This is a "Web Quest Course" that combines solo and team tasks using web sites and an Electronic Discussion Board. {A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the internet.} This course covers Literacy, Adult Learning, Reading --including Media Literacy--, Writing, Dyslexia, Study Skills, Numeracy (Basic Math), Teaching Speakers of Other Languages, and GED Preparation--all in the context of nonformal (voluntary) adult education. It is meant to be a primary tool for what used to be called "Training Tutors," but which we call "Coaching Literacy Coaches." The difference between a tutor and a coach: a tutor instructs in an academic subject area, either one-to-one or in small groups. A coach demonstrates, engages and gives feedback to a practitioner who is acquiring a skill or practicing a process for improvement. We think it will serve both you and the adult learners you work with to operate as a Literacy Coach.

There are several advantages to this Web-based Course:

SELECT and BASE YOUR WORK on those areas that best match your current interests. You can return any time to areas that match future concerns and changing interests--one of the many advantages of on-line learning.

Mail your completed work to:

Chad C. Osborne
13634 Leadwell St.
Van Nuys, CA 91405

Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.

So, prepare yourself to be coached on Literacy Coaching.


Web Quest 1: LITERACY

Literacy is being able to read and write. Anyone who cannot do these things is not literate. As we look closer, however, the issue of literacy becomes intertwined with larger issues.

  1. What Are Literacy Skills? -- Notice the four types of literacy skills, including writing. All literacy research reinforces teaching reading and writing together.
  2. Conceptualizations of Literacy -- Particularly give thought and discussion to Literacy as intellectual transformation.
  3. What Is Numeracy -- Many adults also need these skills.
  4. Read the introductory part of the web page Adult Literacy Development, and consider the significance of your adult learner/client's willingness to step out of this immense problem. Look at the ways in which their lives are "heroic quests"; as you meet them each time, try to honor and acknowledge their willingness to become more literate, to be transformed in ways that will impact their families and generations to come. And acknowledge yourself for your willingness to take this journey with them!
  5. Also note Further Advice for Literacy Coaching.
Post what you believe are your strongest views on the Discussion Board.


1. First, consider implications for each of Vella's 12 Principles for Effective Adult Learning [From: Vella, J. (1994). Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 3-22], particularly # 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 11 and 12.
Imagine that you are part of a team responsible for developing the parameters of an Adult Literacy Program. In what ways might you apply these principles to your program. Together with your team members, brainstorm and prepare to share a list of application ideas.

  1. Needs Assessment: Participation of the learner in naming what is to be learned.
  2. Safety in the environment between teacher and learner for learning and development. [Some "coaches" use ICEBREAKERS to begin building rapport with developing readers.]
  3. A sound relationship between teacher and learner for learning and development.
  4. Careful attention to sequence of content and reinforcement.
  5. Praxis: Action with reflection or learning by doing.
  6. Respect for learners as subjects of their own learning.
  7. Cognitive, affective, and psychomotor aspects: ideas, feelings, actions.
  8. Immediacy of the learning.
  9. Clear roles and role development.
  10. Teamwork: Using small groups.
  11. Engagement of the learners in what they are learning.
  12. Accountability: How do they know they know? [Using RUBRICS is a direct and effective form of accountability and reinforcement!]
Also consider these 12 principles in making the adult learner's role more participatory:
  1. What Is the Rationale behind a Participatory Approach to Adult Literacy? -- Why a participatory approach to adult literacy better than the traditional approach
  2. How Do Participatory and Traditional Approaches to Educating Adults Differ? -- A leading literacy researcher distinguishes between two approaches to teaching adults: a traditional approach and a participatory approach.

Post what your groups believe are the most interesting and original ideas on the Discussion Board.

Note: If you want to have your adult learners use any of the websites in this workshop, particularly on-line self-scoring exercises and games, you may want to Create Your Own Web Page with these links, or you could also direct them to portions of this page.

Web Quest 3: READING

Consider the approaches to coaching reading in the following links. Imagine you are on a task force to decide the approaches to be used in an adult literacy program. Because many adult learners have not benefitted from traditional reading skills instruction, consider balanced and innovative approaches that can give them hope. List your selections and reasons, discuss them with team members, and post a summary on the Discussion Board. Then prepare to "mini-coach" a client in a role-play with a colleague, using one or two of the ideas you liked.

  1. Approaches to Reading
  2. Current Reading Instructional Programs
  3. Implement a Literacy Program -- Numerous links for literacy coaching
  4. Literacy Engagements
  5. Reading Process Analysis -- The article at this link suggests coaching developing readers by helping them develop an ongoing Good Reader’s Strategy List, and update and revise this as they go along. This become a key strategy for them to use in reading practice. It also illustrates applying Effective Adult Learning Principles # 1, 4, 9, and 12. Pay particular attention to and demonstrate Think-Aloud and Talking to the Text techniques.
  6. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy -- Great source for articles relevant to adult literacy
  7. Adult Fiction -- Grown-up literacy . . . without embarrassment
  8. New Literacies -- Media and music as literacies for adults
  9. Media Literacy Review -- Numerous links to explore this technological aspect of literacy
  10. Center for Media Literacy == Illusrations for all curriculum areas
  11. Ten Reading Comprehension Activities
  12. What Is Balanced Literacy?
Advice About Balance: "Balance is best in all things."--Homer, from The Odyssey
Balance between reading, writing, and sharing activities, balance between analytic (phonics) and global (whole language), between material you select and material the learner chooses--all matter. The ways that our parents and teachers shaped us may make us look for "the right way," rather than trusting the learner to have input, and treating literacy coaching as a kind of "dance" between the elements being balanced. The Language Experience Approach has been widely used to accentuate learner participation. Having the adult learner relate stories and events from life experience, perhaps with the "coach" writing this down, produces a text for reading that is controlled for vocabulary and interest--among other benefits. Principles 1, 6, and 11 discussed in Web Quest 2 are all reinforced in language experience.

Web Quest 4: WRITING

Imagine you are on a task force to decide the approaches to be used regarding WRITING in an adult literacy program. List your selections and reasons, discuss them with team members, and post a summary on the Discussion Board. Then prepare to "mini-coach" a client in a role-play with a colleague, using one or two of the ideas you liked.

  1. Developing Writing Skills
  2. Vocabulary and Spelling -- 13 useful sites
  3. Common Errors in English -- Quite extensive and well maintained site
  4. English Language Reviews -- Over 200 sites of ideas and resources for teaching language and literature. Type in the search topic you want, but also note the range of useful sites!
  6. Awesome Library on Creative Writing
  7. Poetry Express -- For English learners, a fantastic site!
  8. Writing Tips for Classroom, Homework, and Assessment Activities
Web Quest 5: DYSLEXIA

Dyslexia accounts for up to 60% of the adult illiteracy problem in American adults, according to the International Dyslexia Association. Again, imagine you and your colleagues are on a task force to develop policies for literacy coaching for adults with dyslexia. List your selections and reasons, discuss them with team members, and post a summary on the Discussion Board. Then prepare to "mini-coach" a client in a role-play with a colleague, using one or two of the ideas you liked.

  1. Adult Dyslexia: Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Common Signs of Dyslexia: Adults
  3. Dyslexia and the Adult Learner
  4. Study Skills for Dyslexic Students
  5. Dyslexia: Suggested Interventions
  6. Dyslexia, the Gift -- Explore the positive talents that give rise to dyslexia, and learn about the best ways for dyslexic people to learn.
  7. All Kinds of Minds -- Too many kids and adults struggle and fail needlessly simply because the way in which they learn is incompatible with the way they’re being taught. Schools are filled with learners who give up on themselves, are convinced they’re "losers," and conclude they’re just dumb.


Study Skills include Time Management, Setting Goals and Schedules, Concentrating, Memorizing, Problem Solving, Decision Making, Note Taking, Organizing, and Active Listening. They are widely applicable; because they lack a particular academic focus, almost nowhere are they taught in schools. They comprise a "Tool Kit" of what successful students and adults do.

Interestingly, learners show greater reading improvement from developing study skills than from learning reading comprehension skills!
Imagine you and your colleagues are on a task force to develop a Study Skills program for adults you and others are coaching for literacy. List your selections and reasons, discuss them with team members, and post a summary on the Discussion Board. Then prepare to "mini-coach" a client in a role-play with a colleague, using one or two of the ideas you liked.

  1. Study Guides and Strategies -- This amazingly comprehensive site is a one-stop for everything resource you'll definitely want to explore.
  2. Learning To Learn Resources: Reading and Study Skills
  3. Online Resources to Improve Your Study Skills -- Links for Adults Working on Tools for "Coping Series" Materials
  4. Online Homework Helpers -- Great resources for a number of adult concerns

Web Quest 7: NUMERACY (Basic Math)

Numeracy is a mastery of the basic symbols and processes of arithmetic. Most adults, regardless of their occupation or living environment, need to be able to plan, handle, and monitor the use of resources, such as money and supplies, or time and people. Such tasks require people to optimize the use of resources, often in the presence of conflicting goals and demands. These problems, and real-world mathematics in general, are quite different from what is emphasized in school mathematics. The term numeracy describes the aggregate of skills, knowledge, beliefs, dispositions, and habits of mind--as well as the general communicative and problem-solving skills--that people need in order to effectively handle real-world situations or interpretative tasks with embedded mathematical or quantifiable elements.

Imagine you and other literacy coaches are working with clients who need to develop basic mathematical literacy. Decide what focus and approaches to use. List your selections and reasons, discuss them with team members, and post a summary on the Discussion Board. Then prepare to "mini-coach" a client in a role-play with a colleague, using one or two of the ideas you liked.

  1. Big Picture: What Does "Numeracy" Mean?
  2. The Numeracy Homepage -- Very resourceful site from the Boston branch of the Adult Numeracy Practitioners Network
  3. Adult Basic Skills Resource Centre -- Great numeracy links!
  4. Money Flashcards
  5. -- Online Games and Flash Cards
  6. Aritm -- Aritm trains you in simple mental calculation. This program teaches its users the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables.
  7. Whole Numbers and Their Basic Properties
  8. Ten Math Strategies for Problem Solving
  9. Numeracy List Serve -- Math Forum on-line dialoge among adult educators working with numeracy
  10. Flashcards for Kids & Adults
  11. Advanced Problems Flash Cards
  12. Change Maker -- Figure out how many of each bill or coin that you expect to get back when you pay for something.
  13. Soccer Shootout
  14. Mark Wahl Math Teaching Resources -- The philosophy and resouces from Mark Wahl promise new hope for developing numeracy in adult learners!


Many of the adults who seek literacy coaching and tutoring do not speak English as their first or native language. Learning to speak, understand, read and write English is a goal you can help learners reach. Many people have shared work in this endeavor, as reflected in the number of links and sites below. Again, imagine you are part of a team developing a program proposal for adult learners who seek to improve their English and move toward mastery. List your selections and reasons, discuss them with team members, and post a summary on the Discussion Board. Then prepare to "mini-coach" a client in a role-play with a colleague, using one or two of the ideas you liked.

  1. English as a Second Language -- From the Web English Teacher, numerous, highly useful sites
  2. -- An easy-to-use site for rapid translations where you can get the "gist" of foreign language text and web pages, and translate any text or web page into a foreign language!
  3. English as a Second Language - Resources
  4. Activities for ESL Students -- Over 1,000 quizzes, exercises and puzzles to help you study English as a Second Language
  5. P I Z ZA Z !... -- Creative Writing and Storytelling Ideas for adult English learners
  6. English for All -- A free site to help adults learn English
  7. Links of Interest to Students & Teachers of English as a Second Language -- From the Internet TESL Journal
  8. English online -- An awesomely rich site!
  9. ESLhome -- ESLhome is a welcoming place for students and teachers to explore the Internet world of learning
  10. English-Zone -- Great array of ESL/EFL/English sites
  11. About the Language -- Even though you have probably spoken English for years (maybe even all of your life) and have been taught the language formally in school, you may not be aware of many of its aspects which give non-native speakers a hard time. This site alerts you.
  12. How To Learn English Effectively -- A website about learning English, made for people all over the world. If you can read a little English, we can help you!
  13. Idioms Links -- Highly Recommended Idioms Links
  14. Closed Captioning Web -- Use the closed captioning feature of TV to give learners English practice.
  15. E.S.L. Through Music
  16. Things for ESL/EFL Teachers -- Very useful resources
  17. Interesting Things for ESL Students -- A fun study site for students of English as a Second Language: Word games, puzzles, quizzes, exercises, slang, proverbs and much more.
  18. The English Listening Lounge
  19. Dave's ESL Cafe -- "The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
  20. John & Sarah's TEFL Pitstop -- Adult English literacy coaches on the Web can quickly drop in and load up with ready to use, original, printable materials.
  21. Distance Learning Help -- For English language learners interested in going further with distance learning courses


The General Educational Development (GED) Testing Service develops and distributes the GED Tests. More than 860,000 adults worldwide take the GED Tests each year. Those who obtain scores high enough to earn a GED credential outperform at least 40 percent of today’s high school seniors. GED graduates include: comedian Bill Cosby, actor Christian Slater, Delaware’s Governor Ruth Ann Minner, and U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. One out of every seven high school diplomas issued each year in the United States is based on passing the GED Tests. More than 95 percent of U.S. employers consider GED graduates the same as traditional high school graduates in regard to hiring, salary, and opportunity for advancement.

With these impressive results, it is no wonder that many adults come to libraries and adult education centers looking for help to prepare for this test. For this final Web Quest, assume you are on a task force preparing to assist adults in going for their high school equivalency. Based on the sites below, list your recommendations and reasons, discuss them with team members, and post a summary on the Discussion Board.

  1. Amby's GED Prep -- Quite a few valuable links; very comprehensive
  2. GED Prep at Free-Ed.Net -- Intensive two-year on-line program
  3. -- By answering GED practice questions and getting feedback, you will develop a feel for the kind of reading, thinking, and problem-solving skills you will need to pass the GED test.
  4. Exam Prep Center -- All areas of high school curriculum, reviewed for New York's Regents Exams.
  5. GED Home Page - Peterson's Test Preparation -- The General Education Development (GED) exam provides people over age 16 the opportunity to earn a certificate or diploma that is widely recognized as the equivalent of a high school diploma. There are a total of five tests that must be passed before you can earn your GED.
  6. College Is Possible for Adults -- Great site for further goals!

All courses, this Workshop, and web pages Copyright © 2003-2005

Mail your completed work to:

Chad C. Osborne
13634 Leadwell St.
Van Nuys, CA 91405


We are available for consulting and other services.