Adult Literacy FAQ


 Q1: Need help reading and writing? 

A: Classes are provided through local ETB's for adults who need help with basic skills like reading, writing, spelling and maths. English as a Second Language and basic computer skills are also taught. Classes are usually small groups or one to one tuition.  There is no fee for joining an ETB adult literary service or for participating in the tutor training course.

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 Q2: What courses are available in Adult Literacy.

A: There are many courses in Adult Literacy to choose from around the country. To view these courses click here.

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 Q3: What is NALA?

A: NALA is a charity that helps people improve their literacy and numeracy and provides educational opportunities to people who want to improve their literacy. 

  • They operate a Freephone support line that is staffed by experienced operators who can identify callers' needs and advise them on free services nationwide.  Freephone 1800 20 20 65 or Freetext 'LEARN' to 50050.
  • They opeate a Distance Learning Service and provide tutor support over the phone and internet.
  • They also manage an E-Learning website where people can have their skills assessed across a number of areas and then be prescribed an individual learning plan to improve these areas.

Click here to access NALA's website.

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 Q4: What is literacy?

A: In the past literacy was considered to be the ability to read and write. Today the meaning of literacy has changed to reflect changes in society and the skills needed by individuals to participate fully in society.  It involves listening, speaking, reading, writing, numeracy and using everyday technology like smartphones and google to communicate and handle information.

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 Q5: How important are good literacy skills?

A: Literacy and numeracy skills are part of everyday life. Think of all the notices and signs around us, how we use money every day, use the internet and send text messages. Everywhere we go we are faced with text, numbers and technology.

Literacy has an important role for the individual, the worker, the family member and the citizen. Most people have some literacy and numeracy skills, but they can vary in different situations. For example, a person might have high levels of literacy in completing a form but low levels of literacy when figuring out the instructions for using the DVD player.

Those with significant literacy difficulties are likely to have difficulty carrying out day-to-day tasks that involve literacy. These might include:

• writing a shopping list,
• reading a health and safety notice, or
• filling in a driving licence application form.

Literacy is clearly linked to economic development and employment, it must not be limited to issues of economics. Literacy is deeply connected with the rights of individuals and communities: it is about their right to have a voice in society; to continue and extend their education; to read and to be read.

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 Q6: How long will it take for me to learn how to read and write?

A: This is a hard question and depends on different factors such as:

• how much you can read and write or work with numbers now
• how much effort you put in
• how much help you get
• how good that help is.

An important English report said that a student would need many years to get a basic level. In the USA, research shows that between 550 and 600 hours of instruction are needed to becme fully literate and numerate.

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 Q7: Why should I return to learning?

A: Returning to learning has many benefits. You will improve your skills but also gain confidence to go on to learn new ones. It means hard work but it is a great experience that opens up a whole new world in a friendly and relaxed environment. It's nothing like going back to school, because everyone learns at their own pace and there aren't any exams at the end though you can go on and work towards a qualification if you want to.

Throughout Ireland, lots of people are returning to learning and brushing up on their reading, writing and maths skills. They are people who want to catch up on the skills they may have missed at school, workers who would like to go for promotion (but don't have the confidence to sit an exam) as well as those who would simply like to write a letter or send an email.

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 Q8: Are adult education classes only on during the daytime?

A: No. There are classes during the day and every evening.

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 Q9: How is adult literacy financed in Ireland?

A: The Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the ESF with a special allocation from the Youth Employment Initiative.


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