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Diversity and Literacy November Newsletter

LINCS Diversity and Literacy
Community of Practice
November 2015

Pumpkin Sadness

Diversity and Literacy LINCS Newsletter – Do you want to continue to have access to this newsletter? Click on the Poll Tab in our group home, and respond to the poll questions.

yesWelcome New Members!

From October up to November Publication Date: Amy Pickard, Carrie Amann, and Brenda Roland, Paul Rogers, and Nora Devlin. Welcome one and all!

From Your Profiles or Intros:

1. Name: Lenore Balliro

Member for: 3 years 2 months – Thanks for introducing yourself in the “Getting to Know You Forum” as well as completing your profile!
About me: My roles in adult basic education have been varied over the last 25+ years, starting as an ESOL instructor at the International Institute of Rhode Island working with Cambodian refugees. At UMass Dartmouth I directed a workplace education program with unions serving language needs of factory workers. At the Adult Literacy Resource Institute, I honed my skills as a professional developer, and at World Education I edited and produced a quarterly newsletter for teachers called Field Notes. TESOL hired me to write a feature column in Essential Teacher where I drew on my experiences in the classroom and in working with teachers. As a response to funding cuts in my workplace, I established Plum Cove Consulting in 2013. For a list of my clients and projects, please see my website at
Job Role: Professional Developer
My interests:  In addition to my professional work in adult basic education, I do community art work, volunteer with elders, garden, and read contemporary fiction. I am a published poet. All of my interests find their way into my adult basic education work.

2. Paul Rogers Name: Paul Rogers – From the “Getting to Know You” Forum:

I have been an ESL teacher for more than 25 years, working almost exclusively with Spanish-speaking, low-income adults, mostly women.

My texts and course were used to create a free, bilingual website called PUMAROSA.COM. The site serves as a basis for my program which now includes Facebook lessons, and two other sites on WIX and WIKI SPACES.

My interest in joining this group comes from the problems I see in adult courses which marginalize many people, especially immigrant working women who usually have children. These problems include a lack of support for the use of the Home language of immigrants, commonly called L1, and no child-care, particularly in ESL classes. I think the use of technology can actually provide some solutions to these problems.

If you haven’t done so, please take a few minutes to complete your own profile in LINCS so that we can get to know you better. Let me know if you do! I would like to summarize your information in our next newsletter!

Also, please introduce yourself in the “Getting to Know You” or in the “Introduce Yourself” forum, listed toward the top of your Discussions page.

yesNew Definitions: LINCS Diversity and Literacy CoP

What do you think of the NEW topics listed below for our discussions in this community? Which topics interest you the most? What questions might you pose to others in this community who have knowledge and experience in these topics?

Post a discussion asking a question or sharing your own expertise on any of these broad topics so that others can learn from you! How about committing to starting a discussion or commenting in someone else’s discussion once a month? Give yourself and the rest of us that Christmas gift or at least add it to your New Year’s resolution list!

The LINCS Diversity and Literacy Group is a community of practice for adult literacy education practitioners, advocates, researchers, learners, policy makers, and all other persons who are interested in exploring the linkages between diversity and literacy.

Topics include:

  • Assumptions about race and poverty often made in adult education programs
  • Connections among literacy, race, poverty and public policy
  • Dynamics within and among diverse groups and the misunderstandings that can occur in the teaching and learning process
  • Domestic violence and its intersection with poverty, race, and literacy
  • Sexual and gender orientation issues and how they impact learners and teachers
  • Religious differences and adult literacy classrooms
  • Disabilities issues in the context of diversity and literacy

Become more informed, get involved, and be inspired! Share your knowledge with the Diversity and Literacy Group and help advance our field of practice.

yesTopics Summary

Below you’ll find a list of topics that we have covered in our discussions of late. Those topics remain open, so feel free to comment on any of them by clicking in the Discussions Tab, and then on the topic of your choice.

Would you like to open a new topic? We need your participation and interaction as we build our little learning community to serve your needs and interests! Post a problem you are facing. Post a case study. Post an activity that you recommend for engaging adult learners in your practice. Post a question, a resource, an idea, a reference. Whatever your preference to interaction and dialogue, post! This community is here to serve you. Let’s get to know each other and share our experience and knowledge. Deal?

In October up to this publication date, we covered the following topics and resources:

  1. Funding Issues                                   
  2. Refurbished computer loan program     
  3. Community Learning Centers can fix adult ESL   
  4. Blended Learning in Adult Education by Rosen  
  5. Author Studies among Adults               
  6. Teaching Tutors/Teachers about Digital Literacy
  7. Special Issue: Call for Journal Articles
  8. Can fast readers catch up to those with specific reading disabilities who aud?     
  9. Take Just Few Minutes, Please             
  10. Site for Sore Eyes                               
  11. Diversity and Literacy October Newsletter        
  12. Do characters reflect their minority readers?    
  13. Your Professional Development Needs   
  14. NY Times Interactive for ELLs on Immigration...  
  15. Very Helpful Site! STEM?

What were your favorite topics? What topics would you like to add? Open a new discussion in the Discussion tab and start your own thread. We need your voice, your opinions, your presence!

yesLINCS News

  • Diversity and Literacy LINCS Newsletter – Do you want to continue to have access to this newsletter? If so, click on the Poll Tab in our group home, and respond to the poll  question.
  • Auding - There is a fascinating discussion still taking place and opened in the Technology and Learning group by David Rosen, “Can fast readers catch up to those with specific reading disabilities who aud?” “Auding” is the process of hearing, recognizing, and interpreting spoken language. Some students better and more quickly convert meaning from writing by hearing the text. “Do we need to explicitly include auding as part of what we mean by reading in adult literacy education?” Join the discussion and add your reflection on that and other questions posed in the group.
  • Teaching Energy Literacy to Adult Learners – This is a free, self-paced LINCS course. This course explains the concept of energy literacy, and introduces the Energy Literacy Framework the developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Educators can use the Framework (available in English and Spanish) to teach adult learners about the role of energy in their lives and to generate potential interest in energy as a career field. This course explores the Fundamental Concepts of the seven essential principles outlined in the Energy Literacy Framework and provides examples of online resources teachers can use to teach the principles and associated concepts to adult learners. If you or your students take this course, please open a discussion and comment on your experience!

To access a long list of similar LINCS courses, sign in to the Learning Portal, and register for the course of your choice. When you complete the course, please share your experience with the rest of us in our discussion area.

yesFeatured Resources/ Articles

If you have a resource recommendation for this newsletter, please send me the information, and I’ll post it in our next issue, with credit given. ( Alternatively, and even more highly recommended, post a discussion in our community and start a new dialogue!

From David Rosen: (Thanks, David!)

  • The Literacy List - A large collection of free Adult Basic Education and ESOL/ESL web sites, electronic discussion lists, and other Internet resources for adult basic skills learners and teachers
  • Harnessing Technology to Serve Adult Literacy - Web pages to help adult literacy education (ABE, ASE/GED and ESOL/ESL) teachers and learners to use computers, television, audio and video cassettes, and other electronic technology to help solve learning and instructional problems
  • Adult Literacy Education - A blog for adult literacy educators, with integration and use of technology to enhance adult basic skills as a major theme 

Other Resources

  • A fascinating new look matching poverty and behavior. FI2020 Global Forum: Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics, Harvard University - The behavioral economics of poverty and implications for financial inclusion from the newly-released book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much. Really worth taking the time to review, even if just a few minutes at a time! -
  • “Writing in the 21st Century: Crash! The Currency Crisis in American Culture, April 2009. NCTE President-Elect Carol Jago makes an argument for the continuing centrality of the study of literature as a way of "making a life" in an environment where contemplative thinking is in danger of being overwhelmed by practical communication. Excerpt: “To thrive in the real world, students need to be able to do more than Twitter. They need to be able to develop extended arguments that demonstrate a careful analysis of complex ideas. They need to be able to critique a brave new world in which reading is reduced to skimming and scanning websites, in which templates replace writing, in which the arts are extracurricular, and in which culture is reserved for the few rather than the many. If we aren't careful, in a generation we will have made our students unprepared for almost everything that this great nation once used to value—independence, freethinking, and the pursuit of happiness. Part of our responsibility as teachers is to help students discover that the pursuit of happiness does not begin and end with the purchase of a new car. In his travels through nineteenth-century America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, "There is hardly a pioneer's hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare. I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin" (119). As we move through the twenty-first century, let's be careful not to lose in the name of progress and preparedness the texts and habits of mind that have brought us this far.
  • Tips for Writing a Resume Skills Section, How to Include Skills on a Resume- Includes a video by Nick Jaynes.
  • Workplace terminology can be challenging. We so often teach students to spell and define or recognize terms but fail to have them practice saying the terms. This is a sweet little site. Think of all of those medical terms that face students entering training. Write the word, which is another reinforcement, and then just click to hear it.
  • And speaking of medical terminology, here’s another helpful pronunciation site -
  • And yet another on medical terminology. Quizlet is one of my favorite tools online. Once flash cards are created and illustrated, the tool pronounces the terms, tests knowledge, and plays games until they are learned!
  • New  graded health and wellness stories were funded by the National Head Start Family Literacy Center/Sonoma State University -
  • How Poverty Alters the Young Brain - New research reveals a strong connection between income and the surface area of several key neural regions. By Eric Jaffe, - “Behavioral scientists have made some truly groundbreaking insights into the cognitive costs of poverty in recent years. We now know, for instance, that scarcity puts a huge strain on our mental resources—the equivalent of stripping 13 points off our IQ, or losing a night’s sleep—making it that much tougher to handle daily tasks or decisions. That’s just one of many findings pointing to the same conclusion: poverty literally alters the way you process the world.”
  • Tech Goes Home (TGH), founded in 2000, is a national award-winning initiative helping to provide under-served residents the opportunity, tools, education, and access required for 21st century skills development. With the support and backing of the city of Boston, TGH prioritizes low-income and underserved populations, including people from challenged neighborhoods, those without technology at home, the unemployed and underemployed, people who do not speak English, and individuals with disabilities. Most TGH households have incomes under $20,000 per year and 79% of participants live in single female headed households. Of the population TGH serves, 90% are people of color, 40% are English learners, and 10% have significant disabilities. (Thanks to Paul Rogers.)
  • Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners, by Marietta Saravia-Shore (from Chapter 2 of Educating Everybody's Children: Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition, Edited by Robert W. Cole – “That minority and low-income children often perform poorly on tests is well known. But the fact that they do so because we systematically expect less from them is not. Most Americans assume that the low achievement of poor and minority children is bound up in the children themselves or their families. "The children don't try." "They have no place to study." "Their parents don't care." "Their culture does not value education." These and other excuses are regularly offered up to explain the achievement gap that separates poor and minority students from other young Americans. But these are red herrings. The fact is that we know how to educate poor and minority children of all kinds—racial, ethnic, and language—to high levels. Some teachers and some entire schools do it every day, year in and year out, with outstanding results. But the nation as a whole has not yet acted on that knowledge -

yesTips for Encouraging Reading and Writing Practice

Author Studies – Author studies are strongly advocated among K-12 classrooms as a way to help beginning writers follow strong writing models, develop sentence-writing  fluency, recognize a personal style, and become self-aware as they analyze the lives and the works of selected authors. For some useful ideas, browse through a resource from a graduate course that I am presently teaching among K-12 instructors:

"As students construct their own sentences, instead of just identifying these sentences on a worksheet, they take a giant step toward actually understanding a variety of sentence structures and actually using these structures in their own compositions." – (Dancing with the Authors: Teaching Sentence Fluency, Matulis, B. (2008) Electronic version

Adults can benefit in the same way. What author (s) might best reflect and engage your adult learners as they become good readers and writers?  Join this month’s  discussion in our LINCS group, “Author Studies among Adults” or open your own discussion on the topic! Let’s talk!

yesSocial Media Tips

  • Tip from a fellow tweeter: ‘Instead of putting a starter activity on the board when students enter class, tweet it!”
  • Social Media for Teachers: Guides, Resources, and Ideas (Edutopia, Updated February 18, 2015)- “Of course, it can be a challenge to incorporate social media into lessons. There are many gray areas for teachers to navigate, like setting guidelines, accessibility at school, and student safety. But to help teachers navigate this ever-changing landscape of social media tools, here are some of the best guides on the web for four popular networks, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. -

Please open a discussion in our community and share your tips for using social media for instruction, especially among adults.

yesMember Contribution

This section is awaiting your contribution. Share a practice, a resource, a tip, anything that you would like featured in this section! Email me, and you’ll be in our next newsletter!

yesBrain Games and Fun Things

What phrases do the images represent? Share them with your students!  If you solve the “word puzzles,” post your answer in this forum. Otherwise, wait until next month’s issue for the answers.

1.    puzzle 1        2. puzzle 2

Possible solutions to last month’s challenges: 1. Tennessee   2. 7-Up Cans

yesUpcoming Events

Be sure to drop in weekly to review the exciting announcements on our LINCS Home page, and on our Community page, .

D. COABE 2016 –Registration for the 2016 COABE/TALAE National Conference in Dallas, Texas on April 10-13, 2016 will open in December! Get registered early and save $!

Please send me your ideas for events that appeal to you. Would you like to lead an event? Let me know. Let’s share our strengths!


You are invited to comment on the usefulness of a monthly newsletter. If you would like to post a section, just send it to me, and I will include it if the group would like to continue this practice.

To respond to any of the items in this newsletter, simply add a comment or start a discussion in the forums, as with all discussion threads.

See you in the forums! Let’s talk some more! Leecy