Fantastic & Free First Fridays: Leveled Readers!!!!!

Sadly, a month has gone by since my last blog. But, I'll make the excuse that it's because conference season has begun and I've been immersed in meeting a number of brilliant people doing amazing things in adult education, particularly in the area of literacy. For me, March was a month chock full of learning from an incredible range of educators, curriculum developers, and professional developers; and that's a great thing, because it has heavily influenced this month's Fantastic & Free First Fridays Resource of the Month. 

One of the most critical needs we’ve heard from adult educators is the need for high-quality texts—relevant to the adult learner—that are written at a range of readability levels, particularly lower literacy levels. There are lots of texts developed specifically for adults at higher literacy levels; however, such texts are more difficult to find at the lower levels. Because of this, educators often are forced to use or adapt texts and resources developed for elementary and middle school learners, of which the contexts of many can be demeaning to an adult learner. 

In order to promote literacy and a lifelong appreciation for reading, it is critical that the texts being used to build reading skills are engaging and relevant to the adult learner. That's why this month's F^4 Resource of the Month is actually a compilation of great leveled reading resources focused on adult literacy. 

The resources that follow are all leveled to a wide range of literacy levels and cover content areas such as science and social studies as well as career, financial, and health literacy skills. 

Reading Skills for Today's Adults 
This is one of two resources being shared today from the amazing folks at Marshall Adult Education, located in Southwest Minnesota. Marshall Adult Education has been a pioneer for a number of years in creating learning tools and resources that are high quality and free to learners and instructors, and Reading Skills for Today's Adults is no exception. This set of over 300 texts focuses on topics such as civics, employment, housing, health, school, money, and government. Each text includes three audio recordings of the reading at increasing speeds, helping learners develop their fluency skills, followed by a printable worksheet that helps learners develop their comprehension skills. Readings are organized by reading level (measured using ATOS), ranging from Level 0.7 to Level 8.0.  
In Reading Skills for Today's Adults, learners are posed pre-reading questions and frontloaded vocabulary, as well as a printable set of post-reading questions that include a choice of writing prompts. Such activities develop vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension, three of the four components of evidence-based reading instruction (EBRI). 

Reading for Health Care Workers 
Yet another gem from Marshall Adult Education, this set of texts is similar in format to Reading Skills for Today’s Adults, except the contexts for all 175 of the readings revolve around health care scenarios, both from the patient and from the worker perspective. Each of the readings is also downloadable, as are the pre- and post-reading question sets that accompany each text. 

One quick note regarding this site: There is a disclaimer on the site as of the date of this post that the site is still under construction. However, in the random sampling of readings that I tested out I did not encounter any issues. Please just be aware this site is still being updated. 

Adult Learning Activities
This set of texts is from the California Distance Learning Project and was designed to help adult learners develop both their literacy and life skills. All of the texts included on the site cover life skills contexts, and each text includes audio recordings, as well as a set of interactive activities related to the text that develop vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension skills. 
In Adult Learning Activities from the California Distance Learning Project, learners are presented texts across a range of life skills topics (shown in the graphic above). Each text includes a set of activities that relate to the reading and can be printed or emailed to an instructor to indicate completion.

Web-Based Text Library
From the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy, the Web-Based Text Library is an aggregated set of over 1,600 texts pulled from a variety of sources, including Marshall Adult Education and the Adult Learning Activities. Each of the texts has gone through readability and subject matter checks by CSAL researchers at the University of Memphis and Georgia State University. Through this careful curation, the texts have been categorized both into relevant topic areas as well as into "Easier," "Medium," or "Harder" readability levels. The goal of CSAL's library is to help adult learners learn how to access readings that are of interest to them—which is done so by way of learners selecting real-world texts encountered within their native, web-based origins—with the hope that learners are inspired to seek out and read many texts in a self-regulated manner. 

Within CSAL's Web-Based Text Library, learners can select texts of interest based on topic and readability levels. Many of the texts come from their original, web-based sources, giving learners the added experience of seeking out and self-selecting texts of interest and independently finding information relevant to their lives.

The Power of Sharing

For me, this post is particularly special. Even better than the fact that so many people have taken immense time and effort to create and compile all of these great resources, this post is demonstration of the power collective participation can have in helping to overcome barriers to the location and use of high-quality open and free learning resources. Why? Every single resource listed in this post was recommended to me by other people….people who have gotten wind of who CrowdED Learning is, what we are doing, and who felt compelled to share out what they know. A month ago, I did not know any of these resources existed....and this is coming from someone who has spent the last 7 months actively seeking out resources such as these. A special shout out to Jen Vanek, Pat Thomas, Josh Anderson, David Rosen, and Daphne Greenberg for helping me learn about these great resources. Sharing is caring :)

From our mission: 

We believe that, through crowdsourcing our collective knowledge and expertise, we can help raise the impact of adult education and workforce development.

We are going to work our butts of to make this happen, and some exciting things are in the works toward this aim. By mid-April, the CrowdED Learning site will be updated to have resource directories—including all of those listed above—organized into academic, workplace, and 21st-Century skills areas. This will have been achieved through countless hours of scouring the web and soliciting great resources from talented and caring educators. Our next step will be to begin curating resources within such great resource sets and aligning them to specific skills and competencies so learners can easily access targeted learning resources (i.e., a single video, text, lesson, or simulation) that are relevant and tailored to their specific interests and skill needs. 

In the coming months, we also will have some exciting announcements about partnerships and tools being developed to help educators streamline the process of aligning resources to core adult competencies, starting with a heavy focus on WIOA and NRS requirements. In the meantime, I hope you find the above resources helpful in working with learners to develop their literacy skills.

Want to join the crowd and be part of the solution? 

Please check out www.crowdedlearning.orgThere, you can learn more about our goings on and sign up to volunteer your expertise, stay in touch, or make content recommendations. We look forward to hearing from you!

Find a particularly interesting resource? Please let us know about it!


  1. Adult educators have a big challenge in finding good texts that match the reading levels of adult learners, especially those with lower literacy skills. now a days complete assignments and online classes is big challenge for students espacially in accounts and mathematics if you think to Pay Someone To Take My Accounting Class consider this and meet experts of education.


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