Lesson 1 - Adult Literacy in Illinois Illinois State Library


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Illinois State Library Literacy Office

The Illinois State Library's Literacy Office administers grant programs that provide direct literacy instruction in three categories of service. The first category is the Adult Volunteer Literacy Grant Program in which agencies offer English as a Second Language (ESL) or Adult Basic Education (ABE) instruction to adult learners through the use of unpaid, trained volunteer literacy tutors. Local agencies, such as libraries, volunteer literacy tutoring organizations, community-based organizations, community colleges, regional offices of education, schools (individual and public), school districts, domestic violence shelters, and correctional facilities, provide these services throughout Illinois. These agencies train volunteers to tutor and assist the trained volunteers to tutor adult learners through ongoing support.

Adult learners who are 17 years and older, no longer attending school and who read at or below the ninth grade reading level in English or whose English proficiency tests below student performance level (SPL) 7 on a standardized ESL test are eligible for volunteer tutoring. The goal of ABE instruction is to improve the basic skills of Illinois adults in reading, writing, and math. The goal of ESL instruction is to improve English language proficiency in speech and listening comprehension, as well as reading, writing and doing math in English. Volunteer tutors may provide instruction in ABE, in ESL or in both types of instruction.

In addition, the Family Literacy Grant Program provides holistic instructional services to parents and children to enhance their education, both together and separately. The parent must read below the ninth grade level or below student performance level 7 in ESL. Participation by the whole family increases the benefits of the program for both the children and their parents. Adult education and literacy services and parenting education for the parent, children's education for the child, library services and interactive literacy activities that parents and their children participate in together are required components of this grant. In these projects, three agencies must work together: an adult literacy provider agency, child-at-risk agency and a library to provide the required components.

Another grant program is the Workplace Skills Enhancement Program. This program provides on-site instructional services to the employees of Illinois businesses to enable the employees to increase their basic education while at work. Again, the eligible employees must read below the 9th grade level or below SPL 7 for ESL.

Introduction to Adult Literacy Programs - Reflective Activity

Take a minute to reflect on the information you just read and then answer the following question:

Based on the above information, how does the Illinois State Library's Literacy Office serve low literate adults?

Compose an email to your trainer. Put the title Introduction to Adult Literacy Programs - Reflective Activity in the subject line. Copy and paste the question into the body of the email. Then type in your answer and send it. Completing this assignment is a requirement of your training. Your trainer will respond to you through email.