Reading and Writing Resource Spotlight: The Change Agent

The Change Agent is an online magazine written by adult learners for adult learners. Its goal is to inspire “adult educators and learners to make civic participation and social justice part of their teaching and learning.” Since 1994, The Change Agent has highlighted topics of importance to adult learners such as career pathways, transportation, race, and the pandemic. In addition to students’ writing, each issue contains news articles, opinion pieces, and classroom activities. It is free to New England area state funded programs and has free resources available to everyone.

What free resources exist, and how can they assist us with remote learning? First, 24 packets containing free articles, lesson plans, and learning activities are available. Many of the articles include embedded learning activities such as writing prompts and graphic organizers. Also, there are two free issues available here. One considers the 2020 Census and the other is the very timely “Talking About Race.” These issues provide the grade level of each reading and also have real person (not robot) audio to provide students with fluency practice.

Unique among adult education publications, The Change Agent offers adult students the change to write about an authentic topic, become a published author, and receive a $50 gift card. Students can choose from a variety of writing prompts on the main theme. The current call for articles seeks student writing of 200 to 800 words about mental health and emotional well-being.

I listened to a Change Agent webinar on remote learning featuring Riva Pearson, a New York instructor. She had her class submit articles for the magazine, and she said, “It was a huge confidence boost for my students, just submitting something raised their confidence.” Ms. Pearson uses the flipped classroom approach, having her students read several articles and then post comments about them in Google Classroom. She noted that the articles model various writing formats including narrative, descriptive, and argumentative. Ms. Pearson would deconstruct articles by outlining them so her students could better understand the structure of good writing.

Finally, I have taught students who have never left their home county and struggle to see all sides of topics. One of The Change Agent’s benefits is its ability to provide a big picture view about various issues. Its articles are honest as students candidly share their struggles, triumphs, and hopes.

What reading and writing resources are you using with your students?


Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!

Steve Schmidt, Moderator

LINCS Reading and Writing CoP