Letter from the TCALL Director
Our annual Success Stories issue never fails to inspire everyone here at TCALL. In our role as the state literacy resource center – tucked away on a remote, rural sub-campus of Texas A&M University – we seldom have the privilege to witness firsthand the struggles and triumphs of adult learners. Unlike teachers and program leaders on the “front lines” of literacy, we can rarely observe and give direct support to adults and families as they overcome obstacles to learning, growth, and achievement in literacy programs. We envy you that privilege. But it does inspire us to work all the harder in our efforts to support teachers, volunteers, tutors, program leaders, and literacy coalitions and organizations with our library of resources, research and development activities, and with our services such as email discussion lists, professional development support for literacy educators and state leadership, and with this publication.
On this page, you will see a graphic recognition of an important milestone in TCALL’s history. December 2009 will mark the 20th anniversary of TCALL’s establishment by the Texas A&M University Board of Regents as a center of the university, with the stated purpose to “reduce the incidence of adult illiteracy in Texas”. In a staff mission and vision retreat a few years back, we decided to rephrase our mission in a more positive light – to provide leadership and service to those meeting the literacy needs of adult learners and their families. This fall, TCALL will celebrate 20 years of service to Texas literacy educators with a reception honoring both the anniversary and our six new doctoral research fellows at TCALL for the coming academic year. When the date is set for that reception, we will invite you all via our statewide email discussion lists. If you can’t attend in person, we hope you will celebrate with us in spirit – just as we celebrate with you in spirit when your learners and your programs accomplish great things all over our state.
Success stories in this issue of The Quarterly are grouped into four sections. You will read the stories of adult learners’ successes in their own words. For these articles, we made the editorial decision to correct typos and spelling errors. Otherwise, to honor the writers’ voices, adult learners’ words remain essentially as they were submitted. Teachers or tutors write of adult learner or classroom successes of which they have been a part. Accounts of program successes are featured in building literacy coalitions, providing home libraries for families who live in poverty, and a chocolate-covered collaboration for English as a Second Language instruction in the workplace. The last section of articles shares successes realized by statewide initiatives. Professional development initiatives are described that support effective instruction for all adult learners – and evidence-based reading instruction specifically for intermediate-level adult basic education students. The second to the last article in that section describes the successes being realized by the Disaster Recovery Grant initiative of The Barbara Bush Texas Fund for Family Literacy, which has helped nine literacy programs recover from natural disasters that occurred in the latter half of 2008.
Finally, don’t miss the resources described in Welcome to Our Library and Free Things to Send For sections. In this issue, we are featuring resources to support adult learner transitions to college, including a number of resources to build the math skills needed to succeed in college. And as always, family literacy resources are featured – both loan materials and free publications – available to you from our library by mail.
Harriet Vardiman Smith