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Does your adult literacy program host a community read? Do adult learners participate in improvisation, writing and performance projects?

Hello reading and writing colleagues,

I am fascinated by the Redlands California Adult Literacy Program's choosing Seedfolks by award-winning author Paul Fleischman as its community read this year, and by its hosting a free performance of the book. (I wish I could be there to see the performance!)

Does your adult basic skills (including ESOL/ESL) program or adult school have a community read for adult learners and their families, or for the whole community? If so, tell us about it. Does it have a performance as part of the program? 

Do you know the book Seedfolks?  According to the article, the book’s characters represent immigrant communities in the United States. Perhaps adult learners you work with would enjoy the book.

Several years ago, the Adult Literacy Resource Institute -- sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston and Roxbury Community College -- had a terrific project with the Brookline Massachusetts Public Library for writers who had learned to read and write as adults. The project published a quarterly literary journal for several years entitled by its participants "Need I say More?" The journal included stories, poems, plays, and short essays by adult new writers. A final effort focused on the improvisation, writing and performance of plays that often had adult literacy themes. The plays were published as a volume called Setting the Stage for Literacy. The whole project was a profound and exciting experience for learners and their families, teachers, and administrators.

Are there projects like this today? If so, tell us about them!

David J. Rosen




Karen O's picture

Yes!  Seedfolks is a wonderful book!  In 2012, Malden, MA chose the book as one of its companion books for its inaugural season of Malden Reads, the one-city-one-book program of the kind that has become so popular everywhere.  The main selection for 2012 was Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team that Changed a Town, another wonderful book with a theme of building community, and the companion selections are intended for younger readers.  Here at my program, The Immigrant Learning Center, our ESOL Theater Class read Seedfolks and created a performance for the Malden community based on the story.  The play was called "Seed Folks of Malden" and was performed at the Malden Senior Center's auditorium.  Here are a few links for those who might be interested:

Here's a local story in the press:

Here are some pictures from our Flickr account and the album description:

The Immigrant Learning Center's Immigrant Theater Program uses theater to help adults improve their English skills. Each term, students create a play about their immigrant experience and perform it for the Malden, MA, community. These photos are from the production "Seed Folks of Malden," which was inspired by the book Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman about an ethnically diverse community that transforms an empty lot into a vibrant community garden.

Here's a blurb on our website (scroll down to 2012):
David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Thanks Karen for telling us about how the Immigrant Learning Center in Malden, Massachusetts used Seedfolks. I wish I had known about this in 2012; I would have loved to have seen the play performed. I bet it was terrific.

Have other adult educators here collaborated with a community reads program? If so, tell us about your collaboration, and what the book was that everyone read.

David J. Rosen


Jeri Gue's picture
One hundred


I have not participated in a community read, however I love this concept!  I will have conversations about this with adult educators in Delaware.

Thank you!


David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Here's a link to a  review of "Planting the seeds of learning and growing", the play based on Paul Fleischman's "Seedfolks" performed by adult learners at the Redlands Adult Literacy Program in honor of National Adult Literacy Day.

David J. Rosen