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Reading: Featured Instructional Resources

People ReadingProfessional Development

Reading Instruction. A well-rounded, structured reading program consists of four components: alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The free professional development, resources, and lesson plan ideas below provide guidance to support instructors and tutors in implementing reading instruction.

Learning events on this page have been selected to be responsive to the requirements stated in Adult Education Director’s Memo #62-23 for current grantees. See also our Adults with {Dis}abilities page. More events will be added as they become available.

VALRC Professional Development

Check out our Events Calendar for updates on scheduling!

Online Courses: Offered annually

Foundations of Reading-Print Skills Online Course: This is a 6 week online facilitated course that focuses on the reading components of alphabetics and fluency. Participants in this course will leave with useful resources, a deeper understanding of how alphabetic skills and fluency affect comprehension, and experience contextualizing these skills into lessons. This course complements Foundations of Reading: Meaning Skills.

Foundations of Reading-Meaning Skills Online Course: This is a 6-week online facilitated course that focuses on the reading components of vocabulary and comprehension. Participants in this course will leave with useful resources, a deeper understanding of vocabulary and comprehension skills, and experience contextualizing these skills into lessons. This course complements Foundations of Reading: Print Skills; however, the Print Skills online course is not a prerequisite for this course.

ELPS for Adult Educators: This is a 4-week online facilitated course that provides participants with an overview of the ELPS report that was released to the field of adult education in 2016. Participants will explore the five sections of the ELPS, develop a basic understanding of social and academic varieties of language learning, and utilize the ELPS to design instructional activities that support academic language learning and transitioning ELLs to postsecondary education and employment.

Webinar Series: Offered annually or upon request from program leadership

Overview of the Science of Reading [Watch the recording and view the resources. If you would like to request a certificate, please fill out this form. Program leadership can request this training using this form.]: This 2-hour session presents a basic overview of the science of reading and effective reading instruction, including alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. During the session, we discuss strategies for each component of reading and how to use them in the classroom. Participants will leave with resources for teaching each component.

Disabilities and the Adult Learner Webinar Series, Session 2: Instructional strategies for working with adults with disabilities [Program leadership can request this training using this form.]: Disabilities can occur across the lifespan, affecting academic performance, work, and daily living. Individuals with disabilities can have challenges with learning but can exhibit strengths in some areas. This session will provide instructional strategies for working with adults with disabilities, with a focus on incorporating evidence-based strategies into reading instruction.

Purposeful Reading for English Language Learners Webinar Series: [Program leadership can request this training using this form.] This webinar series is designed to present standards-based instruction for preparing ELLs for purposeful reading, engaging ELLs in purposeful reading, and extending purposeful reading for ELLs and is based on activities presented during the national Standards In Action 2.0 Summer 2021 training.

Contextualized Phonics Webinar: [Program leadership can request this training using this form.] This webinar presents strategies for contextualizing phonics instruction when working with multilingual learners who are building their literacy skills. During the webinar, we discuss the components of reading and alphabetics within the context of beginning literacy instruction based on concepts and information from the science of reading.

Language Experience Approach: [Program leadership can request this training using this form.] This webinar will present strategies for utilizing the language experience approach (LEA) in the ESOL educational setting as a strategy for integrating all four components of reading–alphabetics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension–into instruction. We will discuss LEA, walk through the steps of implementing it, and look at strategies for using the student-generated text for activities related to all four components of reading. Participants will leave the webinar with an understanding of the language experience approach, how it benefits ESOL beginning literacy instruction, and strategies for implementing this strategy in the adult ESOL classroom. The resources will include options for ESOL beginning literacy curricula and supplemental materials.

Lessons from the Field with Steven Reid: ESOL Basics with Preliterate Adult Learners: [View the recording] English language learners who come to the U.S. with no literacy in their first language have unique struggles in learning English. This webinar helps educators understand what these learners are going through and provides tips and ideas for creating lessons for students who speak no English and are not literate in any other language.

Teaching with the CCRS Key Shifts Webinar Series: [Program leadership can request this training using this form.] This series of workshops is designed to provide evidence-based strategies for working with complexity, evidence, and knowledge. Each workshop focuses on a different English language arts/literacy key shift and encourages an interactive learning experience. Participants will engage in several activities they can take back to the classroom to help their learners interact with texts in a more meaningful way. The workshops are appropriate for anyone teaching reading, writing, or language skills, and last 90 minutes.

Other Professional Development Providers

The offerings below come from outside the VALRC. Please consult the registration page for contact information and additional information about these offerings. 

ProLiteracy offers several different webinar series, including the following on reading instruction:

Back To Basics: Using Phonics to Improve Reading and Engagement Regardless of Student Reading Level: Alphabetics is the first of the four components of reading, yet phonics in the classroom is easily overlooked because we assume students know their letter sounds. Join us for a basic review of phonics and syllables and how to include these foundational skills in an ABE classroom in a way that is applicable to all levels of readers, engaging, and meets the standards. Facilitated by Janet Sodell, READ Center

Starting to Read: Building Phonemic Awareness and Foundation Literacy Skills with Preliterate ELL Students: Adult students who are just beginning their literacy journey while also still learning to speak English face a unique challenge. Preliterate students have no connection to the sound/letter correlation required to read. Many lack even basic print awareness connecting any symbol to a meaning. In this webinar, we will discuss helping preliterate students develop the skills necessary to begin learning to read and write in their new language. Facilitated by Steven Reid, Literacy Volunteers Charlottesville/Albemarle

Effective Strategies for Teaching Reading Comprehension to Adult Learners: This webinar features evidence-based practices for teaching pre-reading, during reading and post-reading strategies with a focus on the importance of contextualized learning, vocabulary building and building background knowledge. Participants will leave with practical, easy-to-use activities along with recommended resources to increase learners’ understanding of what they read.

Literacy Minnesota offers a wide variety of professional development on the science of reading and the reading components. Topics include instructional strategies for: Alphabetics, Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Phonics for English Language Learners, Reading Activities for Beginning Literacy and Beginning English Language Learners, and more! Check their calendar of events dates, times, and registration information.

LINCS Teaching Adults to Read Self-Paced Courses: LINCS provides two self-paced courses: Teaching Beginning & Intermediate Readers and Teaching Advanced Readers. Each course provides users with background information, informative readings and resources, hands-on activities, and multi-media examples of recommended assessment and instructional strategies. Participants will explore the components of reading and research-based strategies for assessing and teaching both native English-speaking and multilingual adults how to read.

COABE: Recognizing and Responding to Dyslexia in Adults: Most adults with dyslexia don’t even know they have it. During this webinar, the presenter will provide attendees with information about dyslexia and share a simple screening instrument to identify characteristics of dyslexia in adults. She will provide research-based reading instruction methods and additional resources that are highly effective for adult learners with dyslexia.

edWebinars: Search this site for curated webinars and online professional learning communities on a range of topics related to education. Use the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner to find options for strategies on teaching and learning through the science of reading, including:

Phonemic Awareness in Older Learners: Bridging the Gap: Designed for educators, reading specialists, and literacy advocates, this webinar (live on July 10, 2024; available afterward as a recording) will explore how phonemic awareness instruction can be a game-changer for older students who need support with word reading. Despite its critical importance in early reading stages, phonemic awareness remains vital for remediation in older readers, providing a foundation for improved decoding, spelling, and comprehension skills.

Science of Reading Resources: This google folder contains curated resources for the science of reading, including assessments and each component of reading (alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension). Many of these resources are open-source from other agencies. VALRC staff are continually adding new resources to the folder, so check back often!

Purposeful Reading for English Language Learners: This resource is generated from the VALRC Purposeful Reading for English Language Learners (ELLs) Spring 2022 webinar series. This webinar series was designed to present standards-based instruction for preparing ELLs for purposeful reading, engaging ELLs in purposeful reading, and extending purposeful reading for ELLs and is based on activities presented during the national Standards In Action 2.0 Summer 2021 training. For more ESOL-related resources, visit the ESOL Instructional Resource page.

College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS): This PDF provides a concise list of the reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language standards that apply across all CCRS levels. It also includes the anchors for foundational reading skills such as phonics and fluency. This resource provides a full description of each standard.

Reading Skills for Today’s Adults: These reading passages were specifically written for adults and designed to aid in building readers’ fluency and comprehension skills, this site provides leveled reading selections and research to help adult learners become better readers and more informed consumers, parents, employees, citizens, and community members. Each text is accompanied by audio, pre- and post- reading questions, and supplemental activities. There is a companion site for health care-related texts.

Marshall Leveled Reading Program: This website uses the texts from Reading Skills for Today’s Adults and provides a library of leveled readings in a variety of learner-friendly mobile applications, interactive supplements (including Quizlet vocabulary flash cards and Google Forms-based comprehension checks), and an arrangement of reading passages by College and Career Readiness (CCRS) level.

Teaching with The Change Agent: This resource includes two informative webinar recordings, for teaching with The Change Agent, an adult education online magazine. The Google Slide presentations provide information on how to access The Change Agent.

Newsela: This website provides daily news stories with adjustable reading levels that prompt learners to “read closely, think critically, and be worldly.” 

CommonLit: This website is a free online learning platform that provides lesson plans and activities to support learners’ reading and writing skills using fiction and nonfiction texts.

LINCS Making Sense of Spelling and Decoding: This evidence-based course of study is designed to teach adult learners to decode and spell words more accurately and fluently. It includes a teachers’ and administrators’ guide, thirty complete lesson plans, and a learner activity book.

For more information about current VALRC offerings, visit our Events page. To request a training that is not currently scheduled, email vdesk@vcu.edu.

For more resources related to reading instruction, please search VALRC’s reading resource bank.

If you would like to share a resource related to the Science of Reading with adult learners, please share here!

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