Sissel (1996) suggested the Community-Based Approach to literacy programs could enhance cultural understanding and life experience through knowledge interaction such as reading, writing, and oral communication. The dynamic process of reading, writing, and verbal communication takes place between:

1.   Learners and learners

2.   Learners and teachers

3.   Learners and their communities

In his book, Sissel looked at a few Community-Based Approaches to literacy program by various authors:

1. Women in Family Literacy Programs by Sondra Cuban and Elisabeth Hayes

2. African American Community by Elizabeth A. Peterson

3. Community –Based Migrant Education by Loida C. Velazquez

4. Prisons as Communities by Wayne Blue James, James E. Witte & David Tal-Mason

5. Building Connections: Classrooms and Communities in Rural Virginia by Mary Beth Bingman, Marie Martin & Amy Trawick

6. Literacy and Health Communities by Peggy A. Sissel & Marcia Crew Hohn

7. Popular Education (Educational Strategy for Community-Based Organisation) by Hal Beder

8. Learning in Practises Inquiry Communities by Susan L. Lytle

The Example: Building connections: Classrooms and communities in rural Virginia by Mary Bingman, Marie Martin & Amy Trawick)

“The teachers on the design team have gone a good deal farther and are building curriculum units around community issues and concerns as identified by their students.” (p.g. 55)

The above statement is a typical example of a Community-Based Approach Literacy Program where the main focuses are on community issues. The later point would focus on individual personal development and education.

The features of A Community-Based Approach Program as mentioned by Bingman et al has the following characteristics:

1.   Whether or not the Community-Based Organisations would use the program and focus on community development and change.

2.   Written evaluations of workshops and participants’ actions in activities implemented – whether they can learn new skills and learn ways to identify community themes.

3.   How the participants connect and enforce the Adult Education Program within the community.


Bingman, M.B., Martin, M. & Trawick, A.  1996   Building Connections: Classrooms and Communities in A community-based approach to literacy programs: taking learners’ lives into account by Sissel, P.A. Issue number 70. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. Jossey-Bass publications.

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