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Spotlight on Innovation

Introduction to Reading Apprenticeship

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Presented by Abby Manahan
Professional Development Coordinator
Maine Adult Education and Family Literacy Team

4 people reading a newspaperAdult learners often possess a sense of personal insecurity, or worse, failure from either previous educational or work experiences; have a need to learn new skills to make a living wage in an ever-changing environment, and hold the social stigma associated with having to learn reading again. These learners view reading as a skill they either have or don't. In fact, most do have basic reading skills, but they are inexperienced readers who need to learn skills beyond the basics to equip them for success in college and career.

How do educators build optimism in adults who need to improve specific reading skills so that these students can read and understand a variety of materials? Abby Manahan, Professional Development Coordinator, Maine DOE Adult Education and Family Literacy Team, gives an overview of Reading Apprenticeship and how this powerful and research-validated framework can improve reading confidence and skill. She offers a brief overview of the routines that support readers across four dimensions: personal, social, cognitive, and knowledge building, and discusses how adult education instructors can integrate these dimensions of classroom life to support reading instruction.

Strategies to Move the Dial on Digital Literacy

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Presented by Karisa Tashjian, Sherry Lehane, Larry Britt and Nilson Silva
Rhode Island Family Learning Initiative (RIFLI) at the Providence Public Library

RIFLI students in computer labThe Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI) is an adult literacy program that offers ESL, math, college and career transition, citizenship, family literacy and digital literacy classes at libraries, community centers, schools, worksites and a OneStop in Rhode Island to approximately 250 students a year.  RIFLI aims to integrate technology throughout its educational programming and to build technology awareness and access in the community through activities such as:

  • teaching a digital literacy skills curriculum adapted for ESL students
  • assessing and certifying digital literacy skills
  • providing library patrons individual assistance in accessing online services and information
  • lending students free tablets and wifi access
  • training and hiring students to assist in computer classes as part of a Digital Literacy Corps

Hear staff and students talk about how these initiatives took off, how students are benefiting, and what next steps they are planning to help Rhode Islanders build comfort and competence in a digital world.


Place-Based Education for Rural Communities: Applying Lessons from the Youth Agriculture Project

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Presented by Jack Glade, Executive Director
The Tutorial Center, Inc.
Bennington, Manchester, and Danby, VT

Since 2006, The Tutorial Center, Inc. has reengaged dropouts and at-risk youth using gardening and community involvement. The Youth Agriculture Project (YAP) recruits youth ages 16-24 for work crews that grow vegetables, earn ServSafe food handling certificates, work at farmers' markets, donate food to community programs, operate a local Food Network, and complete community projects. Through this place-based education, participants gain confidence, improve soft skills, develop literacy and academic skills in real-world settings, build transferable job skills, earn an employment credential, and are re-energized about their educational paths. 90% re-enroll in education following their YAP experience! YAP has also greatly increased the public visibility of The Tutorial Center at local and state levels, and added organizational funding streams including workforce development funding and community development funding. This webinar will speak to the lessons learned from this innovative project and how they can be applied to ABE contexts.

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