Looking for advice re adult learner

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Goodenough
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Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by Goodenough » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:44 pm

I'm hoping someone will have suggestions for me.
I have been approached by a man I know for advice on improving his spelling and grammar. This man is in his forties. He left school early to do an apprenticeship. He is now back in education and studying for a 3rd level qualification.
He first came to me to have his work proof read before handing it in. He makes many mistakes in basic grammar, spelling and punctuation. When he reads his own work aloud he tends to "read" what should be there rather than what he has actually written. It is obvious to me however that he has improved considerably since I last saw a sample of his written work a few years ago.
He says that he reads very slowly and would never willingly try to read a whole book. He manages the reading for his college course by using the index of each book in order to find exactly the information or quote he needs. He is quite capable of doing this even in books with fairly technical business jargon.
I tried him out on a couple of 2 and 3 syllable nonsense words and he was very slow to decode these. He seemed to work first by trying out a similar real word but eventually puzzled out what I had written.
I think he might well benefit from learning the alphabetic code properly but am unsure what approach to suggest. He is considerably more competent than any adult I have worked with before.
Eileen

Anne Mc Keefry
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by Anne Mc Keefry » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:59 pm

Eileen I see from previous posts that you use Jolly Phonics. I have adapted this programme and successfully taught three adults to read and spell. If you would like to contact me directly I can email more information.

Anne

amckeefry@btinternet.com

yvonne meyer
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by yvonne meyer » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:44 pm

I have always been an avid reader but my spelling was terrible. When my son was taught phonics, I would sit in on his lessons and listen, but not in a really focused way. Later, I realised my spelling had improved and I wished I'd paid more attention to my son's phonics lessons because even the little bit that I had learnt had improved my ability to spell.

I think your adult leaner would benefit from 'going back to the beginning'. I see from your post, this person has asked you for help with spelling not reading, but as an adult, he should quickly understand how decoding and encoding are the same process in reverse. Also, the only way to find the gaps in his knowledge, which may be basic code or it may be fluency, is to start from the beginning.

As for a program that teaches the skills necessary to write an essay, (grammar, punctuation, synthax etc) for secondary or college level, due to the dire state of most Australians' writing skills, a University lecturer here in Melbourne developed a course 'Professional Writing' (link below). While a course in Melbourne is of no use to you or the person that has asked you for help, I think that some of the information on the webpage may help as a guide in deveoping a sequence of instruction.

http://arts.monash.edu.au/english/resou ... l-writing/

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maizie
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by maizie » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:56 pm

How about Tricia Miller's 'That Reading Thing'?

http://thatreadingthing.com/

Or Debbie's Phonics International?

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/

JIM CURRAN
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by JIM CURRAN » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:21 pm

Hi Goodenough, I’ve only ever worked with one adult . He was an intelligent man who ran his own business, his wife handled all the paper work. We had to go back to basics and I had to teach him how the alphabetic code worked. In order to become an accurate and fluent reader your adult will have to learn how to use the code. My adult was highly motivated and he made great progress. His reading accuracy improved very significantly, fluency however is a much more difficult proposition and only comes with loads of practice. Some on the dyslexic continuum never really become fluent but if reading accuracy is good and they are given the time they need, they can do quite fine.

FEtutor
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by FEtutor » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:24 pm

I've only worked with students - beginner and struggling readers and spellers- in FE. They've ranged in age from 17 to c55. I can't remember one who did not benefit from learning about the Alphabetic Code and how to handle it. Knowledge and skills are what is required. As long as you're using a good synthetic or linguistic method along with age appropriate words and texts, they will progress, probably enthusiastically. As Jim says, building up fluency is the greatest problem and to help with that in the future I'm looking forward to BRI's M Series. Recommend daily practice and remember to hand over a copy of the Alphabetic Code (thanks, Debbie!) after a few sessions, when the penny has dropped.

Goodenough
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Location: Republic of Ireland

Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by Goodenough » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:28 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm sure you are right and that this man needs to go back to basics to learn decoding. I have worked with a couple of adults as an adult literacy volunteer. I suppose I'm feeling a bit intimidated because this man is functioning at a much higher standard than either of my previous students.

I will talk to him about this and see if he is willing to try. He may be put off by the idea of starting again from the beginning but hopefully we would be able to move quite quickly.

I have a copy of 'That Reading Thing' and I have access to Phonics International. Both will be helpful. I think giving him a copy of the alphabetic code makes sense.
yvonne meyer wrote:I think that some of the information on the webpage may help as a guide in deveoping a sequence of instruction.

http://arts.monash.edu.au/english/resou ... l-writing/
That looks interesting Yvonne, thank you.
Eileen

Hugo
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by Hugo » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:41 pm

I have taught ABE. IMO most writing / spelling work is best accomplished through 'language experience' and that the student should be the search dog as far as is possible. Ownership is very important. Right up there with confidence. It is never too late.
www.hugokerr.info

geraldinecarter
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by geraldinecarter » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:12 pm

It's an interesting pov Hugo. But surely struggling older readers do have 'language' experience - albeit limited, as extended language experience comes through reading. It's lack of understanding of how the alphabetic code works that seems to be crucial for these students. You've only got to look at the array of 'language experiences' on offer in adult literacy classes to see how bewildering this can be for the student. Knowledge of the code and practice of the sub-skills surely means that the student 'takes control' - probably, in respect of reading, for the first time.

I don't suppose we have the answers - but there is no doubt that, even with good remedial synthetic phonics there will be a small minority who don't achieve fluency. Do we know whether, with consistent SP teaching right from the start, the percentage is nearer 1% or 5%?

Hugo
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by Hugo » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:23 pm

I meant the language experience facilitation method - in short, that all writing / spelling tuition arises from the students' work. They produce the work: ideally they find the spelling errors and make a stab at understanding and correcting them, they do the bulk of the writing appraisal, e.g. using the 'author/secretary' approach.
www.hugokerr.info

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Looking for advice re adult learner

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:41 pm

I suggest that any student, whatever the age, needs a two-pronged approach:

Spelling/writing that comes from the student's own work.

Systematic instruction in the alphabetic code for both reading and spelling.

A more mature student may need 'gaps' addressing and not instruction in all letter/s-sound correspondences - and personal work can certainly indicate weak or missing alphabetic code knowledge and lack of knowledge of word banks with the same spelling alternatives and pronunciations.

Nevertheless, it is helpful to get the overview of alphabetic code knowledge of the student and not leave the discovery of missing code and word bank knowledge to chance.

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