Technology is used at workplaces, in healthcare, and at home to make lives easier, better, and more efficient. The tech marketplace is full of innovative ways to address challenges and improve people’s lives. For adult literacy organizations, the possibilities are exciting. The Barbara Bush Foundation partnered with Dollar General Literacy Foundation to offer a $7 million prize that spurred the development of technologies aimed at improving adult literacy.

The READ Center also recognized the benefits and reacted to the importance of technology in the lives of students. READ began a computer literacy program, IXL, last year. IXL allows students to take the things they have learned in the classroom and apply them through different exercises. It is a practical way for students to enhance their skills and enables READ teachers and tutors to tailor individual student plans for growth.

READ teachers have seen the benefit. The READ class that meets at Career Works on Cary Street uses the program every week. “I have thoroughly enjoyed using IXL in my classroom. IXL enables me to work on each student’s individual skills, regardless of his/her reading ability,” says Mary Jamison, who teaches the class. “I use the program to practice and reinforce skills that we work on in the classroom. IXL also helps to identify and target individual trouble spots.”

Students enjoy IXL because it gives them a metric by which to measure their progress. It also provides flexibility to learn in ways that suit their needs. “Students are able to work on their assigned skills not only in the classroom but also at home or even on their cell phones. IXL keeps a record of each student’s progress and makes individual recommendations for practice on ‘next step’ skills,” Mary explains.

Asked about student outcomes, Mary adds, “Students really seem to enjoy the engaging audio and visual format. I have seen a marked improvement in my students’ literacy skills which has also had a favorable impact on their social skills.”

The READ Center is changing lives through adult literacy. For more information on how you can get involved with the READ Center, consider volunteering as a tutor or donating. If you or someone you know would like more information about joining our classes, learn how to become a student or call 804-288-9930.