FAFSA Now Available for All Students

Do you have a recent GED graduate or adult learner who is looking to go to college? Help them fill out the Free Application for Federal and Student Aid! Your students will have a better understanding of the types of financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans, etc.) they are eligible for and it will help their colleges or schools in their quest to help your student with financial aid. The 2014-15 FAFSA became available on January 1.

Here is a video explaining what FAFSA is and what it can do for your students. It can be a daunting process, so sometimes it helps to have a friendly voice guiding you along the way.


7 Myths About the FAFSA and Applying for Financial Aid

Literacy Ambassador Training- January 24-25

Adult learners are the best spokespeople for your organization. They will be able to help those intimidated to take the first step and they will help get the message of need and urgency across to your funders and donors. The Florida Literacy Coalition is hosting a training to help students become effective advocates for their program by telling their compelling stories.

Sessions include:

  • Introduction to Effective Public Speaking
  • Developing and Making Presentations
  • Adult Learner Involvement and Leadership
  • Conducting Interviews with the Media
  • Adult Learner Advocacy

Here is a video from the Literacy Ambassador Training in 2008

The training will take place January 24-25 in Orlando. The event is free and attendees will be reimbursed for mileage, meals, and lodging if traveling over 50 miles. Register your student today for this amazing opportunity!

Top Stories in Literacy: Week of December 16

Here are a few great examples of literacy in the news!

Lawmakers say it adds up to teach financial literacy in high school
The Florida Current

Miami Organizations Partner to Promote Reading, Donating 120,000 Books for Local Children
Biscayne Bay Tribune

Literacy Doesn’t Mean What You Think
Huffington Post Canada

Early promotion of reading skills crucial for future
Florida Today



Carolina Torquemada “Change of Life”

I was born on March 3, 1986, in Zimapan Hidalgo, Mexico City. All my childhood and part of my youth, I lived in Mexico. I studied until I was 18 years old, studying accounting in a technical school. I had many dreams to further my studies, but my parents did not have the economic resources to continue supporting me. So I decided to work to continue my education. I got a job, but did not earn enough money. Little by little my dream of studying nursing was falling apart. On June 2, 2008, my dad gave us the news we had been granted our resident visa to travel to the United States. At that time my feelings were of joy and sadness, because I had to leave a part of my family, my birthplace, my friends, and all. On September 18, 2008, my first trip to Florida, I arrived at my brother’s home. It had been three years of not seeing him. It was a great joy seeing him again and meeting his family.


When I came to this country, I was filled with illusions to work and further my studies. But over time I realized everything is very different in United States. I started to feel despair. I felt bad when people saw me and treated me differently for being from another country. I wanted to communicate with other people, and I was not able to. It is very difficult to adjust to another life in a new country. I missed my family, my city, and my friends.


Seeing that my dad worked very hard, I thanked God and my dad with all my heart for the opportunity of living in this country. I decided, and promised, to continue to help my family. My family is the most valuable and most important thing in my life, and they want me to fulfill my dreams. On February 3, 2010, I started working in a factory, and they have been very good to me. I am very pleased to share my achievements with my family. This year I want to travel to Mexico to hug my family and say, “I love you!”

Carolina Torquemada is studying in the Clearwater Adult Education/ United Methodist Cooperative Ministries Program at the High Point YMCA. Her teacher is Ms. Roseann Segura.

This is an excerpt from the 2013 Adult Learner Essay Book, Believing That You Can. We are now accepting essays for the 2014 Essay Book. Click here for more information on submitting a story from your student.

Making it Practical

Adult education students have gone their entire lives without knowing how to read. They have been able to manage ordering food in a restaurant, driving to unfamiliar areas, paying bills, holding a job, and much more without the ability to fully comprehend the world around them. So what brings them to your program today to learn how to read? What made them decide that they need to take the next step? The majority of students will say that it is because life is changing. They needed to apply for a new job and needed to know how to use a computer. Their children have homework assignments that they can’t help with. And many are looking to better themselves career wise.

As a tutor, you can make a difference. We have several blog posts focused on individual lesson plans you can use with your students and different ways you can incorporate college and career pathways into your curriculum. But if you are looking for something that will better equip you to work with your students, you should consider taking one of the modules for FLC’s Education and Career Advocate Training. They are each self-paced and will take 1-1.5 hours to complete. Each module comes with additional resources to use with your students.

To sign up for the course, you can use the link above or click the banner on the FLC website. Then select the option on the left indicating that you are a teacher that would like to review the course. You will then be taken to the three modules.

If you have any questions along the way, please contact Annie Schmidt (schmidta@floridaliteracy.org) for further assistance.

Lesson Plans and Thanksgiving!


Get a Turkey, some stuffing, and mashed potatoes, Thanksgiving is here! One of the best holidays with its share of food, friends, and family. This is also the perfect time of year to use lesson plans linked with the holidays! Since it is Thanksgiving almost, it only suits to use some lesson plans linked to Thanksgiving.

Here are some ideas for having Thanksgiving a part of your lesson plans!

 A Fill-in Exercise

A Short Thanksgiving Film from Scholastic

Things You Don’t Know About Thanksgiving

Some Fun Facts About the Holiday!

And a game:

Thanksgiving Escape and the Walkthrough

Why, you ask for the game. Larry Ferlazzo writes that using a Walkthrough alongside a game helps language-development and reading skills. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy holidays!

Thrilled for the Thirtieth!

The Florida Literacy Conference is celebrating THIRTY years this May. Can you believe it? The Conference pre-dates the Coalition, which only emphasizes the importance of providing quality professional development for the leaders in literacy and those working in the trenches of adult education. FLC is celebrating this momentous occasion at the Hilton Daytona Beach, May 7-9, 2014. A group of FLC staff members and ten members of the Conference Planning Committee met at the hotel last week to scope the scene and prepare for the event. I’ve added some pictures below so you can begin to imagine how this event will take place.

Inspired to make a difference? Submit a proposal to present at this year’s Conference.

Can’t wait to spend time with your favorite teachers and program administrators? Registration is now open! 

Grand Ballroom, where you'll be able to listen to FLC's great keynotes.

Grand Ballroom, where you’ll be able to listen to FLC’s great keynotes.

Exhibit and Registration Area

Exhibit and Registration Area

Location of the Opening Reception. Can't you hear the live band already?

Location of the Opening Reception. Can’t you hear the live band already?

Backyard of the Hotel for a late-night stroll by the water

Backyard of the Hotel for a late-night stroll by the water

Potential location for Adult Learner Day lunch or a surprising event.

Potential location for Adult Learner Day lunch or a surprising event.

April Returns as Financial Literacy Month

After doing some research on Financial Literacy Month, I’ve concluded that this post may be a week late but it is still quite necessary. There simply isn’t much information out there other than the standard April-is-Financial-Literacy-Month article. That’s a good first step, but often these articles don’t provide any sort of information to improve a reader’s money management skills- just short bits to ‘increase awareness’. If this was a discussion on social media strategies, I’d say that this type of article doesn’t do enough to make the reader get to that next level of involvement; I digress. Without any further advocacy ado, I assure you April is Financial Literacy Month.

Sadly, a majority of us have not been taught how to manage our finances responsibly, which can lead to dangerous financial decisions. It was reported that in 2012, only 13 states required students to take a course on personal finance. Teaching the basics of financial literacy is vital to give low-income adults the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, especially considering that most of our adult learners have had less schooling than their credentialed counterparts, who themselves most likely have not received formal financial education lessons. That’s why financial literacy has been given its own month, because more needs to be done.

When it comes to being involved with a literacy-based organization, we all learn to work with what we’re given, and we learn to make it work. Naturally, the same can be said for incorporating financial literacy lessons for adult learners. As mentioned earlier, although you may have heard about Financial Literacy Month before, chances are you weren’t given any resources to help improve your money management skills. It becomes evident when searching for financial literacy resources targeted towards adult learners or ESOL students that this can be an even more challenging endeavor than searching for information accessible to the native speaker. So, to help you in your quest for financial literacy resources, I leave you with some resources for your perusal.

  • Financial Literacy Month by Money Management International Geared towards the apple pie loving American, this site provides daily steps towards becoming financially responsible complete with tons of resources from which to choose.
  • Financial Literacy Lesson Plans Want to know what to consider as you’re making a lesson plan for financial education? Check out this article for some insights.
  • Financial Literacy Lessons for ESL Students Here are some already created lessons for you to use with your adult learners, brought to you by San Diego Centers for Education & Technology.
  • Financial Literacy Video Games for Adult Learners Want to mix up your financial literacy lesson? Choose from “Taking a Bite Out of Debt and Spending” or “Rooting Out the Killer Bunnies” which your students can learn while they play a video game!

    *Warning- If you are a Vampire enthusiast, frustration may ensue from the former of the two games due to the flawed logic that Vampires would safely be able to transport to a “Day Club” without dying from the sunlight.*

  • Alley Wallet Wise The financial literacy program affiliated with Alley Bank offers free online courses which cover banking, budgeting, credit scores, and more.

Incorporating Easter and Passover traditions with Your Adult Learners

Cultural differences are just another barrier which adult learners must learn to overcome. Even the ways in which sects of the same religion, or for that matter same sects of the same religion in different locations, celebrate holidays differ in some way or another. That’s why this week you should take advantage of the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter to teach your adult learners about the traditions, origins, and significance, of these respective religions.

This can be quite difficult to do without coming across as proselytizing a religious view, but it can be done successfully. The best method to ensure that what you teach will not be misconstrued as attempting to convert your students is to state the facts about each holiday in a fun, nonthreatening way. It’s more important to use these holidays as a means of connecting adult learners with unfamiliar language and cultural traditions than it is to use them as a tipping point for spiritual realization.

With that said, tutors might want to look into these websites which cover the traditions of Easter and Passover, taken from Larry Ferlazzo’s EduBlog.

If you’re searching for lessons for ESOL or ELLs, check out the resources on these sites: