Improve Your Adult Literacy Skills
Being able to read, write and understand spoken English here in the UK is the ‘gateway’ to opening up a world of possibilities to you. In fact, if you haven’t even got a grasp of the very basics, it can represent a major barrier for you in being able to participate and feel as though you belong to the wider community as a whole in addition to you being excluded from so many opportunities that would otherwise be available to you. For those of us who take reading, writing and our understanding of the English language for granted, if we think about any holidays we have been on where English is not spoken or is hardly spoken at all, we all know only too well the difficulties this can present us with. However, the good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to improve your adult literacy skills close to where you live and you can also achieve this online.
How Do I Get Started?If you type in ‘adult literacy courses’ into an internet search engine, you’ll be faced with a myriad of choices from which to choose an adult literacy course. Many of these sites will let you type in your postcode or nearest town and then they will give you details of the nearest courses to where you live. Many of these courses are run through local schools, colleges and other training providers such as ‘learndirect’ and are funded through your local authority and there will also be privately run courses too and those which you can do purely through e-learning online. These courses can lead to a nationally recognised certificate in Adult Literacy at Level 1 and 2. You do not need to have any previous qualifications to be enrolled on these courses.
What Do The Courses Entail?Usually, you’ll be asked to visit a centre first where someone will run through a series of very basic tests to establish your level of literacy so that you can be placed on the right course to suit your needs. Once enrolled on a course, you’ll learn a vast variety of basic literacy skills which will help you to engage in everyday conversations and improve your writing and reading ability. Courses can vary in structure but a typical one might include the following:
- Writing skills - how to write a professional letter considering style and structure and the differences between writing informally and formally, how to use colons, apostrophes and other grammatical symbols correctly
- Speaking and listening - the art of holding a conversation, how to participate in group discussions and how to use body language to convey your understanding of spoken English or to emphasise a point you are making
- Reading skills - how to form a basic understanding of reading everyday signs through to verbally summarising longer passages and reading more technically focused texts and understanding them
- Spelling, vocabulary and grammar - how to recognise the difference between a noun and a verb and how to use them both correctly, using appropriate words in a given setting and learning how to spell and use grammar correctly
I Feel Stigmatised About Being Unable To Read And Write. How Do I Overcome That?There are many mitigating factors as to why people cannot read or write when they reach adulthood and often it’s through no fault of their own. The fact is that the number of people who cannot read or write is far higher than you might think so any class you do attend will be alongside people just like you so you have no reason to feel stigmatised. Furthermore, as you’ll be aware, with an ever increasing influx of migrant workers who have come over to the UK in recent years, some of them may even have far less of a grasp of English than you do so you should not worry about going on a course. Alternatively, there are several organisations from which you can undertake an adult literacy course online from your own home. They lead to exactly the same level of qualifications although people might sometimes point to the fact that the speed of your improvement in adult literacy will often come via social interaction and communicating face to face with others in a classroom setting.
Other Methods of Improving Your Adult Literacy SkillsUnless it’s important for you to have some kind of recognised certificate to establish your adult literacy - getting a particular kind of job, for example, there are numerous additional ways for you to improve your literacy skills which you can build into your daily life. Simply reading as much as you can and from a variety of sources will help immensely as will doing basic word puzzles which you’ll often find in newspapers and magazines. There are also plenty of online games, puzzles and other exercises aimed at improving adult literacy. And, each time you don’t understand a word - look it up in the dictionary.
In gaining more confidence through a better understanding of the language, it will open up so many doors to you and break down barriers both on a professional and personal level.