ProLiteracy Conference

2017 Minneapolis Save the Date front

Next week some of the Literacy Coalition staff, including Justin DeBrosse, Director of Instructional Quality and English Forward Master Trainer, will be attending the 2017 ProLiteracy Conference in Minneapolis. We’ll be looking for presentations on ESL, instructor training, career pathways, work-readiness and Integrated Education and Training.

If you’re there and you see us be sure to say hello! 

English Forward and AmeriCorps

AmeriCorpsTX logoThis month brings the start of the program year for the Texas Family Literacy AmeriCorps program, another program here at the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas. Through our AmeriCorps program, we’re able to place 9 AmeriCorps members teaching ESL at 7 different sites in central Texas, along with 10 AmeriCorps members placed in ESL programs in Houston through the Houston Center for Literacy. These members complete the English Forward Instructor Training as part of their training before they start teaching, and gain access to the Literacy Forward Web Portal, the English Forward Curriculum, and a suite of other resources to support them in their instruction. 

We are excited to welcome this year’s AmeriCorps members, and we look forward to supporting them during their year of service!

AmeriCorps member positions are still available through Texas Family Literacy AmeriCorps. To learn more about the available positions, along with any other staff positions open at the Literacy Coalition, click here.

Integrating Career Awareness

With the advent of WIOA, many ESL programs are searching for workforce readiness resources to incorporate into their classes. For the last two years, The Literacy Coalition of Central Texas has used Integrating Career Awareness, a free curriculum from National College Transition Network. We highly recommend it as a quality resource for topics relevant to career and education exploration, with chapters on:

Self Exploration: soft skills and work value inventories

Occupational Exploration: researching career fields, informational interviews, workers’ rights

Career Planning: goal setting, education requirements, exploring education options, financial empowerment

Our instructors have used the English Forward Lesson Flow to tailor ICA lessons specifically to their ESL classes. What workforce resources are you incorporating into your ESL programs?

English Forward Planning Session

Advisors Photo

From left to right: Stephen Reder, Heide Spruck Wrigley, Meg Poag (Literacy Coalition CEO), David Rosen, and Helen Priest (Adult Education Support Specialist.

Earlier this month the English Forward team was lucky enough to get to spend two days with some great minds in adult education! Stephen Reder, David Rosen, and Heide Spruck Wrigley joined our team here in Austin, Texas, to talk through some of the major questions faced by English Forward and adult educators around the country. The result was that a) the English Forward team left with MORE to think about after the planning, not less, and b) we have been able to develop a way forward. We’re working to make the English Forward training more accessible to more programs and create a suite of new training and resources to help instructors work with their students to achieve their goals!

Thank you to Stephen, David, and Heide for dedicating some of their time to our work and our community!

Supporting Students in the Current Political Climate

       In light of immigration policies and rhetoric this year, we have heard extensive conversation among our English Forward partners about how to best serve and support clients in this context.  Here at the Literacy Coalition of Central TX (English Forward's home base), one early step we took was to articulate our values to our clients and community via our Position Statement
       Our deeply held values influence every aspect of our relationship with our clients. Specifically as ESL service providers, these values have shaped the English Forward curriculum and instructor training model. English Forward's resources help to empower students to advocate for themselves by navigating the English language and cultural landscapes within the US. Our teaching model aims to promote a class setting in which students' voices are given primacy, and their goals, strengths, and needs shape the class in an integral way.   
       What are some ways you've sought to empower your students in the classroom? What are some classroom resources that have helped you do so? Thanks for sharing!

Adult Education Content Standards

Texas AEL Cover

How familiar are you with the content standards that inform what’s taught in adult ESL classrooms?

The English Forward team has recently been spending time reviewing state and national standards to ensure that our work reflects national trends in adult education and to inform the work we’ll be doing throughout 2017-2018. We’ve provided links to several state and national standards below. Be sure to review your state’s standards. You might be surprised at how English Forward and the other content you bring into your classrooms align with your state’s standards!

Texas Adult Education and Literacy Content Standards – 

National English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education 

Texas College and Career Readiness Standards 

National College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education 

TESOL Adult Education Standards 

Capital Metro Transportation Lessons

Pages from CapMetro Lesson 1 Using CapMetro Maps

Today we're releasing a special set of lessons. Thanks to a grant from the Transit Empowerment Fund and Capital Metro, the Austin area's public transit provider.

The English Forward team has created a set of 4 lessons on how to use the CapMetro Transit System and the CapMetro App. Our goal is for these lessons to be used to help students more effectively use the local transit system to travel around central Texas to school, work, training, or anywhere else they might need to go! We have also created a set of 3 lessons for ABE/GED students on the same topics. 

Click here to be taken to the lessons!  

NOTE: These lessons are open to the public and can be used by anyone in central Texas to teach about the CapMetro System and CapMetro App. If you reside outside of central Texas, you are welcome to take these lessons and adapt them however you see fit to teach your learners about your local public transit system. 

English Forward Intermediate Curriculum

 1.Int Curr CoverThe Intermediate English Forward Curriculum has been released! There are 29 lessons across six units covering topics like Active Listening at Work, Budgets, Understanding Rental Agreements, Furthering Your Education, Job Interviews, and many others meant to prepare students to succeed in situations they face in every day life and at work. 

Special thanks to Enrique Childress, Justin DeBrosse, Alexia Estes, Abbey Flores, Karen Green, Rebecca Koval, Cathy Martin, and Amanda Pincock for their contributions! 

To access the Intermediate English Forward Curriculum, log in and click on the 'Curriculum' menu item. These lessons also come with a ton of Supplemental Materials! Click on 'For the Classroom' to be taken to all of the Supplemental Materials! 

Changes to the Literacy Forward Web Portal

We've been making changes to the Literacy Forward Web Portal over the last few days in preparation for the release of the Intermediate English Forward Curriculum. We will continue to make changes this week. If you notice any errors or if you have any questions, let us know by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Teaching German to Syrian Refugees

We wanted to take some time today to draw your attention to some really interesting research on how languages are learned happening in Germany. Two researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences are studying how to best teach German as a second language while at the same time helping Syrian refugees in Germany become more proficient in German and better able to find work, access education, and participate in their communities. While the research is still being conducted, the results could have an impact on our understanding of how languages are learned, and, of course, how to best teach our students. 

To learn more, click here to be taken to the original article, published by NPR. 



English Forward and the Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon

literacy council of lancaster lebanon

The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon has been an English Forward partner since July 2015, and we wanted to take a moment to share some of the great work they're doing. They have recently published the Winter 2017 edition of The Literacy Line, their quarterly newsletter. Linda Cullen, the ESL Services Coordinator, writes about what English Forward has helped their program to achieve and encourages readers to get involved and participate in a training. We are proud to have the Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon as a partner and the great work they have been able to accomplish. 


To access the newsletter, click here

English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education

ELP StandardsLast month, the American Institutes for Research released the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education. These standards should help inform the instruction we provide by ensuring that the content of the lessons we teach match the standards. The report also includes information on how the standards correlate with College and Career Readiness standards for Language Arts and Literacy, and Mathematical and Science Practices.

Click here to learn more and read the report.  

Literacy Coalition of Central Texas

LCCT HiRes logo with tagline   full color

English Forward is just one of the programs that make up the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, our parent organization. The Literacy Coalition improves the quality and increases the availability of literacy services for Central Texans.

To learn more about the Literacy Coalition, go to or click here.

Intermediate English Forward Curriculum Development

At the beginning of this month, we officially launched the development of the Intermediate-Level English Forward Curriculum. For this project, we're relying on the expertise of the national English Forward Community. As incentives, anyone who contributes the first draft of a lesson receives a $20 Amazon gift card, and if they work with us to complete the final version of the lesson they receive an additional $50 Amazon gift card

The curriculum will contain six units on the following topics:

  • Health
  • Jobs/Workforce Readiness
  • School
  • Finances
  • Everyday Living
  • Your Community

To learn more about this project and how you can participate, go to

Chicago English Forward Institute

14124893 1160269897368123 6892318397560043594 o

The Chicago English Forward Institute wrapped up a little less than two weeks ago and we couldn't be happier! We were joined by 18 participants from 10 different organizations around the country. We're excited for the participants to use English Forward to strengthen their programming back in communities and grow the English Forward Community as they train their instructors.

A special thank you to LiteracyWorks for hosting the English Forward team at the Literacenter, which is operated by the Chicago Literacy Alliance

English Forward Lesson Template

English Forward Lesson TemplateLast week we released another new resource here on the Literacy Forward Web Portal. In order to facilitate instructors creating their own lessons using the English Forward Lesson Flow, we've released the English Forward Lesson Template along with a rubric for instructors to evaluate their own lessons. The template itself is editable so that instructors can put their lesson right into the template. 

The template and associated resources were created as part of the development process for the Intermediate Level of the English Forward Curriculum, which we are developing with the help of the national English Forward Community. 

To access the Template and additional resources, log in to the portal and click on "Curriculum". You'll find everything you need right under the Introduction to the Curriculum!