Step 2: Reflect on this research and your practice
After reviewing the articles, review the six findings of the Preventing Reading Difficulties Study and consider how these findings are applicable to adult education.
The report identifies six opportunities that, if accessible to every child, would greatly decrease the risk of reading difficulties:
- Support for the acquisition of language and of sufficient metalinguistic awareness to approach the segmentation of speech into smaller units that could be related to alphabetic writing
- Exposure to print and literacy uses and functions
- Development of enthusiasm for reading
- Opportunities to grasp and master the alphabetic principle
- Access to preventive services if needed
- Access to intervention as soon as reading difficulties emerge
Reflect on the following questions:
- How might the personal and social backgrounds of your adult students have contributed to their difficulties in acquiring reading skills?
- Which of these opportunities can you identify as not having been available to the adult students with whom you work?
- What ideas and examples might you provide to support the Matthew Effects theory? And, what reasons and examples might you use to argue against or disprove the theory?
- “We cannot expect to solve the problems of adult literacy achievement by focusing exclusively on better methods for teaching reading. Improving the quality of adult learners’ lives more broadly is not only socially responsible, but necessary.” Do you agree with the authors’ concluding statements? Why or why not?