It’s Never Too Late is a Philadelphia-based grassroots initiative that is dedicated to helping adult non-readers achieve the basic skills needed to cope with the text in their everyday lives.
Our initiative is now being sponsored by the Friends of the Kingsessing Library and is called Adults CAN Learn to READ.
Currently, the resources for those who want to learn to read are extremely limited. Many of these individuals are directed to Adult Basic Education classes where, without basic reading skills, the curriculum is too advanced. Then the student, who had the courage to give it another try, feels left behind and like a failure all over again. In many cases, the teacher also feels frustrated and inadequate because it is impossible to successfully teach non-readers in the midst of a larger class intended for those reading at least at third grade level.
Some programs offer one-on-one tutors to address the need of adult non-readers. One-on-one instruction can be costly, but even if the tutor is a volunteer, it is difficult to find and assign an instructor to every student, especially in areas with a large population of non-readers. In addition, tutors and teachers may be very dedicated and well-intentioned, but often lack appropriate training to effectively teach beginning readers.
We have created an instructional model that utilizes low-cost materials and is centered around group learning. It uses a decoding program that can be learned and used easily by both teachers and tutors.
The hope is to have this model implemented at various sites around Philadelphia to give those who have previously given up, and those who cannot be adequately served by Adult Basic Education (ABE) and ESL classes, the chance to succeed with their reading.
Our goal is to fill the gap that now exists in adult literacy instruction. We want our beginning reader students, as quickly as possible, to be able to read well enough to successfully join ABE classes.