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NCSALL has a variety of materials that can be used to learn more about recent research on reading, as well as recommended instructional techniques.


Adult Reading Components Study (ARCS) Panel Video. - (Link will open in a new window.)
The National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) and the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) announce the "Adult Reading Components Study (ARCS) Panel," a 30-minute video on NCSALL's ARCS research produced by the Institute. The video offers a panel discussion about the research and ways in which programs can use the Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles, an on-line assessment tool based on the ARCS research, to assess students and plan instruction tailored to their specific profiles.

Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles - (Link will open in a new window.)
This Web site, supported by the National Institute for Literacy, builds on the work of the Adult Reading Component Study (ARCS). The site provides a mini-course on assessment and instruction of reading components, as well as tests and word lists that practitioners can download and links to research. Instructors can match their own learners' reading profiles with learner profiles developed using ARCS data and make instructional choices based on the information.

Practitioner Research Training Guide: Research-based Adult Reading Instruction. July 2006.
This practitioner research training guide provides comprehensive instructions for facilitating a 31-hour training that guides practitioners through an investigation of a problem related to reading. The practitioners conduct the research in their own classrooms. This guide provides all the necessary materials and clear instructions to plan and facilitate a four-session practitioner research training. The sessions vary in length.

Program Administrators' Sourcebook: A Resource on NCSALL's Research for Adult Education Administrators. Jackie Taylor, Cristine Smith, and Beth Bingman with Margaret Bott, Kim Gass, Bethany Lay, Douglas Ann Taylor, and Kristin Tiedeman, December 2005.
This sourcebook presents NCSALL's research findings in short sections related to key challenges that program administrators face in their work as managers of adult education programs. It also presents the implications of these research findings for program structure and services, as well as some strategies for implementing change based on these implications.

Seminar Guide: Ideas for Teaching Reading: ABE. September 2005.
Adult education practitioners examine several evidence-based approaches to instructing adult basic education (ABE) learners in reading during this 3-hour seminar.

Seminar Guide: Ideas for Teaching Reading: ESOL. September 2005.
In this 3-hour seminar, adult education practitioners not only examine reading instruction for English-for-speakers-of-other-language (ESOL) learners, but also consider how reading instruction varies from that for learners who are native language speakers.

Seminar Guide: Ideas for Teaching Reading: Program Administrators and Counselors. September 2005.
In this 3½ hour seminar, program administrators and counselors examine several evidence-based practices for teaching reading and consider what changes might be necessary for improving instruction in their programs.

Seminar Guide: Reading Difficulties. September 2005.
In this 4-hour seminar, practitioners discuss the risk factors identified in children with reading difficulties and compare these characteristics to those of adult literacy students.

Seminar Guide: Reading Profiles. September 2005.
This 3-hour seminar helps teachers and tutors understand why developing reading profiles for students is important for planning better, more focused instruction. Participants learn to use the tools and reading profiles on the Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles Web site.

Seminar Guide: Teaching Learners What Reading Is All About. September 2005.
This 4-hour seminar introduces teachers and tutors to Understanding What Reading Is All About: Teaching Materials and Lessons for Adult Basic Education Learners, a set of 13 lessons designed to help learners understand the components of reading that are part of becoming a more fluent reader.

Study Circle Guide: Research-based Adult Reading Instruction.July 2005.
This guide provides comprehensive instructions for facilitating a ten-hour study circle that explores differing theories of the reading process, the four major components of reading and the implications for teaching, the development of learners' reading profiles, and the Equipped for the Future framework. The guide is based on a review of adult reading research conducted by the Reading Research Working Group and published in a report by John Kruidenier, Research-Based Principles for Adult Education Reading Instruction. It is also supplemented by other readings from a variety of sources. Summaries of research on reading and definitions of key terms and acronyms are included. This guide provides all the necessary materials and clear instructions to plan and facilitate a three-session study circle with an option for a fourth. Each session lasts three-and-a-half hours.

Training Guide: Study Circle Facilitators. July 2006.
This training guide provides comprehensive instructions for preparing experienced adult education practitioners to facilitate NCSALL study circles. The training focuses on the NCSALL study circle, Research-based Adult Reading Instruction. However, the training can be adapted to prepare facilitators for NCSALL study circles in general or on another topic. The guide provides all the necessary materials and clear instructions to plan and facilitate a one-day, study circle facilitators training. The training is six hours in length.

Understanding What Reading Is All About: Teaching Materials and Lessons for Adult Basic Education Students. Developed with Ashley Hagar, Barbara Garner, Cristine Smith, Beth Bingman, Lenore Balliro, Lisa Mullin, and Lou Anna Guidry, July 2005.
This guide includes 13 lessons to help low-level readers understand the components of fluent reading—word analysis, sight words, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and spelling. The document also provides guidance for setting realistic, relevant learning goals and discusses learning disabilities. This guide can be used independently as a mini-course for students or can be integrated into existing curriculum. The primary audience for this guide is adult basic education (ABE) instructors and their students reading at a 0-6 grade level, but it can be adapted for others, including English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) learners.



Adult Reading Components Study (ARCS). John Strucker and Rosalind Davidson, NCSALL Research Brief, November 2003.
This research brief provides key, preliminary findings based on the ARCS. From the 676 adult basic education students assessed, the researchers identified ten clusters of students with similar reading profiles in three common groups. The authors argue that many ABE students below the GED level have reading skills similar to those of children at risk for reading difficulty, and consider the implications for instruction for native and ESOL learners with differing profiles.

How the ARCS Study Was Done. John Strucker with the assistance of Rosalind Davidson and Ann Hilferty, NCSALL Occasional Paper, February 2000.
This paper provides a detailed account of how researchers prepared for and executed the Adult Reading Components Study (ARCS). It also describes obstacles faced during the study and key recommendations. This report is intended for researchers as well as federal, state, and local adult education officials.

The Relationship of the Component Skills of Reading to IALS Performance: Tipping Points and Five Classes of Adult Literacy Learners. John Strucker, Kentaro Yamamoto, and Irwin Kirsch, NCSALL Report #29, March 2007.
As its title indicates, this study’s aim was to understand the relationship of the component skills of reading, such as word recognition, vocabulary, and spelling, to large-scale measures of literacy, such as the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) (Kirsch, Jungleblut, Jenkins, & Kolstad, 1993) and the closely related International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) (Tuijnman, 2001).



“Adult Literacy Research Network.” Focus on Basics, Volume 8, Issue B, May 2006.
This article describes seven research projects that seek to improve reading instruction for intermediate-level ABE students.

"Assistive Technology and Adult Literacy: Access and Benefits." Heidi Silver-Pacuilla Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Volume 7, Chapter 4.
Heidi Silver-Pacuilla of American Institutes of Research discusses the role of assistive technology and how it might be used to help adult students improve their reading and writing skills. She described the categories of assistive technology and reviews the research about the use of technology, including computer software, in helping K-12 students with learning disabilities improve their basic skills. She provides examples of how such technologies as text enhancement software have been helpful to ABE students working on their vocabulary and writing development, and the effect such technologies have on increasing adult students' motivation to persist in their studies.

"A Conversation with FOB: Modified Sustained Silent Reading." Focus on Basics, Volume 8, Issue A, November 2005.
Sustained silent reading has been found to encourage many students to read: does it do the same with beginning-level ESOL learners? It is a viable practice with this group, explain Sandra Banke and Reuel Kurzet, who participated in this Lab School study.

"The ESOL Adult and the Push Towards Meaning." Judith Rance-Rony, Focus on Basics, Volume 1, Issue B, May 1997.
The author argues for the importance of considering the cultural experiences of learners and the schema learners bring to texts when teaching reading to ESOL students.

“The Home-Tutoring Model.” Marianne Buswell, Focus on Basics, Volume 7, Issue C, March 2005.
The author describes her experiences, the challenges, and the rewards as a professional (paid) tutor providing instruction in student’s homes.

“Influences on the Reading Practices of Adults in ABE.” Alisa Belzer, Focus on Basics, Volume 8, Issue B, May 2006.
What do adult literacy learners do outside of class to improve their reading and writing? What can teachers and tutors do to encourage increased practice of literacy skills outside of class. The author reports on a study where she followed three adult literacy learners to take a "snapshot" of their out-of-school literacy practices.

“Learners on Learning to Read.” Alisa Belzer, Focus on Basics, Volume 8, Issue B, May 2006.
The author resports on a study where she interviewed 15 adults who made significant progress in reading to find out to what those learners attributed their success. Four key ingredients are the learners' own motivation and determination, program features, reading practice, and supports.

"Learning to Love Reading." Donna Earl, Focus on Basics, Volume 1, Issue B, May 1997.
Based on research on children and adults that determined a correlation between time spent reading and reading achievement, the author investigated whether students in her ABE program would experience greater gains in reading fluency and comprehension as a result of reading more. Earl's research revealed that students experienced improved reading ability and reported life changes due to increased time spent reading.

"Lessons from Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children for Adult Learning and Literacy." Catherine E. Snow and John Strucker, The Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Volume 1, Chapter 2.
The authors outline risk factors identified in children with reading difficulties and compare these characteristics to those of adult literacy students. They provide six case studies of adult learners in which component reading skills (word analysis/phonics, word recognition, spelling, oral reading, silent reading comprehension, and oral vocabulary) are tested to identify reading strengths and weaknesses. Adults, like children, require ample opportunities to learn and master alphabetic principles, to develop fluency, and to become enthusiastic readers. All instruction should engage students in meaningful reading activities. It should also address the social risk factors with which adult learners must contend.

"Metacognition, Cognitive Strategy Instruction, and Reading in Adult Literacy." Jennifer G. Cromley, Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Volume 5, Chapter 7.
The author reviews the theories and key resources related to metacognitive skills in reading. Cromley summarizes the conclusions of the National Reading Panel and others regarding what constitutes effective cognitive strategy instruction. She presents a set of guidelines for effectively teaching strategies, which include explaining to students why using a strategy will improve their learning, demonstrating how and when to use the strategy, and debriefing with students on the utility of the strategy. Cromley ends the chapter by noting the need for adult literacy practitioners to know what strategies are effective in developing metacognition, as well as how to teach them.

"Models of Reading and the ESOL Student: Implications and Limitations." David E. Eshey, Focus on Basics, Volume 1, Issue B, May 1997.
The author argues that present models of reading do not address some important aspects of reading for adult ESOL learners and advises that teachers must be cognizant of a student’s language problems. Eshey identifies as a key issue the lack of schema to facilitate comprehension of particular texts.

"The Neurobiology of Reading and Dyslexia." Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D. and Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D., Focus on Basics, Volume 5, Issue A, August 2001.
The authors review the most recent advances in comprehending the neurobiology of dyslexia and outline the implications for teaching adults with dyslexia. They determine that a deficit in phonology correlates with reading disabilities and argue that practitioners need to consider these research findings in order to adopt the most successful, evidence-based interventions.

"Not by Curriculum Alone." Mary Lynn Carver, Focus on Basics, Volume 6, Issue C, September 2003.
This article outlines how one program had success teaching beginning readers when teachers drew on recent research on reading and adopted the Wilson Reading System, the Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, and the Orton-Gillingham Method. This program found that, in addition to curriculum changes, class schedules and other changes were necessary to support this approach.

"Reading for Pleasure: Learners' Personal Reading Choices Can Provide Teachers with Ideas on How to Motivate and Support Them." Sondra Cuban, Focus on Basics, Volume 5, Issue A, August 2001.
The author explores reading practices outside of class in a qualitative study of women learners and determines that it is important for practitioners to consider students' literacy practices when developing curriculum. Cuban considers how Reader Response Theory highlights the ways in which readers gain meaning from texts as well as bring feelings to the text and argues that this theory supports an instructional approach that builds on students' interests.

"Reconceptualizing Roles: Mathematics and Reading." Mary Jane Schmitt, Focus onBasics, Volume 1, Issue B, May 1997.
The author illustrates the connection between reading and math ability and argues that ABE instructors need to be aware that math is more than computation.

"Rediscovering Themselves: Learning to Read for Survival." Melissa Nieves, Focus on Basics, Volume 1, Issue B, May 1997.
The author describes the process by which she worked with colleagues to develop a three-phase program that draws on students' personal histories as topics and texts for ESOL instruction.

"Reversing Reading Failure in Young Adults." Mary E. Curtis and Ann Marie Longo, Focus on Basics, Volume 1, Issue B, May 1997.
This article describes curriculum developed for students, ages 15 to 20, who were reading at different levels as measured against Chall's stages of reading development. The authors argue that teachers must be trained to provide instruction that is based on theory and research, is structured, challenges students, and fosters a positive classroom environment.

"The Role of Vocabulary Instruction in Adult Basic Education." Mary E. Curtis, Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Volume 6, Chapter 3.
The author reviews theory and practice related to vocabulary learning among adult literacy learners. As she notes, vocabulary has long been recognized as a key factor in reading comprehension and as one of the most significant variables in the reading success of minority language learners, yet few studies have focused specifically on vocabulary acquisition and instruction for adults. Consequently, Curtis draws on research in K-12 and second language acquisition to fill in gaps in knowledge.

“A Slow Conversion to Reading Groups.” Susan Watson, Focus on Basics, Volume 7, Issue C, March 2005.
The author describes her motivation for using reading groups as an instructional strategy and some of the resistance she encountered from her students. Rising test scores showed that the approach had an impact on her students’ skills.

“Sustained Silent Reading: A Useful Model.” Susanne Campagna, Focus on Basics, Volume 7, Issue C, March 2005.
Sustained silent reading (SSR) provides learners time to practice reading so that it becomes a habit. The author describes her experiences with SSR and suggestions on how to adopt the approach.

"Teaching Reading to First-Level Adults: Emerging Trends in Research and Practices." Judith A. Alamprese, Focus on Basics, Volume 5, Issue A, August 2001.
The assumption of the researchers is that, in addition to quality instruction, it is necessary to consider the background and experiences of teachers, the types of assessment used, and the range of support services available to adult beginning readers. Adult students identified instructional pace and structure, repetition, feedback, and the instructors' personal interest in learners as key factors for learning success.

"Techniques for Teaching Beginning-Level Reading to Adults." Ashley Hager, Focus on Basics, Volume 5, Issue A, August 2001.
The author draws upon reading acquisition research on children that supports systematically organized and explicitly taught phonics to develop her approach with adults and argues for the importance of developing phonological awareness in students. The author describes a visual-auditory-kinesthetic-tactile method for introducing phonetically irregular words and suggests using spelling and reading to reinforce both skills. Hager also advocates for the use of oral reading to promote accuracy and fluency and as a way to monitor learner progress.

"The Theory Behind Content-based Instruction." Thomas G. Sticht, Focus onBasics, Volume 1, Issue D, December 1997.
The author considers the research from cognitive science that emphasizes the importance of content for cognitive activity and cites examples of how content-based instruction has been more effective. Sticht argues for instruction that focuses on a particular context for literacy as opposed to general literacy instruction.

"Theory to Practice, Practice to Theory." Anne Murr, Focus on Basics, Volume 5, Issue A, August 2001.
This article describes the various changes implemented by one tutor-based program to serve its first-level learners more effectively. After reviewing the research advocating for the importance of phonemic awareness, this program adopted the Wilson Reading Program.

"There's Reading…and Then There's Reading: Process Models and Instruction." Victoria Purcell-Gates, Focus on Basics, Volume One, Issue B, May 1997.
The author reviews general theories of the reading process and outlines their implications for instruction of adults. She rejects dichotomous views and, instead, looks at various theories that emphasize the role of letter and word recognition, phonemic awareness, comprehension, and social and cultural contexts in the process of reading. Purcell-Gates argues that teachers need to be cognizant of their assumptions and beliefs about reading development and instruction.

"Two Ways to Assess Literacy Learners in Prison." Bill Muth, Focus on Basics, Volume 7, Issue D, August 2005.
The author shares the results of his research on assessing offenders' literacy skills, beliefs, and practices. The protocol was based on NCSALL's Adult Reading Components Study and the Adult Literacy Evaluation Project. Muth offers a model of literacy assessment that can more mearningfully inform placement and instruction.

"Using a Multisensory Approach to Help Struggling Adult Learners." Gladys Geertz, Focus on Basics, Volume 5, Issue A, August 2001.
This article describes how one practitioner adapted the multi-sensory Slingerland approach to meet the needs of her adult, low-level reading class.

"What Silent Reading Tests Alone Can't Tell You: Two Case Studies in Adult Reading Differences." John Strucker, Focus on Basics, Volume 1, Issue B, May 1997.
The author demonstrates how multi-component testing can reveal uneven reading profiles in adult learners and argues that learners require very different instructional approaches depending on their profiles. He uses two case studies and summaries of research to outline differences in reading profiles and to underscore the implications for assessment, policy and program design, and appropriate instruction.