Literacy Forward is not made up of static materials in book form but rather it is an instructional approach that is adaptable to the goals of each individual learner. A key feature of the instructional philosophy is the inclusion of authentic materials, including flyers, announcements, household bills, and grocery inserts. Authentic materials engage learners by tying instruction to learners' real-world lives. By showing teachers how to maximize the use of materials that learners encounter in their everyday lives, instruction is kept fresh, engaging, and most importantly, relevant.
English Forward, the first phase of Literacy Forward, focuses specifically on training ESL teachers. The Literacy Coalition of Central Texas worked collaboratively with partner literacy providers to assess their needs and design a centralized ESL training-of-trainers. To assist in the creation of the training-of-trainers, the LCCT enlisted Dr. Heide Wrigley of Literacywork International, the foremost national expert in the field.
While English Forward initially launched with basic instructor trainings, the system has expanded to include topic-specific literacy trainings, an ESL classroom curriculum for the first 60 to 100 hours of instruction for adult ESL students, and other classroom resources, such as video teaching demonstrations. English Forward has also added an online web portal where instructors can access the English Forward materials and curriculum, an ESL teaching blog, classroom videos, teaching tips, and timely lesson plans.
Heide Spruck Wrigley, PhD is Senior Researcher and President of Literacywork International, a small independent social science research firm focused on education and training for vulnerable youth and adults. She has been key in a number of large scale national studies involving limited English proficient adults, including the What Works for Adult ESL study and the National Adult ESL Literacy Demonstration Project.
Currently, she is advising and providing technical assistance to projects across the United States and internationally. These include the Gates Foundation-funded English Innovations project in Seattle, Washington, the BTOP Learner Web project in Portland, Oregon, the Carlos Rosario International Adult ESL Public Charter School in Washington, DC, the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (I-BEST), and the Illinois Coalition on Immigrant and Refugee Rights. She is a consultant with Jobs for the Future focusing on Career Pathways and Contextualized Learning and a non-resident fellow with the Migration Policy Institute. Her current international work is centered around professional development for teachers of English for Special Purposes for vulnerable youth in Rwanda.