Rend Lake College has been selected as one of 10 sites in Illinois which will participate in an effort to gather research on improving the reading skills of the more than 2.6 million adults in the state who lack basic reading abilities.
This facet of Project STAR will focus on a group of adult learners whose reading skills fall between the grade levels of four and 8.9, according to Jay Brooks, RLC’s director of Adult Education and Family Literacy. Yvonne Hallam, Workforce Coordinator for Adult Ed and Family Literacy, will be heavily involved in the project.
Illinois is one of only six states selected to participate in this research-gathering effort, with the others being Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Maine, Connecticut and Ohio. Of the Illinois sites, Rend Lake College is one of only three in the southern region, joining John A. Logan College and Southwestern Illinois College.
Brooks added that there has been extensive research on how best to teach children and adolescents, but precious little research done on this particular group. Project STAR is aimed at providing that research to create more organized and effective ways of teaching adult learners.
According to Brooks, planning for the project began in April 2004, with a specific goal of addressing the particular needs of intermediate-level adult readers.
“We’re really excited to get in on the ground floor of this project,” Brooks said. “It’s going to be such an important tool in teaching intermediate readers.”
Hallam will receive training for her part in the project, which will include administering reading tool kits aimed at assessing the adult learners’ skill levels in the areas of alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Hallam will then work with the students to address their deficiencies in these areas.
“The main goal is to assess the student properly first,” said Brooks.
For more information on Project STAR, contact Brooks at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1245, or call toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321, Ext. 1245.