Literacy and Adult Learning Disabilities
Welcome to the Whole Life and Learning Disabilities in Adult Literacy website! Years ago, this site was about the “Whole Life Approach to Learning Disabilities in Adult Literacy Settings” project, that was based at Literacy BC in Vancouver, Canada.
As the topic stays the same, it now involves various posts — that are placed at the end of this page — with more specific information like ideas that are shared, and resources to support adult learners who may have a learning disability, or for whom learning is difficult for all kinds of reasons. But of course, everyone is welcome to follow along and contribute!
Learning Disabilities in Adult Literacy:
A “whole-life approach” to learning disabilities recognizes that learning is social, cultural, emotional and also deeply personal. Successful strategies for people with learning difficulties attend to the “whole person” and diverse learning styles. In fact, successful learning strategies for people with learning difficulties can work for everyone.
Based on the experiences of many educators and experts in BC, and all throughout Canada, as well as our own background research, we identified six areas of practice that supports this “whole life” approach. These are “gears” that organize this website.
You can use these gears to search topics of interest. This site also features articles, resources, facilitated discussion forums and a blog.
Please feel free to contribute to the forums, access our resources and let us know how we can support you and your literacy program to meet the needs of adults with learning difficulties!
Listed names and email addresses of project management, Professional development and training, Librarian resources, Website design and Administration, Project evaluation, book-keeping, and partners.
The Whole Life project is excited to invite you to our first online training event: “Learning Disabilities: Another Perspective” with Deborah Morgan. Read on for information about Deborah and her session.
The Facilitator : Deborah Morgan
Many of you will know Deborah Morgan as the author of the Writing Out Loud books and her online Instructor training. During her 24 year career in the adult literacy field, Deborah has also filled the roles of tutor, program coordinator, classroom instructor, researcher, and writer.
Her current interests involve developing and facilitating online professional development courses for practitioners on literacy. Deborah lives in Camrose, Alberta, and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Distance Education from Athabasca University.
Learning Disabilities : Another Perspective
Many of us think about learning disabilities in relation to students having difficulties with cognitive skills, such as word recognition, language comprehension, spelling, written expression and mathematical problem solving – difficulties people were born with. But, as Deborah Morgan had experienced her own life, learning disabilities can also be “acquired”.
Deborah has offered to explore how learning difficulties can develop at later points in life due to illness, physical accidents, trauma or a change in life circumstances in her own online workshop. Discussion will be based around the “whole person approach” to help practitioners identify acquired disabilities and how they can effect learning attitudes and abilities.
Teaching strategies – new in the library March 28, 2011.
Buehl, Doug. (2009). Classroom strategies for interactive learning. 3rd ed. Newark, Del. : International Reading Association.
This resource features teaching strategies that are adaptable for students of all ages. Read a review and recommendation of an earlier version.
Frank, Margaret (Marn), Weinberg, Victoria et al. (2007). The adult reading toolkit: a research-based resource for adult literacy. Minneapolis, Minn. LDA of Minnesota.
Recommended at the Learning Disabilities Training event last November, this resource included chapters on phonemic awareness, beginning phonics skills, intermediate decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Each chapter included background information, assessment ideas, instruction activities, use of authentic materials, recommended curricula and software, and references. Six toolkits of reproducible assessments and instructional activities are as follow…
Pinsent-Johnson, Christine. (2010). A sound approach to spelling. Edmonton, AB: Grass Roots Press.
One of the latest offerings from Grass Roots Press, this workbook was intended for students who had difficulty spelling vowel patterns even though they can spell consonant sounds and blends.
To borrow any or all of these resources, email Tina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocacy research – new in the library March 23, 2010.
Cherland, Meredith Rogers. (2007). Advocacy research in literacy education: seeking higher ground. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Reviewing advocacy research in literacy education, this book addressed issues such as social justice, equity, democracy and the possibilities for social transformation. The author believed that it was time for advocacy workers to promote the best literacy instruction that facilitates democratic life.
ESL and learning disabilities – New in the library March 23, 2010.
Thomley, Juline, Mensing, Patty & LaRue, Charles. (2003). Taking action: a resource guide for instructors serving ESL adults with learning difficulties or learning disabilities. Minneapolis, Minn.: LDA of Minnesota.
This guide covered ESL trends, learning disabilities definitions and applications, language acquisition, factors that impact learning, best practice strategies for ESL learners, and the influence of pre literacy. It also included a screening tool for ESL adults, a reading assessment for preliterate adults, and a model for LD assessment of ESL learners.
Books on the brain – New in the library March 17, 2010.
Johnson, Sandra & Taylor, Kathleen, eds. (2006). The neuroscience of adult learning. New directions for adult and continuing education, no. 110. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This collection of articles looked at recent findings in neuroscience research and implications for adult learning. Topics included fear and learning, and the role of meaning and emotion in adult learning.
McNeil, Frank. (2009). Learning with the brain in mind. Los Angeles: Sage.
This book explored recent findings in neuroscience and combined them with learning in three crucial and interconnected ways: attention, emotions and memory.
Merriam, Sharan B., ed. (2008). Third update on adult learning theory. New directions for adult and continuing education, no. 119. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
These articles focused on a holistic approach to learning and included topics such as brain-based learning, spirituality, learning through the body, and narrative learning.
Employability skills curriculum – New in the library March 10, 2010.
Acampora, Jo. (2007). Employability skills curriculum. 4th ed. Victoria, BC: Aspect. This made in BC resource is recommended by Laverne Thompson, who presented at the November training event. Laverne is coordinator of Access Work Experience Programs at Capilano University, North Vancouver Campus.
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Here’s what she had to say about it:
“I reach for this binder several times during the year and value its comprehensive approach to teaching skills related to employability. This curriculum made a connection between learning and empowerment, and recognizes the need to build learner’s self confidence as well as competence. It was aimed at supporting students who are in the process of transition from unemployment to getting focused on employment. The first four modules (Introduction, Self Esteem, Self Awareness and Communication) form a foundation.
The Core curriculum focused on Employability Skills including:
Learning, Responsibility, Adaptability, Positive Attitudes and Working with Others.
Nonetheless, there were also four support sessions based on student needs such as: Stress Management, Time Management, Money Management and Employment Standards/Human Rights. However, I regularly added some of these modules into lesson plans for our Access Work Experience program students.”
Click here to check out the first article; which is all about LD-Friendly Learning Settings and Different Styles.