Forming a Community Literacy Team

Potential Community Literacy Team Members

When selecting members for your Community Literacy Team, think broadly and look across the community.  Consider representation from the following sectors:

Culture and Heritage

  • Heritage and civic organizations
  • Cultural groups
  • Libraries and museums
  • Sports and recreation groups


  • Head Start programs
  • Preschools and childcare centers
  • School districts and independent schools
  • Community colleges and universities
  • Adult education programs
  • Continuing education programs
  • Family Literacy Programs


  • Employment and assistance centers
  • Training centers

Child and Family Development

  • Parents
  • Community Action Programs 
  • Recreation and youth centers
  • Youth centers
  • Government agencies


  • Health care providers
  • Health organizations
  • Crisis support organizations
  • Wellness centers

Business and Financial

  • Community economic development agencies
  • Trade unions
  • Professional and business associations
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Credit unions and banks
  • Community service organizations
  • Community futures organizations

Justice and Legal

  • Restorative justice
  • Legal aid
  • Family assistance organizations

Service and Support

  • Literacy organizations
  • Volunteer organizations
  • Social planning agencies
  • Transition agencies
  • Media
  • Faith organizations
  • Community and municipal governments

(Based on 2010 Legacies Now)


Norms for Team Work

Community Literacy Team members will demonstrate:

  • A commitment to being present and active in the planning process.
  • A willingness to listen to all points of view.
  • Respect for team member ideas and questions.
  • Respect for diversity and the richness that it brings to community work.
  • An appreciation of minority viewpoints and of the importance of including people and groups who are the hardest to reach in the planning process.
  • An understanding of community.
  • A commitment to the integrity of the process and to maintaining unity of the group.
  • Willingness to observe basic conversational courtesies.
  • Willingness to listen attentively and remain engaged.
  • Commitment to refraining from side conversations and cell phone/computer use except during breaks.
  • Willingness to stay on the agenda, to monitor personal airtime, and to use the parking lot as needed.


Initial Meeting Guidance

At the first meetings, set the stage for the work by answering these questions:

  1. What is our purpose?
  2. What guiding principles and norms will direct the work?
  3. What are the steps to developing a community literacy plan?
  4. How will you manage the work? Who will do each part and how?
  5. Is everyone who needs to be part of the team represented?
  6. How will team members communicate with each other?
  7. When and where will the team meet?

Use the Shared Planning Checklist (below) to help plan and structure the initial meetings. Copy and paste or recreate the table in a Word (or other word processing) document in order to fill in the cells.

Before the Meeting


Not Sure


Do people understand why they are being invited?




Do they know about the purpose of the meeting, why it is happening and what the group hopes to accomplish?




Have people had the chance to see and comment on the agenda?




Does the agenda include enough time for discussion and decision making?




Have you prepared printed materials of important information?




Are the materials easy to read?




Is the meeting location easy to get to?  Is it quiet, well-lit, and comfortably heated?




Does the seating arrangement allow people to talk to one another and see the flip chart?




Once the Meeting Starts




Do people understand the purpose of the meeting?




Do they agree to the agenda?




Do they know what decisions they can make and what items they can take action on?




Do participants have the opportunity to say who they are and why they came?




Has the group made decisions about how they will identify and solve problems?




Has the group been able to plan for how they will communicate after the meeting?




Does the group have a plan for how they will deal with conflict?




After the Meeting – Did the chair or facilitator do these things…




Create a safe atmosphere?




Create space for everyone to ask questions and comment on each topic before moving on?




Keep the meeting on track?




Make sure things are clear and suggest changes as needed?




Share leadership, tasks, and actions with group members?





Literacy Reflections Introductory Activity

The purpose of this short discussion activity is to engage participants in a consideration of the meaning and importance of literacy from a variety of perspectives.

  1. Please silently read the quotes below.  Identify one that resonates with you.
  2. In a small group, share your thoughts about the quote you selected, thinking about what literacy means for your community.
    Increasing demands for a variety of literacy skills and rapidly changing technology that affects how we work and how we communicate have combined to highlight the need to modify our perceptions of literacy, literacy instruction, and the role of literacy in our daily lives.
    • The lack of basic literacy skills can prove catastrophic for an individual’s financial security and career outlook. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL, 2003) found that adults with low levels of literacy are less likely than others to have steady employment, and their earnings are usually significantly less than those of more literate adults.  Adults with limited literacy skills are also more likely to live in poverty and receive government assistance (NAAL, 2003).
    • Teaching literacy is not the domain of a single class, a single subject area, or even the 13 years a student spends in public school. It involves the determined efforts of many individuals and organizations, starting with the parents, grandparents, older siblings, and caregivers who engage in rich conversations and spark a love of books. Outside of the home, literacy is the domain of the pediatrician who encourages new parents to read to their children, early educators who provide intentional learning environments that support early language and literacy instruction and promote a culture of inquiry, and the community library where children learn that reading can open up a world of possibilities.
    • Literacy opens doors to the world.  Ensuring that all Maine children enter adulthood equipped to be successful in post-secondary study, careers, and civic life is the ultimate mission of Maine’s educational system, and requires proficiency with a variety of literacy-oriented abilities.  Reading and understanding a wide-range of complex texts, developing a well-supported argument in writing or conversation, accessing and evaluating the quality of information obtained through technology-based tools, and interpreting and applying information presented through an oral presentation are only a few of many abilities literate adults rely on regularly in their daily lives.
  3. Groups report out a synopsis of their conversation for the entire team and ideas are captured for later visioning work.


Spheres of Influence Protocol Instructions and Recording Template

Intended Outcomes

  • Identify the significance of Literacy for ME for individual sphere members and the sphere as a whole
  • Identify ways in which individuals and the sphere can support plan implementation
  • Identify challenges that are likely to be encountered during plan implementation

Protocol Instructions

Team members will organize themselves by spheres of influence, such as early childhood, school age, adult, etc. and take time to read the Summary of Literacy for ME.  Each member will use the template provided to respond to the prompts individually. 

Team members will share their individual reflections with the sphere and the group facilitator will record the findings. 

Group members will collectively settle on 1-2 key findings for each of the reflection prompts that the facilitator will share with the larger group. 

Reflection Prompts

  1. Why is Literacy for ME important to the collective work of your sphere?
  2. How can your sphere of influence support the implementation of Literacy for ME?
  3. What implementation challenges does your sphere anticipate will occur?

Spheres of Influence Recording Template

Copy and paste or recreate the table below in a Word (or other word processing) document in order to fill in the cells.

Why is Literacy for MEimportant to the collective work of your sphere?

How can your sphere of influence support the implementation of Literacy for ME?

What implementation challenges does your sphere anticipate will occur?