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Alex Quinn"We're trying to help people find and practice literacy and numeracy in everyday situations." - Alex Quinn

Alex Quinn is executive director of ALMA, the Adult Literacy Media Alliance. He has more than 17 years of experience in the field of community-based and educational television, working as both an administrator and advocate. Prior to joining the ALMA staff, Alex was the executive director for Manhattan Neighborhood Network, a non-profit organization responsible for providing public access cable television services in the borough of Manhattan.

Name: Ms. Adams
Address: Boise, ID
Question: As an adult educator that works in a computer lab, I have noticed that some students improve their reading scores after studying math. These gains usually occur when I focus on number theory. Have you noticed this too? Why do you think this helps so many students read better?
Answer: Ms. Adams,
There could be many reasons why your students are improving their reading skills while studying math. Reading is of course embedded in the study of math. One of the strategies for improving reading skills is to encourage learners to read about things that interest them. Students engaged in math will be more focused on whatever reading is required to understand the subject thereby improving their reading skills at the same time. Beyond that, your observations raise the question whether a greater comprehension of number theory links in some specific way to improve reading ability. This is a fascinating question, and it would be interesting to hear from others on the topic.
Name: Carmen Romero
Address: Wilmington, CA
Question: I need my GED plus I need help in spelling. I'm 30 years old. When I was younger, I had a home tutor, due to a lot of operations at that time to get help.
Thank you!
Answer: There are many types of adult education programs that may help you get your GED and improve your spelling. The trick is finding the right program that works for you. You might want to call a few programs, or visit them, to help find the best place for you. A good place to begin is by contacting your local library to see if they offer any classes or can recommend good programs in your area.

Another resource for finding a program in your area is America's Literacy Directory run by the National Institute for Literacy. You can contact them in two ways. They have a web site,, which will give you a list of adult education programs in your area. You can also call them at 1-800-228-8813.

There are lots of different kinds of programs. Some are organized as classes, others use tutors for one-on-one instruction with individuals and small groups. The best type of program is the one that meets your needs and where you feel the most comfortable. Picking the right program will help you stick to your learning goals.

In the mean time, there are things you can do on your own to improve your spelling. Dictionaries are a great resource. Next time you are in the library or a bookstore, you might want to browse through the different kinds of dictionaries that are available and see if there's one that would work for you. Also, if you write using your computer, there is probably a tool that will identify words that are not spelled correctly.
Good luck!

Name: Latonia Allen
Address: Toledo, Oh
Question: Do you have video clips or information on the college remedial reader? Or students in college who have to take developmental reading or any other pertinent information on that topic? In my Literacy and Theories course at Bowling Green University we have an assignment to present information on this topic and I would like to add some video clips to my presentation.
Thanks Tonia
Answer: Tonia,
Our video materials focus primarily on adults who read at the pre-GED level. We have produced video profiles on many adults who have undertaken to improve their reading skills. Some of the strategies they use may well be applicable to college students with reading difficulties. A sample of our video profiles can be found in the preview section of the TV411 website. I suggest you take a look at the segment titled "Milestones: Sheila Greene."
Name: Maria Bello
Address: Old Bridge, NJ
Question: Hello,
I have someone close to me who can not read. I tried to get him help but the person who tested him said he needed far too much help. At this point he is not up to seeing anyone else. I have agreed to help him. But, I do not know where to begin. Our first problem is to teach him how to use the ATM. In the past his wife handled everything. He is separated and now has no one that help him with everyday problems.

How can I help? Where do I begin? He does work and no one would ever know he has this problem. He commutes into the city for work so doesn't need a driver's license although he would like one.

He is only 46 years old.

Thank you
Maria Bello

Answer: Maria,
Your friend is lucky to have a friend like you to help him. It would be great if you could also find a literacy teacher or tutor that could help him as well. It's distressing to hear that your friend was tested and came away with the message that he needs "far too much help." Your friend may have a learning disability. An accurate diagnosis could help your friend find the resources he needs. In an earlier response to a question, I mentioned places you can contact to find a tutor or class, such as your local library or the America's Literacy Directory run by the National Institute for Literacy, (1-800-228-8813).

There are many people and programs out there, and I'm sure there is one that would be a good fit for your friend. Once again, the trick is finding the right one. In the mean time, It sounds like you could use help helping your friend. Perhaps you could contact a program that supports volunteer tutors and see if they could help you with some techniques and strategies that you could use with your friend. One good national organization that supports volunteers is ProLiteracy. Their website is Their phone number is 888-528-2224. They can direct you to programs in your area that offer training for literacy volunteers.