Trust Your Ears

proofreading in adult literacyJanice Airhart commented on my post about The Period and the Sentence that it is best to ask students to proofread out loud.

So I thought I’d dig out a little poster I used to remind students about how to proofread.  (“Proofread out loud. You get a message from your ears and a message from your eyes. Trust your ears to catch the message you want to write.”) Continue reading

Why Is Writing So Hard? Reason #756

It was Mary Ann’s turn to read her story to the group. She stood up, took a deep breath and started. “The bottle was my friend for a long time.”

She looked up and took in the group of about 10 students and me, all listening intently, and following along on our copies of her story.

“I’ve been in AA for 12 years, but before that…” her voice broke, and she stopped reading. Continue reading

Not a Fairy Tale

Not a Fairy Tale

“Ruby slippers” by RadioFan at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

In a recent post I told the story of Naomi, who said “I pass” for more than three months in our basic literacy class, refusing all invitations to take part in group reading, writing and math sessions, or to do any private work in those areas; who instead spent her time making and colouring banners.

She was able to refuse to take part because of the classroom rule “Just say pass,” which is one of my mainstays in teaching adult literacy. She sat on the outskirts of the class, watching, until she could find a way to participate that was comfortable for her. She tested us for three months until she decided she could trust the situation, until she decided it was safe for her. Continue reading