CE  Vol.3 No.3 , June 2012
"Alpha Plus": An Innovative Training Program for Reading and Writing Education of Functionally Illiterate Adults
Abstract: We describe and evaluate the effectiveness of a reading and writing training program for German functionally illiterate adults. The program “AlphaPlus” consists of the following modules: 1) training of basic perceptual abilities with the BrainBoy?/Audio-Trainer AT-3000; 2) training of brain-hemisphere coordination in the processing of spoken and written language (“Lateraltrainer”); 3) training of phoneme discrimination (“Lautdiskriminationstrainer”); 4) training of reading and writing skills with pen and paper- based material; 5) use of the learning portal developed by the German Volk-shochschulverband (VHS); 6) social activities such as cooking, shopping etc.; 7) three weeks internship at possible employers. The effectiveness of the training was investigated in two courses of 18 participants each. Reading and spelling abilities of the participants improved significantly. Thus, it can be concluded that the program is effective in teaching reading and spelling to functionally illiterate adults. Further research is needed to evaluate the respective contribution of the different modules to the observed gains in reading and spelling abilities.
Cite this paper: Russeler, J. , Menkhaus, K. , Aulbert-Siepelmeyer, A. , Gerth, I. & Boltzmann, M. (2012). "Alpha Plus": An Innovative Training Program for Reading and Writing Education of Functionally Illiterate Adults. Creative Education, 3, 357-361. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.33056.

[1]   Baydar, N., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Furstenberg, F. F. (1993). Early warning signs of functional illiteracy: Predictors in childhood and adolescence. Child Development, 64, 815-829. doi:10.2307/1131220

[2]   Blau, V., van Attefeldt, N., Ekkebus, M., Goebel, R., & Blomert, L. (2009). Reduced neural integration of letters and speech sounds links phonological and reading deficits in adult dyslexia. Current Biology, 19, 503-508. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.01.065

[3]   D?bert, M., & Hubertus, P. (2000). Reading is their problem: Functional illiteracy in Germany (Ihr kreuz ist die schrift: Analphabetismus und alphabetisierung in Deutschland). URL (last checked 20 April 2012).

[4]   Eme, E. (2011). Cognitive and psycholinguistic skills of adults who are functionally illiterate: Current state of research and implications for adult education. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 53, 752-763.

[5]   Fischer, B., & Hartnegg, K. (2004). On the development of low-level auditory discrimination and deficits in dyslexia. Dyslexia, 10, 105- 118. doi:10.1002/dys.268

[6]   Greenberg, D., Ehri, L. C., & Perin, D. (1997). Are word reading processes the same or different in adult literacy students and third-fifth graders matched for reading level? Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 262-275. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.89.2.262

[7]   Grotlüschen, A., & Riekmann, W. (2011). Leo level one—Studie, presseheft. URL (last checked 23 January 2012).

[8]   Kirsch, I. S., Jungeblut, A., Jenkins, L., & Kolstad, A. (1993). Adult literacy in America: A first look at the results of the national adult literacy survey. Washington DC: US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

[9]   Küspert, P., & Schneider, W. (1998). Würzburg silent reading test (Würzburger leise lese probe). G?ttingen, LS: Hogrefe.

[10]   May, P. (2001). Hamburger writing test (Hamburger schreibprobe). Hamburg: Vpm Lernbuch-Verlag.

[11]   Moll, K., & Landerl, K. (2010). Reading and writing test (SLRT-II. Leseund rechtschreibtest). Bern: Huber.

[12]   Müller, R. (2003a). Diagnostic writing test for 1st grade students (Diagnostischer rechtschreibtest für 1. klassen). Weinheim, BW: BeltzPVU.

[13]   Müller, R. (2003b). Diagnostic writing test for 2nd grade students (Diagnostischer rechtschreibtest für 2. klassen) (4th ed.). Weinheim, BW: BeltzPVU.

[14]   OECD and Statistics Canada (2000). Literacy in the information age: Final report of the International Adult Literacy Survey. Paris and Ottawa: OECD Publishing.

[15]   Ptok, M. (2000). Auditory processing deficits and dyslexia (Auditive verarbeitungsund wahrnehmungsst?rungen und legasthenie). Hessisches ?rzteblatt, 2, 52-54.

[16]   Reis, A., Guerreiro, M., & Petersson, K. M. (2003). A sociodemographic and neuropsychological characterization of an illiterate population. Applied Neuropsychology, 10, 191-204. doi:10.1207/s15324826an1004_1

[17]   Sch?ffler, T., Sonntag, J., Hartnegg, K., & Fischer, B. (2004). The effect of practice on low-lewel auditory discrimination, phonological skills and spelling in dyslexia. Dyslexia, 10, 119-130. doi:10.1002/dys.267

[18]   Shaywitz, B., Shaywitz, S., Blachman, B., Pugh, K., Fulbright, R., Skudlarski, P., Mencl, W. E., Constable, R. T., Holahan, J. M., Marchione, K. E., Fletcher, J. M., Lyon, G. R., & Gore, J. C. (2004). Development of the left occipital systems for skilled reading in children after a phonologically-based intervention. Biological Psychiatry, 55, 926-933. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2003.12.019

[19]   Shaywitz, S. E., & Shaywitz, B. A. (2008). Paying attention to reading: The neurobiology of reading and dyslexia. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 1329-1349. doi:10.1017/S0954579408000631

[20]   Snowling, M. J. (2000). Dyslexia (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.

[21]   Tallal, P. (2004). Improving language and literacy is a matter of time. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 721-728. doi:10.1038/nrn1499

[22]   Tewes, U., Steffen, U., & Warnke, F. (2003). Automatization deficits as a cause of learning deficits (Automatisierungsst?rungen als ursache von lernproblemen). Forum Logop?die, 1, 24-30.

[23]   Wei?, R. H. (1998). German adaptation of the culture fair intelligence test CFT-20 (Grundintelligenztest Skala 2 (CFT 20) mit wortschatztest (WS) und zahlenfolgentest (ZF)). G?ttingen, LS: Hogrefe.