Texas Literacy Programs

Texas Literacy in Learning collects an initial $25 fee for adults involved in our program. The fee includes practice tests, workbooks, and materials for the adult participant. We expect the fee to be paid upon orientation and it may be paid in installments if necessary.

Each person enrolled with TLL receives invaluable help. The longer someone is involved, the more value they receive. TLL has a limited number of spaces available at any time. Someone who begins but drops out without notifying the TLL may lose their spot to another participant.

English Language Learning (ELL)

Texas Literacy in Learning provides beginner and advanced English Language Learning programs (ELL) to adults with limited English skills.

  • Learn to read, speak, and write in English
  • Learn Civic opportunities and responsibilities
  • Prepare for Citizenship tests
  • Learn to use Computers
  • Develop Health literacy skills

Adult students meet in small groups or with volunteer Tutors in one on one environments. To get matched with a Tutor, adults must first complete orientation, offered in each of our resource centers throughout the year.

We use the Test of Adult Basic Education-English (TABE-E) to assess students before matching them with a Tutor or enrolling them in a group.

Our (ELL) program helps students transition into their community, learning the language and about their opportunities and responsibilities. Long-term participation in our ELL program can serve as a catalyst to earning U.S. citizenship.

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

Adult Basic Education is for people who already speak English but want to improve their reading and writing or math.

  • Learn to read and write better in English
  • Learn basic computer skills
  • Improve basic math skills
  • Work on employment skills
  • Basic household budgeting

Texas Literacy in Learning provides tutoring to local adults who want to improve their English reading, writing, and basic math skills in order to complete education and secure employment. 

Adult Basic Education 

Adult students work with trained volunteer tutors to develop basic reading, writing and math skills, depending on the student’s needs and interests.

Already Have a Diploma?

Since one of our goals is helping adults develop the skills necessary to obtain (better) employment and more wages, we’ll still help you even if you already have a high school diploma or a job.

All adults registering for help must pay an initial $25 fee, and complete a 3-week Orientation to qualify for a Tutor match. Orientation takes place in each of our resource centers throughout the year, and includes paperwork, testing, and goal-setting.

Critical Multiculturalism

Maria Greene writes: “The thing that moves most people is not the abstract notion of justice, but the feeling that things aren’t fair” (2006, p. 40).  When placed in the role of victim, students no longer sympathize about what might or might not be unfair; instead they inherently feel what is unfair and the reactions and consequences for the classroom can be profound. The impacts of globalization and diversity are causing educators to go further in their pursuit of inclusionary, culturally appropriate and relevant pedagogy.   There is a need to move from “’celebratory’ to ‘critical’ or ‘insurgent’ multicultural art education and to increasingly acknowledge and embrace changing transcultural migratory experiences” (Chalmers, 2002, p. 293).

While both Art and Literacy teachers recognize the need to develop culturally relevant pedagogy that is inclusive of a global culture, there is often very little interaction between the Art and Literacy teacher when it comes to the delivery of critical multiculturalism within the classroom.  Art is a cultural narrative and when presenting critical literacy within the confines of either the Art of Literacy classroom, the creation of artwork should be seamlessly intertwined with the delivery of text and writing. “A critical approach to multicultural literature promotes not only the pleasure and importance of reading as a cultural skill, but also encourages students to identify the issues raised in the books and questions the ideologies that the stories are based upon in terms of authentic vs. stereotypical depictions” (Reisberg, Brander, & Gruenwald, 2006, p. 121). The Art and Literacy teacher should work in tandem to present similar ideas, themes, and subjects at the same time to enhance learning and oral, written, and visual literacies by the constant interchange of information.

Lessons that encompass critical literacy, critical multiculturalism, and art have three main parts:

  1. Reading a narrative about a culture wherein the characters are given dignity.
  2. Creating artwork that provides for the opportunity for a personal connection to culture.
  3. An opportunity for reflection (written/visual/oral) wherein students can safely share

Basic Computer Skills

Texas Literacy in Learning provides basic computer help to local adults. It is a slow-paced program to help people become comfortable using tablets and laptops.

  • Learn to use a computer
  • Set up an e-mail account
  • Use the Internet
  • Create a resume
  • Search for jobs online

Foundation grants and individual donations enabled us to purchase new laptops and tablets to offer basic computer skills. Another grant enabled us to purchase DynEd licenses.

We work with any adult 18 and older to teach them basic computer skills, from turning on a computer to establishing e-mail, safely searching the Internet, and applying for jobs.

Visual Literacy

Visual literacy is often thought to be the simplistic idea of reading a picture.  While this is true, visual literacy requires the viewer to be multiliterate; they must read and comprehend the visual literacy, media literacy, oral and written literacies (Maniaci & Chandler-Olcott, 2010).  The development of visual and aesthetic culture as an actual area of study is now widely encouraged by classroom Art teachers.  The purpose of the study of visual culture is to examine the reasons, manners, and purposes behind the daily images with which humans interact.  In order to fully participate in the world, students must interact with visual culture, and through this, develop a visual literacy that is both useful and meaningful to them. The development of this literacy is natural and driven by the learner, and his/her desire to interact in the world.  It is an easy and practical jump to incorporate this already existing schema of literacy into both the Art classroom and into literacy instruction. 

The most simplistic way in which to develop visual literacy into a stronger form of oral and written literacy is to teach students to “read” images.  The exercise is one frequently utilized by thousands of Art teachers across the country.  The Art teacher presents the class with an image and asks leading prompts about the image, encouraging the students to “read” the image to identify theme, subject, emotions, and metaphors. The point of this exercise is typically to introduce the students to a new artist and/or a new artistic style.  This exercise, however, could be easily shifted to encourage more practical literacy skills. For instance, the teacher could aid students to make the translation of the skills to the regular classroom by asking how they already, or might in the future, use the skills they just utilized in a literacy class.  Another manner in which this exercise could be utilized is in a pre-reading/pre-writing manner.  The teacher presents the image which is in some thematic and or subject-based way related to a reading material and/or writing prompt.  The teacher could encourage the students undergo the exercise, and then upon reading and/or writing link the student identifiers about the artwork alongside the reading/writing instruction.

Lessons with a strong visual literacy core help students to read an image, and then model how the student can translate visual literacy skills to traditional and multimodal literacy skills. Such lessons can be as simplistic as “reading” and image and creating something similar, and/or can be something as complex as subverting traditional visual aesthetics as demonstrated by street artists such as Banksy and Mr. Brainwash.

Health Literacy

Health literacy is the ability to understand and use health information to make good decisions about health and medical care. Health information can overwhelm people with advanced literacy skills. About a third of the adult U.S. population has limited health literacy.

  • Find out where to get health care in your community
  • Learn how to talk to your doctor
  • Find easy to read health information
  • Find out about available health care resources and services

With a grant from the Security Health Plan Foundation awarded in 2014, TLL developed a HEALTH BINGO game delivered at community meal sites throughout the state of Texas. Several hundred people experience the game each week, learning about exercise, nutrition, prevention, community resources, and numbers.

Because health and health care is a topic of interest for many people, many literacy programs integrate health literacy into basic adult education programs and English language services.

Integrating health information into our programs is a great way to help learners learn and practice new literacy skills, including:

  • Identify important health information from many sources
  • Evaluate health information for credibility and quality
Document Use
  • Fill out medical and consent forms
  • Read warning signs
  • Read food labels
  • Read exercise diagrams
  • Read medicine bottle instructions
  • Calculate medicine dosages
  • Determine body mass index (BMI)
  • Determine a serving size of food
  • Track symptoms over time
Oral Communication
  • Explain concerns and symptoms accurately to health professionals
  • Ask health questions
  • Understand spoken medical advice or treatment directions
Working with Others
  • Develop relationships with health professionals
Thinking Skills
  • Locate health information
  • Make decisions about health
  • Remember health and medical information
  • Analyze relative risks and benefits
  • Manage a healthy lifestyle and finding time to exercise, reduce stress, and eat well
  • Manage a chronic disease
Computer Use
  • Search the Internet for health information and evaluate websites
Continuous Learning
  • There is always more to learn about how to be healthy or how to manage a chronic disease.

Multimodal Literacy

If the first experiences children have with literacy are visual, then this is surely a theme that continues as they become adolescents as the world in which we all interact is increasingly digital and thus based on multimodal forms of literacy. Adolescent learners are constantly exposed to multimodal texts such as e-readers, comics, graphic novels, illustrated books, magazines, newspapers, video games, textbooks, and websites (Serafini, 2011). As such, adolescent learners must rely upon a whole series of skills when interacting with multiple forms of literacy in order to participate not only in school but in their leisure time; “multimodal texts dominate what mid-high students read outside of school” (Serafini, 2011, p. 2). The skills students must develop for usage of these literacies are not just based on the logic of time and temporal sequence needed for written literacy, but also based on the spatiality, composition, and similarity needed to read visual information (Serafini, 2011).

The concern here is how do Literacy and Art teachers and students in the development of multimodal literacy? In some ways, the answer is simple as students are constantly developing this form of literacy for themselves through their pursuit of leisure activities such as internet usage, video game playing, and texting. Due to the consistent development of multimodal literacy through the pursuit of leisure activities, it is easy to dismiss the development of the skill for teachers as unnecessary. Yet, many of my middle school aged students have difficulty identifying the URL bar on a browser window and are frequently perplexed when not redirected to a website when they type the URL into an internet search engine. The answer to this problem is that students are having trouble reading the visual cues on the screen and this could be related to spatial difficulties. The simplest ways in which to overcome the multimodal illiteracy is to present students with multiple forms of media interaction from digital art to reading online newspapers.

Lessons inclusive of multimodal literacy provide students with multiple literary entry points from traditional literacy, oral literacy, to aural literacy, to digital literacy, to visual literacy. Quality multimodal lessons challenge students to utilize one or more forms of literacy to compose a final work of an entirely different literacy. For example, Students might use traditional book research and visual images to create a digital presentation about a topic.