The resources on this page are focused on how to start and maintain a high-quality literacy program. Scroll to browse, or use the quick links to jump straight to each sub-category. You’re also welcome to browse the Literacy Texas YouTube channel for additional trainings and resources.
Items marked with a star (*) are resources and presentations shared by literacy professionals at Literacy Texas symposia or conferences.
Program Structure Quick Links:
- Building a Quality Literacy Program
- Trauma-Informed Adult Education
- Connecting With Adult Students
- Helping Volunteers Succeed in Your Literacy Program
- Distance, Digital, & Virtual Learning
- Math, Numeracy, & Financial Literacy
- Student Transitions & Literacy for Work
- Community Partnerships & Coalitions
- Learning Differences & Disabilities
- Civics & Citizenship
- Family Literacy
- Health Literacy
Building a Quality Literacy Program
Opening Doors: A Literacy Audit Toolkit | Link format: Website with downloadable PDF, 63 pages | Source: CALP – Community Adult Learning Program, Canada | A literacy audit can help your organization systematically identify barriers the general public may face when accessing your services, and give you practical suggestions to improve your services and strategies to communicate effectively. This guide includes: Literacy audit tool, action planning templates, literacy awareness information, and plain language guidelines.
Getting Started in Adult Literacy | Link format: PDF, 28 pages | Source: Florida Literacy Coalition | Detailed information about starting an adult literacy program, including how to select resources, recruit volunteers, and establish a Board of Directors.
How to Start an Adult Volunteer Literacy Program | Link format: PDF, 18 pages | Source: State of Illinois | Designing a program, recruiting volunteers, working with community partners like libraries, and assessing students.
Adult Learner Persistence Project | Link format: Website | Source: New England Literacy Resource Center | Essential knowledge for all adult literacy program staff, including a breakdown of the six Drivers of Persistence, a program self-assessment to highlight areas to focus on, resources, and case studies.
Building Literacy: A Learner-Centered Guide for Teachers, Tutors, and Practitioners of Adult Literacy | Link format: Website | Source: CALP – Community Adult Learning Program, Canada | The Building Literacy Guide is intended to apply directly to the work of adult literacy practitioners. It highlights proven methods and research-based approaches to the field of adult literacy and foundational learning. Within each section you will find practical tools and useable approaches you can use tomorrow and into the future.
Free Digital Resources for Literacy Education | Link format: Video, 1:15:19 | Presenter: Jessica Rich, GCFLearnFree.org | Learn about free resources you can include in your adult literacy programs
High School Equivalency Program Locations | Link format: Website | Source: Texas Education Agency | Find school districts or charter schools with a High School Equivalency Program (HSEP), also known as the option program or high school equivalency in-school program.
Texas Adult Education & Literacy Content Standards 2.0 | Link format: PDF, 190 pages | Source: Texas Workforce Commission | Version 2 of the official Texas content standards.
Understanding the Texas AEL Content Standards | Link format: PDF, 27 PPT slides | Source: Texas Workforce Commission | How to understand the Texas AEL Content Standards.
Trauma-Informed Adult Education
More Important Than Ever: Trauma-Informed Adult Education | Link format: Blog | Source: World Education | Trauma has a direct effect on our capacity to learn and retain information. This blog post outlines the case for trauma-informed education and links to some resources.
Trauma Impacts Adult Learners: Here’s Why | Link format: Article | Source: CAEL (Council for Adult and Experiential Learning) | Trauma from multiple sources impacts people and affects their learning and behavior. This article outlines how, why, and some ways to deal with it.
A Trauma-Informed Approach to Workforce: An Introductory Guide for Employers and Workforce Development Organizations | Link format: PDF, 26 pages | Source: National Fund for Workforce Solutions | Analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other traumas, and practical ways to deal with trauma.
Trauma and Learning: Impacts and Strategies for Adult Classroom Success | Link format: Article | Source: MinneTESOL Journal | Exposure to potentially traumatic events, which can have a significant impact on brain mechanisms for language learning, is high in adult ELL classrooms. Strategies targeting attention and memory networks presented here may mitigate those effects.
Tips for Teachers During Times of Trauma | Link format: PDF, 7 pages | Source: Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning | Practical ideas for helping adult ESL learners during times of sudden crisis or emergency, using the events of September 11 2001 and the subsequent backlash against immigrants as the framework.
Trauma-Informed Education Program Checklist | Link format: PDF, 3 pages | Source: SABES (System for Adult Education Basic Support) | Use this checklist to guide your program’s self-reflection as it relates to leadership, environment, and access towards creating a trauma-informed education program. Areas of self-reflection include: program culture and infrastructure, staff training, links to mental health agencies, academic and non-academic strategies, and school policies and procedures.
Trauma-Informed Teaching, Advising, and Learning: Strategies for Building Resilience Inside and Outside the Classroom | Link format: PDF, 56 pages | Source: SABES (System for Adult Education Basic Support) | This packet of resources was compiled by Emily Wilson for the SABES workshop she presented in May 2016 on trauma-informed teaching, advising, and learning. The packet contains the slides from Emily’s workshop as well as numerous links to information websites, research papers, and fact sheets on trauma, the impact of trauma on learning, and guidance on designing programming that supports trauma survivors.
Connecting With Adult Students
National Literacy Directory | Link format: Website | Administered by: NCFL, ProLiteracy | Ensure your program listing is present and has the most current information so prospective students can find you.
Move Ahead With Adult Ed | Link format: Website | Administered by: COABE | Outreach materials and language to help adult education organizations communicate the value of adult education and how they can support adult learners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Behind Every Employer | Link format: Online form | Administered by: COABE | List your organization and your initiatives and services that could interest employers.
Find a Program Locator Map | Link format: Interactive map | Administered by: Literacy Texas with help from TCALL | Make sure your listing is up to date so prospective students and volunteers can find you – get in touch with updates at any time.
Helping Volunteers Succeed in Your Literacy Program
Introduction to Intake to Outcomes (I2O) | Link format: Video (0:56:50) | Online self-paced tutor training for volunteers or other instructors of adults, covering the core basics that all adult literacy programs have in common.
NOTE: Literacy Texas and TCALL have partnered with Literacy New York, who created I2O, to offer it free to some Texas literacy programs. Get more details on the program here.
Distance, Digital, & Virtual Learning
Report: Closing the Digital Skill Divide | Link format: Website with links to full report and executive summary | Source: National Skills Coalition | Closing the Digital Skill Divide finds strong demand for digital skills across every industry (dispelling misconceptions that demand exists primarily in the tech sector) and in almost every occupation, including entry-level and frontline positions, and outlines the benefits – financial and otherwise – of closing the gap.
Promoting Digital Literacy for Adult Learners: A Resource Guide | Link format: PDF (80 pages) | Source: The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and Digital Promise | This guide has been developed to support coaching and mentoring for adult learners to strengthen and improve outcomes and learning retention; encourage users to consider the various motivations of adult learners in the design of mentoring strategies to best support them; integrate best practices and nuances of working with adult learners, especially in digital literacy; help users understand the specific skills and competencies of digital literacy, including basic, navigational, and connection skills; and fill an existing gap in the professional development needs of adult educators, large employers, workplaces, and volunteers.
Implementing Distance Education in Adult Education: A Learning Guide for Adult Educators | Link format: Online form (you will need to complete the form to get the free guide) | Source: Essential Education | Techniques that increase enrollment and improve retention, including research-based strategies, reflective activities, and resources.
Tips for Distance Learning | Link format: Online article | Source: EdTech Center | Selection of resources and tips for online learning.
Effective Strategies for Learning: Virtual Learning Circles | Link format: PDF (3 pages) | Source: EdTech Center | Provides an overview of virtual learning circles as an effective strategy for remote learning; also connects virtual learning circles to a larger remote ESOL ecosystem, and provides considerations for programs who are considering implementing the model.
From Face-to-Face to Online: Best Practices in Remote ESL Instruction During the Pandemic* | Format: Video (1:23:35) | Presenters: Dr. Charity Embley & Dr. Kristi Latimer | We all had a crash course in Zoom, Teams, Skype, Google Classroom, and more, when we all went online in March 2020. This session helps you really become proficient in online learning – because now we know how, it’s another tool for us to use in the future, even when the pandemic is a distant memory.
Northstar Digital Literacy | Link format: Website | Basic computer curriculum and online training, including digital literacy assessment.
Introduction to Google Classroom | Link format: Video (0:16:21) | The basics on using Google classroom with students.
Stay Connected: New Readers Press Online Learning* | Link format: Video (1:27:45) | Presenter: Ann Beeson | New Readers Press is the publishing arm of the national nonprofit ProLiteracy – and in addition to their robust catalog of resources to buy, they make a staggering amount available for free. Get some practical tips in this session that you can apply whether you use New Readers Press materials or not (though we recommend them).
How to use Khan Academy For Remote Learning | Link format: Video (0:31:50) | Basic tutorial on how to use the popular Khan Academy for remote learning, including getting students enrolled, finding appropriate content and exercises, differentiating content to help each student thrive, and reviewing results.
Introducing the Distance Learning Call Center* | Link format: PDF, 14 PPT slides | Presenter: Texas Workforce Commission | Learn how to connect your students to the call center for on-the-spot help with math.
Math, Numeracy, & Financial Literacy
Adult Numeracy Network | Link format: Website | A community dedicated to quality mathematics instruction at the adult level. Members support each other, encourage collaboration and leadership, and influence policy and practice in adult math instruction. Many free resources; more available for a small annual membership fee.
Adult Numeracy Center | Link format: Website | Research-based approach to learning math; includes resources and other help.
Aplusmath | Link format: Website | Interactive math resources for teachers, parents, and students featuring free math worksheets, math games, math flashcards, and more.
Dad’s Worksheets Link format: Website with downloads | Free worksheets, calculators, and printables for math.
Financial Literacy Month | Link format: Blog post | 30-day plan to financial literacy with tips, ideas, and links.
Student Transitions & Literacy for Work
Adult Ed Med | Link format: Website | Source: TCALL (Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning) | Contextualized video lessons and resources for adult students and instructors; covers ESL, Reading, Workforce, Language Arts, Math, and more.
Going Standards 2.0: Integrating Content Standards and Job Skills for Success* | Link format: Video (3:10:31) | Presenter: Annemarie Molinari-Sanders | Content standards are important to know about when you’re helping adult students brush up their job skills and get their literacy to the level they need it to be. This session focuses on how to apply the standards here in Texas and how to optimize your lessons for success.
Integrating Employability Skills: A Framework For All Educators* | Link format: Video (2:59:49) | Presenter: Olga Escamilla | What do employers want? And how can teachers and tutors of adults help students gain proficiency in the right skills and find that job they need and want?
Designing a Transitions Program for High-Level Students* | Link format: PDF, 21 PPT slides | Author: Colleen Mayer | Ideas and resources for helping ABE and ESL students move beyond classes to their next goals – includes two worksheets, Literacy Goals and Student Transition Discussion.
Career Pathways 101 | Link format: ZIP file containing the 5 PDFs listed below | Author: TRAIN PD @ TCALL | Practical ideas and resources to help adult literacy students move into sustainable careers.
What are Adult Career Pathways? (PDF, 6 pages)
Six Key Elements of Career Pathways (PDF, 2 pages)
Career Pathways 101 (PDF, 3 pages)
Career Clusters (PDF, 2 pages)
Career Pathways Resources (PDF, 1 page)
Building Employability Skills | Link format: Website | Perkins Collaborative Resource Network | How to define, measure, and build personal and interpersonal skills that help an adult get ready for success in the workplace.
Employability Skills Framework | Link format: PDF, 1 page | Author: Perkins Collaborative Resource Network | Diagram showing the skills areas adults need to be college- and employment-ready.
What New Workers in Entry-Level Jobs Need to Be Able to Do | Link format: PDF, 1 page | Author: National Work Readiness Credential | Table showing skills needed by new workers, in the categories Communication Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Decision-Making Skills, and Lifelong Learning Skills.
Employability Skills Framework – Lesson Planning Checklist | Link format: PDF, 3 pages | Comprehensive checklist for work readiness literacy classes.
How Will You Meet the Requirements for Career and Educational Pathways in Your Adult Classroom?* | Link format: Video, 0:36:35 | Presenter: Melissa Sadler-Nitu, Alamo Community Colleges and Cambridge University Press | How to begin building career and educational pathways and goal setting strategies at any level of ESL.
Contextualized Learning through Teacher Externships* | Link format: PDF, 29 PPT slides | Author: Wendy Christensen, Education Service Center 20, Michelle Yzaguirre, Education Service Center 20 | How to use externships and site visits for teachers, to enhance classroom learning and better prepare students for what local employers need and want.
Career One Stop | Link format: Website | US Department of Labor site for career exploration, training, and jobs.
Workplace Skills Lesson Ideas | Link format: Website with links and downloads | Sample documents, for example job applications and accident reports, along with lesson plans and ideas for teacher and tutors.
Skills Commons Workforce Development Solutions | Link format: Website | World’s largest open library of workforce training materials designed for 21st century employment.
Community Partnerships & Coalitions
Literacy: Put it Out There through Partnerships* | Format: PDF, 26 PPT slides | Author: Dr. Ida Acuna-Garza | Concepts, messaging and strategies for building literacy partnerships and collaborations.
Don’t Be a Parasitic Partner* | Format: Video, 1:11:04 | Presenters: Amber Sims and Jessica Miller | How strong partnerships can amplify your work in adult literacy.
Learning Differences & Disabilities
Learning Disability, Dyslexia, and ADHD Facts | Link format: Website | Source: Learning Disabilities Resource Foundation (LDRFA) | Basic facts on learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ADHD. The LDRFA provides information on Learning Disabilities and ADHD across the lifespan from childhood to adulthood.
Neuhaus Academy | Link format: Website | Neuhaus is a Houston-based organization focused on learning differences and reading skills.
The Dyslexia Handbook | Link format: PDF (83 pages) | Source: Texas Education Agency | Version: 2021 | The handbook contains guidelines for school districts to follow as they identify and provide services for students with dyslexia. In addition, information regarding the state’s dyslexia statutes and their relation to various federal laws is included.
Dyslexia 101 | Format: Video, 1:10:54 | Presenter: Mary Yarus, Neuhaus Education Center | Definitions, research, and the legislation surrounding dyslexia in adult literacy classrooms.
Decoding Dyslexia | Link format: Website | Advocacy, awareness, information, and resources around dyslexia.
Helping Adults With Dyslexia Learn to Read | Link format: PDF, 24 PPT slides | Author: Karen Guida, LIFT | Summary of what dyslexia is and some tips for dealing with it in the classroom.
Visual Impairment & Dyslexia Video Series | Link format: Website | Source: National Center on Improving Literacy | Experts on educating students with visual impairments answer questions about visual impairment and dyslexia in this Ask an Expert video series.
Dyslexia Resources | Link format: Website | Source: National Center on Improving Literacy | An overview of the dyslexia resources available on the NCIL website; you can also take a quick tour via video.
Understanding Dyslexia Toolkit | Link format: Website with links, downloads, and online tutorial | Source: National Center on Improving Literacy | This toolkit includes common dyslexia definitions; information on the underlying causes of dyslexia; and details about the effects dyslexia may have on student literacy development.
Civics & Citizenship
EL Civics | Format: Website | Civics, government, and history lessons for ESL students with plain language and pictures.
EL Civics Online | Format: Website | Online courses for teachers of ESL students, focused on civics, government, civic engagement, and the naturalization process.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) | Format: Website | Educational products for educators and program administrators.
Welcoming America | Link format: Website | A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs; they believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of our communities and shared future.
Home Literacy Environment Checklist | Link format: PDF, 2 pages | Source: Get Ready to Read | A simple True/False checklist for parents and caregivers, to review their home environment and its effects on children and reading.
Family Recruitment & Retention Toolkit | Link format: PDF, 40 pages | Source: National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) | Supports program staff throughout the process of recruiting and retaining families; contains useful strategies, tips, ready-to-print templates, and culturally responsive practices.
Learning Outside of School | Link format: PDF (56 pages)| Source: National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) | A resource for teachers and facilitators as they support families to engage in Parent Time and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® at home. Inside you will find descriptions of Parent Time and PACT Time offered to strengthen both practitioners’ and families’ understanding of these engagement practices. Ten practical examples of Parent Time and PACT Time activities that can be copied and shared with families are also included.
Free Resources from the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) | Link format: Website with categories | Choose from resources arranged into the following categories: Families / Family Literacy, Early Childhood, English Learners, K-12 / Reading, Educators & Literacy Professionals, Webinars, and Out-of-School Time.
Unite for Literacy Library | Link format: Website | Free access to more than 400 original picture books, one fourth of them written in Spanish. The digital books provide audio narrations in more than 40 languages, spoken by native speakers in warm, expressive voices. The languages of narration include indigenous and endangered languages along with languages most widely spoken in the US.
Family and Early Literacy* | Format: PDF, 51 PPT slides | Author: Dr. Laura Sheneman, Library Services & Instructional Resources | Definitions and benefits of family literacy; how to build a quality family literacy program.
Florida Health Literacy Initiative | Link format: Website | Health education resources for adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and family literacy programs so that students in these programs can make informed choices about their health and nutrition.
Communicate Health | Link format: Website | Clear communication and plain language for health literacy, including a sign-up for the popular We Heart Health Literacy newsletter.
Health Literacy Online | Link format: Website | A guide for simplifying the health care experience.
AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit | Format: PDF, 175 pages | Author: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality | Help adults improve health literacy and take charge of their health.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Link format: Website with links | Source: CDC | Health literacy research and reports, including information on making health information more accessible.
CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) Classes Near Me | Link format: Website | CNA class locator.
CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) Free Training | Link format: Website | Class locator, salary information, and other basics.
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