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This page presents information, resources and support for practitioners --  volunteer tutors, teachers, administrators and others interested in adult literacy and language education. Additional resources also appear on the links page and throughout the rest of the site. While some overlap is inevitable, this page is specifically geared to addressing questions and issues particular to people working as volunteers in programs, and for practitioners interested in examining and considering on-line resources. Please send suggestions, comments and additions to LR/RI

In addition to general adult education resources, the page includes sections containing numeracyGED and EDP resources and general reference materials available online.  Health resources appear on LR/RI's advocacy page.

resources for tutors, volunteers and others working with adult ESOL learners in community (and virtual) settings

Professional Learning Resources from the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center

Kate Nonesuch has a well written, thought provoking, useful blog at, and writes:" It's all part of my goal to share everything I know about teaching before I retire. And it's all free. I hope you’ll take a look at my blog, and post some comments, or click the button that lets you follow the blog by e-mail. Also on the site, I’ve gathered up links to most of the things I’ve written over the years
 —Changing the Way We Teach Math, Family Math Fun!, various articles, and videos. "

UK National Curriculum for ESOL, Literacy and Numeracy, with associated material and  support for teachers, including the competencies for each skill at each level. 
 As well, a significant number of resources for working with people with  a range of disabilities.  (See, for example):  

Rhode Island practitioner minigrant projects - 2005 - 2006

Adult Literacy Professional Development  -  comprehensive set of resources, part of the Adult Education wiki - a collaboratively constructed online resource

Rhode Island practitioner-based inquiry and research resources, including work undertaken during the 2003 - 2004 program year.
ABE-to College Transition - A resource for ABE and ESOL teachers and programs

ABE Teacher's Toolkit
-  Published by: The Adult Education Professional Development and Curriculum (AEPDC) Consortium, a 353 special project sponsored by the Texas Education Agency, Division of Adult Education.

Adult Academy Tutor Training Manual
. - early version of a tutor handbook developed by the Adult Academy at the Swearer Center for Public Service, at Brown University.

The New York State Adult Education Resource Guide and Collection of Learning Experiences - from The Hudson River Center for Program Development. Curriculum and lessons contributed by adult educators and judged as best practices by their peers.

Adult Basic Skills Professional Development Project - North Carolina-based organization, committed to improving the quality of Basic Skills instruction through building the capacity of community colleges and community-based literacy organizations.

Adult and Continuing Education from -- surprising collection of resources from a relatively mainstream provider.  See also About's Adult Basic Education/Literacy sites

Adult Education and Literacy - from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education

Adult Education ESL Teachers Guide - ADULT EDUCATION CENTER TEXAS A&I UNIVERSITY KINGSVILLE, TEXAS Written and Produced by C. Ray Graham and Mark M. Walsh.

Adult Education resources from RI PBS, covering a range of topics.

Adult Training and Development Network teacher resources from our colleagues in Connecticut.

Behaviour and beliefs of volunteer literacy tutors
by Catherine Hambly, MA - WORKING PAPERS ON LITERACY Working Paper No. 3, 1998, from the The Centre for Literacy in Montreal

(From a description of the paper): This study began with the assertion that tutors are important actors in the tutor-learner relationship, and that their beliefs and behaviour will affect the tutoring relationship. A better understanding of how and why tutors act in certain ways will help the volunteer programs improve training and support for their volunteers and could ultimately improve the quality of tutoring. Many volunteer tutors in one-on-one literacy programs do not keep in close contact with their training agency, nor do they rely on the support system available to them. While this is not true of all tutors, nor of all programs, it is a common phenomenon. This study associates this behaviour ... with a system of beliefs that influences a tutor to work independently of the organization, whether or not the match is proceeding well. This relationship between beliefs and behaviour surfaced in a case study of one volunteer literacy program and thus cannot be generalized to other programs. However, the pervasiveness of the beliefs among the tutor participants and the nature of the beliefs suggest that it could be present in other programs. Further research on this topic is necessary. For a hard copy of this publication, contact The Centre for Literacy of Quebec, Inc., 3040 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 4B.1-6, Montreal, QC H3Z 1A4, Tel. 514-931-8731, local 1415; Fax: 514-931-5181. E-mail: (98.11.12)

New practitioner orientation - overview of orientation and resources for supporting practitioners (teachers, adminstrators, staff) new to the area and new to the field of adult education

A System Model of Professional Development for the adult education system in Rhode Island
- developed by the professional development working group of the Governor's Adult Literacy Task Force, August, 2005, with Cassandra Drennon.  (if you have difficulties with the PDF format, please contact LR/RI)

RI adult educators' survey: excel raw data responses to these prompts:
1. When I first began as an adult educator, I wish I had known (how to) or (about)...
2. In my present role as an adult educator, I would like to learn more about...
3. If I had the opportunity to teach another adult educator a skill or strategy or concept, would like to teach...

newly added resources:

Captured Wisdom on Adult Literacy
- Interactive multimedia resource designed to help inform educators of successful technology integration practices in adult education environments. Captured Wisdom shows innovative, replicable activities, discussed by front-line classroom educators and learners so that other teachers can feel they have had an opportunity to actually visit the classes and chat directly with the learners and teachers about their work.

Central Illinois Adult Educators Service Center
- links to online training, compilations of resources 

Commission on Adult Basic Education - professional organization for adult educators

Community Learning Network .  Online content areas from Open Learning, BC

Educating for a Change - Rick Arnold, Bev Burke, Carl James, Darcy Martin, Barb Thomas. (1991). Toronto: Between the Lines and the Doris Marshall Institute for Education and Action - Full text available through ERIC documents.

Education reform is not an `either/or' proposition - from the George Street Journal, November, 1997 -
Bil Johnson, clinical professor of social studies/history education at Brown University, asks, among other things, "When was the last time you took a multiple choice test or wrote a five-paragraph essay? When was the last time you were forced to associate only with people who were born the same year as you? The current design of schools is a factory/industry model created for a world that existed between 1900 and 1950 or so - hardly an appropriate design for the turn of the millennium." Provocative questions for adult educators to consider, too.

Educational resources
  from Connecting Canadians in Learnings (formerly the Canadian National Adult Literacy Database).

Educational Resources Information Center
(ERIC) - While the ERIC clearinghouses closed at the end of 2003, this link should connect to existing resources; if and as new sites are developed, they will be posted here.

English as a Second Language in Volunteer-Based Programs
- Paula Schlusberg, New Readers Press Tom Mueller, Laubach Literacy Action, NCLE Digest, July 1995 EDO-LE-95-04

Field Notes
- a quarterly newsletter, written by practitioners, for practitioners, providing a place to share innovative practices, new resources, information and hot topics with the field of adult education.

Effective Strategies for English Language Learners


GED 2014 - resources compiled by the RI Adult Education Professional Development Center

GED resources from the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center

GED Prep - including free practice questions

GED instructional links from the Literacy Assistance Center, NYC

National External Diploma Program - "The External Diploma Program grew out of a study ... designed to identify ... why many adults did not choose to earn a high school equivalency certificate through the GED testing process. That study led to the development of the EDP, an adult  applied- performance, competency-based assessment program that awards a high school diploma to skilled adults who have acquired many of their high school level abilities through their life experience. As they complete the EDP process, adults demonstrate their abilities in a series of simulations that parallel job and life situations. They are evaluated according to established performance criteria instead of by comparison with others." more resources on the National EDP from a google search

Hands on English
- The web site for a publication containing practical teaching ideas, hints & tips, and copyable activities for the classroom, written by teachers for teachers. The website contains sample activities, ideas, an events calendar and ordering information for the print publication edited by Anna Silliman.

The Holistic/Rainbow Approach to Aboriginal Literacy
- Work in Progress by Priscilla George, Ningwakwe / Rainbow Woman, Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation, Ontario

The Knowledge Loom
  - a place to investigate effective practices in teaching and learning and use them to create your own models that work.  Extensive data base of promising practice, reports, as well as discussions and resource information.

Lawyers for Literacy
- a site designed to assist lawyers in British Columbia in assessing the difficulty of the language they use with clients and in adapting print materials and procedures to facilitate communication. While focusing on law, many of the suggestions and processes of assessment are useful to consider in any adult learning context.
Learner Generated Materials Every Day - on using language experience approaches, from Bright Ideas

The Language Experience Approach and Adult Learners
-  ERIC Digest.

Let's Get Started
- An initial assessment pack for adult literacy programs; information intended to help a tutor get started with a new learner.

The Literacy Enquirer an online publication from an adult literacy worker learning circle in Ontario, Canada.

2002 minigrant projects: - projects undertaken by David Henry, Brenda McGill and Theresa Watson.

Mini-Grant Project - curriculum development at Dorcas Place - Michelle Cortes-Harkins and Louise Cherubini asked, "Does a project-based, multi-sensory 30 hour program, integrated with on-line research as well as field experiences, result in sustained student motivation and commitment as well as mastery of the specifics of our science curriculum?" to guide the development of the science unit curriculum during the 6 week Dorcas Place 1999 summer school session entitled "Take a Closer Look."Their curriculum process and its stunning results are now online.

Mini-Grant Project Staff Development at the Providence Public Library Literacy Department - Bev Chase reports on a project exploring approaches to professional development within the context of Providence Public Library literacy programming.

Minnesota Literacy Council's online training site – for out of state users:
The courses for adult learners and educators on the Minnesota Literacy Council (MLC) online training site are developed and maintained by MLC staff through supplemental service grants from the Minnesota Department of Education. They are provided free of charge to Minnesota’s adult learners, teachers, volunteers, and other Adult Basic Education practitioners. Out-of-state visitors are welcome to explore the site to access learning resources as well, but we cannot offer CEUs or course completion certificates to out-of-state users. If you are a not a Minnesota resident, you are welcome to browse the self-access online learning materials, but please do not submit course assignments as we will not be able to respond to your submissions.

National Center for Adult Literacy
- NCAL Connections newsletters, available online, in PDF, as well as other related resources..

The New Teachers Tool Kit - from Texas' New Teacher Project.

Newspaper in Education
- a Kentucky-based site, utilizing local newspapers/offering suggestions for adaptations of using the newspaper for literacy development.

New Zealand Literacy Portal - designed to provide a knowledge base of adult literacy information contributed by both New Zealand and international organisations.

Classroom observation
: a recent thread begun online has surfaced a number of ideas about and resources related to teacher education and observation. (Read the thread at the  Adult Literacy Professional Developers Discussion List - late November, 2004).

Observing and Providing Feedback to Teachers of Adults Learning English

Virgina Adult Learning Resource Center's Teacher Observation Project - "contains a set of tools to be used by instructional leaders ... for a process
of teacher observation and feedback for professional development. The  process is designed to help the observer better understand the teacher's
classroom practice and to give the teacher objective input and the  opportunity to examine and improve particular aspects of her/his practice.

OTAN online resources - on the front page, go to documents by subject and type for lesson plans, course outlines and other resources.

Resources for Anti-Racism Education
- by Members of the Boston Anti-Racism Study Circle (PDF file)

Participatory Literacy Practices: Exploring  Social Identity and Relations
- by Pat Campbell, in Adult Basic Education, Volume 6 Number 3, Fall, 1996, [ pages 127 - 142]

Puzzlemaker - puzzle-generation page

Create your own learning activities
Skills for Life - resources from the UK for adult learning across a range of disciplines.

The Study Place - "a Web-based authoring tool that offers adult educators a simple way to create and deliver online learning activities to their adult learners. The learners can access The Study Place Web site either as part of a class or as independent self-directed learners. Once there, they can use any of the high quality, multimedia learning activities that teachers have created."

Thirteen Ed Online - adult literacy and GED resources and services for educators and students
The Times in plain English

- stand alone interactive lessons as well as support material for the series of tapes designed for adult literacy learners.

Teaching Adults - is it different? - Susan Imel 1995, ERIC Clearninghouse

Trends in Staff Development for Adult ESL Instructors - Miriam Burt and Fran Keenan NCLE Q and A, June, 1998

Using Volunteers as Aides in the Adult ESL Classroom - Celia Wiehe Arnade, Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP), VA, CAELA Digest, November 1997 EDO-LE-98-03. 

Thinkfinity, formerly Verizon Literacy Campus, (formerly Verizon Literacy University) - online overview of issues and topics in adult and intergenerational literacy. VLC describes itself in this way: VLC features high quality, free information on literacy and on volunteering, orientation and training for literacy volunteers, and professional development for literacy professionals, including a growing selection of self-paced online courses and a library of resources for adult and family literacy practioners."


Easy Converter - AAA Math
- interactive site; hundreds of pages of practice and problems to solve

Adult Learning Mathematics - articles and resources

The Adult Numeracy Network

AlgebraLAB: Making Math and Science Connections -  "online learning environment that focuses on topics and skills from high school mathematics that students must be able to draw upon in their introductory science courses."

Changing the way we teach math to adults – Kate Nonesuch’s manual for teaching basic math to adults, at

The Components of Numeracy  by Lynda Ginsburg, Myrna Manly, and Mary Jane Schmitt - occasional paper attempting to describe the complex nature of numeracy as it exists today. While there are large-scale assessments, standards documents, and position papers, there has not been a field- and research-based synthesis of the components required for adults to be numerate, to act numerately, and to acquire numeracy skills. This paper attempts to identify and clarify the nature of these components with the hope that such identification and clarification will guide instruction, contribute to the design of assessments, frame research, and inform policy.   

Convert Plus - online weights and measurement conversion

Developing Habits of Mind for Numeracy in a Low-literacy Classroom: A Focus on Attitudes Rachel Johnson, 2012 - math-related and other learning disabilities

The EMPower Project - Extending mathematical power - a math curriculum for adults; EMPower resources and materials.

Changing the way we teach math to adults – Kate Nonesuch's manual for teaching basic math to adults, at; if you’re so inclined, follow Kate on twitter at

Family Math Groups: An Exploration of Content and Style is available through NALD (The National Adult Literacy Database), and reports on a project in which Kate Nonesuch worked with parents to develop a manual of math activities for parents and kids to do together. The report outlines the project and discusses the effects of the group: parents had fun, grew more interested and less frustrated with math, and learned specific strategies to help their kids with math, which often resulted in improved communication and smoother relationships with their kids.  The report finishes with recommendations for facilitating family math groups.  It can be downloaded free of charge at
 The manual, called Family Math Fun! is full of family math activities, ready to use in early literacy programs, day care centres, primary grades and Adult Basic Education/Literacy  programs. Patterns, recipes, and hand-outs all included (109 pages) is available for download.
 This project was undertaken by Vancouver Island University, and funded by The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

also available: Changing the Way we Teach Math to Adults, by Kate Nonesuch:  For more information:    also see Kate's blog here

The Math Archives - topics in mathematics - world of math online - lots and lots of mathematics

Mathematics Adult Education and Literacy - from the US Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education

Math Forum: Adult Education Teachers Place - resources for math education for adult learners (part of the Math Forum - a resource for math education for learners of all ages)

The Math Forum: Non-English Math Resources

Math Lessons that are fun, fun, fun - alhough these are geared toward K-12 students, there are some interesting lessons, some of which don't look kid-like.

Math resources

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives provides interactive online math lessons, activities, and assessments. Topics include fractions, functions, geometric transformations, integer arithmetic, patterns and sequences, probability, right triangle trigonometry, slope, triangle geometry, and writing equations of lines.

PBS teacher line - math resources

numeracy resources in Australia (via Howard Nichols)

Project TIAN:

Rethinking Mathematics from Rethinking Schools, resources for math teaching and learning

Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy - an approach to standards-based mathematics in-service professional development, using recently developed standards and curriculum for the Adult Basic Education system.  Rhode Island is one of six pilot states participating in this initiative.

Purplemath - your algebra resource

Radical Math - resource for educators interested in integrating issues of social, political, and economic justic into math curriculum and classes 
Radical has the goals of raising  mathematic literacy and simultaneously developing ways to address a range of community issues. The website supports
educators to teach many different types of math within the context of  studying social, political, and economic justice issues. also contains teaching materials on important financial topics for youth such as owning a credit card, paying for college, and avoiding subprime lenders, as well as materials on Ethnomathematics.
Visit for more or email

ThinkQuest: Algebra

Webmath - online interactive math problems

also see the Fall 2001 volume of Field Notes, an adult education quarterly journal (Volume 11, Number 2) - focused on adult math learning and teaching.
fall/winter 2006 (Volume 16, Number 1)

Science and Numeracy

Ocean Science Station - project studying "an interesting microscopic plant, Emiliania huxleyi, which is a species of phytoplankton found in the ocean;" a rich resource, graphically striking as well.

LINCS Science and Numeracy Special Collection - archived collection

General reference/resource materials

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence - links to hundreds of Internet-based education resources, searchable by subject; resources at FREE, the website that makes it easier to find teaching and learning resources from the federal government

Fernwood Publishing - Fernwood books address sociological, political, and social work issues, with a particular sensitivity to the concerns of class, race, and gender.

Grassroots Press - teachers' press addressing ABE, ESOL and professional development.

Peppercorn Books - publisher and distributor of high quality books and materials for new adult learners. Peppercorn's materials reflect practice and research in adult education that is learner centered and that is grounded in participatory and community based models of education.

The Library of Congress Homepage
- access to all kinds of information, archives, resources. Endlessly interesting

The Internet Public Library - extensive collection on line resources, publications and information with sorting options for adults and youth.

IRIS (Integrated Reference Information System) and the Providence Public Library offer access to their InfoTrac's search bank to all CLAN (RI library system) cardholders. Go to, enter your card number to use the available SearchBank reference databases. Although data base privileges are limited to RI public library card holders, the site also contains a great deal of information available to all.

The Virtual Reference Desk - extensive reference library provided by Purdue University including dictionaries, maps, almanacs, science data, historical documents, and more.

and, another reference resource to check is Bare Bones 101, a tutorial on using search engines to locate web resources more efficiently.


- games, interactive features and audio

A Web of on-line dictionaries - links to more than 800 dictionaries in 160 different languages, as well as multilingual dictionaries, specialized English dictionaries, thesauri / vocabulary aids, a web of On-line grammars, and A Web of Linguistic Fun.

Merriam-Webster on line - including adult and kid word activities, dictionary and theasaurus.

More Words -  dictionary words for crossword puzzles, code words and word games; searchable - English language dictionary, thesarus, multilingual dictionaries and related resources.


Clear Language and Design (CLAD)

updated December 4, 2020

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