Adult Learners
What HAPPY Reading Has for Me

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Adult learners who seek support in their reading skill often have advantages that young, beginning readers lack. For one, they have a speaking and listening vocabulary that has been enriched by life experience. For another, they often have a determination to succeed that is strong enough to take them through many challenges. HAPPY Reading is pleased to offer, over time, information and resources to make working with adult learners a HAPPY, successful experience for teachers, tutors, volunteers... and ultimately, for the men and women who are ready to become more confident as readers, writers, listeners and speakers.


Each month we feature a prominent voice from the world of literacy education. These established researchers and practitioners offer their wisdom for your consideration and for possible implementation in your learning setting. Some of these articles relate to best practices in adult education.

The full text of each expert article is available to all guests of HAPPY Reading until the article archives. At that time, only registered members will retain access.


Permanent Articles

The Concise Science of Reading
Our assistance for adult learners is largely related to reading skills. If you teach adult learners, go here for an overview of reading processes and concerns for all learners. These articles will be valuable as reminder information for many educators and a great starting point for those with limited experience in teaching reading. Find these on the Resources page, below the calendar

Resource Books
At the bottom of our Resources page, you’ll find several books we recommend to improve outcomes in the areas of word study (spelling), vocabulary and fluent reading (essential for greater comprehension). These reference manuals can be purchased from reputable retailers through HAPPY Reading or can be located at a library near you, using our bookseller and WorldCat links.

Monthly Articles

These articles update monthly under the permanent, umbrella headings. Those headings, current articles and places of origin are:

School-Wide Reading
Current Article-If You Build It Up, They Will Read (Connecticut)
Surrogate Librarian
Current Article-Book Ambassador (Colombia, South America)
Book-Inspired Art
Current Article-The Snowball Effect (Michigan)
Books As Bridges
Current Article-Blanketed in Kindness (Florida and Louisiana)
Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking
Current Article-A Dramatic Difference (North Carolina)
Book-Inspired Community Service
Current Article-Love and Sandwiches (Georgia)
Literacy for All Kinds of Intelligence
Current Article-Naturally Smart (Florida)

Read here for ideas and inspiration. These articles address traditional approaches as well as innovation for learners of varied ages, and you will almost certainly ignite your own imagination here. Some ideas will be immediately transferrable and others you can adapt for your adult learners. These articles are located on the Resources page, immediately below the calendar area.

Currently, you may have a special interest in reading:

A Dramatic Difference: Elementary kids make remarkable gains in fluency
These same principles apply for adult learners, as well. You may need to vary the text so it is of greater interest to adult learners, but the strategy is exactly the same.

Please note there are related books with reader’s theater scripts at the end of the article. Some adult learners will find it fun to go back in time with stories they’ve known and loved and hone their reading skill in the process.

All current articles are available for all visitors. Archived items are available for registered members only.

Instructional Materials Library Free Samples

Leveled poems and reader’s theater scripts when read and re-read, as a regular part of a language arts routine, as a regular activity in a content classroom, as a regular activity at home or in a home school classroom, as a regular activity in a library or community group setting can improve fluency significantly. There are also opportunities to improve vocabulary, word study (spelling) skill, engagement, and much more. Limited access to free, downloadable scripts is available to ALL HAPPY guests. To access the full library, you must pay to become a registered member.

Coming attractions for adult learners include a grouping of poems called Big Time. These leveled poems begin with simple, four-line, A/B level rhymes that are easy enough for first-time readers but deal with content that is appropriate, engaging and of interest to adult learners. New materials are added regularly; this applies to the Big Time grouping.

Suggestions on how to use these poems to support instruction, including for fluency:

Suggestions on how to use these reader’s theater scripts to support instruction, including for fluency:

To access all free samples of poems and scripts:


Featured Celebrity
Those who rise to prominence in any endeavor… but especially in athletics and the arts… are often those who learn differently from most. The stories of trial and triumph offered by readers and writers who also happen to be celebrities can be informative and affecting for all of us. Some of these stories will appeal deeply to adult learners and those who help teach them.
Currently Featured-LeVar Burton

Featured Author or Illustrator
Get to know the authors and illustrators who entertain and educate us with the immense talents. Plan author study around the current artist of honor and appreciate their contributions to the world of literacy. Inspire the writer, artist, and learner inside your children or students with the stories of the storytellers.
Currently Featured-Sarah Weeks
Not only is she a prolific writer; she’s also an avid reader’s theater producer and performer!

Featured Parent- Dr. Michele Cooley-Strickland
Are your learners also parents? Do they still have young children or do they have children who have moved out into the world? Parents of young and grown children share their challenges and joys here, and undoubtedly, some of these stories will resonate with your learners.
Currently Featured-Dr. Michele Cooley-Strickland of California

Featured Adult Learner-George Dawson
Though each learner’s story is different, certainly there are themes that every learner will recognize. Read about this month’s featured learner and find encouragement to keep after the coveted goals. These profiles are ideal for educators to share with their learners.
Currently Featured-George Dawson of Texas

Featured Educator- Brad Shonk
Watch this area for exemplary educators, including those who teach adults. Note their philosophies and their methods and decide if they might provide some modeling for what more you can do with your own students.
Currently Featured-Brad Shonk of Mississippi

Access to all of these profiles is available at:

Profiles can be read by all visitors to HAPPY Reading while they are still current. After that time, they archive and you must be a registered member to enjoy the full text of each profile.


HAPPY is pleased to recommend a wide assortment of books that make great read-alouds. Reading aloud allows more experienced readers to model fluency for less skilled readers, even adult learners. Exposure to engaging literature also increases the likelihood that listeners will choose to read on their own, which can lead to greater fluency and overall proficiency. Some of the books are classic, some new, some tried-and-true with readers and audiences. All our picture book, early chapter and easy reader picks come with some sort of instructional suggestion… usually related to word study. These descriptions are available while the books are still among our current picks. For archived descriptions, you must be a registered member.

Many of the books we recommend may be good choices for adult learners who are parents to read aloud to their youngsters. Whether this occurs or not, diving in to wonderful stories, reading them aloud to adult learners, can be emotionally fulfilling for learners who may have missed the enjoyment of shared stories as children. And we have the wisdom of C.S. Lewis to support our assertion here. Lewis said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty.”

Short text is, by the way, one of the best ways to teach reading strategies that can be implemented later in longer works. You can mine these short works for vocabulary, figurative language, and character development. You can demonstrate a good reader’s approach to comprehension with the shorter text of picture books and enjoy the experience of the story.

For your convenience, you can buy books through the site by clicking on the icon for the store you wish to use. All financial transactions are handled by these reputable retailers. You may also click to find books in your nearest, local library.

Find Books at


Links to Articles and Research

Find articles elsewhere on the web that explain the value of reader’s theater and repeated poetry reading in improving fluency. and scroll to the bottom.


As a registered HAPPY member, you get:



Services from HAPPY
I’m HAPPY Reading-Books to You (Optional w/additional cost)
This service is intended to support reading aloud, which is an opportunity for more experienced readers to model fluency for those with less experience and reading skill. This is a paid service, customized in price to fit your choices; it includes a free year of HAPPY Reading membership. Because it is never too late to read aloud together, this could be a novel and treasured gift for families with older children. It could also be an appreciated way for evolving adult readers to practice with their children, reading from HAPPY-selected books that are the proper level to match the reader while the right level to match listeners’ interests.

Instructional Materials Library
This includes instantly available downloads of thousands of pages of leveled poem and reader’s theater scripts. Repeated readings of poems and scripts at the appropriate level for the reader are virtually guaranteed to improve fluency. Material is written with content standards in mind AND to support literacy growth across the life span for learners in a variety of settings and circumstances.

Only members have access to the full instructional materials library via the LOGIN button. Or you may register to become a member here:

Members only Archive

All features—including articles, profiles and interviews—are still available after they’ve archived when you are a registered member.

HAPPY52 Tips

Only members receive weekly delivery of Reading Raves and Reminders in their e-mail to help keep teaching practices sharp and student skill sharper. Some of these tips are related to adult learners.


Coming in late summer/early fall, this one of a kind resource will help you to connect real, high quality children’s literature with essential instructional goals. For the adult teacher or learner who is looking for books on a certain topic or in an interest area… that will be the right level for the adult learner to read… the BookMine can be a big help. Join at today’s low price and make your HAPPY Reading experience even more of a great value for you and your students.

Members also get HAPPY Services-- including HAPPY Primary, READ UP, WORD, HAPPY Preschool, HAPPY Transitions and Bibliotherapy-- at special pricing. Workshops for both parents and education professionals are also available at discounted pricing. Write to inquire and discuss specific needs.


Registering as a member gives you the satisfaction of knowing you’ve joined a community of educators, learners, leaders and book lovers who are all about exploring better and more effective ways to coach learners to greater success. When you are at work, HAPPY Reading will be available to work alongside you to help reach higher goals. When you’re not at work, HAPPY Reading will be working steadily to bring you more stories of excellence and creative approaches to learning that will be ready when you are. Join us.

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