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.

Zach Lynn on the 10th annual Literacy Leadership Institute

Zach Lynn

Zach Lynn

If there’s one thing about the Florida Literacy Coalition that stands out above all others, it’s their commitment to sharing information and helping their friends get better at what they do.  I was recently given the opportunity to attend Florida Literacy Coalition’s 10th Annual Leadership Institute—and they sure did share a lot!

From volunteer management to developing funds, from best practices to new GED standards, I came back to the Adult Literacy League with pages of notes and handouts.  Our staff and volunteers are very keen on professional development and staying up with the current trends, so everyone was very appreciative of all the information I passed along.  Our Executive Director loves to hear anything from the amazing Neil Sturomski, our Development Director got some tips and tricks about fund cultivation, and our social media volunteers are starting to understand how we could use Pinterest in our communications plan.

But some of the most pertinent information was about the new 2014 GED—which will revolutionize how we serve our students.  We currently offer four free classes a week for GED Preparation and see an average of 5-6 students per class.  As they work hard to study up on some difficult subjects, they now see an even more difficult deadline because the test will change in January 2014. And we’ll have to change with it.

The new 2014 GED will be all computer-based.  Luckily we have an upgraded mobile laptop computer lab, but we’ll need to also upgrade how we teach.  Passing along information from the Leadership Institute has sparked ideas and creativity from our current GED instructors, who are thinking of ways to incorporate technology into their lessons.  Information and resources from the Leadership Institute have been a very nice start to this process, and I know the Florida Literacy Coalition will be there to share more information and continue to help us get better at what we do!

Zach is the Volunteer Coordinator with the Adult Literacy League

Betsy Stoutmorrill: L2A Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners

Adult learners can improve their literacy skills, but the challenge for tutors is figuring out the most important skills to teach.  Before beginning that first lesson, I suggest that adult learners need to understand and experience self-determination. L2A offers the tools to do just that for diverse learners.

Understanding each factor is fairly easy, but the challenge is designing a lesson that presents the relationships among the factors.  Is there a sequence that truly presents the relationships among these factors?

Doing this activity in a small group helps us see the complexity of the relationships among these factors and the challenge — and potential — for helping adult learners gain self-determination. The activity ignites big discussions and tough questions: Can someone be proactive before knowing how to plan? Does someone reflect and readjust before valuing herself or after?

All that’s needed is a large sheet of paper, some markers, or sticky notes — and a little bit of self-determination!  Each time I provide this training I see amazing creative models for self-determination.

One group simply presented a blank page and the factors printed on 3X5 cards. They plan to create a representation with each adult learner — every learner designs a unique representation of self-determination!

Not only is that a fantastic idea, but it also is an excellent way to use the L2A concept of explicit instruction: I do; we do; you do.  This teaching strategy lets adult learners experience the concept of directing their own learning through modeling and practice.

Imagine picking “self-awareness” and modeling for the adult learner your thought process in through the “I DO.”  Thinking aloud about who you are… Drawing or using pictures to represent your talents… Listing weaknesses and ideas for improvement…

Think of working in equal partnership with the learner in the “WE DO” to explore her own self-awareness.

Picture encouraging the student in the “YOU DO” to choose the next factor and take you through her process.

Teaching literacy skills is the focus of what we do, but if we can build self-determination we have done more than teach literacy skills.  We have empowered the adult learner.

To view Betsy’s L2A webinar, follow this link.

RESOURCES: L2A http://lincs.ed.gov/programs/learningtoachieve/learningtoachieve.html

Learning Disabilities

Unlike physical ailments, learning disabilities often go undetected because they are hard to see and many people do not understand the signs. They also differ from person to person, so two people can have the same disability, but different challenges. Learning disabilities can affect a someone’s listening, speaking, reading, writing and/or mathematics skills. As many as 1 out of 5 people in the United States has a learning disability. It is estimated that 27% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school, creating a need to address learning disabilities in adult learners. This fall, Florida Literacy Coalition is hosting a series of professional development workshops focused on Learning Disabilities. Here are a few words from one of our facilitators, Roberta Reiss.

Roberta Reiss

“Over the years I have worked with hundreds of capable and well-trained literacy tutors.  One refrain I heard quite often was, “I can’t help you with an adult learner with learning disabilities.  I just don’t have the expertise.”  It turns out that working with a learner with a reading or writing disability involves easy comprehension strategies that are just “good teaching”.  The FLC’s upcoming events on Learning to Achieve, a program based on the latest research, are designed to help volunteer tutors understand Learning Disabilities, learn about the legal protection offered those who have these disabilities, and examine teaching strategies that have proven success.  Of course, no one is expected to diagnose a disability or offer legal advice, but the program lays a great foundation for understanding the rights of adult learners with LD and seeing why the strategies work.  I hope you can attend one of the several sessions held around the state, and would love to see you at one of mine!

In the meantime, here are a couple of interesting websites to take a look at:
http://www.ncld.org
http://ldonline.org

Hopefully you will be able to join us this fall at one of the statewide workshops. Click here for a full listing of locations and program descriptions.

Ruth Colvin, Founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, to speak at the Florida Literacy Conference

Ruth Colvin

The Florida Literacy Coalition is proud to announce that Ruth Colvin, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will be a keynote speaker at the 2011 Florida Literacy Conference. Ruth is the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc., a national, non-profit, educational, volunteer organization to help combat the illiteracy problems in the USA. LVA has merged with Laubach Literacy and is now ProLiteracy Worldwide.

Since 1962, when Ruth started LVA, she and her husband, Bob, have traveled all over the United States and to 26 countries, giving workshops in Basic Literacy (BL) and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).   The recipient of nine honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degrees, Ruth also received, in 1987, the President’s Volunteer Action Award, presented by President Ronald Reagan, and in 2006 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by President George W. Bush. Ruth was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1991.

Ruth is an author of books on various topics including literacy, with titles such as I Speak English: A Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages-Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing.  She and her husband, Robert Colvin, live in Syracuse, New York, USA.

We are so honored to have Ruth Colvin speak at the conference. Make sure that you are registered for the conference so that you do not miss the opportunity to hear Ruth share her experience.

Health Literacy Partnerships Training Opportunity

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, the Florida Literacy Coalition‘s health literacy coordinator, Naomi Soto, will be at the Leon County Health Dept. in Tallahassee, facilitating a training for health literacy educators and health professionals about the power of partnerships in health literacy education.

Staying Healthy

The workshop will emphasize the importance of localized partnerships between libraries, community-based organizations and healthcare professionals.  The training will include an overview of the freely available Staying Healthy curriculum and its additions Women’s Health and Coping with Stress. The workshop will also highlight hands-on classroom activities and leave time for discussion and idea sharing. All participants will also receive a free copy of the Staying Healthy curriculum.

Two trainings will be offered (both trainings will cover the same information):

  1. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9
  2. 3-6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9

**Three CEUs will be offered for all nurses who attend! 

The Florida Department of Health Women’s Health Program will be giving away health materials for community-based organizations to use in their health literacy outreach efforts.  The materials offered will cover the following topics: Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Teen Health and Development, Parenting Skills, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health and more.  All items will be given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.

There is no cost to attend this training opportunity, but registration is required.  So tell all of your friends about it!

Training Venue: Leon County Health Dept., 872 W. Orange Ave., Tallahassee, FL  32304.

Have questions?  Call Naomi Soto at FLC – (407) 246-7110 ext. 209, or send her an email: soton@floridaltieracy.org. More information about FLC’s health literacy initiative is also available here.

This is a collaborative learning event brought to you by the Florida Literacy Coalition and the Florida Department of Health Women’s Health Program with space allowance from Leon County Health Department – Office if Minority Health.  This workshop was made possible through the generous support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.

Virtual Tutor/Teacher Training: Reading Error Patterns

If you attended the Florida Literacy Conference this past May, you’ll probably recognize the name Betsy Stoutmorrill.

During Conference, Dr. Stoutmorrill presented a very popular session entitled “Reading: Science of the Brain Meets Art of the Mind.”  The session highlighted how learning to read requires the (science) brain’s capacity to decode and link symbols to sounds and the (art) mind’s facility to comprehend the meaning of print.

In just over 3 weeks, on Sept. 22, Dr. Stoutmorrill will virtually present a training on identifying and solving reading error patterns.  She will provide tutors and teachers with a system for identifying and analyzing oral reading/decoding errors students make.

Tutors and teachers can effectively address common error patterns through a process of listening, marking and discussing errors made by students who read a brief 100-150 word passage.

Participants will receive:

1) a list of the 10 most common reading errors

2) sample passages that can be utilized as a guide for selecting appropriate material from a wide range of reading resources

Interested?  Click here for registration and participation information.

Dr. Betsy Stoutmorrill is Vice President of Enrollment and Outreach for Beacon College in Leesburg, Fla.  Since 1989, Stoutmorrill has been in the field of adult education focusing on reading and learning disabilities.

More trainings are on the horizon & you can read summaries from two prior tutor/teacher trainings on this blog!

  1. Effective Vocabulary Instruction for Struggling Readers
  2. Strategic Reading Instruction to Improve Comprehension of Struggling Readers

Literacy Ambassador Program Benefits Learners & Programs

FLC’s annual Literacy Ambassador Program is a beneficial professional development opportunity for both adult learners and literacy programs.  Scheduled for Oct. 15-16, 2010, this is an opportunity for adult learners to become more comfortable speaking in public, to the media and about the success s/he has achieved since enrolling in a literacy program.

During the 2-day event, adult learners will be coached by Monica Baxley and Nelson Pino.  Both instructors are experienced Literacy Ambassadors, have successfully completed adult literacy programs, and are well versed in what it means to be a Literacy Ambassador.

In the past, Monica has been featured on ABC News and currently holds a position on the Florida Literacy Coalition Board of Directors.  Nelson is currently an ESL tutor, and the volunteer and marketing coordinator for DePorres P.L.A.C.E., Inc. – an adult literacy center in Riviera Beach, Fla.

The adult learner sessions will include instruction and tips on:

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

A special session will also be held for literacy program representatives on Friday, Oct. 15.  Greg Smith, executive director of FLC, will highlight effective public relations and marketing strategies programs can use for publicity.  Promotional initiatives that Greg will discuss are important to incorporate in order to let people know your program exists, what it does and how people can become involved in your mission.

Don’t hesitate to register as seats are limited.  The training is free of charge to both adult learners and program representatives.  The training will take place Oct. 15-16, at the Holiday Inn Harbourside in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla.  (Pinellas County; Clearwater area).  Attendees will be eligible to be reimbursed for mileage, meals and lodging according to state guidelines.  Pre-approval is required for travel expenses exceeding $300.  Lodging will be reimbursed if traveling over 50 miles to the event. Registration and travel funds are limited, so apply today.  Contact Yari Payne via email, payney@floridaliteracy.org, with any questions.

Are you a Literacy Ambassador?  Have you attended a previous Literacy Ambassador training?  Let us know your thoughts about the training by commenting below.

This training is sponsored by Florida’s Adult and Family Literacy Resource Center.  This event is made possible through the support of the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education.

Strategic Reading Instruction to Improve Comprehension of Struggling Readers

Tuesday night, tutors from across the state participated in a virtual training to learn about Strategic Reading Instruction to Improve Comprehension of Struggling Readers. 

Below is a quick summary of the training from presenter, Iris Strunc, of Northwest Florida State College.

Iris Strunc

Iris Strunc

Comprehension is the fundamental reason for reading.  Reading without understanding is merely a futile exercise of readers running their eyes across a page of text.  Many struggling readers, therefore, indicate that comprehension is their most serious reading problem.  In order to understand the text that they are reading, readers must be able to identify the topic and what the author wants the reader to know about the topic (main idea).

One of the strategies demonstrated during this session was analyzing the paragraph for words that carry the meaning in each sentence (key words) and using these words to identify the topic and the author’s point about the topic.  The steps include the following:

  • Reading the first and last sentence of the paragraph
  • Identifying and circling the words (key words) that carry the meaning from the first sentence to the next
  • Identifying and circling the words (key words) that carry the meaning from the second sentence to the next
  • Identifying and circling the words (key words) that carry the meaning throughout the remainder of the paragraph
  • Using the circled keys words to look for patterns to identify the topic (subject) of the paragraph
  • Writing the topic at the top of a post-it-note
  • Determining what the author wants the reader to know about the topic of the paragraph
  • Writing that information under the topic on the post-it-note
  • Combining this information on the post-it-note to write the main idea sentence  of the  paragraph

Students who are directly taught this strategy usually are able to comprehend the text that they are reading without having to reread the text several times.

This training was a collaborative learning event brought to you by the Florida Adult Literacy Resource Center, a program of the Florida Literacy Coalition. This training was made possible through the support of the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education.

Did you participate in last night’s training?  Let us know your thoughts; leave your comments in the box below!

Don’t Miss FLC’s Virtual Tutor/Teacher Trainings

FLC is offering TWO virtual tutor/teacher trainings this month.  These trainings are free; participants need to have telephone and internet access simultaneously to participate.  Click here to read the presenters’ bios. These training sessions are specifically designed to assist literacy tutors and teachers.

TRAINING 1

  • Training Topic: Strategic Reading Instruction to Improve Comprehension for Struggling Reader
  • Date: June 22
  • Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. 
  • Instructor: Iris Strunc, Northwest Florida State College
  • Description: Although many school hours are devoted to reading instruction, many students simply do not understand what they read.  This training will explain how strategic analysis of text can help focus struggling readers on the text and task in front of them.  Participants will be shown specific comprehension strategies using highlighters, post-it notes and index cards to assist ineffective readers to analyze and comprehend text better.  

 TRAINING 2

  • Training Topic: Effective Vocabulary Instruction for the Struggling Adult Learner
  • Date: June 30
  • Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
  • Instructor: Cecilia A. Hicks, Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Description: Many adult learners struggle with reading for a variety of reasons. This workshop will explore several of these reasons and offer instructors  research-  and evidence-based solutions to this literacy dilemma. The primary focus of this training will be on vocabulary development. Participants will leave with proven strategies and activities designed to foster vocabulary development in the adult learner.

HOW IT WORKS

Participate from the comfort of your own home or office.  All you need is a telephone and access to the Internet. We will send you a toll-free number and web address (URL) when you register. On the evening of the workshop, you simply join the conference call and go to the web site which will allow you to access the slide show. 

Register today

Questions?  Contact Yari Payne at payney@floridaliteracy.org or (407) 246-7110 ext. 203. 

These trainings are collaborative learning events brought to you by the Florida Adult Literacy Resource Center, a program of the Florida Literacy Coalition. These trainings are made possible through the support of the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education.