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Florida Literacy CoalitionFlorida Literacy CoalitionFlorida Literacy Coalition


Adult Literacy Instruction with Motheread®
Program of the Lake County Library System Adult Literacy Program

About The Organization:

Orlando Tech Adult and Community Center (Orlando Tech/ACE) provides adult education classes throughout downtown Orlando and surrounding neighborhoods.  Programming includes high school credit classes for adult students, GED preparation classes, ESOL classes and adult enrichment classes in the arts, computer literacy and foreign languages. Orlando Tech/ACE is affiliated with Orange County Public Schools.

Description of Project:

Orlando Tech/ACE uses the Motheread® curriculum as an enhancement to GED, ABE and sometimes is used in ESOL instruction classes. 

The fact that children’s books are non-threatening, contain colorful pages, and allows adults to practice what they will use with their children (nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc,) makes them effective in this curriculum. Students are also given the books they use to increase their home library, allowing them to review and practice the skill at their convenience.

All lessons focus on reading strategies for the adult, a reading strategy role-model for adults to use with their children, a parenting tip, and a craft activity to promote and enhance the parent-child relationship while extending the theme of the lesson.

Supplemental educational resources are also used to motivate the student and enhance the lessons such as including:

  • Guest speaker/s
  • CD/Audio Cassette/Recorder
  • Educational DVD’s
  • Musical Cassettes or DVD’s to supplement the book titles used
  • Cameras for documentation purposes
  • Laptops, projectors, printers
  • Games
Promising Practices 2010
Adult Learner Mentor and Orientation Programs
Volunteer Literacy Tutor Trainings
Workplace ESOL Conversation Cafes
Adult Literacy Instruction with Motheread®
Adult Literacy Blogs

Promising Practices 2009
Promising Practices Home
eLearning Broward
ESOL for Adults
Lake Wales Family Literacy Coalition
Lawyers for Literacy
Workplace Literacy Program

Orlando Tech/ACE has also added a parenting tip to every lesson and arts & crafts projects to enhance the parent-child relationship. The Parenting Tips are not lengthy and tie in with the story theme. The art projects allow adults to express themselves using different mediums. Most important they are learning what activities they can use to have fun with their children therefore reinforcing and enhancing parent-child bonds.

Classes meet once a week during the regular school year for a period of 1.5 – 2 hrs. Based on the needs of the sites, the time frame is effective as the skills are being worked on. However, it is possible that once or twice a week for a session of 2.5 – 3 hrs would provide consistent practice on the skill/strategy being covered.

At present, the program is available at 3 sites: Bridges of America (a male inmate transitional program), Center for Drug Free Living (a women’s residential program), and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida (for coalition and neighborhood residents). Seventy percent of 2009-2010  Motheread® class participants have children.

Orlando Tech/ACE has the resources necessary to hold classes at multiple sites including trained personnel, sites with rooms available for class and basic office supplies (computer, tables, chairs, etc…)

Trained personnel implement the Motheread® curriculum with adults and children ages birth to 11 years old.  Orlando Tech/ACE also has teaching assistants who work with adults and/or children (if attending w/parent) and have experience working with preschoolers and elementary-aged children. 

Students keep the books used to expand their home library and supplemental educational materials are used if preschool children are involved during Parent and Child Together (PACT) time. 

Implemented in 2006, the chart below lists Motheread® participation numbers.

School Year

Student Participation per School Year

August 2006 – May 2007


August 2007 – May 2008


August 2008 – June 2009

141 *

August 2009 – July 2010


* This is an approximate number as data was not available from one site.

Project Rationale and Background:

Orlando Tech/ACE utilizes the Motheread® curriculum and approach to teach literacy skills to adults. We use children's books and adult poems/narratives as the basis for instruction. These texts provide a format for adult learners to develop skills in all four areas of literacy: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This curriculum uses child and family development themes for adult discussion as well.

The Motheread® curriculum best addresses/improves the skills of students with the following literacy levels. 

  • ESOL:
    • Low intermediate
    • High intermediate
    • Advanced
  • ABE:
    • Beginning ABE Literacy
    • Beginning Basic Education
    • Low Intermediate Basic Education
    • High Intermediate Basic Education
  • GED:
    • Language Arts/Reading


The program has experienced a negative reaction on the part of some participants when they start the course.  Maybe because of the Motheread®/Fatheread® name or maybe because some students are mandated to participate.  Comments have included: “I don’t have children. I know how to read. I don’t need to be here.” As time goes by, their perception has changed to a positive one as they realize and accept that their reading skills needed to be improved and that they also enjoy the class.

Another challenge is working in isolation from other sites that have been using this curriculum for various years. 

Orlando Tech/ACE has been unable to meet the needs of sites within the community that have expressed a desire to have the classes on their premises. This is due to limited teacher availability, needs of the site’s, and funding for salaries and supplies.

Part-time teachers and conflicts of schedules and responsibilities have made it difficult to meet for in-house trainings, sharing of ideas, successes and failures.

Evidence of Impact and Effectiveness:

Students have portfolios which contain the following forms: Student's Interview sheet (student’s data), Setting Goals sheet, Class Reflection sheets (done at the end of every class session), Out of Class Reading Writing Log, and examples of student's work. Additional evaluations include Class Pre & Post Evaluation and a Final Reflection sheet (done at the end of each semester). 

Feedback about the program is received from students frequently and in several forms:  and/or teachers regarding this approach/curriculum?

  • Daily Class Reflection, done at the end of each class
  • Post Evaluations and Final Reflection done at the end of the semesters.

Post evaluations indicate participants’ confidence increases and they are more comfortable with their skill set.

We also truly believe executing this curriculum has helped maintain students’ attendance in class. They look forward to their class time as they share life experiences as a result of the story themes and we are “touching their hearts” while increasing the reading skills. The lessons allow students to express themselves and talk about their past, their present and their future.

This approach has proven to be successful reaching a difficult-to-serve population. Specifically, the supplemental activities added to the lessons have become “therapeutic” to them.

Words of Advice:

This is a curriculum that teaches reading strategies and comprehension skills in a non-threatening manner. As students progress through this curriculum, they explore more about their feelings, and those of their family.  They also tend to learn more about their immediate community and society.

There is extensive research on this curriculum at and it is being used successfully in many states. Visit the websites and decide if this would enhance your existing program.

Costs and Funding:

  • Curriculum Training in area/s of interest (adult and/or children)
    • Transportation: Air fare and vehicle
    • Lodging
    • Meals

  • Children’s Books (Select titles in curriculum)
    • Students will keep books
    • Need to replenish every semester

  • Printing/Copy Services

  • Duplication of adult selections used in curriculum
  • Arts & Crafts Materials
    • Adults
    • Children (PACT)


Contact Information:

Sonia Mariani-Hendrickson
Family Literacy Coordiantor, Orlando Tech/ACE






.Florida Literacy Coalition
..235 Maitland Ave. S #102

Maitland, FL 32751
..Phone: (407)-246-7110
..Fax: (407)-246 - 7104

Florida Literacy Hotline
(800) - 237 - 5113