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News, Views, and Clues 

October, 2004

small line Changing Literacy Behavior Handbook, October 18, 2004

News, Views, and Clues
Changing Literacy Behavior Handbook
October 18, 2004

Using authentic material in the classroom increases the time engaged in literacy activities outside the classroom.  Based on that research, NCSALL has produced a practitioners handbook entitled Creating Authentic Materials and Activities for the Adult Literacy Classroom:  A Handbook for Practitioners by NCSALL researchers Erik Jacobson, Sophie Degener, and Victoria Purcell-Gates.

 You can print a copy free at their web site ( or order a hard copy for $10. 

 “Our analysis of the data confirmed our first hypothesis: Students who participate in classes that include authentic, or learner-contextualized, materials and activities are more likely to say they had started new literacy practices or had increased the amount of time spent engaging in literacy activities outside of school. This was true even when we controlled for (or accounted for) students’ literacy levels and the amount of time they had been attending class. 

The Handbook for Practitioners includes:

In Chapter One, we provide a background of existing theory on contextualized instruction. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a theoretical understanding of the practices we are promoting in this book.

Chapter Two addresses getting to know students and their contexts outside of school. Chapter Three is designed to enable teachers to begin to create materials and activities that are relevant to their students.

Chapter Four provides more examples of the kind of materials and activities that can be termed authentic.

In Chapter Five, we address the issue of assessment, with the aim of helping teachers answer the following questions: What is assessment for? What tools are best for assessing students and for assessing programs? How does contextualized instruction fit with standardized assessment? Can curriculum be contextualized when one or more assessment measures are not?

We conclude in Chapter Six and provide additional information in the appendices. They include a suggested reading list on related topics, and a webliography with the names and URLs for relevant web sites.



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