August 2018 | VALBEC | Web version

In this Issue

1. 2018 ACAL Conference

2. Fine Print

3. Resources

4. Adult Literacy Connect

5. Adult Learners Week 1st – 8th September

6. 'Possum Magic' in Prison - ABC Radio National

1. 2018 ACAL Conference

Conference sessions filling fastLego figures going to the conferenceLego courtesy of Hoth

Sessions are filling!

Jump in now to get your first choice.

Conference session details

Pre-conference: Public Libraries and Adult Educators

Venue: Library at the Dock

When: September 12, 2018 12 noon to 5pm

Libraries are increasingly playing a part of developing the language, literacy and numeracy skills of adults in our communities.

This pre-conference event investigates the new and emerging role that libraries play in contributing to the adult learning and literacy space, and how adult education centres such TAFEs, community centres and other adult language, literacy and numeracy providers can work together to improve community literacy.

Adult Literacy Connect is a network of adult language literacy and numeracy professionals that formed in 2016 after an Adult Literacy Round Table event at the State Library of Victoria. They are committed to working together and sharing resources and ideas to promote adult literacy.

With support from the Reading Writing Hotline and State Library of Victoria, Adult Literacy Connect is currently conducting research towards establishing an online portal of quality curated teaching and learning resources. This significant project is aimed at addressing the needs of adult literacy practitioners (teachers, tutors, librarians, volunteers) who are supporting beginning level adult readers and writers. Recommendations for the portal design will be finalised in early 2019 and the ALC group encourages all adult literacy supporters to contribute their thoughts.

Come to this event to learn from each other about adult literacy needs, resources, supports and challenges. Join the discussion on what an adult literacy resource portal should look like and network with others in your field.

Hear from guest speakers and other collaborative adult learning projects, and delight in the talents of Catherine Deveny, who will regale us with her comedic wit, and host our teacher-librarian speed dating activity – what a match!

Lunch and afternoon tea provided.

Cost: VALBEC and ACAL members $45; Non-members $55

Lunch on arrival 12–12.40pm.

Register for the pre-conference

Free Conference Registration

As a result of a grant from a philanthrophic trust, the Joe White Bequest, the Conference Organising Committee is pleased to offer several scholarships for support to attend the ACAL conference being held in Melbourne from the 12th to 14th of September 2018.

Each scholarship will include one registration and, if necessary, travel costs, accommodation and meals up to $800 in value. The registration may cover the two days of the conference plus the pre-conference event at the Library at the Dock, and the ‘chat and chill’ social event on the Thursday afternoon.

It is a condition of the grant that applicants must reside in Victoria.

Applications must be received by close of business Thursday 9th August 2018.

Scholarship details

2. Fine Print

The Winter edition of Fine Print for 2018 is in press and should be in members' and subscribers' mailboxes by the end of August. This edition is a feast of thought-provoking and inspiring articles contributed by your fellow practitioners motivated by a desire to share knowledge and ideas with their colleagues. A common thread in this edition is the delicate balance that educators seek between creating a comfortable environment where learners feel safe, and creating a challenging learning environment that will enable learners to progress; there is much food for thought here.

If you don’t have an individual VALBEC membership, make a note to seek out a copy at your institution later this month and consider taking out an individual membership so you can read Fine Print at your leisure. To comment on or contribute to Fine Print, email 

3. Resources

40 Stories of Adult Literacy Learners

Happy birthday VALBEC

Stories provide us a valuable insight into the minds and experiences of others so that we can learn, empathise and stretch our knowledge and imagination. When adult literacy learners share their stories it is not only a very empowering activity for them as individuals but also provides insightful understandings for the adult literacy practitioner.

As part of VALBEC's 40 year celebrations, we will collate 40 stories of adults literacy learners from around the country and world. So take time out this year to read and watch some adult literacy stories to remind you and inspire you in your practice. If you have a story you would like to share as part of this series please email the details and a link to

3 Stories - Linda, David and Sue

A fuller Sense of self fives years onThis month in preparation for Adult Learners Week (1-8 Sept) and International Literacy Day (8 Sept) we have focused on three stories published by VALBEC in print and video form. We have also included a lesson plan 'We learn all the time, any time' (below) that could accompany the reading and viewing of these stories.>

A Fuller Sense of Self (book)

Six people described why they returned to education and how that decision shaped and changed their lives for the better. The stories illuminated their lives and learning experiences, describing the challenges they faced, the events that provoked their return to ‘school’, and ultimately how their lives had changed and shifted following that decision.

A Fuller Sense of Self 5 years on – The Digital Stories

In 2017 we revisited these students and their stories, to find out where they are now and to discover if and how learning continues to influence their life journey. We tracked down three of our original storytellers – Linda, David and Sue. This time our storytellers kindly and courageously shared their thoughts on camera.

Provided by Meg Cotter, Co-President

Free resource 'We learn all the time, any time – lesson ideas'

Starfish and rocks

In 2018 VALBEC is celebrating the possibilities learning opens up for students. In 2017 VALBEC three contributors to the book, ‘A Fuller Sense of Self’ talk about the benefits they have experienced by returning to education. The stories demonstrate how they overcame a variety of barriers to now feel stronger, more able and more confident than they have ever felt before. 

We learn all the time, any time materials provide LLN teachers and students with ideas for exploring how they can start to build strength, ability and confidence using timelines, personal recounts, video and informative texts.

Get the free resource and lesson ideas

4. Adult Literacy Connect

Adult Literacy Connect (ALC) is a group of Adult LLN practitioners and librarians, led by VALBEC who met regularly to discuss ways the sectors can work together to improve adult literacy in the community.

Currently, the ALC group are working on two projects. One is researching and creating a proof of concept for an adult literacy online resource portal. Funding was received from the Reading Writing Hotline and State Library of Victoria Innovation Fund to do this research. The group will be running focus group consultations in August.

If you are interested in this activity please email with the subject heading 'Adult Literacy Connect'. 

The group is also preparing and running a pre-conference day for the ACAL conference in Melbourne on September 12th. This day will give adult educators the opportunity to learn more about libraries and library staff, and potential future collaborations in the adult literacy space. More details are coming out soon.

Pre-conference event

5. Adult Learners Week 1st – 8th September

Adult Learners Week

Adult Learners' Week is a UNESCO initiative supported in Australia by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training and coordinated by Adult Learning Australia. Adult Learners' Week runs from 1–8 September and incorporates International Literacy Day, which is celebrated annually on September 8.

Many adult education centres celebrate the week with learning activities. Be sure to register your activity and go in to the draw for prizes.

Full details

6. 'Possum Magic' in Prison - ABC Radio National

Dads in PrisonThe simple act of reading a bedtime story to a child is impossible if the parent is in prison – unless you’re a RAD Dad.

Through the program prisoners have access to a range of children’s books, they are then recorded reading the books aloud and then the recordings are sent out to their children.

More from ABC Radio National ‘Earshot’