DEVELOPING THE LEARNING PROGRAM
Certificate in Literacy and Learning
Certificates in Literacy and Learning developed by the Literacy and Continuing Education Branch are available at three different stages of learner development. They were developed in response to requests from adult learners for a measure and recognition of their progress.
The certificates aimed at learners who do not have specific goals but would like some recognition of their progress. Neither learners nor tutors should feel that the learner ought to take the certificate, as many learners would prefer to establish their own goals and not be involved in something as formal as a certificate.
The certificate is intended as a means of recognizing the learner's development over time. It incorporates a range of learning tasks and skills, including reading, writing and oral skills. The requirements are practical and useful in everyday activities.
For further information on the Certificate in Literacy and Learning, contact
Robin Millar at the Manitoba Literacy and Continuing Education Branch, 945-8136.
Stages of Learning
Stage I - Feeling Literate
The goal of Stage I literacy is to help learners feel like readers and writers. This is a process of developing confidence with the written language. It involves encouraging learners to make connections between oral and written language.
Stage I learners:
Expected achievements of Stage I literacy include:
Introductory work will focus on: language experience stories, introduction of the alphabet and the notions of print, word recognition activities, photo stories, listening to stories on tape, listening to others read, doing assisted reading with a tutor or teacher.
Stage II - Developing Literacy
The goal of Stage II literacy is to help learners become readers and writers. This is a process of consolidating skills. It involves encouraging learners to focus on the visual characteristics of print while continuing to use their world knowledge.
Stage II learners:
Expected achievements of Stage II literacy include:
Stage II work will focus on learning about print cues for word identification and spelling, together with reading for meaning. Learners will be developing writing skills, inventing spelling for the purpose of writing, learning spelling words from writing, practicing silent reading, doing assisted reading of more difficult texts, and learning about different language patterns.
Stage III - Becoming Literate
The goal of Stage III literacy is to help new learners move from learning to read to reading to learn. It involves helping learners refine their skills.
Stage III learners:
Expected achievements of Stage III literacy include:
Stage III work will focus on developing a variety of writing skills (e.g. essay writing, proof-reading, re-drafting and re-writing, styles of writing), individualized spelling according to need, reading comprehension, vocabulary development, critical thinking, advanced and diverse reading assignments, and developing study methods.
Learning Styles and Preferences
Learning styles are the variety of ways in which people learn. They are commonly grouped into three main categories based on the physical aspects of learning: visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), and kinaesthetic (tactile or motor learning). Every person uses all three learning styles, but how much they rely on each varies widely from person to person. Visual learners prefer print materials, diagrams and charts; auditory learners like lectures, audio tapes, book/tape sets, songs; and kinaesthetic or tactile learners prefer hands-on activities such as role plays, simulations, experiments, and assembling or repairing things.
Also, as tutors, your teaching style will be a natural reflection of your own learning style. What may seem to you like an obvious and natural way to teach, may not meet the needs of the learner. It may be necessary to present new materials in a variety of ways.
Identifying learning styles
Some ways in which you can identify someone's learning style preference include:
Students can also benefit from understanding their preferred learning style, because it can give them a better understanding of the errors they make and to choose the best learning strategy for themselves. It is also useful for the student to understand if their own particular learning style does not match that of the teacher, and it may serve to motivate them to take greater control of seeking information in the format in which they need it.
Assisting the auditory learner
Auditory learners need special emphasis on the hearing mode of learning and may benefit from:
Assisting the visual learner
Visual learners require an emphasis on visual instruction techniques, and can benefit from:
Assisting the tactile, kinaesthetic or motor learner
Tactile learners will learn best by doing, so will benefit most from hands-on activities, such as:
Assessing Reading/Instructional Materials
These guidelines for assessing materials should help you select and/or develop appropriate reading and/or instructional materials for adult learner(s). The following attributes of the reading material should be considered:
Materials must also be selected at a reading level which is appropriate for the learner. That is, it should provide the learner with a challenge without frustrating him unnecessarily. It is suggested that reading material is selected at, or slightly above, the learner's reading level when tutor and learner are reading together. Material slightly below that level is recommended for learners to read alone. (Clarke, 1991: p.17)
The following are some commonly used readability indexes or formulas.
Randomly select 3 one-hundred-word passages from a book or an article. Plot average number of syllables and average number of sentences per 100 words on the graph to determine the grade level of the material. Choose more passages per book if great variability is observed and you conclude that the book has uneven readability. Few books will fall in the grey area, but when they do, grade level scores are invalid.
Count proper nouns, numerals and initializations as words. Count a syllable for each symbol. For example, "1945" is 1 word and 4 syllables and "IRA" is 1 word and 3 syllables.
Readability falls within the 7th grade (see dot plotted on graph)
Gunning Fog Readability Index
Count out a 100-word sample from a text.
Count the number of sentences within the 100-word sample. If more than half of the last sentence is included within the 100, count it also.
Figure the number of words per sentence by dividing the number of words (100) by the number of sentences.
Count the number of "difficult" words (ie. with three syllables or more). Do not count proper nouns, compound words (ie. blackberry), or words converted to three syllables by adding a verb ending (ie. importing, imported).
Add the number of difficult words to the average words per sentence.
Multiply the total by 0.4 to get the approximate grade level.
For longer works, find the level for three passages and then average them.
Formula: 100 ÷ number of sentences = average words per sentence
Average words per sentence + number of difficult words = Total
Total × 0.4 = approximate grade level
Everyday Reading Materials
These everyday reading materials are readily available, inexpensive, and may relate to your student's goals. They will also provide opportunities to place reading, writing, and math skills within the context of daily activities.
Film titles and credits
Labels, packages, containers
Notes from school
(Baker, D., p. 14-15)
There is not one right format for a lesson plan. Facilitators develop a format best suited to themselves and to the course content. A good starting point for a new tutor is the ROPES model, meaning Review, Overview, Presentation, Exercise, and Summary.
Review: Tutors review with learner(s) what they already know. This can provide useful information about learners' experiences, attitudes and competence and reinforce for the learners the importance of their prior knowledge and/or experience.
Overview: An overview should describe the major steps learners will take to reach the goal of the lesson, and explore how learners may be able to use what they learn.
Presentation: The presentation phase includes both the major and minor steps that make up the content, the support knowledge, and the "tell", "show" and "do" steps. At this stage, however, the tutor leads or demonstrates the "do" step.
Exercise: The exercise gets learners doing. For an exercise to be effective, learners should first be asked to practice the skill under supervision. Later, learners should be able to do the exercise without your guidance.
Summary: In the summary, learners describe and demonstrate what they have learned and explain how they plan to use it. The summary can be a simple matter of verbal or written questions and answers, or it can involve the learners in demonstrating their competence - a worthwhile exercise, as most people take pleasure in demonstrating a new skill.
Other standard elements that should be included in most lesson plans include:
SAMPLE LESSON PLAN - EXAMPLE ONE
(Ennis and Woodrow, 1992: p. 129)
50-60 min. planning for writing
begin to write
- first/rough draft
10-15 min break
15-20 min. easy reading activity
15-20 min mini-lesson on anything that needs concentrated attention
SAMPLE LESSON PLAN - EXAMPLE TWO
(PAL Tutor Guide, p. 19-20)
If your learner's goal is to find employment, a lesson plan might look like the following:
What to do:
Learn the vocabulary on job application forms.
Why do this?:
Learner is embarrassed that they do not have this skill and sees as a priority. Learning the vocabulary is a first step to being able to fill out application forms.
How will we do it?:
Obtain one or two application forms.
10 minutes - Review last session's work
10 minutes - Read forms with the learner
15 minutes - Re-read the questions and discuss the meaning of each question where necessary and help learner
decide what an appropriate answer would be.
10 minutes - Write out or help learner write out their work history which they can copy onto the application form.
10-20 minutes - Make flashcards for key words. Write the word in a sentence at the bottom of the card. Practice reading these words and sentences.
Chapter Seven References
Alberta Educational Communications Corporation. Journeyworkers: Approaches to literacy education with adults. Workshop Leaders Guide. Calgary. 1988.
Baker, Diane. The Literacy Tutor. Wetaskiwin PALS (Program for Adult Literacy Skills). Wetaskiwin, AB.
Clarke, Mallory. Goodwill Literacy Tutor Handbook. Fifth edition. Goodwill Literacy. Seattle, WA. 1991.
Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 1987.
Ennis, Frances and Helen Woodrow. Learning Together: The Challenge of Adult Literacy: A Resource Book for Trainers. Educational Planning and Design Associates, Ltd. St. John's, NF. 1992.
Fretz, Barbara and Marianne Paul. Learning Together: A Small Group Literacy Tutor Training Handbook. Core Literacy, Waterloo Region Inc., 1994.
Fry, Edward. How to Teach Reading: For Teachers, Parents, Tutors. Laguna Beach Educational Books. Laguna Beach, CA. 1992.
King, Jereann, et al. It brought a richness to me: a resource manual for participatory literacy practitioners. Literacy South, Durham, NC. 1993.
Manitoba Literacy and Continuing Education Branch. Let's Get Started: An initial assessment pack for adult literacy programs.
Klein, Cynthia and Robin Millar. Unscrambling Spelling. Hodder and Stoughton, London. 1990.
Rigg, P. and Kazemak, F. "For adults only: Reading materials for adult literacy students", Journal of Reading, Vol. 28, No. 8.
Rodriguez, Carmen. Handout from Summer Literacy Institute, Vancouver, July, 1994.
Winnipeg Core Area Initiative. PAL (Project for Adult Literacy) Tutor Guide.