"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Monday, June 16, 2014


Taking READ 602 this past semester certainly opened my eyes to the difficulties involved in teaching ABE readers. As Strucker stated: “Like other ABE teachers, I have struggled to teach learners with very widely divergent needs in the same class. It can be done if the teacher recognizes who those learners are and what their needs are, but it entails a terrible sacrifice of their limited and precious instructional time. To put it another way, attempting to teach "Richards" and "Vanessas" at the same time involves cutting in half the instructional time available to each type of learner.” During READ 602, I was tasked with finding a learner who struggled with basic literacies and then developing strategies to combat these struggles. After putting my learner through diagnostic testing, it was recommended that I focus my instruction on fluency, word meaning, spelling, phonemic awareness, visual memory and word recognition. These recommendations differ based on testing outcomes. 

As you can see, this reflects what Strucker mentions as far as having difficulty finding time to address the individual concerns of each learner- emphasizing that it would cut the instructional time available to each type of learner in HALF. I completely agree with this, as it took me hours upon hours to develop the most basic of basic strategies to assist my learner (trying to highlight his strengths while developing strategies to assist his needs). This is where I’d say ABE teachers are tasked with an almost impossible goal of addressing individual needs in very diverse classrooms- uneven learning profiles, which calls for a second look at testing and instructional policy.


  1. It's true that Strucker's approach to assessment (and instruction) is considered a luxury most ABE teachers cannot afford. But, as you suggest, Jason, the reading profile variations are there whether or not the teacher is aware of them. Still, when READ 602 students complain about not having time to do all of the reading component assessments I can sympathize. Given the challenges with attendance, one could squander all ones time with a learner doing assessments.
    Here's a tie in to episteme and phronesis: I'd love for adult literacy teachers to mastery the skills and concepts related to component-level assessment and then become virtuosos in judging how to bricolage and use pieces of tests only as needed....:)

  2. Bill, I agree - that it would be favorable for Adult literacy teachers to assess their learners needs quickly, or more efficiently, and then apply those 'pieces of tests' where applicable rather than getting bogged down in time-consuming testing. If the learner feels more progress in their learning, perhaps that would play a role in more consistent attendance? *I know I can’t make a sweeping generalization behind learner attendance in ABE programs. I just wondered if the point you raised would play a role?

    I remember how uncertain I was with giving the components assessment test in READ 602, being a first-timer. Yet, I was grateful to have gained the practical experience with that process and how it works. I remembered thinking, with more experience; I would be much more comfortable using this assessment tool. I also thought about the first part of your statement, “I’d love for adult literacy teachers to master the skills and concepts related to component-level assessment and then become virtuosos in judging how to bricolage…” Like with anything learned, those that practice consistently have a better chance at becoming masters of that skill.

    It seems like we've just touched on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to adult literacy and how to become better at serving the needs of our learners.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.