Written communication is an important skill in today’s world. To meet this important literacy need, the Redlands Adult Literacy Program has initiated a series of writing workshops to help adult learners improve their writing skills. The workshops have been designed to help parents communicate with their children’s teachers through email or texting applications. The writing workshops are also tailored to learners who need help finding jobs or want to improve their job skills. Many of these learners have found that employers frequently require them to complete writing skills tests as part of their job applications, or while employed, to communicate effectively in emails and written reports. Adult learners who face the challenge of communicating in writing have enthusiastically enrolled into the writing workshops.
Instructor Kim Green has adapted pre-pandemic in-person writing strategies to a virtual format and has transformed Zoom meetings into interactive, safe, friendly places to share ideas and learn from one another. By practicing their writing in a safe environment, adult learners gain skills enabling them to communicate with educators, health professionals, or employers with confidence. The workshops augment the one-to-one tutoring sessions the learners have with their tutors.
Ms. Green explained, “I designed the virtual writing classes to offer learning opportunities for and be inclusive of participants at varying levels of literacy proficiency… Starting with the first workshop last fall, it’s been gratifying to see the supportive environment and camaraderie that already existed in our in-person classes quickly emerge on Zoom. There is a mutual respect and appreciation for each other, and as a result, participants are willing to share their writing at every stage, from their early brainstorming ideas all the way through to full paragraphs.”
Both tutors and adult learners benefit from attending the workshops. Tutors learn strategies that they can implement in their tutoring sessions, and learners practice new writing skills and enjoy the sense of community that is built as class participants share their writings with one another.
The writing classes are interactive and provide time and space for creativity. Every class begins with a pre-writing activity. Tutor Teresa Wong Stein shared that she found Kim’s teaching methods very helpful. She appreciated the way that Kim would always provide an example so that class participants could imagine what each writing assignment could look like.
Writing templates and worksheets provide a simple, accessible means for class participants to start their own writing projects. As Sheron Bealer observed, “The structure of the course makes it easy to participate. The lessons are broken down to simple steps that make writing fun and something we each can accomplish.” Adult learner Tanya Jauregui shared that the prewriting template helped her to brainstorm ideas for her writing. Tutor Jeanne Fortier added, “I have watched adult learners who attend the writing workshops grow in confidence and help others who need assistance. I am impressed with how hard they work on assignments.”
Marilyn Bean shared, “As a literacy volunteer, I appreciate how completely Kim Green breaks down the writing process. Her instruction helps me to be a better tutor in the learning process. The Library has a strong literacy program for those wishing to grow in their ability to read and write. It is a privilege to be part of the program.”
The Redlands Adult Literacy Program seeks additional volunteers who can help motivated adults improve their reading and writing. If you know of someone who needs help in reading and writing, please encourage them to take the first step in changing their lives by contacting the Redlands Adult Literacy Program. The program provides the opportunity for free, one-on-one tutoring and literacy classes such as the writing workshops. If you would like to learn more about the program, please contact Diane Shimota, Adult Literacy Coordinator, at 909.798.7565, ext. 4138 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Redlands Adult Literacy Program, please visit the adult literacy website: akspl.org/literacy.