceofreadingaloud,themanifoldrelationshipbetweenreadingandtime,readingasasocial
practiceandreadingasadistinctlyasocialpractice.Implicationsforthelearningandteachingofadult
emergentreadingarepresentedforeachfinding.
Backgroundandrationale
Asanadultliteracyteacherandteachereducator,havebecomeincreasinglyawarethatadultliteracy
learnersandteacherswantmoreguidanceonhowtoteachanddevelopadultreading,andyetarenotsure
inwhichdirectiontolookforguidance.Thestudyofreadingisclaimedbyseveraldisciplines,eachmarking
itsterritoryindistinctways.Cognitivepsychologydefinesandinvestigatesreadingincertainways,literary
theoryinothers,andNewLiteracyStudiesinyetothers.Whichofthesecanhelpadultliteracylearnersand
teachers?
Cognitivepsychologyresearcheshowtextisprocessedintospeechsoundsand/ormeaning.The
developmentofphonemicawareness(Stuart,2005a,2005b)andorthographicprocessingskill(Burt,2006),
andhowtheserelatetothelexicalorphonologicalroutestoverbalisingand/orunderstandingawordare
representedinthemodelscognitivepsychologyhasproducedoverthepasttwentyyears(Coltheart,2006;
Coltheart&Jackson,2001;Rayner&Pollatsek,1989;Stuart,2002,2005b).Yet,cognitivepsychologys
engagementwithreadingdoesnotendwithverbalisationorlexicalcomprehension.Just&Carpenter(1977)
usedeyemovementresearchtoinvestigatesentenceandparagraphcomprehensionandGarnham(1987)
andGarnham&Oakhill(1992)smentalmodelstheorydetailshowthereaderprocesseseachnewwordin
thecontextofamentalmodelofthetextreadsofar,inanintegrative,constructiveway(Garnham&
Oakhill,1992,p.194).Noordman&Vonk(1992)arguethatthisconstructiveunderstandingistheproductof
theinterplaybetweeninformationfromthetextandthereadersexistingworldknowledge.
Literarytheory,overthepasthundredyears,hasshifteditsfocusfromtheauthortothetextandfinallyto
thereader(Eagleton,1996;RimmonKenan,1989),investigatingthereadersexperienceandoffering
modelsofthereadingprocess.Iser,developingliteraryphenomenologicalhermeneuticsintoreception
theory(Cuddon,1991;Eagleton,1996;Iser,1978),theorisedthereadersactiveparticipationincreatingthe
workofliteratureaconvergencevirtualdynamic(Iser,1972,p.212)asopposedtothewrittentext.
Iserarguesthattheworkisborn(andrebornwitheachreading)intheconnectionsthereadermakes
betweensentencesofthetext.Perry(1979),Fish(1980),RimmonKenan(1989)andTodorov(1996)
continuedthisworkinreaderresponsetheoryandstructuralistpoetics,withdifferencesinemphasisbut
neverthelesscommongroundinidentifyingthereaderasbuild[ing]uptheliterarytext,cumulatively

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[]throughadjustmentsandreadjustments(Perry,1979,p.35)inaprocessofcontinually[]
reconstituting(Fish,1980,p.159)meaning.
Incontrasttotheindividualcognitionbasedapproachofthecognitivepsychologistsortheauthortext
readerinterchangeoftheliterarytheorists,thesocialpracticeapproachofNewLiteracyStudiesaddresses
therolethatreadingplaysinthesocialorganisationofourlives.BuildingonHeaths(1983)workonthe
literacypracticesofcommunitiesintheUnitedStates,NewLiteracyStudies(Barton,1994;Barton,Hamilton,
&Ivanic,2000;Gee,1996;Papen,2005;Street,1984)presentamovetowardsanemphasisonliteracyasa
socialpractice,servingaparticularfunctionforthereaderataparticulartimeandinaparticularsituation.
Thesethreeapproachestoreadingresearcharerarelyplacedtogethertoattemptamorecomprehensive
lookatwhatreadingcouldbeforthereader.Abeliefintheimportanceofperspectiveofthelearnerreader
ismotivatingfactorbehindthisproject.Mybackgroundasanadultliteracyteacherhastaughtmehow
fruitfulitistoaskadultlearnersabouttheirlearningprocess,tostartintheclassroom.Overthepastfive
yearstherehasbeenanincreaseinresearchdirectlyaddressingadultliteracydevelopment,locatingthe
research,atleastpartly,intheadultliteracyclassroom.Besseretal(2004)andMcShane(2005)used
classroomobservation,diagnosticmaterials,interviewsandteacherfocusgroupstoidentifyarangeof
commonreadingdifficulties(includingphonologicalawareness,decodingandcomprehension),advocating
moreclassroomattentiontotheseareas.Brooks,Burton,Cole&Szczerbinski(2007)investigatedadult
literacyteachingstrategies,concludingthatmoreworkneedstobedoneonoralfluency,explicit
comprehensionstrategies,reciprocalteaching,phonicsandlanguageexperienceapproaches(p.10).
Yet,despitetheirlearningandteachingfocus,theaboveprojectsdidnotinvolvelearnersideasabout
reading,thoughotherresearchhas.Devine(1984)interviewedadultEnglishasaSecondLanguagestudents
toestablishtheirinternalisedreadingmodels,whichsheclassifiedassoundcentered,wordcentered
ormeaningcenteredandthencomparedthesetotheirreadingaptitudesasmeasuredthrough
standardisedtests,findingacorrelationbetweenstudentsmodelsandtheirreadingstrengths.Similarly,
Schraw&Bruning(1996)usedacombinationofinterviewandquantitativemethodstoresearchhowadult
readersimplicitmodelsofreadingtransmission,translationortransaction(p.290)affectreading
performance,findingthatthoseusingthetransactionalmodelrememberedmoreofthetext,werebetter
abletorelatethetexttotheirpriorknowledgeandreportedmoreemotionalresponsethatthoseusing
othermodels.Ivanicetal(2006)interviewedadultliteracy,numeracyandESOLlearnersontheireveryday
numeracyandlanguagepracticestounderstandlinksbetweenlearningprovisionandeverydaylivesmore
fully,asabasisfordevelopingpractice(p.3).Appleby&Bartondevelopedthisprojectintoaguideto
RespondingtoPeoplesLives(2008),recommendingthatthebestclassroompracticecomesfromseven
keythreads,includinglisteningtolearners(p.4).

It is this approach, that of listening to the learners, which lies at the core of the present study.
Adult literacy learners have chosen to improve their reading and writing, and bring the knowledge,
skills and experience of adult life to this self-aware process. They are therefore an important, but
rarely used, resource for research into the adult reading development. This study aims to add to
existing knowledge of the learning and teaching of adult emergent reading by using a grounded
theory approach to turn the perceptions of adult literacy learners into a model of reading to
investigate what reading is for the reader cognitively, affectively, socially and perhaps more.

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Themainresearchquestionwas:
Whatarewedoingwhenweread(Hogan,2004)asperceivedbyadultliteracylearners?

Sample&methodology
Themethodologyofthisstudyisgroundedtheory:myaimwastousetheparticipantsconceptualizationsto
buildanewmodelofreading,ratherthantotestanexistingmodelortheory.Atthesametime,the
theoreticalbasisofmydecisiontoworkfromlearnerperceptionsliesinphenomenology:reading,inthis
study,isandcanonlybewhattheselearnersperceiveittobe.
Icarriedouttwentyoneindividualinterviewsandfourfocusgroups(offourlearnerseach)overathree
monthperiod.ThesamplewasadultliteracylearnersataLondonfurthereducationcollege.Participants
werechosentorepresentthespectrumoflevelsfromEntry1(beginners)toLevel2(GCSElevel)delineated
bytheadultliteracycorecurriculum.Oftheindividualinterviewees,4wereatEntry1,4atEntry2,5at
Entry3,4atLevel1and4atLevel2.TwofocusgroupswereatEntrylevelandtwoatLevel1.
Eachparticipanthadmadeavoluntarydecisiontojoinanadultliteracyclasstoimprovetheirreadingand
writing.Somearenativespeakerswithexperiencesoffailureatschoolforarangeofpersonal,socialand/or
cognitivereasons,andothershadcometoEnglandaschildrenoradults,areconfidentspeakingandlistening
inEnglishbutlackconfidenceinreadingandwriting.Alltheparticipantshaddisruptedschooleducations,
whetherinthiscountryorabroad.Justunderthreequartersofparticipantsarefemale.Thisrepresentsthe
usualproportionofwomentomeninadultliteracyclassesatthiscollege.Participantinitialshavebeen
changedforthispaper.
Eachinterviewlastedfor2535minutesandeachfocusgroupfor4555minutes.Iusedsemistructured
interviewstocaptureamaximumofintervieweeideas,withminimalleadingfromfixedquestions(Kvale,
1996).Alistofquestionpromptsweredevised,andrefinedthroughpiloting,followingTomlinsons(1989)
approachofhierarchicalfocusing: starting withopen questionsto allow theinterviewees tosetthe
perimetersofwhatreadingisorinvolvesandonlylater,ifnecessary,askingquestionsaboutaspectsreading
intervieweesdidnotraisethemselves.Theuseofthesepromptswaskepttoaminimum;theinterview
structurewaspredominantlyimprovisedfromparticipantresponses.Likewise,focusgroups,ratherthan
groupdiscussions,wereusedtomaximizegroupinteraction(thereforethegenerationandexplorationof
ideas).
Alltheindividualinterviewsandfocusgroupswereaudiotapedandtranscribedverbatimthesameday.The
resultingtranscriptswereanalyzedusingthegroundedtheoryapproachofopen(assigningcodestoissues
orthemesappearinginthedata),axial(groupingcodesintocategories)andselectivecoding(arrangingthe
categoriesandcomponentcodesintoastorylineormodel)(Cohen,Manion,&Morrison,2007;Strauss,
1987;Strauss&Corbin,1990).Inthiswayamodelornarrativewascreated,inanswertothequestionwhat
arewedoingwhenweread?
Findings&Discussion
Invivo(Strauss&Corbin,1990)opencodingproduced80codesrepresentingthediversityofparticipants
perceptionsofreading,fromconcentrating(theideathatreadingtakesagreatdealofconcentration)to

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readinghelpforwriting(theideathatreadinghelpsyourwriting),andfromspiritualthings(thecodefor
readingreligious/spiritualtexts)toyouforgeteverything(theideathatwhenyoureadyouforgetyour
immediatephysicalenvironment).
Sixcategoriesemergedfromthewaythesecodesinterrelateinthecodedtranscripts(andthereforeinthe
participantsconceptualisations):decoding,waystogetbetteratreading,whatweread,externalfactors
relatedtoreading,internalfactorsrelatedtoreadingandwhyweread.
Thecategorydecodingincludesideasaboutthephysicalandcognitiveactsweperformtodecode,suchas
lookingatwords,concentratingandremembering,aswellasdescriptionsofthespecificprocessesinvolved
inreadingwords,suchasphonicdecoding,wholewordrecognitionandguessingfromcontext.Waystoget
betteratreadingcontainsthedominant(appearinginoverhalfthetranscripts)suggestionsofreadingas
muchaspossible,readingaloud,readingeasybooksandreadingbooksyouaremotivatedtoread.The
categorywhatwereadrepresentsarangeofparticipantexamplesoftextstheyread,fromholyorspiritual
bookstothepaperandfromfictiontothewordsweseeeverywhere.
Externalfactorsrelatedtoreadingincludesmotivatingfactorssuchaskeepingupwithcurrentaffairs,
gettingagoodjobandhelpingyourchildren,aswellassituationalfactorssuchashavingnothingtodoor
havingtolittleortoomuchtime.Thedominantcodesininternalfactorsrelatedtoreadingexploreideas
suchasenjoyment,experiencingemotion,escapingemotion,escapingthislife,feelinginsideatext,
forgettingeverythingandexperiencingsomethingnew.Whywereadisthelargestcategory,dominatedby
ideassuchasreadingtounderstand,tolearnmoreinformation,tokeepourbrainsactive,tocommunicate
withothers,toenjoyourselves,forreligiousworship,torelax,forourchildren,toescapetoanewworldand
simplybecausetherearewordseverywhere.
Thesesixcategories,andtheoverlapsoftheirsharedsubsidiarycodes,producedthefollowingseven
findings.
1.Metalanguageandphonicdecoding
Themajorityofparticipantslackedthemetalanguagetoexpressthephonicdecodingprocessthey
described.Whenaskedhowtheyreadunfamiliarwords,everyparticipantdescribedaprocessofphonic
decoding.CSandPLdescribedhowtheymanagedtoreadthenameAsako,awordtheyhadneverseen
before:
CS:CauseIdseentheASitwouldbelikeas,as,askoasako

PL:AsakoAsakoA,//,andS,/s/,andthenA,//andkoandthenIsqueezed
themtogetherlikesquashingaspongeuntiltheyweresosquashedtogetherthatthey
madeAsako.
Yet,apartfromonelearnerwhocalledthisprocessdecoding,andtwootherswhocalleditsoundingout,
participantsdidnothaveanyspecialistvocabularywithwhichtonamethisprocess.Instead,theysearched
forotherwaystodescribeit,usingtermssuchasbreakitdown,spellitorpronounceit.

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JT:ThenItrytosphowcanIputitItryto,whatstheword?Itrytobreakitdown.I
trytobreakit,trytogetitalltogether,theword.

PP:Imaytryandspellitout,andspellitIspellitouttopronounceit,tobringitout,to
bringout
Participantsdiduseotherclassroommetalanguage(suchassyllableandvowel),andthereforethefact
thattheydidnotusespecificmetalanguageforphonicdecodingsuggeststheirteachersdonotusethis
terminology.Teachersareeithernotaddressingphonicapproaches,ortheyare,butnotusingitsspecific
metalanguage.
Ifteachersarenotdealingwithphonemicawareness/decodingintheclassroom,apossibilitysupportedby
Brooksetal(2007,p.9),whynot?Possiblereasonsfallintofourinterrelatedareas:governmentfunding
shiftsoverthepastfewyearsresultinginfewerEntrylevelclasses,whichmayhavereducedtheemphasis
onbeginningreadinginteachereducation,adultliteracyteachersreject[ing]phonicsbecauseoffearsof
learnerspreviousnegativeexperiences(Burton,2007,p.12),thestrongfeelings(p.12)vergingon
politicalallegiancewhichphonicsraisesamongstmanyteachers,andalackofteacherconfidenceinthis
area(Besseretal.,2004).
Itisalsopossiblethatteachersareindeedaddressingphonemicawareness/decodingwithoutusingits
specificmetalanguage.Yettherelationshipbetweenbeingabletonameanactandperformthatact,the
senseofempowermentwhichmanyfeelmetalanguageprovides,thewaytheselearnersusedother
metalanguagetodescribetheirlearning,thestruggletheseparticipantshadtoarticulatetheirphonic
decodingprocesseswithoutspecificvocabulary,andthefactthattheseparticipantsperceivedphonic
decodingtobetheirprimarystrategyforreadingnewwordswouldallseemtoindicatethattheadvantages
ofusingthismetalanguageoverpowerfeareddisadvantages.
2.Howyoureadvs.howyoulearntoread
ThecategoriesDecoding(orhowweread)andWaystoGetBetterAtReading(howwelearntoreadand
improveourreading)overlapverylittle,sharingonlyalphabet(thecodeforaknowledgeofthesound
symbolrelationshipsofouralphabet).Participantsdiscusseddecodingwordsaspredominantlyaprocessof
phonicdecoding(seeabove),withsomeuseofwholewordrecognitionforfamiliarwordslikeOctober:
AN:BecauseitsawordthatIalwaysuse[]soIknowit.
Participantsalsoexplainedthattheysometimesguessedawordfromitscontext:
ST:Sometimesyoucanunderstandawordfromthesentence,fromtherestofthe
paragraph,whenyourealisewhattheyretryingtosay.

However,whenspeakingofhowtheylearnttoreadorhowtheyareimprovingtheirreading,participants
explainedtheimportanceofreadingasmuchaspossible,readingeasybooks,readingbooksyouareenjoy

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andareinterestedin,readingaloud,orlisteningtoothersreadaloud.Alltwentyfivetranscriptsstressed
thatthebestwaytogetbetteratreadingwastoreadasmuchaspossible:
EP:Read,read,read![]themoreyoupracticethemorebetteryougetatit,andthats
thewayitis.

Fifteenexplainedthattolearntoreadorgetbetteratreadingyouneedtoreadeasybooks:
EM:Youknow,sometimeswhenIwanttoreadandimprovemyreading,Ichooseabook
thatIcanreadeasily,understandeasily.
Sixteenstressedthatthekeywastoreadbookswhichyousimplylikeandthereforeareparticularly
motivatedtoread:

MO:IftheresabookandIlikethebookandfinditexciting,thatswhatgetsmetoread.
Finally,thirteenspokeoftherolethatreadingaloud,andlisteningtoothersread,playsinreading
development(discussedbelow).
Fortheseparticipants,therefore,howyouread(primarilybyphonicdecoding,withsomewholeword
recognitionandprediction)andhowyoulearntoreadorgetbetteratreading(readasmuchaspossible,
readeasybooks,readwhatinterestsormotivatesyouandreadaloud)aredistinct.Thisdistinctionsuggests
thatmodelsoffluentreadingarenotnecessarilythebestplacetostartindevelopingideasforthelearning
andteachingofreading.Weneedtofindotherwaystoresearchhowbesttodevelopreading.
Ramificationsforclassroompracticearetwofold.Firstly,togenerateideasonhowtoteachordevelop
reading,donotworkonlyfrommodelsoffluentreading;askthelearners,manyofwhomhavethought
aboutthisareaagreatdeal.Secondly,todevelopreading:readasmuchaspossible,readeasytexts,
choosetextswhichinterestthereaderandreadaloud.
3.Motivation
LinkingWhyWeRead,WaystoGetBetteratReadingandInternalFactorsRelatedtoReadingistheconcept
ofmotivation.Thebroadnessofthetermmotivationconcealswhereitisvitalasopposedtomerely
desirable.Thatitisgoodpracticetoreadtextswhichinterestourlearnersiscommonsense.Yet,thisdata
indicatesadifferent,morevitalconcept,thatmotivationcanprovidenotonlytheimpetustopickupa
particulartextonaparticularday,butcanmakethedifferencebetweensomeonebeingabletoreadand
someonenotbeingabletoread:motivationtostruggleagainsttheoddstolearntoread.
Threemaincategoriesofmotivationemergefromthisdata.Thefirstisfeelingthatyouneedtobeableto
readforthesakeofyourchildren:
CS:BecauseIthinkit[beingabletoread]wouldbe,notjustbetterforme,butbetterfor
myson[]whenhegoesintonurseryandhebringshomeabookorhesgothomework
Iwanttobeabletositthereandreadtohim.

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Thesecondcategoryofmotivationwhichemergedwasreadingasaccesstoajoborlifestylewhich
wouldotherwisebeclosedoff:
TE:Istartedgoingtoperformingartsschool,about15,16[]becauseIreallylovedtodo
drama,andtododramaIhadtoreadscripts,soIwasreallyinterestedandfocusedonit
soIthinkthatwasabigbigpartofhelpingmelearnhowtoread.

Finally,motivationemergedintherealisationthatreadingcouldbeanescapefromreallifeproblems:
SF:Um,Ithinkit[finallylearningtoreadafteryearsofstruggle]sbecauseIfoundoutit
wasawayofescapingandIjustwantedtoreadandbeinsidethebookallthetimeand
thatdrewmeintoreading.
Motivationwasnotjustwhatdrovetheseparticipantstojoinliteracyclasses,butwhathasallowedthemto
learntoreadandtokeeponimprovingtheirreading.Thenatureofthesemotivations,thefirsttwosocial
andthethirddistinctlyoutsideofthesocialarediscussedlater.Thispresentsramificationsforoutreach
work;collegesneedtodeveloptheircommunityoutreachworktoreachthosewhomayhavethemotivation
andneedforliteracylearning,butmaynotbeawarethatthissupportisavailable.
4.Readingaloud
Participantsspokeofreadingaloudasbothatypeofreadingforspecificpurposesandasamethodto
improvetheirreading.
Readingaloudasatypeofreadingisperformed,accordingtotheseparticipants,forthreemainpurposes:
readingstories,poemsandreligioustexts.PLspokeofhowstoriesreadaloudaremoreexciting,foradultsas
wellasforchildren:
PL:Iliketohearstories[]itsthetoneofthevoice.
Anotherparticipantexplainedthatshedoesntunderstandpoemswhenshereadsthemherselfbutdoes
whenothers,suchasherhusband,readthemaloudtoher:
AI:Ilikesomeonereadingtomepoems;IunderstandwhensomeoneisreadingbutI
dontunderstandwhenIamreading.

DWstressedthattheQuranmustbereadaloudtooneself:
DW:itsbettertoreaditloudbecauseyoufeelthewords,everywordyoureadyoufeel
theword[]maybebecausethisistheHolyBook,maybethatswhyIamputtingallofmy
mindandmyheartinit.
Theseparticipantshavedescribedreadingaloudasasocialpracticeperformedforparticularpurposesin
particularsituations.
Readingaloudwasalsopresentedassomethingyoudotoimproveyourreading,bothaloneandingroups.
Participantsspokeofhowtheyfrequentlyreadaloudwhentheyarealone,inordertobetterdecodewords:

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MO:[when]Imonmyownathome,Idreadoutloud[..]SoIcanunderstandthewords
andthesoundsaswell.
PL:It[readingaloudalone]helpsyoubecauseyouseethewordandthenyoutryto
positionyourmouthtohowthelettersarewritten.
Manyexplainedhowreadingaloudingroupsprovidesanopportunityfortheirownreadingtobecorrected
byothers:
AN:Ilike[reading]loudlybecauseIamlearningsomething[]itsgoodthatotherpeople
hearifthereisamistaketheycanhelp.

Additionally,listeningtoothersreadaloudclarifiestheconnectionbetweensymbols/writtenwordsand
sounds/spokenwords:
EP:Youknowbefore,whenweusedtoreadinclassyeah,IusedtopretendIwas
following,butIwasntbutnowIdofollowit!Inoticethatithelpsmealot[]when
someonesreadingitandyourefollowingit,ithelpsifyoucantsaythatword,dont
knowwhatthatwordisandsomeonesreadingit,andthenitsohyeahyeah.Thathelps
alot.

Themessageforthelearningandteachingofreadingisthatexperimentationwithdifferentusesand
formationsofreadingaloudinandoutoftheclassroomcanplayanimportantroleinthedevelopment
ofreading,bothasavehicleforimprovingdecodingskillsandasawayofacquiringtheabilitytoread
confidentlyindifferentwaysfordifferentsocialandpersonalpurposes.
5.Readingandtime,andtimeandspace
Thecodetime,asubsidiaryofbothExternalandInternalFactorsAffectingReading,featuresinalltwenty
fivetranscripts.Participantsspokeoftimeasavaluablecommodity,requiredonadailyorweeklybasisin
ordertobeabletoread,butofteninshortsupply:
JJ:IliketoreadbutIhaventtimetoread
Othersspokeoftimeasamasstheyhavetopassthrough(CM).Readingcanhelppassyourtime(OR),
eitheronpurpose,onalongjourney,
JC:Ireadbecausetimeflies,youdontthinkabouttravelling.
orbyaccident:
AN:Lastweek,IwasreadingthisbookandthenIforgotImonthebusandthebus
reachedthefinalstopandIsaidohmygodwhyIamhere?Iwasreadingalovestory
anditwasinteresting

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Time,fortheseparticipants,isalsoawaytomarkthepathstheyearsoftheirliveshavetaken,speakingof
thetimesof[their]lives(PS)whentheyhavereadmoreorless.Participantsemphasisedthattheychose
tojoinanadultliteracyclassatthisparticulartimeforspecificreasons:
AE:Forthreeyearsnow,IsortofstoppedreadingbecauseIwasbusylookingaftermy
son.Nowisthetimeformetoreadagain
Yetevenmoreoften,participantsspokeofreading,particularlythereadingofliterature,asanescapefrom
thedifficultiesorlonelinessoftheseparticulartimes,wheretimesignifiestheplaceorsituationweare
innow:
AN:Whenitsabadtime,IjustgetabookandIreadit.
DS:WhenIread,Iforgetaboutall,Iforgetaboutthistime,myenvironmentyes,Iforget
aboutitallwhenImreading.
ST:ItsanescapewhenImstressedoutorjustwanttotaketimeout,Illstarttoread

Time,inthisdata,issomethingtobemeasuredoutandusedorenduredinunitsofminutesorhours,isa
markerfortheyearsofourlivesandisawayoftalkingabouttheplaceweareeachlocatedrightnow,a
placewhichmayallowustodevelopourreadingoraplacewemightwanttoescapebyreading.
Therelationshipbetweenreading,timeandspaceisfurtherdevelopedinparticipantsideasofdifferencesin
permanenceandpersonalcontrolbetweenspokenandwrittenlanguage.Writtenlanguagehas
permanence:
DS:thislanguageiswrittendown[]becausewehavetokeepit[]Orallanguage
maybeitwillchangebytimebutwrittenlanguagewouldntchange.

Writtenlanguagealsoallowsthereadertoreaditwhenevershechooses:
RC:Astoryistherethewholetime,youcanreadbeforeyougotobed,youcanreadit
wheneveryoulike.
Writtenlanguageoffersadegreeofcontrolstill,eveninthisdigitalage,notassociatedwiththespoken;the
readercanoftendecidewhatandwhentoread,providingthepossibilityofcommunicationacrosstimeand
space:
BH:it[reading]slikespeaking,butbecauseIcantbewiththatperson,thenitislikethem
speakingbutnowitisinwriting.
Thissenseofreading(andwriting)asaformofcontrolledcommunicationacrossspaceandtimecallsup
ideasfrombothliterarytheory,Chambersideaofnarrativeasseductiveinthatitinvolvesadeferralof
communication(1984,p.10),andlinguistics,expandingtheideathathumanlanguageischaracterisedby
displacement(beingabletocommunicateaboutdistanttimesorspaces)intowrittenlanguagesabilityto

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communicateacrosstimeandspace.Inthisway,writtenlanguageallowsbothwriterandreadercontrol
overwhere,whenandhowtheyperformtheircommunicativeacts,toaccommodatepersonalneed:
ST:[whenreadinganovel]Imjustlisteningtohim[Coelho,thewriter],towhathes
tellingme,hesadvisingme,guidingme,becauseIdonthaveanyonelikethat.

Thereadercancontrolthiscommunication,gettingwhatsheneedsfromthoseshehasnevermet,across
continentsandyears.
Pennaccelebratesthiscontrolovertimeandspaceintheformoftenrightsofthereader(2006):the
rightnottoread,therighttoskip,therightnottofinishthebook,therighttoreaditagain,the
righttoreadanything,therighttomistakeabookforreallife,therighttoreadanywhere,theright
todipin,therighttoreadoutloud,andtherighttobequiet(pp.149174).Theserightsareour
ramificationsforlearningandteaching,andanother:therighttotravelacrosstimeandspacewhenwe
choose.

6.Readingasasocialpractice
TheconceptofreadingassocialpracticehasbeenatouchstoneoftheNewLiteracyStudiestheoristsover
thepastfifteenyears(Barton,1994,2007;Bartonetal.,2000;Barton&Tusting,2005;Hamilton,2005;
Papen,2005),whoargu[e]thatliteracycanonlybeunderstoodinthecontextofthesocialpracticeinwhich
itisacquiredandused(Barton,2007,p.25).YetIwouldliketotakethisnotionofliteracyassocialpractice
furtherandarguethatmydatashowsthatsocialpracticecontainstwodistinctaspects.Thefirstevokes
culturalfreedomandrichness,thevariedreadingpracticeswedototakepartindomainswebelongto:
readinglettersortextsfromfriends,collegecoursework,storiestochildren,menusincafesorreligious
texts.Yetreadingasasocialpracticehasanotheraspect,whichevokessocialinequality,powerlessness,
controlfromaboveandpunishmentforthosewhodonotorrathercannotreadeasily.Asmuchasthese
participantsarticulatedarangeofreasonswhytheywanttoread,theyalsoexpressedtheirawarenessthat
theyactuallyhavenochoice,theyhavetoread:
CS:Everywhereyougoyouvegottoread[]whenyoureatworkyouvegotboards
whereyouvegotarota,andyouvegotto,youneedtoreadwhattimesyouvegotto
comein,whereaboutsyouvegottogo[]everywhereyougobasically,youhaveto
readeverywhere.

BD.Ifyoudontknowhowtoread,orifyoudontthatword,youlooklikeahumpty
dumptyandyouthinkyoudontknownothing,andyoutryandtryand[]sometimesI
getreallyangry
RelatingthistoPennacsrightsofthereader,thesereadershaverecognisedthattheydonothave
Pennacsfirstandintegralright,therightnottoread(2006,p.149),insteadtheyarefacedwiththe
obligationtoread(p.151).Thisisasocialpracticeasunwelcomeobligation.

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7.Readingasanasocialpractice
Interestingly,thisdataindicatesthatasmuchasitisasocialpractice,readingcanalsobeadeliberatestep
outsideofthesocial,whichIamcallinganasocialpractice.Participantsspokeofreadingtotakepartinthe
socialdomainsaroundthem,buttheyspokeevenmoreaboutreading,particularlythereadingofliterature,
toescapethesedomainsandaccessotherrealities.Thedatashowstwo(interelatated)aspectsofthis
asocialpractice:enteringatext,oftenasacharacterwithinthattext,andexperiencing,releasingorescaping
emotionsindoingso.
Asdiscussedaboveinrelationtotime,participantsspokeofreadingasaconsciousactofescape.Thirteen
participantsdescribedreadingasbeinginsidethetext(predominantlystoriesandnovels):
AN:Imreadingthebook,ifIlikethestory[]Ifeeltobeinside[]likeitshappeningto
me.

AE:NormallywhenImreadingIsortofputmyselfinthere,Ibecomeacharacterinthat
book.
Theydescribeaprocessofintersubjectivity,enteringthestory/novelasacharacterandthenreturning,
transformed:
JJ:youknowhowtodoyourlifebetterattheotherside[]someofthem[insightsfrom
reading]areveryimportant,foryourlife,makeyoubetter.

BD:SomethinglikeJaneEyre,itsanexperiencething,ithelpsyoutomoveforward,if
theressomethingthatyouwanttodo,itslikeohthispersondidit,metooIwilltryit,if
theyachieved,metooIcandoit.
Theideaofbecoming,iftemporarily,acharacterwithinastoryornovelevokesBakhtinstransformative
identification,wherebynovelreadersprojectthemselvesintotheworldofthenovel,becomingthe
protagonist,beforereturningbacktotheiroriginalsubjectpositionofreadertoassessandconsummate
thatexperience(Bakhtin,1990,p.26)intheformofpersonaltransformation.
Theseparticipantsdescribetheirtransformations,whattheyhavegainedfromthisexperienceinsidethe
text,whattheycantakebacktohelptheirusuallives.Yet,theygofurtheranddiscusshowbeinginsidea
bookhelpsthemreadbynotonlyprovidingthedesiretoreadon,butbyfurnishingahookuponwhichto
hangmemoryofdecodedwords:
EF:Whenyoureadstories,andyoufindoutaword,youdontforgetbecauseyou
rememberthestory.
Goingfurther,somefeltthatbeinginsideastoryornovelimprovestheirconfidencereading,facilitating
theirdecodingofnewwords:

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AE:WhenImreading[]Ipicturemyselfasoneofthecharactersinthebookto
understandthewordsImreading[]Imactingasoneofthem,soIknowwhereIm
going,wherethereadingisgoing.

Thatknowingwhereyouregoinginatexthelpsdecodingfitswithideasofsemanticandsyntactic
predictionbasedontheoverallmeaningofthetext(commontoadultliteracystudiesandawholelanguage
approachinEFL(Rigg,1991)).Yettheseparticipantsarealsodescribingamovementbetweensubjectivities,
theauthorsandthereaders,andfromwithintheauthorssubjectivitythereadingeyesknowwherethe
readingisgoing(AE)andcanthereforereadwiththeincreasedconfidencefourparticipantsnamedflow:
AE:Ireadabooksometimeago,SydneySheldon?Iwasoneofthecharactersinthere.
[]atthesametimeIamreadingandatthesametimeIamactingaswell,soitgiveme
flow,youknowtoreaditwell,andIenjoythebookandIunderstanditwell.

ThelearnersdescriptionsoftheflowofbeinginsideatextimprovingtheirabilitytoreadalsocallsupIser
andFishsworkonthereaderactivelymakingconnectionswithinandbetweenthesentencesofatext(Fish,
1980;Iser,1978).Thereaderfollowsthewordsandsentencessetoutbytheauthor,thusfollowing
anotherscognitivefootsteps(temporarilybecominganothersubjectivity),butalsomakeslinksbetween
thesesentencesinhisownindividualrealisation(Iser,1972,p.219)ofthetext.Thereaderistherefore
bothherselfandtheauthor,thealienmeandtherealme(p.224),inaconstantshiftingofsubject
position.Thisisamovementbetweensubjectivitiesandthusthereadergains,atleastforpartofthereading
process,thereadingconfidenceoftheauthororprotagonist.Theasocialactofbeinginsideatext,
therefore,isnotonlyachancetobesomeoneelse,butachancetobeamoreconfidentreader.
Thesecondaspectofreadingasanasocialpracticeisreadingascauseandeffectofemotion.Feel,the
codeforemotion,featuredintwentyoneofthetwentyfivetranscripts,sixteenoftheseunprompted.
Besidesthesadnessoranxietyproducedbydifficultyreadingorthejoyproducedbyimprovedreading,
participantsspokereadingasawaytoescapefromcertainemotions,whileexperiencingorreleasingothers:
BH:Forme,wheneverImsad,thatswhenIfeelIhavetoread[]Ipreferreadinglove
storiesorgoodstories,somethingwithahappyending.
MT:[Reading]justcalms,calmsoutangerifsomeonesbeenarguingandtheycant
takeitnomore,theycangoandpickupabookandgetawayfromit.
Whilelongingtoescapereallifesadnessandfindjoyinreadingisperhapseasytounderstand,theriddleof
whywewouldwanttoexperienceangerorhorrorthroughourreading,orhowpainfulreadingmatteris
somehowconvertedintopleasureintheliteraryexperience,hasfascinatedcriticssinceAristotlehalf
answereditovertwothousandyearsago:tragedyisanimitation[]effectingthroughpityandfearthe
purificationofsuchemotions(1996,p.10).STsexplanationissimilar:
ST:Thatsprobablytheonlytimetheycanconnecttheiremotions,whentheyreada
book.Maybebecauseintheoutsideworldtheyrereallycoldandcantshowtheir
emotions,butwhentheyreadabookitcancomeout.

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Others,echoingForstersideasonhowcharactersinnovelssolace(1927,p.70)theirreaders,felt
experiencing,throughreading,thepainofothershelpsusunderstand,orcontextualise,ourownpain:
MH:Ifsomeonefeelssadandreadsasadstorytheymayfeelbetter,likeinabetter
condition.

Reading,accordingtothisdata,isnotonlyavehicleinoursocialinteractions,butastepoutsideofthose
interactionsintoadifferentwayofexisting,feeling,andhowevertemporaryofbeing.Thisasocial
practiceofreadingismorethanareasontoread,butanalternatewayofexisting:aconsciousmovement
awayfromourusualsocialstructuresandsubjectivity(s),tobesomewhereandsomeonedifferent.The
learningandteachingofreading,therefore,needstodrawontheasocialpracticeofreadingaswellasthe
social,toexploretherelationshipsbetweentheintersubjectiveexperienceofreadingandtheprocessesof
decodinglettersandwordsintomeanings,experiencesandemotions.
Summaryofimplicationsforpractice

Learnersandteachersshouldexperimentwiththeuseofmetalanguagetodescribeandexplorethe
decodingprocess.
Readingasmuchaspossible,readingmoreeasiertextsandreadingtextswhichinterestthereader
arethreekeywaystodevelopadultreading.
Learners,morethanmodelsoffluentreading,maybeausefulsourceofguidanceonreading
development.
Motivationcanmakethedifferencebetweensomeonebeingabletoreadandnotbeingableto
read,thereforecollegesneedtoprioritizeoutreachworktoreachthosewhomayhaveastrong
motivationtoimprovetheirreadingbutmaynotbeawareofavailableprovision.
Readingaloud,ingroupsandindividually,canbeanimportanttoolfordevelopingreading.
Readingrequirestimeandthereforesomelearnersmayneedtimeintheirclassestoread.
Readingalsopotentiallyprovidesapowerovertherestrictionsoftimeandspace.
Thereisneedtobeviligentaboutincreasesinstategeneratedobligationtoread,asthenegative
aspectofreadingasasocialpractice.
Theasocial,orintersubjectiveaspectsofreadingarerelatedtothemoreseeminglymechanical
aspects,suchasdecoding,andthereforethisareaneedsmoreexploration,inhomesandclassrooms
aswellasinfurtherresearch.
Conclusion

Despitethelimitationsofthisstudy(thesmallsample,notimeallocatedforreinterviewing),themodelof
reading,orstorylineproducedbythisresearch,withitssixoverlappingaspectsandsevenfindings,has
highlightedandexpandeduponlinksbetweentheworkonreadingfromcognitivepsychology,NewLiteracy
Studiesandliterarytheory.Participantshavearticulatedhowescaperelatestodecodingandhowsocial
participationrelatestoemotion.Moreimportantly,byclarifyingwhatreadingis,andcouldbe,todifferent
adultliteracylearners,thisresearchsuggestsareasforclassroomexperimentation,suchaswithreading
aloudandtheuseofmetalanguage.Yetperhapsmostusefully,thisstudyindicatespotential,notonlythe
potentialofreading,butthepotentialofresearch:thatask[ing]studentswhathelpsthemlearn(Brookset
al.,2001,pp.168169)isasgoodastartingpointasanyinthepursuitofknowledgeaboutreading.

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Lookingatcontemporaryliterarycriticism,Gregorlamentstheabsenceoffocusonwhatitactuallyfeels
liketoreadabook(1970,p.197).ThiscomplaintcouldequallybelevelledatcognitivepsychologyorNew
LiteracyStudies,andyetthisisexactlywhattheseparticipantshavegivenus.
Acknowledgements
Iamgratefultoalltheparticipantsinthisstudyfortheirtime,ideasandinspiration.IamalsogratefultoDr
AmosParanandDrJonSwainfortheirkindness,helpandencouragementinwritingthispaper.

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Iser,W.(1972).Thereadingprocess:aphenomenologicalapproach.InD.Lodge(Ed.),ModernCriticismand
Theory(pp.211228).London:Longman.
Iser,W.(1978).TheActofReading:Atheoryofaestheticresponse.London:Routledge.
Ivanic,R.,Appleby,Y.,Hodge,R.,Tusting,K.,&Barton,D.(2006).LinkingLearningandeverydaylife:asocial
perspectiveonadultlanguage,literacyandnumeracyclasses.London:NRDC.
Kvale,S.(1996).InterViews:anintroductiontoqualitativeresearchinterviewing.ThousandOaksCA:Sage.
McShane,S.(2005).ApplyingResearchinReadingInstructionforAdults:FirstStepsforTeachers.Washington
DC:NationalInstituteforLiteracy,ThePartnershipforReadingandNationalCenterforFamilyLiteracy.
Noordman,L.G.M.,&Vonk,W.(1992).Readers'KnowledgeandControlofInferencesinReading.InA.
Garnham&J.Oakhill(Eds.),DiscourseRepresentationandTextProcessing(pp.373391).Hove:Lawrence
ErlbaumAssociates.
Papen,U.(2005).AdultLiteracyasSocialPractice.London:Routledge.
Pennac,D.(2006).TheRightsoftheReader(S.Adams,Trans.).London:WalkerBooks.
Perry,M.(1979).LiteraryDynamics:HowtheOrderofaTextCreatesItsMeanings[withananalysisof
Faulkner's"ARoseforEmily".PoeticsToday,1(1/2),35361.
Rayner,K.,&Pollatsek,A.(1989).ThePsychologyofReading.EnglewoodCliffsNJ:PrenticeHall.
Rigg,P.(1991).WholelanguageinTESOL.TESOLQuarterly,25(3),521542.
RimmonKenan,S.(1989).NarrativeFiction:contemporarypoetics.London:Routledge.
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290305.
Strauss,A.(1987).Qualitativeanalysisforsocialscientists.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress.
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Street,B.V.(1984).LiteracyinTheoryandPractice.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress.
Stuart,M.(2002).Usingthedualroutecascademodelasaframeworkforconsideringreadingdevelopment.
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Stuart,M.(2005a,11October2005).LearningtoRead.PaperpresentedattheProfessorialLectureSeries,
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DRAFTDOCUMENT:NOTFORCITATIONWITHOUTPERMISSIONFROMTHEAUTHORS
Notes on assessment and effective teaching and learning with adults
Jude Gawn and Jay Derrick, March 2009
Summative assessment: Assessment for certification and/or progression
Most people have a common sense idea that assessment is about exams: indeed, many adult literacy
learners may be afraid of assessment because they associate it with previous experience of failure. They
think of tests, or perhaps of written assignments, and of getting grades or marks. They may have experienced
their grades or marks being compared publicly with other learners, and may have felt humiliated if they didnt
do well. Assessment does have an important role in providing public recognition of achievement; it provides
evidence learners can take to future employers, for example. Many adult literacy learners, while perhaps
nervous of failure, are still very keen to gain certificates and qualifications: to help directly with employment,
or just to prove to themselves that they can be successful in education. Many are strongly motivated by goals
such as getting a GCSE. Achieving a certificate for the first time, at any level, can be a powerful factor in
improving learners confidence and motivating them to persist and continue improving their literacy.
This kind of assessment, or summative assessment, often comes at the end of a programme of learning, for
example in a test, but it can also take place during courses. Some courses consist of the steady collection by
the learner and the tutor of evidence demonstrating the learners performance against a set of assessment
criteria, which the learner builds into a final portfolio. In this case assessment for certification is taking place
throughout the course. The evaluation of this evidence, or marking of tests, is usually carried out either
independently, or by the tutor whose marking is then moderated internally and externally. The learners own
view about how they have done and what they have learnt, is rarely taken into account. Summative
assessment is sometimes referred to as assessment of learning. In England and Wales, though not in many
other countries, the results of this kind of assessment are numerically aggregated and used to determine
funding, and to compare the performance of tutors, provider organisations, regions, and even countries.
Formative assessment: Assessment for planning teaching and learning
Alongside its important role in certificating learning, assessment has other critical roles. In its second key role,
assessment is the main means by which tutors find out, and keep revising, what needs to be taught.
Assessment for planning, teaching and learning starts at the very beginning of the course, or even before it, in
processes known as screening, initial assessment and diagnostic assessment. Their purpose is to find out
about the learners abilities and dispositions at the outset. Any information about new adult literacies learners
can be crucial in helping them to learn successfully. Assessment here includes not just finding out about how
fluent they are with reading, numeracy, spelling or punctuation, but also, for example, about what their
schooling was like and how they feel about it.
Assessment for planning, teaching and learning, starting right at the beginning of a course, needs to continue
all the way through, so that the tutor can constantly update her/his information about the development of
learners. S/he needs to adjust the teaching plan accordingly, both on a moment by moment basis, and from
lesson to lesson. This type of assessment aims to improve teaching and learning by continually increasing
the accuracy of its focus. It concerns not just what happens within the course, but events and episodes in the
learners lives outside the course and the influence they may have on learning. The key activity is dialogue
between the learner and tutor. The tutors role is to enable, stimulate and develop this dialogue through such
means as constructive and open-ended questioning, and through generating thinking and reflection about
learning.
Formative assessment: Assessment for the development of judgement, self-evaluation, and
sustainable learning
The third type of assessment activity adds a critical dimension to learning, as something which, when
practised by learners themselves, adds to the acquisition of knowledge and skills the development and
exercise of judgement: judgement of performance, appropriateness, accuracy, and authenticity. It is through
these activities that learners develop their capacity to make critical, aesthetic and practical judgements of the
quality and effectiveness of their literacy activities. If they are not encouraged to practice these skills as part

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of their literacy learning, the skills they learn will be de-contextualised and more difficult to transfer between
different situations. Learners will be less aware of the importance of using differentiated literacy practices in
different social settings, and less able in relatively unfamiliar situations to gauge how to interact successfully in
their use of language.
The focus of this type of assessment is on successful performance, which is usually largely a matter of
personal judgement or opinion. We can compare this to the kind of judgements people make when they are
talking about the quality of performance of a play or a music concert. These mostly reflect the personal
preferences of those involved. People may justify their opinions by referring to various norms or rules, but
these too may be rejected by others in favour of another set of norms and different rules.
It follows that it is vital that literacies learners are given support in developing their fluency and confidence in a
wide range reading, and using language in a wide range of situations and contexts, and of developing the
ability to monitor and evaluate their own language use: This fluency can only be developed through practice.
Literacy classes need to provide learners with relevant conceptual tools, and practical collaborative
experience, of making, exchanging and discussing judgements of the quality of literacy work. This might be of
pieces of writing, verbal presentations, or readings of texts. The authors might be themselves, their peers or
others. There are examples of activities that promote critical reading in chap x.
Language use is not simply a matter of speaking, reading or writing correctly if it were, the kind of
collaborative evaluative activity described above might be less important for learners. The use of language is,
in practice, a matter of interaction, negotiation, intuition, and empathy, and includes such forms as irony,
dishonesty, and dramatic impersonation, as well as openness and authenticity. Literacy learners need
support in developing fluency, confidence and discrimination in their use of language in all its forms.
Otherwise, although they may gain useful qualifications, they may not have improved their literacy in practice.
This type of assessment, focuses on sustainable learning oriented towards the future (Boud 2000). It
implies that the tutors role is more like a facilitator or mentor.
The second and third key types of formative assessment distinguished above, both distinct from the role of
assessment in certification and accountability, are often called assessment for learning (ARG 2002). Each
calls for a high level of rich, interactive, two-way communication between learners themselves, and between
learners and tutors. While there are important differences between assessment of learning and assessment
for learning, both are important for adult literacy learners. There is an important link between both formative
and summative assessment, and the motivation and persistence of learners (Ward and Edwards 2002).
Tutors need to have a clear understanding of the differences between them, and use this to inform their
lesson plans and schemes of work.
Assessment is often looked at as a process starting with initial and diagnostic assessment, moving through
on-course assessment, and finishing with summative assessment. Although this sounds like common sense,
it can lead to confusion about the different purposes of assessment mentioned above. For example formative
assessment is sometimes confused with continuous assessment, in which assessment for certification
and/or progression is spread throughout the learning programme rather than just at the end. The initial
assessment process can become a box ticking exercise to determine which group the learner will join.
Effective formative assessment involves more interactive and developmental processes, in which tutors use
their experience and judgement to decide the most effective ways to find out more about the learners
strengths, weaknesses, motivation, fears, learning preferences, understandings and aspirations. Relaxed
conversations with learners, or looking at short pieces of free writing, can often be the most effective ways of
assessing learners needs.
Recent research has found that shifting the focus to formative assessment developed broader and deeper
learning, and markedly improved achievement, and the longer term capacity and motivation of learners.
Importantly for adult literacies tutors, these results apply more strongly to learners with less confidence and
success in previous education and training.

Tutors need to keep in mind at all times the different roles of assessment in learning, and the three different
types of assessment. The essential ingredient of effective learning is continuous interaction and dialogue with
learners about the processes of learning. There are three practical benefits of this approach: firstly it

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recognises the status of the learners as adults and enables them to use and express their accumulated
experience and knowledge for the benefit of everyone in the group. Secondly, it is through extended dialogue
with the learners themselves that the tutor can best discover how to differentiate the learning programme so
that the diversity of needs and purposes amongst learners can be addressed. Thirdly, dialogue enables tutors
to orient the learning programme towards the particular everyday tasks each group of learners is most
concerned with. This can lead to increasing the learners understanding of their own learning processes, help
them connect their learning with what they do outside the classroom, and build their capacity for selfassessment and independence.
Dialogue and Discussion
Alexander (2004), writing about the education of children, argues that learning is a process in which tutors
and learners are interactive participants: both learner engagement and tutor interventions are essential.
Alexander characterises dialogic teaching as collective, reciprocal, supportive, cumulative and purposeful. In
dialogic teaching, knowledge is open to discussion rather than given and closed. This is a view also
espoused by Freire who wrote of liberating education as consisting of shared acts of cognition. Through
problem-posing and dialogue between learners and tutors, the world is recreated and unequal power relations
addressed. Teaching and learning through dialogue sees reality, and the development of knowledge and
understanding, as a process, rather than as a static entity. This dialogue is important not just between tutor
and learners but between learners themselves. It assumes that responsibility for the development of learners
knowledge, skills and understanding does not rest only with the tutor.
In a class based on dialogue, learning is structured as far as possible around discussion between tutors and
learners and between learners. Talk is open-ended and exploratory, rather than a series of routine
exchanges and simple encouragement. It is organised so as to encourage reflection, supporting learners to
develop their confidence and autonomy, and to see themselves as planners, and architects of their own
learning. Learning itself and how that is evaluated are explicit topics for regular discussion focusing on how
people learn, remember and approach difficult areas.
Questioning
Research on effective formative assessment in schools. (eg Black et al 2003) has demonstrated that effective
questioning is a key formative strategy. Asking the right questions can help learners to explore ideas and
solve problems rather than just coming up with right answers, and also models for learners how to formulate
questions for themselves.
It is always useful to develop a repertoire of questioning techniques. Hodgen and William (2006) recommend
that tutors share, talk about and reflect upon questioning with other tutors. In research with tutors they found
this to be a very valuable way of increasing their repertoire of questions and their ability to use these
questions in the classroom.
It is important for tutors to avoid leading questions, rhetorical questions and closed questions as these all
discourage learners from reflection or from revealing a lack of understanding. Questions that require learners
to find their own words are much more useful:
What do you think the next three words going to be?
What do you think happens next in this story?
How does this writing make you feel?
What parts did you find hard?

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Adult literacies tutors who use these sorts of questions, will discover more about their learners knowledge of
how language works and gain a greater understanding of how they are approaching the literacy tasks. In
addition, expressing their ideas and listening to others will provide learners with opportunities to develop those
skills at the same time. This is another example of learning and assessment being effectively the same thing.
Questioning is a complex process and there are no easy answers about how best to respond in the moment
to learners ideas and questions.
Case study: using formative questioning with a group of E2/E3 Literacy learners

The tutor is helping the learners prepare for the tests they will be taking at the end of the term. Most of them
have already completed a practice paper, which involved planning, drafting, editing and re-writing a short
informal text.

T: Ok, last week we did a practice paper for the test youre going to do in a few weeks time. How did you feel
that went?
S1: I didnt think I did very well.
S2: It was hard, but I think I did OK
S3: It wasnt as bad as I thought it was going to be.
S4: No, I felt nervous, I didnt really like it.
T: Well, what Im going to do is give you back the papers I have marked and Id like you to go through them
and decide what youve done well on and where you need to do some more work. I suggest you work in
pairs. D, can you move and sit with P, how about if you two (S and K) work together and J, you join them I
know you havent done the practice test, but have a look and see if youd like to try doing it.
(Tutor hands back the practice tests and goes to sit with two of the pairs.)

T: Well, how do you think you did now youve had a look at the paper?
S1: Well, I still think I didnt do very well, but I can see I did alright on this (the planning).
T: You did do well and did it help you to think about what you wanted to write?
S3: Its difficult to know what to write the spidergram helped me.
T: How did the spidergram help you?
S3: Well, it made me think about the different points I wanted to make and then I used a new paragraph for
each point.
S4: I didnt really write much on the spidergram.
T: K (S3) can you explain to P (S4) how you used the spidergram, what you did?
S3 showing her spidergram to S4: See this is what I did, I put something at the end of each leg the place,
the journey, the weather, the food, then it made me think about starting a new paragraph for each idea.

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T: Do you think that would help P?
S4: Yes I think thats a good idea because I didnt have any new paragraphs, its just one.
S5: Its important to read what it says you have to do its worth taking the time to read it carefully. Because
it tells you at the top of each page what you have to do.
T: What do you think P?
S4: Yes, I didnt really read it, I just started writing, I didnt really plan what I was going to write.
S1: I did the planning, that was OK, but then it was changing what Id written, I didnt know what to change.
T: Well, what did you want to change? What are you looking for?
S1: Spelling the right spelling
S3: And if its in the past, what is it the right tense?
S5: Its hard not having any lines on the paper, my writing went down like this, look
T turning to the group: Has anybody else had that difficulty, of not being able to write on a straight line? (Nods
and assent) Anybody got any suggestions what we can do about that in future?
S6: How about if we use one of those sheets like you get with letter paper, with thick lines on, and put it
underneath, that might help.
T: Great thats a brilliant idea. Ill make sure I get some for next time.
Building in self and peer assessment activities
In assessment for learning, developing self and peer assessment and activities are central elements of all
learning situations. This requires the adult literacy tutor to construct a safe learning environment where
learners feel comfortable with each other and confident about taking some risks. This can be difficult with
learners who may have received their earlier education in traditional settings where learners are expected to
be passive and to see the tutors judgement as paramount. It can take time for some learners to feel
comfortable with the processes of self- and peer-assessment, but with careful preparation learners at any
level can benefit from being involved in these activities. One of the case studies below suggests how this can
be organised.
Activities that encourage self- and peer-assessment include:

Paired reading
Paired or small group discussions on ideas for writing
Exchanging drafts for comments
Setting each other spelling tests

Learners need to be supported to understand the processes of assessment and the criteria on which it is
based. For many learners the language of assessment can seem highly technical and inaccessible. If tutors
encourage pairs and groups of learners to discuss and agree upon their own criteria for assessment, and then
apply them to their own work and that of others, this can help them understand and put into perspective the
status of the official criteria. This promotes an essential part of learning - to be able to evaluate their own
performance in real-life situations without the support of the tutor.

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Case study: self- and peer-assessment with entry level learners


Ruth is a tutor working with a group of 8 E1 and E2 literacy learners in an inner-city further education college.
There are varying degrees of confidence in the group, some of them relaxed about participating in group
activities, and others more reluctant to speak to the group as a whole, and tending to speak only to the tutor in
one to one situations, or when asked a direct question.
The curriculum focus for the class is mostly on the speaking and listening sections of the standards. Ruth
wants to incorporate simple self- and peer-assessment activities into learning activities built around making
short spoken presentations to the group. In particular, she wants the learners to engage in evaluation of their
own and each others presentations. These activities are planned to take place over several sessions, so that
learners get used to the ideas, words, and to working in a group. She is careful to ensure that each member
of the group is involved in the activities, though this is difficult at times. If someone resists speaking to the
whole group, she gets them to work with their neighbour. She continually reminds the learners of the point of
the whole exercise: to talk about what makes a good public speaking performance, so as to support their own
performances for assessment purposes, and to improve their confidence. She also emphasises that the
activity is meant to be constructive and supportive, and based on mutual trust and respect between the
learners.
She starts with an activity based around discussion of what makes a good public speaker, using examples
from television such as politicians, TV presenters, and sports celebrities. The group produces a list of quality
criteria, and Ruth produces a series of learning activities based on the words involved.
These include such simple ideas as speaking loudly enough to be heard, speaking clearly, making it
enjoyable for the listeners, interesting content, and correct use of English. She spends significant amounts of
time on this activity. At times it is a struggle one or two of the learners are not used to participating in
learning activities in this way. But even if the process doesnt go perfectly at all times, overall it does help the
less confident learners to participate more confidently, which Ruth sees as a crucial learning objective.
Presenting, discussing or even implementing imperfect strategies can be of great value as it forces the
learners to identify the criteria by which to plan and judge future assessments. How often does a teaching
strategy work absolutely perfectly?
The planning and preparation of the learners presentations is another stage of this extended process. Ruth
gives them simple templates to scaffold their work, and allows sufficient time for revisions and reworking.
Some work on individual presentations, and others do them in pairs.
The learners actual presentations are followed by the self- and peer-assessment stage. This starts with
group discussion, followed by individual learners making their personal assessments. The tutor organises
simple record sheets on which learners assess their own performance, and that of each of their peers, against
the criteria already agreed by the group. They use a very simple classification system such as traffic lights:
the point is not the actual results as much as the practical learning fostered by the process. She then adds
her own assessments. The differences between these three distinct assessments are then discussed. Most
learners find that they have assessed themselves at a lower level than their peers assessments of them.
Ruths conclusions are that:

The learner input appears to lead to increased motivation. Its easy when teaching low-level groups to forget
that they are sophisticated thinking people. The focus on trust and respect worked: at the beginning of the
year some of them wouldnt listen to each other, but now they are all happily doing self- and peer-assessment.
It doesnt all work perfectly every time, but I now make this kind of activity a central element of my teaching
strategy. The fact that they are low level learners only means that my preparation has to be more careful,
not that they cant do it.

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Feedbackandmarking
Actionwithoutfeedbackiscompletelyunproductiveforthelearner
(Laurillard1997,p61)
Oralandwrittenfeedback,isakeypartoftheinteractivedialoguethatgoesonallthetimebetweentutor
andlearners,andacentralelementoftheprocessesofteachingandlearning.Tutorsneedtoknowas
muchaspossibleabouttheirlearnerspreviousexperiencesofeducationandassessment,abouttheir
perceptionsoftheirownstrengthsandweaknesses,whichspecificliteracytasksandsituationsare
importanttothem,andmostimportantlyofall,abouthowtheythinktheylearnbest.

Tutorswillalwaysgiveinformalfeedback,andmoreformalfeedback(widelydescribedasmarking)of
learnerswork,isnowamorecommonfeatureofadultliteraciesteaching,evenincoursesconsistingofjust
onesessionperweek.Formalfeedbackclearlyoverlapswithformalrecordkeepingrequirements,andthus
potentiallycanembodybothformativeandsummativeassessmentpurposesatthesametime.Itis
importantnottoletrecordkeepingbecomethedominantreasonforcarryingitout,forifso,theformative
potentialoffeedbackandmarkingmaybediminished.Aswithallsuchinteractions,thepurposeistwoway:
thetutoraimstogivethelearnerinformationabouttheprogresstheyhavemadeandpracticaladviceabout
whattodonext,andtolistentothelearnersresponses,tochecktheirunderstandingandmotivation,and
tomonitoranychangesintheirpurposesandaspirations.
Researchshowsthateffectivefeedback:

isgivenregularlyandassoonaspossible
givesclearreasonsforthelearnerssuccessorfailure
givesfactualdescriptionsoftheperformanceofthelearner,suchasyouhaveusedlinkingwordsto
makeyourstoryreadbetterratherthannonspecificcommentssuchasgood
offersconstructiveandpracticalguidanceabouthowtoimprove
isgivenprivately(atleastatfirst)
avoidsthetutorcorrectingtheworkofthelearner
agreeswhatshouldbedonenextwiththelearner

Guidelinesaboutfeedbackingeneralapplyequallytomarkinglearnerswrittenwork.Learnerstendto
valuecommentswhicharepractical,descriptiveandconstructiveratherthanopinionated:youhaveused
apostrophescorrectlyexceptinthisonecaseisntthisaplural?,ratherthanexcellentuseofapostrophes
forthemostpart.
Twoideasforreinforcingconstructiveapproachestoformalfeedbackarefirstlytotreatthefeedbackasifit
isabriefresearchreportonastudyoflearningcarriedoutjointlywiththelearner,andsecondly,particularly
inthecontextofawritingassignment,toseefeedbackasacommentonanartisticperformance,inwhich
issuesofcorrectnessneedtobebalancedwiththeexpressionofanauthenticvoice.Takingaresearch
perspectiveshouldensurethatfeedbackisbasedfirmlyontheevidenceofthelearnersworkandoffers
constructivewaysforward.Itshouldalsotakeaccountoftheviewsofthelearner,whoshouldbeseenasa
fellowresearcherinthiscontext.

Gardener(1985)offersdetailedadviceonthemarkingofwrittenwork:

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Markingclearlyneedstoberelatedtopastandfutureteaching.Evenwithmarkingforcorrectness,we
responddifferentlytopersistenterrorsonpointswethinkthewriterisawareof,ambitiousnewerrors,or
confusionsthatgrowfrompartlearningormisapplyinghardwonlearning.Mostofussurelymark
selectively,withaneyetohowmuchthewritercanacton.Wealsoneedtouseacodethelearnercanread.
Ifweunderlineaspellingmistake,whatdoweexpecttohappen?Ifwedontmarksomething,isit
necessarilyright?Ifwewritetensesinthemargin,isitrelatedtopastdiscussionsandproposalsforwork?
Dowewanttocodedifferentlyourmarkingofexerciseworkandoffreewriting,wherecommunicationis
themainaim?DoesthelearnerfeelGoodhasaknownvalue,ornovalue?Areourresponsivecomments
readable(andImeanhandwritingaswellaslanguage)andstimulating?Dowewanttosuggestagradeof
anykind,evenrelatedtothewritersownpreviouswork?Ifwedontcomment,isthisreadasrejection?We
wontknowanyofthisunlesswemakemarkingarunningtopicofdiscussionwithlearners(Gardener1985,
sectionB2,7)

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NOTESONTHENIFLWEBCASTBYJAYDERRICK
(http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/webcasts/assesspractice/webcast0928.html)
Thepowerpointslideshowgivesaveryclearandaccessibleoverviewofthiswebcast.

Thepanelassertsthatresearchsuggeststherearefourbasiccomponentsofreading,andthatALLof
themareimportant:Alphabetics(madeupofPhonemicAwarenessandWordAnalysis),Fluency,
Vocabulary,andComprehension.Takingawayanyoneofthesestrandscanleadtoproblemswith
reading.

Thefirsttwoareprintbasedandthelasttwomeaningbased.Skilledreadingconsistsoffluent
executionandcoordinationoftextrecognitionandwordcomprehension.

Atdifferentstagesofthelearningprocess,learnersmayneedtofocusondifferentaspectsof
reading.Printbasedskillstendtocomebeforemeaningbasedskills.

Assessinganadultsreadingskillsiscomplicated,notastraightforwardbusiness.Ideallyallthe
componentsofreadingneedtobeassessed,producingaprofileacrossallthecomponents.

Researchsuggeststhatbeginningreadersneedtobetaughtphonemicawarenessandword
recognitionskills:theyarenotlikelytopicktheseupastheygoalong,thoughastheirreading
develops,sowilltheirphonemicawareness,sotheneedtoteachitislesspronouncedovertime.

OneofthepanelmembersthentalksaboutvariouskindsofassessmenttoolusedintheUS.In
Americastandardisedtestingisextremelycommonineducation,becauseinmanystatesitis
compulsory,butismuchlessusedinBritain.Wetendtouseapproacheswhichtheyrefertoas
alternativeassessments.Americanpractitionersdousealternativeapproaches,buttheyoften
havetousethemalongsidestandardisedtestsduetotheregulationstheyareworkingunder.The
kindofassessmentprofilethepanelistalkingaboutcanbeproducedinprinciplebyusingany
assessmenttoolorsystem.

Thepanelmentionanumberofresourcestohelpwithvariousaspectsofassessment:manyofthem
canbefoundattheNIFLASRPwebsitehttp://www.nifl.gov/readingprofiles/.Thepanelgivemany
examplesofassessmentinpractice,andthesecanalsoallbefoundinthewebcasttranscript.They
arguethatforbeginningreadersdevelopingaprogrammeismorestraightforwardthanfor
intermediatereadersbecauseforbeginnersyouaremorejustifiedinteachingeverything,iein
usingapredevelopedcourseforbeginners.Forintermediatereadersyouneedtopayattentionto
thediagnosticassessment,andfocusontheareasinwhichtheyareweakest.

Thepanelthengoesontogiveexamplesofthewayacurriculumcanbedevelopedbasedonspecific
weaknessesrevealedthroughassessment.

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Theythenturntoreadingcomprehension,andthewaysinwhichthiscanbedevelopedand
improved.Assessmentofthisismoredifficultthanforvariousaspectsofdecoding,because
comprehensionisstronglyhelpedbypreviousknowledgeofthesubjectinthetext:

Askilled,fluentreaderwhoknowsalotaboutAmericanhistory,forinstance,willhaveaneasier
timeunderstandingapassageabouttheCivilWarthana reader who does not bring such
backgroundknowledgetothereading.

TheresinformationaboutthevariousassessmenttoolsforcomprehensionusedintheUS,which
maybeskatedoverquickly,buttheslidesgiveveryusefuladviceforteacherstothinkaboutwhen
assessingcomprehension,focusingparticularlyonStrategyInstruction:givinglearnersideasfor
whatdotoiftheyarehavingtroubleunderstandingatext,teachinglearningtools.

Theseinclude:codingthetext(markingitwithcommentsorsignsindicatingimportantpointsor
ideasnotfullyunderstood),thinkingaloudwhilereading,andstoppingperiodicallyandrestating
whatisgoingoninthetextinthereadersownwords.

Thewebcastendswithquestionsonanumberofrelevanttopics.

Ithinkthatevenforconfidentandexperiencedteachers,viewingthewebcast,orreadingthe
transcriptinconjunctionwiththepowerpointslideshow,wouldbeausefulandstimulatingthingto
do.ItsveryAmerican,butafterall,Americanliteracyteachersaredoingthesamejobasweare.
Imuncomfortablewithsomeofitsemphases,butoverallIthinkitsaveryusefuloverview,and
containslinkstosomeexcellentresources.

92

Supportmaterials5

LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

Problembaseddevelopmentprocessforpractitioneractionresearch

Addressthesequestionsinrelationtotheteachingandlearningofreading:

Step1
Whatisgoingwellatpresentandwhatdoyouanticipatewillgowellinthefuture?

Step2
Whatisnotgoingwellatpresent?Whatproblemshaveyouencountered?Inlightoftheabove:
Whatdevelopmentsinthelearnersdoyouwishtobringaboutinrelationtoreading?(Thismightbe
inrelationtolearnerattitude,studentstakingmoreresponsibility,increasedconfidence,greater
accuracy,bettercomprehensionskills,morecriticalreadingskills,developingsightvocabularyetc.
Youmightbethinkingofsomeofyourlearners,orevenjustone,ratherthanallofthem.)

Step3
Takingintoaccountyouranswerstothepreviousquestions,writedownoneormorepractical
problem(s)/issue(s)thatfaceyouinyourpractice,usingquestionsofthekind:
HowcanI?

Step4
Discussinyourgroupstheinnovationsorstrategiesthatyoumightusetoaddresstheproblems/issuesthat
youhaveformulated.Clarifythepracticalitiesofthechosenstrategies/innovations,what
resources/materialsyouneedandhowtheyshouldideallyworkinpractice.Differentteachersmaytake
differentstrategies,orasmallgroupmayagreetofocusononestrategy,egpairedreadingorspecific
phonicapproaches.
Displaytheflipchartsandgroupstocirculate,addsuggestions/commentsasappropriate.

Step5
Eachtutortoagreeononeortwoinnovation(s)/strategy(ies)toadoptandtryoutinpractice,astheir
contributiontothisprogramme.Theseshouldbesmallscaleandfocused.Donttrytobeoverambitious!

Step6
Eachparticipantcompletesaplanforclassroominnovationsaspartofthisprogramme
Statementofselectedproblem:
Statementofselectedinnovation/strategy:
Howwillyouputthisintopractice?
Statewhetheryouanticipateparticularareasofdifficulty.
Whatresourceswillyouneed?
Howwillyouevaluateyourchoseninnovation?

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Supportmaterials6

LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

ClassroomInnovationsPlan

Name:

Group:

Statementofidentifiedproblem/issue

Statementofselectedstrategy/innovation

HowamIgoingtoimplementthisinpractice?

Arethereparticularareasofdifficultythatcouldbeanticipated?

HowmightIaddressthese?

WhatresourceswillIneed?

94

Supportmaterials7

LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

ClassroomInvestigation:Report

Name:

Group:

Statementofidentifiedproblem/issue

Statementofselectedstrategy/innovation

WhatdidIdoinpractice?

Whathappened?

HowdoIinterpretwhat happenedduringmyinvestigation?Hasithelpedtowards
dealingwiththeoriginalproblemorissue?Hasithadanimpactonlearners?

HaveIlearnedanythingwhichmighthelpotherteachersofreading,either
positiveornegative?

DoIstillhavestillquestionsleftunanswered?

Hasmyinvestigationsuggestedotherideasforclassroomresearchinthefuture?

95

Supportmaterials8

LearningConnectionsPPSTutorPack

TheRightsoftheReader

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

7.
8.
9.
10.

Therightnottoread.
Therighttoskip.
Therightnottofinishabook.
Therighttoreaditagain.
Therighttoreadanything.
Therighttomistakeabookforreal
life.
Therighttoreadanywhere.
Therighttodipin.
Therighttoreadoutloud.
Therighttobequiet.

96

1/17/09

Whatisreading?

SamDuncan
Ins0tuteofEduca0on
&CityandIslingtonCollege,London

Readingandreci0ngreligioustexts
Adultsreadingtochildrenoreachother
Readingprimers(primarilyreligiousun0lthe19th
Century)
Hornbooks
Songs/rhymes

Whatarewedoingwhenwe

read?

1.

2.
3.
4.

BrooksG.&PughA.K.(Eds.),StudiesintheHistoryof
Reading.Reading:UniversityofReadingSchoolof
Educa0on.
Huey,E.B.(1968).ThePsychologyandPedagogyof
Reading.Cambridge,MA:TheM.I.T.Press.
Manguel,A.(1996).AHistoryofReading.NewYorkNY:
Viking.
Pugh,A.K.(1978).SilentReading:anintroduc9ontoits
studyandteaching.London:Heinemann.

School/churchteachingofreadingtochildrenand
adults:
Alphabetmethods(AncientGreeks&Romans
1900ish)
Wordmethods(atleast18thConwards)
Phonicmethods(atleast18thConwards)
Thesilentreadingmovement/ini0alsilentreading
(1910onwards?)

Wordbased(bobomup)vstextbased
(topdown)
Wordbased/bobomup:
Wholewordrecogni0on
2. Phonicapproaches
1.

1/17/09

Textbased/topdown:
Wholelanguageapproach
Languageexperience

Havealookatthesecasestudiesandlabel
them:
Languageexperience
Wholelanguage/topdownapproach
Wholewordrecogni0onapproach
Aphonicapproach

Somekeyterms:
Phoneme
Grapheme(s)
Phonemicawareness
Phonicsinstruc0on
Alphabe0cs

Goingthroughphonemegraphemecorrespondences
inapar9cular,preplannedorder
Foreach,developingstudentsabili0estoproduce
eachphoneme,recognisethemspokenwords,
recognisethecorrespondinggraphemesinwriben
wordsandusethisknowledgetoreadandwrite
words.

1.
Analy0c
Synthe0c
2.
Systema0c(workingthroughphonemesinapar0cular
order)
Nonsystema0c/asandwhen

Goingthroughthelebersofthealphabetandtheir
namesandmatchingcapitalandlowercaselebers
Goingthroughtheconsonantsveata0me,star0ng
withthemostregular(forexample:t,d,r,m,n)
Goingthroughthevevowels,star0ngwiththeshort
vowelsounds.
Goingthroughthediagraphs(th,sh,ch)
Goingthroughthelongvowelsounds,onespellingata
0me
Goingthroughconsonantblends

1/17/09

Casestudy:SamDuncan
Highligh0ngphonemegraphemecorrespondencesas
oeenaspossibleinthewordswhichcomeupinour
readingandwri0ng.
Star0ngfromafocusononewordandmovingonto
otherwordswiththesamephonemegrapheme
paberns.

Wewerereadingastoryaboutafootballerandweretalking
aboutthewordball.
Wesaidthewordafew0mesandtriedtono0cethe
dierentsounds(phonemes)intheword:
/b//://l/
Imadeeachphonemeandthestudentspointedtotheleber
orlebersinthewordthatrepresentthatphoneme.
Iwrotethesewordsontheboard:tall,all,small,call,hall,
wall,andwedidthesamething.
Wemadeashcardswiththesewordsonthemand
prac0cedreadingtheminpairs.
Wetookturnschoosingoneword,readingitaloud,whilethe
otherswroteitdown.

ThedeeporthographyofEnglish
Accent??Isthisachallenge?
Specialisttermswhenaretheseuseful

tousewhenisitbebernottouse
them?

1/17/09

Brooks,G.,Burton,M.,Cole,P.,&Szczerbinski,M.
(2007).Eec9veTeachingandLearning:Reading.
London:NRDC.
Burton,Metal(2008).ImprovingReading:Phonics
andFluency.London:NRDC(seewww.nrdc.org.uk)
McShane,S(2005)ApplyingResearchinReading
Instruc0onforAdults:FirstStepsforTeachers.
WashingtonDC:Na0onalIns0tuteforLiteracy.
hbp://www.ni.gov/partnershipforreading/
publica0ons/html/mcshane

21individualinterviewswithadultliteracylearnersata
rangeoflevels
Fourfocusgroups:twobeginnerandtwomoreadvanced/
condent
Aimedtondout:
Whatreadingisandinvolvesaccordingtotheselearners
Howtheyfeelwelearntoreadandshouldteach
reading

Decoding
Whatweread
Waystogetbeberatreading
Whyweread
Externalfactorsrelatedtoreading
Internalfactorsrelatedtoreading

1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Learnerslackedandwantedspecicvocabularyto
talkaboutdecodingwords
Howyoureadisntthesameashowyoulearntoread
Mo0va0onmakesallthedierence
Readingaloudisbothatypeofreadingandawayto
getbeberatreading
Readingand0me
Readingisasocialprac0ce
Readingisanasocialprac0ce

Postsessiontasks:
Followupone(ormore!)ofthesuggestedreadings
2. Tryoutanapproachyouhaventtriedbefore
3. Interviewonelearnerandturnthisinterviewintoan
ideaforteachingreadingandtryit
1.

Workinginmixedabilitygroups
IreneSchwab
InstituteofEducation

StrategiesforDifferentiation
Aims:
Participantswill:
developstrategiesfordifferentiationwhenplanningforthe
teachingofreadinginmixedabilitygroups
Objectives:
Bytheendofthesessionparticipants willbeableto:
Identifyarangeofstrategiesfordifferentiationandapply
themtoteachingreading
Useasingletexttoprovideforavarietyofactivitiesfor
teachingreading

Whatdifferencesbetweenindividualsmight
onefindinagroup?

Differencesbetweenindividuals

Attention
Interest
Motivation
Learningstyles
Typesofintelligences
Physiologicalneeds
Psychologicalneeds
Speed
Maturity
Worldknowledge
KnowledgeofandabouttheEnglishlanguage

Researchonmixedabilityteaching
1.Groupingbysetsandstreamsinprimaryschoolshas
noinfluenceonperformanceorachievement.
2.Itmayslightlydisadvantageboysfromworkingclass
families

SukhnandanLwithLeeB(1998)Streaming,settingandgroupingbyability:a
reviewoftheliterature,NFER

3.Insecondaryschools,thoseinthetopsetprogress
betterandthoseinlowersetsprogressmoreslowly.

WiliamDandBartholomewH(2004)'It'snotwhichschoolbutwhichset
youreinthatmatters:theinfluenceofabilitygroupingpracticeson
studentprogressinmathematics'.BritishEducationalResearchJournal,
30(2),279294,2004.

Differentiationneededaccordingto:
Readiness
Students knowledge,understandingandskill
Influencedbycognitiveproficiency,priorlearning,life
experience,attitudetolearning
Interest
Students feelingsabouteducation,thetopic,theskill
tobelearned
Learningprofile
Howastudentlearnsbest
Shapedbylearningstyle,MIpreference,culture,age
andgender
Tomlinson(2003)

Tomlinsonsdefinitionofdifferentiation
Atitsmostbasiclevel,differentiatinginstruction
means"shakingup"whatgoesonintheclassroom
sothatstudentshavemultipleoptionsfortakingin
information,makingsenseofideas,andexpressing
whattheylearn.Inotherwords,adifferentiated
classroomprovidesdifferentavenuestoacquiring
content,processingormakingsenseofideas,and
developingproducts.

AdaptedfromTheDifferentiatedClassroom:RespondingtotheNeedsofAllLearners,byC.Tomlinson,
1999,Alexandria,VA:AssociationforSupervisionandCurriculum Development.

Content

Process

Product

Whatstudentsneed Waysinwhichthe
tolearn
contentistaught

Waysof
demonstratingwhat
hasbeenlearned

conceptsandskills

activities

outcomes

Allshouldhave
accesstothesame
content

Flexiblegrouping
accordingto:
Readiness
Interest
Learningprofiles

Differentoutcomes
accordingto:
Readiness
Interest
Learningprofiles

Content
Whatdifferentwayscanyousuggestfor
enablingaccessforalltothesamecontent?

Content
Smallgroupwork
Mixedlevelgroups+peersupport(e.g.reciprocal
reading)
Similarlevelgroups+someworkingindependently;
teachercantargetthosewhoneedmosthelp

Choiceoftextsatdifferentlevelsofcomplexity
Simplifiedtext
Readingsupportedbypeer,teacher,tape
Choiceofdifferentformatse.gleaflet,website,
poster

Process
Whattechniques,approachesormethods
couldyouusetodifferentiatetheprocess of
teachingreading?

Techniquesfordifferentiatingprocess
Varietyoftaskswithflexiblegrouping
Projectwork(taskbasedlearning)
Problembasedlearning
Tieredactivitieswithvaryingdegreesofcomplexity
Varietyofresources
Chunkingintosmallerparts,andprovidingmore
structureddirectionsforeachpart.
Flexiblepacing
Independentstudyontopicsofinterest

Product
Whatdifferentproducts couldyouuseto
demonstratethelearningofreadingskills?

Product

Productsshouldberelatedtorealproblems,concerns,and
audiences
writtenreporte.gbookreview
oralpresentation,
groupdiscussion
pairedfeedback
agamee.garoundthecharactersinabook
eventplanned
pictureorposter
summaryoftext
synthesisofseveraltexts
Graphicorganisere.gspidergram,diagram,timeline
Questionansweringorquestiongeneration

Readingasaholisticactivity
AustraliaTheFourResourcesModel

Codebreaking
Meaningmaking
Textuse
Textanalysis

LukeA(1999)http://www.readingonline.org/research/lukefreebody.html

Codebreaker
Keyquestion:HowdoIcrackthiscode?
Literacytheory:Skillsapproach
Whatlearnersareabletodo: decodelanguageat
appropriatelevel,recognisingletters,sounds,words
sentences andconventions
Whatteachersneedtoteach:
Decoding(phonemicawareness,phonics)
Wholewordrecognition
Morphology
Etymology

Meaningmaker
Keyquestion: Whatdoesthistextmeantome?
Literacytheory: Wholelanguageapproach
Whatlearnersareabletodo:usetheirknowledgeof:
theworld
othertexts
howlanguageworkstocomprehendtexts
Whatteachersneedtoteach:
Schemaactivation(usingknowledgeoftheworld,othertexts,
language)
Comprehension(selfmonitoring)
Vocabulary

Textuser
Keyquestion:WhatdoIdowiththistext?
Literacytheory: Genreapproach
Whatlearnersareabletodo:understandhow
languagevariesaccordingtocontext,
purpose,audienceandcontent,andapplythis
knowledge
Whatteachersneedtoteach:
Modellingwhatwedowithtexts
Finding,usingandrespondingtotexts

Textanalyst
Keyquestion:Whatdoesthistextdotome?
Literacytheory:Criticalliteracyapproach
Whatlearnersareabletodo:analyseandchallenge
thewaystextsareconstructedtoconveyparticular
ideasandinfluencepeople
Whatteachersneedtoteach:
Notextisneutral socialandculturalcontexts
Interactionbetweenwriterandreader
Understandinghowtextspositionus
Whoisincludedandwhoisexcluded

Howcouldyouplan
tousethistextto
developskillsin:

Codebreaking
Meaningmaking
Textuse
Textanalysis

Codebreaker
Whatisdermatitis?
Canyoubreakitintosyllablestomake
iteasiertoread?Arethereanysmaller
wordsinsideitthatmighthelpwith
readingit?
Howdidyouworkouthowtoreadit?
Letterbyletter?Soundbysound?
Breakitintosyllables?
Arethereanyotherdifficultwordsin
thisposter?Canyouusethesame
techniquestoworkouthowto
pronouncethem?

Codebreaker

Whatotherwordsendinitis likedermititis?What
dothesewordshaveincommon?

Canyouthinkofanyotherwordsthathavethe
samerootwordasdermatitis?Whatdothese
wordshaveincommon?

Dryness andredness bothhavethesameending.


Canyouthinkofotherwordswiththisending?
Whatdothesewordshaveincommon?

Inthethesaurus,someotherwordsforrednessare;
blush,rosiness,ruby,glow.Whydidthewriternot
pickoneofthesewords?

Howwouldflaking,scaling,swelling bewritten
withoutthe ing ending?

Meaningmaker
IfyousawthelogoHSEwhat
mightyouguessthistextwas
about?
Whatmightyoupredictwasinthe
poster?
ifyousawtheheadingSkinchecks
fordermatitis?
ifyousawtheimageofthehand?

Whatdothepicturestellus?Why
arethere6differentimagesof
hands?

Meaningmaker
Doesthetextremindyouof
somethingthathashappenedto
youortosomeoneelseyou
know?
Whatdidyoufeelasyouread
thetext?Whatmadeyoufeel
that?
Whatmessageistheauthor
presenting?Whatarethemain
ideaspresented?
Didtheposterraiseany
questionsforyou?Whatmore
wouldyouliketoknow?

Textuser
Whatisthepurposeofthis
text?Howdoyouknow?
Wherewouldyoufindatext
likethis?Whowouldreadit?
Howcanyoufindinformation
inthistext?
Whyhasthewriterpresented
thetextlikethis?Doyou
thinkitworks?

Textuser
Howisthelanguage/layout/
imagesthesameordifferentfrom
othersimilarpostersyouhave
seen?
Ifyouwroteatextlikethis,how
wouldyoupresentit?
Whatwillyoudowiththistext?
Whatmightothersdowiththis
text?
Ifyouweregoingtoputthistext
ontheweb,whatchangeswould
youmake?

Textanalyst
Whatisthetexttryingtomakeyou
thinkorbelieve?
Isthistextfactoropinion?Howdo
youknow?
Howwouldthetextbedifferentif
itwasaimedatadifferentgroupof
people(doctors?employers?
children?)
Whydoyouthinktheauthorchose
thesewords/pictures?

Textanalyst
Whodoesthetextrepresent?(Whois
showninthetext?)
Isthereanyonenotrepresentedby
thetext?(Whoisnotshowninthe
text?)
Therearesomeinstructionsinthe
text.Shouldyoufollowthem?Whyor
whynot?Whatmighthappenifyou
do(ordont)followthem?
Whoisresponsibleforyourhealth
andsafetyatworkaccordingtothis
poster?Isthishowitshouldbe?

References
Tomlinson,C.,(2003).FulfillingthePromiseofthe
DifferentiatedClassroom:StrategiesandToolsfor
ResponsiveTeaching. Alexandria,VA:Associationfor
SupervisionandCurriculumDevelopment.
Corley,MaryAnn(2005)DifferentiatedInstruction:
AdjustingtotheNeedsofAllLearners FOCUSon
BASICSVolume7,IssueC:::March2005
http://www.ncsall.net/?id=736
Perry,Deborah(2003)Differentiationpolicyand
practice LanguageIssuesvol15,no.1

Otherresources
DifferentiationinESOLteaching:notesto
accompanythevideo(2004)ref:PLRAV1DfES
ManagingLearning Secondary Mixed
Ability GroupWork(historyandEnglish
classes)15mins
http://www.teachers.tv/video/2747
Corley,MaryAnn(2005)Listoffurtheronline
resources http://www.ncsall.net/?id=736

Effective teaching and learning


Theories of reading
The most important factors in effective
teaching and learning: evidence from
research
Group discussions on three key factors

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Theories of reading
Cognitive
Social
Integrated/ balanced

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Cognitive perspective
You cant read unless you look at the print and
recognise the letters and then recognise the
words
Bottom-up: from letters, to words, to sentences,
to whole text, aiming for this linear process to
be largely automatic and instantaneous
Strong focus on decoding skills and phonics,
comprehension follows when decoding is
automatic
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Social perspective
Reading is comprehending from print. Decoding is not
reading. Only comprehension is reading
Top-down: starts with readers existing knowledge of the
text, which is used to predict what it is saying. Reading is
a process of confirming or refining this predictive process.
This starts with an overview of the text, and only
scrutinises individual words and letters if necessary to
confirm meaning
Reading seen as a cyclical, iterative process, not linear
Strong focus on using texts that are meaningful and
authentic for learners
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Integrated model
Learners need both to focus on meaning with
real, authentic texts and to work on decoding
skills.
Reading as a complex interaction between the
writer of the text and the reader
Implies a balanced approach needed to the
teaching of reading, drawing on both theoretical
models
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Implications for teaching


Cognitive model: skills-driven approaches
Social model: comprehension-driven approaches
Integrated model: a balance of both skills and
comprehension
It is important that tutors identify their own position in
relation to these theories, so that they are conscious
and transparent about their practice, and so that they
can make sense of research findings
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Effective teaching and learning: the


most important factors (Hattie, Black and Wiliam)
Expert teachers set challenging goals,
Expert teachers have a very deep understanding of teaching and
learning,
Expert teachers provide constant constructive feedback
Expert teachers see their students work as a reflection of their
teaching, not of the students circumstances
Expert teachers are flexible, spontaneous, and have plans but are
willing to change them if necessary

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Some lower-scoring factors in effective


teaching and learning: Hattie
LOW-SCORING Factors

Programmed instruction
Class size
Making weak students repeat a year
Problem based learning in which students teach themselves
Ability grouping

MIDDLE-SCORING Factors

Individualised instruction
Home environment
Homework

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Underlying message

What the teacher does is more


important than any other factor
in effective teaching and
learning

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

Emerging messages for teachers 1


(Looney/OECD/IFA)
* Learning should be structured as dialogue between
learners themselves and their teachers
* Teachers need to employ the very highest level of
communication skills at all times
* Teachers need to have high expectations of students
* Feedback and marking are critical aspects of
effective practice
* Questioning that aims to develop thinking and
conceptual understanding is more useful than
questioning for accuracy and correctness
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

10

Emerging messages for teachers 2


* Teachers need to develop and sustain an
atmosphere and culture conducive to learning, in which
learners feel they can take risks and face challenges
* Peer assessment and self-assessment activities are
essential elements of sustainable learning at any level of
study
* Activities which focus on developing learner
autonomy are effective in improving motivation and
confidence, and support citizenship
* Classroom assessment activities provide teachers
with evidence for planning and differentiation

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

11

Dialogue in teaching reading


Pressley (2002): Engaging in dialogue with their
teachers helps students ask themselves critical
questions that get to the essence of what they
are reading
Palincsar and Brown (1984): Teachers should
encourage students to question what they dont
understand, summarise the context, identify key
issues, clarify,predict and infer what happens
next. These habits provide students with a
lifelong approach to extracting meaning from
more and more sophisticated text.
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

12

Three key focuses for teachers


Overarching themes:

Dialogue between teacher and learners, and between learners

Improving learners motivation, confidence and autonomy

1. Peer-assessment and self-assessment:

Learners practising assessment and developing judgement

Learners understanding of assessment, and the language of


assessment

2. Constructive feedback and marking of work, focusing on how it can


be improved
3. Effective questioning and checking that learning has taken place

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

13

Improving feedback
Focus on the task rather than the person
Be highly focused, constructive and practical, on
how the work can be improved
Give feedback as soon as possible
Relate feedback to success criteria and the
learners goals
Feedback should reflect high expectations of the
learner, and should not be patronising
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

14

Improving classroom questioning 1


Teachers need to develop a repertoire of questioning
techniques, and share ideas with colleagues to maintain
and develop this repertoire
The best questions are open. They require students to
think about the problem and to find their own words to
answer it

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

15

Improving classroom questioning 2


Examples of the best type of question:
challenging (how/ why did you do that?)
checking (how do you know?)
uncovering thinking (can you explain this?)
offering strategies (have you thought about.?)
or re-assuring (are you happy with that?)
Sometimes a devils advocate question (what
you sure?)

makes

Double, leading, rhetorical, and closed questions are usually best


avoided
PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

16

Self- and peer-assessment 1

Students need to be able to use their new skills as confidently


and fluently as possible when they do not have the support of
the class and the teacher.

They need to develop the ability to perform and simultaneously


to evaluate their performance.

They need to practice and develop their capacity to make


critical, aesthetic and practical judgements of the quality and
effectiveness of their developing skills and knowledge.

Developing these abilities often implies the need to go beyond


the formal requirements of courses

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

17

Self- and peer-assessment activities


Discussion and evaluation of assessment criteria
Developing their own assessment criteria
Evaluating their own and other students tasks, against
different criteria of quality
Evaluating and giving feedback on exemplar pieces of
work at a range of standards
Particularly effective following collaborative group tasks

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

18

Group task on three aspects of effective


teaching

Take one set of topic cards

Use them to start a discussion in your group about that aspect of


effective teaching and learning, and relate it to the teaching of
reading to adults:

how would you implement it?

what would you need to be careful about?

what problems could arise?

how would you address these problems?

Write down key ideas on a flipchart

Repeat for the other sets of topic cards

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

19

Useful References

Palincsar A and Brown A (1984): Reciprocal Teaching of comprehension-fostering and


comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction 1 pp117-175
P Black and D Wiliam 1998: Inside the Black Box, nferNelson
J Hattie 1999: Influences on student learning, at
http://www.education.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/fms/default/education/staff/Prof.%20John%20Hattie/
Documents/Presentations/influences/Influences_on_student_learning.pdf
P Black, C Harrison, C Lee, B Marshall, D Wiliam 2002: Working inside the Black Box, nferNelson
Pressley M 2002: Reading instruction that works: the case for balanced teaching. New York:
Guildford
B Marshall and D Wiliam 2006: English inside the Black Box, nferNelson
J Hodgen and D Wiliam 2006: Mathematics inside the Black Box, nferNelson
Derrick J, Gawn J, Ecclestone K 2008: Evaluating the 'spirit' and 'letter' of formative assessment in
the learning cultures of part-time adult literacy and numeracy classes Research in PostCompulsory Education 13 (2)
Derrick, J. and K. Ecclestone 2008: English-language Literature Review, in Teaching, Learning
and Assessment for Adults: Improving Foundation Skills, OECD Publishing; available at:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/172251338713
Looney J 2008: Teaching, Learning and Assessment for Adults: Improving Foundation Skills. Paris:
OECD
Improving Formative Assessment (IFA), at
http://www.brookes.ac.uk/schools/education/staffinfo/eccleston-FAproject.html

PPS Teaching Reading to Adults Mar 09

Jay Derrick and Jude Gawn

20

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