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I think the Roles and Goals form is a very helpful tool for us, both Tutor and Learner, …because it will help us track what we have accomplished, and what we have yet to accomplish, so we can plan ahead of time…

[The Roles & Goals form] keeps us on track throughout the 6 months, yet it can be flexible and new goals can be added at any time. I believe it makes us accountable for our tutor time together, and therefore is a useful tool.

California Library Literacy Services'

Roles & Goals Form

Adult learners in Literacy Plus are active participants in their own learning and work towards seeing immediate results in their daily lives through improving their reading and writing.  Real-life materials are used in order to teach relevant life and literacy skills, such as paying bills, submitting a job application, reading a teacher’s note, using a recipe, reading medical information, etc.

Learners talk with staff members and their tutors about what they want to learn and achieve.  Tutors regularly check-in with their learners about progress, what is and what isn’t working, and adapt to their learners’ needs.

The Roles & Goals form is the tool we use to talk about goals.  Once you figure out what the learner wants to accomplish then that information can be used in lesson-planning and to guide instruction.  For instance, if a student says s/he would like to “write, send and receive e-mails,” then at least a portion of the tutoring session will be spent at the computer. 

At a minimum of every six months, literacy staff will be checking in with each tutor-learner pair to see how they are progressing.  Using the provided Roles & Goals form, the tutor-learner pair check-mark goals that the learner worked on. as well as record unanticipated achievements.  It’s also the time to set goals.  This process of updating the Roles & Goals form is a regular, on-going cycle which will happen as long as the learner is receiving instruction.

Not only does the Roles & Goals data help with decisions about what to do in the tutoring session, it is also aggregated locally and then on a statewide basis to create a big picture of the impact library literacy services are having in California.  With this collected information local libraries are able to make the case for the effectiveness of literacy services to stakeholders like City Councils, County Boards of Supervisors, the State Legislature, and to potential funders.

Roles & Goals curriculum

by California Literacy Services (CLLS): 

Literacy volunteers and staff from across the state have contributed to this effort bringing together activities, ideas, games, materials, websites, tips, insider information, and sound advice for accomplishing many of the goals you find on the Roles and Goals form. 


It's all here in one place, ready for you to download and use:


16 Skills Adults need in Everyday Life

4 Purposes for Learning

What do adults need to know and be able to do in order to be literate, compete in a global economy, and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?

To gain ACCESS to information and resources so that adults can orient themselves in the world


To VOICE ideas and opinions with the confidence they will be heard and taken into account


To solve problems, make decisions, and take ACTION without having to rely on others to mediate the world for them

Bridge to the Future

Learning to learn so that adults can be prepared to keep up with the world as it changes and BUILD A BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE

4 Roles in an Adult's Life

Life-Long Learner

Life-Long Learner



Family Member

Family Member

Community Member

Community  Member

[I]n working with a parent to develop short-term goals, Carolyn first asks, “In your role as a parent, what would you like to do, or do better?”  A typical response might be, “I want to be able to read to my child.”  This is the dream.  The challenge is to turn this into a SMART goal.

One way to introduce goal-setting to learners is to talk about “SMART” goals. Using this acronym, learners can begin to understand how to transform their dreams into realities.

Carolyn suggests, “Let’s make that a specific goal.”  The parent may respond with “I WILL read a book to my child.”  To make the goal measurable, the parent suggests, “I will read four books to my child.”

Making a goal measurable sometimes isn’t as difficult as making it achievable. So Carolyn continues to work with the parent.  The parent thinks about what is achievable, then offers, “I will read two books to my child.”  Carolyn continues to help the parent narrow the goal.  The parent makes it realistic by suggesting, “I will read one book to my child every night.”

The next question is when will this happen.  Without a deadline, a goal continues to be a dream.  The parent provides a SMART goal by offering a deadline – making it timely, “I will read two books to my child every night for one week.”

After the parent has set a goal using the SMART strategy, Carolyn then asks the parent how s/he will know when the goal is reached.  Together, they work out a plan, using a calendar, chart, or checklist to provide evidence.

At the end of the week, it is now much easier for the parent to see whether the goal was achieved.  The parent can then reflect on the success of that goal, and move one step toward his or her larger goal.  IF the goal was not reached within the time limit, the teacher can guide the parent to look at the reasons for not accomplishing the goal, and the work through the goal-setting process again, making changes as necessary.

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