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OLRC News, Volume 2 Number 2

Spring 1997

Equipped for the Future to be Focus of September Meeting
The Ohio adult basic and literacy education community will have an opportunity to learn first hand about the National Institute for Literacy s (NIFL) national project which is identifying what adults need to be successful workers, citizens/community members and family members. The September 12, 1997 annual meeting of the Ohio Literacy Network will be a collaborative effort with the Ohio Literacy Resource Center to present findings from the NIFL s Equipped for the Future (EFF) Project. Guest speakers for the day will be Andrew Hartman, Director of NIFL, Sondra Stein, coordinator of the EFF Project, and representatives from the University of Maine, Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee,and the National Center for Family Literacy.

The project began three year ago when 1500 adult learners provided their perspective on National Education Goal 6: "By the year 2000, every adult American will be literate and possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenshp."

Four general purposes for learning emerged from the learners. In order to fulfill their responsibilities as parent, citizens, and workers, adults need to 1) gain access to information so they can orient themselves in their work; 2) give voice to ideas, so that they will be heard and can have impact on the world; 3) make decisions and act independently; and 4) build a bridge to the future by learning how to learn to keep up with the world as it changes.

Three projects this year are developing the framework and standards around the three major life roles. Starting with what adults from different worlds of life reported in focus groups and inquiry groups, the EFF partners have begun to map the broad areas of responsibility for the three adult roles and identify key activities necessary to carry out these responsibilities. The OLRC has been working this year with the University of Maine to provide information for the worker part of this project.

An overview of the national project and specific information on each of the three roles will be given at the September meeting. In addition, participants will be asked to provide feedback on information from one of the three roles: worker, family member, or citizen/community member.

A recent publication by the NIFL, Equipped for the Future: A Reform Agenda for Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning, explains the project. For a copy of the publication or more information about the September meeting, contact the OLRC.

National Policy News
Patricia W. McNeil, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, recently testified before the House Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations on the Administration s Fiscal Year 1998 request for Vocational and Adult Education opportunities programs. Part of her testimony follows.

"To help adult Americans improve their literacy skills so they can succeed in their roles as workers, citizens, and parents, the Administration requests $382 million for Adult Education State Grants. The increase of 12% over 1997 will help programs serve more students, strengthen support services, apply technology, and improve instruction....As is true for higher levels of education, higher levels of literacy are associated with better labor market outcomes. For instance, in 1991, the least literate workers had annual earnings that were about half the average for all workers. Adult literacy is also critical to parental involvement in Children's education, a key component of the President s America Reads Challenge. Recent research in family literacy has demonstrated that participating adults make significant gains in language and math and their children make impressive developmental gains. The adult education system is the point of access to lifelong learning opportunities for educationally disadvantaged adults and it helps adults make the transition from welfare to work and assists immigrants to learn English....ur proposal for reauthorization of the Act would promote program quality by establishing priorities for programs that effectively employ advances in technology, provide learning opportunities in a real life context, use well-trained instructors and staff, and have strong links to other programs and services.... The States, in collaboration with the Department, have been building the framework for a performance-based management system for Adult Education programs. All States have adopted indicators of program quality, which they use for a variety of purposes. Indicators help States to evaluate program effectiveness, make program funding decisions, identify technical assistance needs, and improve local programs."

Limited Training Provided in Basic Skills
The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed more than 1,000 employees from May-October, 1995. In US companies with 50 or more employees, only 10% of those employees receive training in basic skills such as reading, writing, and math (7% reported formal training in basic skills and 3% reported informal training). Those workers least likely to receive training were the youngest and oldest, black or Hispanic, those with high school diploma or less, and low-paid workers.

Upcoming Conferences

Plan to attend the AAACE Conference in Cincinnati November 9-11, 1997. Monday, November 10 has been set aside as Teacher Day with a special one-day registration fee and sessions scheduled of particular interest to adult basic and literacy education teachers. Teachers willing to volunteer part of a day at th Conference may also attend two sessions free on the day they volunteer. Contact Nona Stricker at 513-621-7323 if you are interested in volunteering.

Adult Literacy & Technology Conference
The Adult Literacy and Technology Conference will be hosted this year in Boise, Idaho on August 3-5. Many Ohio teachers attended the conference last year in Chicago and came home with many new ideas on using technology with adult students. Call the OLRC for more information.

Early Childhood Education & School-Age Child Care Conference
Don t be fooled by the name of this conference!! This conference, to be held at the Convention Center and Hyatt Regency in Columbus on October 12-14, 1997, will contain a track of particular interest to many ABLE practitioners. Ohio s Family Literacy Conference has been combined with this Early Childhood Conference. More information about this conference will soon be available.

One session at the conference will feature informal sharing of PR/marketing ideas. Call Jeanne Lance (614) 466-0224 if you want to participate.

Technology Satellite Event
Planning and Funding Technology for Adult Literacy" is a live satellite event from the new Literacy Link Project to be shown on June 5, 1997. The OLRC will host the event at Kent State University from 2-4 p.m. on that day; individuals wishing to attend should contact the OLRC for more information. Video copies will be made of the event and will be available for loan. This interactive forum will explore cost effective options for both large and small literacy programs, highlighting innovative technology applications already in use around the nation. The program will also provide concrete steps for planning and funding technology acquisition.

August Math Kick-Off Days
The OLRC will sponsor Math Kick-Off Days in each of the four regions of the state. These workshops are funded by a 353 grant from the Division of Adult and Vocational Education and are presented with the assistance of teachers who have been serving on the Ohio Adult Numeracy Team. The format will be similar to the ones held last year, but the presentations will be different.
The dates of the Kick-Off Days are:

  • August 8 Northwest
  • August 22 Northeast
  • August 27 Southwest
  • September 20 Central/Southeast

    Registration information will be mailed from the Regional Resource Centers.

    Call for Papers
    Literacy Networks, a publication of the State Literacy Resource Center at Central Michigan University, is a journal that serves as a bridge between communities of providers and as a forum for important issues concerning literacy. Manuscript submissions for the Fall 1997 issue are invited from all literacy providers: ABE teachers, literacy volunteers, workplace providers, program directors, prison educators, alternative educators, community colleges, and universities. Literacy Networks is interested in articles that provide and analyze qualitative or quantitative research in adult literacy education, provide examples of exemplary programs or practices, and discuss the application of theory to practice. The deadline for submission is September 1, 1997. Contact the State Literacy Resource Center at 517-774-7690 (or for more information.

    Literature Ideas for the Classroom
    It s the time of year for ordering books and instructional materials for 1997-98. As you do so, remember that lesson plans are available from the OLRC Reading Group for nine books judged excellent for use with adult learners. Some of the books are short novels; others are short story collections. All lesson plans have been field tested by adult literacy teachers and students throughout the state. Remember, too, that the books can be purchased for 40% off list price from Book Wholesalers, Inc. (BWI) of Lexington, Kentucky. Contact the OLRC if you need copies of the lesson plans or information about how to order from BWI.

    Hamilton, Virginia. (1988). Anthony Burns. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-679-83997-6.
    List: $4.99 with BWI discount: $2.99

    Lyon, George Ella. (1989). Choices. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press. ISBN 0-8131-0900-0.
    List: $4.95 with BWI discount: $2.97

    MacLachlan, Patricia. (1985). Sarah, plain and tall. New York: Harper Trophy. ISBN 0-06-440205-3.
    List: $3.95 with BWI discount: $2.37

    MacLachlan, Patricia. (1991). Journey. New York: Dell. ISBN 0-440-40809-1.
    List: $3.99 with BWI discount: $2.39

    MacLachlan, Patricia. (1993). Baby. New York: Delacorte. ISBN 0-385-31133-8.
    List: $13.95 with BWI discount: $8.37

    Rylant, Cynthia. (1985). Every living thing. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-689-71263-4.
    List: $3.50 with BWI discount: $2.10

    Rylant, Cynthia. (1990). A couple of kooks. New York: Dell. ISBN 0-440-21210-3.
    List: $3.50 with BWI discount: $2.10

    Rylant, Cynthia. (1992). Missing May. New York: Yearling. ISBN 0-440-40865-2.
    List: $3.99 with BWI discount: $2.39

    Wolff, V.E. (1993). Make lemonade. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0-590-48141-X.
    List: $3.95 with BWI discount: $2.10

    Another delightful book to purchase or borrow from the library for your ABLE students is the new picture book biography of Harriet Tubman. Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman, written by Alan Schroeder and beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, has won the 1997 Coretta Scott King Illustration Award. While many ABLE students are familiar with the story of Harriet Tubman and her courage in returning to the South trip after trip to steal away other slaves into Northern freedom, how many of us have really considered how it would feel to be that committed to a cause or have pictured just how those dramatic rescues would have looked or felt? Pickney s illustration of young Harriet chomping down hard on a hickory stick after a brutal beating so as not to cry out with pain is one that will remain in readers minds for days. Certainly this book could fit into a unit on slavery, on 19th century American history, on heroes, or on biographies. Since many of our ABLE students are parents, they can respond to this portrait of a strong-minded child, both in class discussion and in journal writing. Teachers may want to ask students to compare this new award winner with an older version illustrated by another African-American artist of stature, Jacob Lawrence s Harriet of the Promised Land. Highly recommended.

    Health and Literacy

    The February, 1997 issue of "The Change Agent" focuses on Health and Literacy. This 24-page newspaper published by the New England Literacy Resource Center contains articles, student writing, and classroom activities on breast and cervical cancer, AIDS, smoking, chemical contaminants, health care reform, hospital bills, and heart disease. For example, there is an HIV/AIDS skit written by students which could be used in class. Take advantage of this excellent publication by ordering up to 20 copies for your program or individual class. Call the OLRC for your copies. ("The Change Agent" can also be found online at . A one-year subscription (2 issues a year) for "The Change Agent" is $5.00 or one year subscription in sets of 25 are $50.00 a set. This newspaper provides news, issues, ideas, and other teaching resources that inspire and enable adult educators and learners to make civic participation and social justice part of their teaching and learning. Articles are also being solicited for the next issue which will focus on countering crime and violence. Contact the OLRC for more information.

    Welfare Changes Policy Update
    The National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) has released Part II in a series, "How to Prepare for Welfare Changes." The update discusses four opportunities that hold promise for maintaining welfare recipients access to education and training: 1) governors are supporting more flexibility for education, 2) vocational educational training questions are being answered favorably, 3) declining caseloads give states unexpected funding "surplus," and 4) a recent national survey finds a renewed interest in education. The update also reviews the basic structure of the law and discusses its likely impact on the literacy field over the next five years. A copy of the Policy Update can be obtained by calling the OLRC or can be found on the World Wide Web at . To be added to the NIFL Policy Update mailing list, call 202-632-1500 and choose option 6 or send an E-mail to

    Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Related Materials
    The Ohio Prevention and Education Resource Center (OPERC) has many materials available for educators on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The materials are either free or sold at cost. The Center also has videos, films, and filmstrips for loan on a variety of topics. The OLRC and the Regional ABLE Resource centers have copies of the catalog, or you may call the OPERC at 800-788-7524.

    Emerging Directions in Program Development
    A new ERIC digest from the ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education on "Adult Literacy Education: Emerging Directions in Program Development," discusses listening to the learners in the areas of program content and student differences. The digest concludes with four recommendations for program development. For a copy of this digest, contact Judy Wagner, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 800-848-4814, ext. 4-7685 or E-mail:

    Success Stories Using Literature
    Success Stories: Life Skills Through Literature, published by the US Department of Education, Office of Correctional Education, is an introduction to the theory and practice of using literature to teach life skills to people who are or who have been incarcerated. Three practitioners have contributed descriptions of how they use literature and include sample lesson plans for particular selections. The book concludes with a list of suggested readings and a bibliography. Free copies are available from the Office of Correctional Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, US Department of Education, 202-205-5621.

    Electronic Journals
    The College Reading Association has a new online journal of its Adult Learning Division, "Exploring Adult Literacy." This electronic journal is written and read by literacy practitioners, program leaders, policy makers, and researchers in adult basic education, family literacy, and workplace literacy. This interactive, peer-reviewed journal is available at . If you would like more information, or would be willing to act as a reviewer, contact "Reading Online," the International Reading Association s (IRA) new electronic journal, is intended to serve literacy educators working at all levels who are interested in using an electronic medium for explorations of research, instruction, and communication. "Reading Online" will be offered temporarily at . For general information about the journal, contact the Content Editor, Martha Dillner at

    Guides for Working with the Media
    "How to Tell and Sell Your Story" is a guide for nonprofit groups on working with the media. Published by the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC, it tells how to write effective news releases, plan news conferences, influence editorials and develop short and long term communications plans. Single copies are available for $7 from Publications, CCC, 1000 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007; 202-342-0567, fax, 202-333-5462.

    Adult Student Writings
    The OLRC has 18 copies for loan of Need I Say More, collections of writings by adult students living in the Boston area. This literary magazine is published twice a year and contains poetry, prose, short fiction and plays. These are good examples of student work, which your students could use to plan their own writing or publications.

    Leadership Reading
    Part of the required reading for this year s OLRC Leadership Development Institute are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey and The Monster Under the Bed by Stan Davis and Jim Botkin. The Center has extra copies of both of these books for loan. The Covey book presents a principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems, and following his seven habits provides the security for individuals to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of new opportunities. The Monster Under the Bed explains why it is necessary for businesses to educate employees and consumers and to become a "knowledge-based" business. The book is filled with examples of high-profile companies and explores the ways this knowledge revolution will affect our businesses, our educational processes, and our everyday lives.

    NIFL Fact Sheets
    The National Institute for Literacy has developed a series of 1- and 2-page fact sheets. The topics are Fast Facts on Literacy, Correctional Education, The National Literacy Delivery System, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Family Literacy, Literacy and Health, Literacy and Learning Disabilities, Literacy and Welfare, and Workforce Literacy. These documents can be used to supplement your own statistics and information on literacy when you are preparing publicity and/or funding requests. Copies are available from the NIFL web site at or can be obtained from the OLRC.

    Public Libraries in Adult Literacy
    Even AnchorsNeed Lifelines is the complete report of a recent survey about the role that public libraries should play in implementing adult literacy services across the country. The report provides an in-depth look at the adult literacy components in public libraries and urges strengthening these efforts. Its 8 sections cover such topics as the public library s role, the use and limits of technology, planning, finance and funding, and state level program data. It concludes with 19 recommendations for the future of public libraries in adult literacy. Programs providing collaborative efforts with local libraries would be interested in this report. The complete report is available at the OLRC, copies of the Executive Summary can be ordered from the Division of Adult Education and Literacy Clearinghouse FactsLine (dial 202-401-9570, press 2 at the voice prompt and enter the document number 01020) or can be obtained from the Center for the Book s web site at .

    Workplace Education Mini-Course
    The Massachusetts Department of Education developed a 3-part Workplace Education Mini-Course in 1996 which is available on videotape. Each session lasts 75 minutes. Part One is Assessment and Evaluation; Part Two is Innovative Models of Instruction; and Part Three is Making Worker Involvement a Priority. These video tapes are available for loan at the OLRC.

    Funding Update
    The Russell Sage Foundation, the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research, accepts applications at any time for grants to support basic social science research in the areas of work, immigration, inter-group relations, and literacy. Support is given for analyzing data and writing up results rather than data acquisition. Grants average $50,000. Contact the Russell Sage Foundation, 112 E. 64th St., New York, NY 10021, 212-750-6000, E-mail , or web site .

    US Department of Education funding opportunities can be found through the Grants and Contracts home page at . Included are "Announcements in the Federal Register," "The Guide to US Deprtment of Education Programs," and "What Should I Know about ED Grants?"

    Parenting Skills and Knowledge
    What Does the Adult Basic Education Practitioner Need to Know to Support Strong Parenting? The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) participated in Stage 2 of the National Institute of Literacy's Equipped for the Future project. Two broad questions guided the research: What skills and knowledge will enable adults to become better parents and how can the adult literacy and basic education community support these families? NCFL conducted focus groups in five states which included 111 stakeholders and practitioners and 112 learners. A distillation of the data revealed some primary parental concerns.
    Specifically these include:

  • Managing a Family
  • Provide for Basic Needs
  • Form and Maintain Healthy Family Relationships
  • Give/Receive Support Outside the Family
  • Supporting Children's Growth and Development
  • Provide for Children's Physical Growth and Development
  • Provide for Children's Emotional
  • Growth and Development
  • Provide for Children's Safety
  • Supporting Children's Education
  • Create a Positive Home Learning Environment
  • Participate in Children's Learning
  • Be Involved At School
  • Being a Positive Influence on Children
  • Pass on Values, Ethics and Cultural Heritage
  • Be a Responsible Citizen
  • Provide Appropriate Discipline

    Communication and acquiring and maintaining positive relationships were considered most important to the above concerns. Additionally, an overarching issue merging literacy and parental responsibility focuses on the need to support the role of both teacher and learner in the journey through parenthood. For further information about this study contact the OLRC.

    What Advocate are Saying
    State Level Policy For Workplace Basic Education: What Advocates Are Saying is a study conducted by Paul Jurmo for the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL). As the push to get people off welfare and into full-time jobs continues, the focus turns from adult basic education for the unemployed to funding and support for workplace basic education. Jurmo conducted research in 26 states, including Ohio, to identify these critical issues in state-level policy formation:

  • Workforce development in most states does not satisfactorily attend to incumbent workers needs for various reasons.
  • Workplace basic education can be strengthened through better policy and implementation of that policy.
  • Leadership, stakeholder education efforts, and committed advocacy drive the creation of good policy.
  • Collaboration between vested parties at the community, state, and federal level in various organizations is vital to the support of workplace basic education policy
  • This study provides examples of advocacy efforts from several states and is a good resource for those interested or involved in the strengthening of workplace basic education. For further information about this study contact the OLRC.

    The Reading Group
    The OLRC Reading Group recently completed its series of workshops conducted at the Regional ABLE Resource Centers. This year the workshops continued to demonstrate activities for implementing picture books and young adult literature in the adult literacy classroom with a focus on sets of books organized by themes. Teachers worked in small groups to learn new teaching strategies: to arrive at consensus about whether a teenage babysitter could help a teenage mother to get her life together (Make Lemonade); to perform a Readers Theater scene (A Raisin in the Sun); and to agree or disagree that love at 67 or 17 is the same ("Clematis" from A Couple of Kooks ). Participants were especially pleased with the multiple copies of books given as door prizes. This is the third year that members of the Reading Group have journeyed around the state with boxes of books in tow.

    Members of the Reading Group are busy reading and reviewing more books that are appropriate for the adult classroom. They are preparing for the third installment of the Recommended Trade Books for Adult Literacy Programs, due out sometime this summer. Individual entries in the annotated bibliography include author, title, and publication data, a plot summary, themes, and teaching ideas. Copies of the bibliography can be found in the Regional ABLE Resource Center libraries, at all ABLE programs and at public libraries. The information will also soon be available on the Internet through the Ohio Library site.

    Family Literacy Partnership Training Grant
    In the last newsletter the announcement appeared of a new federal grant, The Family Literacy Initiative, written by the Office of Family and School Partnerships in the Ohio Department of Education. OLRC was awarded a portion of the grant, The Family Literacy Partnership Training Grant, to develop staff training for family literacy providers in Even Start, Head Start, ABE/ABLE, Title 1, public preschools, and public libraries. The Family Literacy Partnership Training got off to a productive start with a needs assessment survey. In January the survey was mailed to the administrators of family literacy programs throughout the state who were asked to rate their staff development needs on twelve items. Thanks to their timely responses, data analysis has begun. Meanwhile, the second phase of the project is underway. Regional teams to be composed of representatives of the organizations mentioned above will review the survey results in order to set priorities in staff development for both state and regional levels and later plan and carry out training workshops together. Teachers and administrators who have had experience in staff development and partnership efforts in the field of family literacy have been nominated to serve on these regional teams. The excellent qualifications and extensive experience of Ohio family literacy providers is very encouraging. Selection of the regional teams will be completed during April, and the first regional meetings will take place in May. Watch for the announcement of the teams in the next newsletter.

    New Statistics Released on Foreign Born
    The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report saying that now one in 10 (9.3%) of the people in the United States is foreign born, the highest rate in more than 50 years. This shows a continuation of the upward trend since this century s low point in 1970. (The century s high point was 14.7% foreign born in 1910.) The report also details the changing ethnic and racial makeup of the foreign-born population since the 1970 s. The percentage of Blacks and Asians and Pacific Islanders has risen markedly. As has been true for a long time, Mexico is the leading source of immigrants to the United States. An April 9th Washington Post article noted "a growing influx of poor, uneducated and vulnerable immigrants at a time when the government is trying to move people from welfare to work and restrict immigrants access to federal benefits." At the same time, 11.6% of those immigrants who arrived this decade have graduate or professional degrees compared to 7.7% of natives. For more information, visit the Census Bureau s website at . Look under Press Releases by date.

    (Information from Fran Keenan, National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education on NIFL ESL Listserv)

    Free On-site Technical Assistance And Training
    No prerequisities, no minimum experience, no requirements

    The OLRC s Technical Assistance/Training Network provides free services to any ABLE-funded program in Ohio. There is no minimum experience, personnel, or equipment requirement to receive on-site technical training or assistance. The Network has provided training for groups of technology novices as well as for those with a bit more experience. Consultants have visited programs with as few as 2 people attending and as many as 25. Requests have come from programs with 10-year-old equipment, brand-new equipment, or no equipment at all. The goal is to provide programs with technical assistance customized to their needs and their workplace. The OLRC coordinates the Network. Consultants from around the state are available for 4- or 8-hour sessions at the program site or alternate location of the program s choosing. Each program requesting training or assistance determines the subjects and topics to be covered by the consultants. Any program desiring assistance/training simply completes a Program Request form (available from the OLRC) and returns it; a consultant is then scheduled to provide assistance. We have had some very successful training sessions so far; our consultants are enthusiastic, knowledgable, patient, and willing to answer questions. Evaluations of the consultants and session content have been very good to excellent. To request a Program Request form or for more information, please contact Marty Ropog at the OLRC or by E-mail at

    MAY 28 - SEPTEMBER 12, 1997

    May 28-31: COABE, Detroit, MI

    June 5: Planning and Funding Technology for Adult Literacy Videoconference, Kent

    June 13: Integrated Curriculum, NW ABLE Resource Center

    June 13: Online Technology Team Meeting

    June 18-19: Leadership Development Institute

    August 3-5: Adult Literacy Technology Conference, Boise, ID

    August 8: Math Kick-Off Day, Northwest ABLE Resource Center

    August 15: Technology Team Meeting, Columbus

    August 22: Math Kick-Off Day, Northeast ABLE Resource Center

    August 27: Math Kick-Off Day, Southwest ABLE Resource Center

    September 20: Math Kick-Off Day, Central/Southeast ABLE Resource Center

    September 12: Equipped for the Future: OLN Annual Meeting

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