Launching the Independent Reading Program for Adult Education

Launching the Independent Reading Program for Adult Education

Walk into Hope’s Adult Learning Center on any afternoon, and you’ll likely find the faces of our adult learners buried deep in books. Last November, Hope’s adult education teachers rolled out the Independent Reading Program (IRP) to help our learners foster a love of reading while strengthening literacy skills.

Educational research tells us the more time learners spend reading, the faster they increase their vocabulary and comprehension. With greater comprehension and a wider vocabulary, learners sharpen the critical thinking skills needed to be academically successful We also know that readers must read the “right fit” book. They must read books that are not beyond their independent reading level in order to maximize the benefit of independent reading. To make sure our adults are reading books at the right level, we first determine their Lexile level. The Lexile level is a validated and widely used measure of reading ability for students of all ages. Because Lexile levels can be determined for every published book, we are able to find books that are appropriate for our adult learners in terms of both text complexity and age appropriate content. Many of the books we use are published by Saddleback Publishing, which produces these HiLo (Hi Interest- Low Readability) novels and chapter books. In fact, our adults now have an opportunity to read classic literature because Saddleback has rewritten many of the contemporary novels for the developing adult reader. Classics like The Scarlet Letter or Call of the Wild are available. Of course, our IRP library offers a wide variety of topics for all levels of interest. So the next time you enter Hope’s Adult Leaning Center during afternoon hours, be sure to use your library voice! You wouldn’t want to disturb our burgeoning readers!

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