Woman helping adult reader with worksheet

Adult Literacy Center Develops New Reading Interventions

by Claire Miller

For adults who struggle to read, simple tasks like sifting through help-wanted ads and reading newspaper articles become daunting.

Professor Daphne Greenberg is working with researchers at the University of Toronto, the Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Memphis, the Institute for Intelligent Systems and Brock University to better understand what prevents struggling adult readers from improving their reading proficiency and how to help them progress.

Greenberg’s research team has already conducted initial assessments with 500 adults and is in the process of designing and testing reading interventions, including a web-based instructional program called AutoTutor.

In AutoTutor, adult learners interact with a computer teacher and computer student that call the learners by their first names and encourage them to practice specific scenarios – like filling out job applications – that put their literacy lessons into real-world contexts.

“It’s always exciting to see the connections between research and practice. We’re grateful to all the adult literacy students and practitioners who make this work possible,” Greenberg said.