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New Report Published: Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research

Posted on 10/17/2011

Teacher at and pointing to a blackboard

The National Academies Press has published an expansive report, Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research. Siting recent research that estimates that "more than 90 million U.S adults lack adequate literacy" and that "only 38 percent of U.S. twelfth graders are at or above the proficient level in reading," the comprehensive 594-page report seeks to synthesize "research on literacy and learning to improve literacy instruction in the United States" with the ultimate aim of recommending the development of a "systemic approach to research, practice and policy."

The report is authored by the Committee on Learning Sciences: Foundations and Applications to Adolescent and Adult Literacy, with Editors Alan M. Lesgold and Melissa Welch-Ross, of the National Research Council. First commissioned in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute for Literacy, its focus is on the population age 16 and over who are not in K-12 education. The report covers a broad range of topics, including:

  • Foundations of Reading and Writing
  • Literacy Instruction for Adults
  • Principles of Learning for Instructional Design
  • Motivation, Engagement, and Persistence
  • Technology to Promote Adult Literacy
  • Learning, Reading, and Writing Disabilities
  • Literacy Development of English Language Learners
  • Conclusions and Recommendations

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research makes valuable recommendations for a research and innovation agenda that can "validate, identify the boundaries of, and extend current knowledge to improve instruction for adults and adolescents outside school," and will serve as a valuable tool for literacy practitioners and stake-holders everywhere.

The report can be read online, or purchased at Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research. The LINCS Adult Literacy Professional Development List is planning a chapter by chapter discussion of this report in November or December.