The Lifespan Literacy Community — FAQ

What is the Lifespan Literacy Community?

The Lifespan Literacy Community is a context for the work of a coalition of literacy-focused groups in Maine that meet regularly to advance their mission.

What is the mission of this organization?

The Lifespan Literacy Community is a collaborative of literacy-focused groups who develop, support and celebrate literacy, literacy instruction and literacy research in Maine. Employing a cradle-to-grave approach, this group collaborates to develop literacy in people of all ages by joining forces across a variety of initiatives.

Who does it serve?

The Lifespan Literacy Community serves a variety of constituencies. Through coursework at the University of Maine, the community provides a context for the Language and Literacy Play Partners program, undergraduate courses in human development and literacy education, and graduate courses leading to certification as literacy specialists. 

By creating this site on campus, an ongoing literacy clinic can serve the community as well as UMaine students learning to work with learners experiencing literacy challenges. In the past, the university offered community literacy tutoring in a very limited way. The community’s space in Shibles Hall on the University of Maine campus allows a year-round opportunity for tutoring children who would benefit from literacy support as well as providing university students with opportunities to learn strategies for supporting children with literacy issues. 

University students outside the College of Education and Human Development may also benefit from opportunities provided at the center. Periodic, one-day workshops will be provided on such topics as improving comprehension, designing effective essays, and content-area reading.

What are the benefits to the community?

  • Consulting
  • Advocating
  • Book drives
  • Book give-aways
  • Literacy teas
  • Language and Literacy Play Partners Program
  • Family literacy events
  • Outreach to other literacy groups in Maine 
  • Tutoring for children
  • Tutoring for adults
  • Literacy trainings for volunteers
  • Research

What are the benefits to the University?

University of Maine programming benefits by having a community-based context for learning. Students’ experiences are authentic and meaningful as well as being supported by faculty expertise. The center is set up for research, allowing video and audio recording as well as a “behind the glass” environment for real-time observation.

What are the benefits to the field of literacy?

This program is unique in the United States. The structure serves as a model for other institutions interested in serving their community literacy needs. The program provides rich opportunities for research in multiple areas, including but not limited to:

  • Parent-child interaction around language learning
  • Intervention instruction for children with literacy tangles
  • Tutor-Literacy learner dyad analysis around English Language Learning in adults
  • Tutor-Literacy learner efficacy influenced by relationship characteristics 
  • Effects of poverty on literacy tutoring
  • Preservice teachers’ attitudes about working with families
  • Graduate students’ experiences with working in authentic literacy settings

What programs are included in the design?

  • UMaine preservice teaching program
  • UMaine graduate education program in Literacy
  • Literacy Volunteers Tutor Training
  • Literacy Volunteers Basic Skills Tutoring
  • Literacy Volunteers English Learning Tutoring
  • Family Infant Toddler Learning Program
  • Children’s Tutoring Program
  • Literacy Play Childcare
  • Consulting with Raising Readers for development of their materials and book selection process

What is the cost to participants? 

All tutoring will be conducted without charge to the recipients. The participants in the Language and Literacy Play Partners program will be charged on a sliding scale to maximize involvement of a wide range of income levels. Literacy play childcare is available without charge.