Friday, November 7, 2008

Literacy Changes Lives

Just a quick word to help promote the Literacy Changes Lives full report from the National Literacy Trust, (summary here.) This follows an American model to gather together a number of adult literacy-oriented statistics, particularly those from the research of John Bynner and Samantha Parsons. Two points:
  • Firstly, the document firmly reinforces the notion that people with poor literacy skills are particularly isolated from the benefits of our advanced industrial society. I often think that Government gets too obsessed with the idea that poor literacy skills hinder our industrial progress, whereas the real problem is that it hinders people's lives. I get asked all too frequently why is literacy needed to do hairdressing or to be a care worker or whatever, and I usually find myself answering that you will need literacy to write records and so on. What I am thinking is that I believe you need literacy for yourself and for the families you may bring up in the future, but it is rarely the right time to talk about this.
  • Secondly, it is great to have all these statistics in one place. I have done some sessions for trainee FE teachers in the past, and this document makes the whole issue clear.

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