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Summary of Online Discussion on Teaching Writing to Adult English Language Learners

Below is a summary of an electronic discussion that took place on the Adult English Language discussion list, May 7-11, 2007. The discussion list is part of the National Institute for Literacy's Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) and is moderated by staff at the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition at the Center for Applied Linguistics.

For information about subscribing to the adult English language discussion list or to read current and past postings, go to

To read background information about the discussion, click here.

To read about the guest facilitator, Sharon McKay, click here.

If you wish to read or reread the individual postings from this discussion you can access them from the National Institute for Literacy’s Web site at and looking at the “Read Current Posted Messages” section.  From there you can search by  date, thread, subject, or author.  The postings are included with some other topics between posting numbers 1263 and 1304. 

This discussion generated two major topic threads throughout the week. Participants contributed and responded to ideas of what works in teaching writing to beginning and literacy students. Ideas for literacy included kinesthetic support to include tracing letters and moving letters to form words. Collaborative and scaffold writing for beginners offered the support of partners and structured examples. Several participants indicated a clear need for discussion and materials to support teaching writing for beginning ESL students. 

The second topic thread arose as a discussion of writing standards for ESL writers. Participants from Maryland and Massachusetts offered links and information about their state writing standards. A participant noted the link for the U.S. Department of Education Adult Education Content Standards Warehouse.  The discussion of writing sample analysis and rubric development segued well into the next topic, Content Standards

If you have questions or comments about this discussion or about teaching writing to adult English language learners, please contact

Lynda Terrill
Adult English Language Learners electronic discussion list moderator
July 2007