First Literacy Lab Grants Spotlight on Innovation

Friday, November 5, 9am -11am

First Literacy Lab grants support educators who want to test new ways to serve the adult learners in their classrooms and broaden access. Grants encourage the innovation, trial and implementation of creative Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) resources and practices that traditional funding sources do not support.

This year the Spotlight on Innovation in Adult Basic Education will showcase the new ways that the First Literacy Lab 2021 grant recipients are leveling the playing field. On November 5th from 9am to 11am the 2021 grant recipients will share how First Literacy grants are allowing them to deliver high quality, innovative programs that are changing lives. Grant recipients will also discuss how educators can implement these new programs in their own classroom.

Please note, the event will be held via Zoom. Your Zoom Webinar link will be included in your automatic registration confirmation. Please watch your email!

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Rima Rudd, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Health Literacy: Shared Responsibility

Dr. Rima Rudd has been a member of the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health for over thirty years. Her teaching and policy work are focused on health disparities and barriers to health information, services and programs. With the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy her focus was on Health Literacy and she was involved in establishing Learning Circles for Adult Educators. She has worked closely with government sectors in the United States, England, Ireland, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand and served on the original health literacy committee for the National Academies of Science and currently serves on the Round Table on Health Literacy. Her affiliation with the Institute for Health Care Advancement provides a strong grounding in health literacy practice. She is a recognized leader in the field of health literacy and is the recipient of several U.S. National Health Literacy Awards.

2021 First Literacy Lab Grant Recipient Programs and Presenters

Adding Kahoot! 
Gilbert Albert Community Center (GACC) – Dorchester
Presenter: Tom MacDonald
The GACC teaching staff intentionally and carefully integrated the Kahoot educational app into Literacy, Beginner and Low Intermediate levels of ESOL instruction.

International Institute of New England (IINE) – Boston 
Presenter: Natalie Patalano
IINE in Boston developed online infrastructure for remote make-up classes simultaneously with a system to closely track student attendance data. The new online infrastructure allowed students to practice English at home in a way that complemented in-class learning. The program was designed to mitigate enrollment and attendance barriers by providing online make-up sessions to students who are unable to attend in-person classes on a regular basis. 

Evening ESOL Tutoring for Low-Income Students
International Institute of New England (IINE) – Lowell 
Presenter: Sherry Spaulding
IINE recruited and trained ten volunteers to deliver individualized evening ESOL tutoring in Lowell to ten new ESOL students. The program served low-income, early-status refugees and immigrants who face barriers to accessing traditional day time ESOL classes due to childcare responsibilities, work schedules, or mobility or transportation issues by delivering individualized remote evening ESOL tutoring in one-hour sessions twice per week. 

Identifying Misinformation in the News 
Mujeres Unidas Avanzando (MUA) – Boston 
Presenter: Catie Shalvey
MUA sought to raise students’ awareness of the importance of verifying information, relying on trusted sources, and supporting claims with evidence while meeting the English language, digital literacy, and College and Career Readiness standards outlined in MUA’s ESOL Program’s Scope and Sequence. The final result was a student-produced “newsletter,” demonstrating student progress in English writing, grammar, and vocabulary, while applying the knowledge they acquired to verify information and share opinions.

TEAMS Teacher Mentoring  
The Care Center and Holyoke Community College Adult Learning Center – Holyoke 
Presenter: Allison Reid
With this project the Care Center sought to create a culture of educator growth and support in two HSE programs. The short term goal was to help teachers develop a goal they identified to improve their teaching practice, then to pilot a new model for teacher mentoring more broadly. 

The Connection Project: Multi-Media Blogging for English Language Learners 
YMCA of Greater Boston – International Learning Center – Boston
Presenters: Grace Murry and Sarah Poole 
The YMCA ILC established a class to help students explore personal expression through digital media. The ultimate result, titled “The Connection Project,” is a website where students can browse other students’ work and share it across different platforms. Students learned various types of digital media including personal essays, photography, podcasting, and video editing. 

Join our mailing list to receive information about First Literacy Lab Grants. You can also find resources and materials from these funded projects on our Resources for Educators page.

For more information about First Literacy Lab Grants, contact Bryan McCormick, Program Director, at 617.482.3336 x113 or