Listservs (or listservers) are a service providing distributed messages that form conferences and allow the archiving of files and messages which can be searched and retrieved. That means you can send email to the group of your particular interest and ask and answer questions. The most common form of a listserv is a Mail list (or Mailing List) which is an automated system (usually) that allows people to send e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the mail list. In this way, people who have many different kids of e-mail access can participate in discussions together.

To access one of these mail lists, you must subscribe to it. To join a listserv, send an e-mail message to it's moderator entering the suggested message (usually "subscribe +listserv+user name") in the message field. You will receive user instructions back by email. Anyone with an Internet e-mail account can participate in a listserv.

There are many Internet literary and adult education Listserv discussion groups you can subscribe to. Here are some of the more popular ones:

National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) Listservs

NLA - National Literacy Advocacy List. The NLA is designed to provide information and discussion about adult literacy education and adult learners.

To subscribe to listservs use the following procedure:

1. Send e-mail to the Internet address following the listservs description
2. Type "None" on the subject line
3. Type "subscribe (name of listserv) (your full name)" in the message area.

Here is an example of how to subscribe to the National Literacy Advocacy List:

  • To:
    Subject: None
    Message: subscribe NLA John Doe

LEARNER. LEARNER is a moderated literacy discussion group for adult learners to practice their newly learned reading and writing skills by posting messages to the list which can be read by other new learners.

LITERACY. Literacy is a moderated general discussion group for those individuals concerned with the issues of Literacy. The primary focus of the list is the fostering of literacy in those adults for whom English is the native language.

NWAC-L. This Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy at Penn State discussion forum focuses on issues related to workplace literacy and training in small to midsize businesses.

NUMERACY. NUMERACY is an electronic mailing list for members of the Adult Numeracy Practitioner's Network (ANPN) and others interested in discussing educational issues related to adult mathematical literacy.

PRISON-L. PRISON-L promoted information exchange and discussion between people who presently teach or have taught in prisons.

TECHED-L. TECHED-L is devoted to employment, training, and literacy issues in Technical Education.

TESL-L. Teachers of English as a Second Language focuses on classroom issues related to the English language education of non-native English speakers around the world.

NOTE: TESL-L acts as a master listserv for a number of other lists on ESL issues, i.e., you must first subscribe to TESL-L before you can subscribe to other lists (like TESLIT-L above).

TESLCA-L. TESLCA-L is a sublist of TESL-L. TESLIT-L focuses on using computers to teach English as a second language to both children and adults.

VOCNET. VOCNET is a discussion group focusing on vocational education managed by the Dissemination Program of the National Center for Research on Vocational Education.

WEC-L. A discussion forum about new and innovative ways to implement workplace literacy and training programs.


Usenet Groups

Adult literacy learners, tutors & instructors (


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