Adult Illiteracy in the UK

According to the National Literacy Trust a major 16% of adults are considered to be ‘functionally illiterate’ in the United Kingdom. Literacy levels are falling among the younger generations and it is stated that 1 in 5 adults struggle to read and write. With this in mind, it is important to consider the crucial elements that go into combating this modern issue.

Adult illiteracy can be a sensitive subject but it is important that we raise awareness if we are aiming to help counteract it. If illiteracy is not identified for what it is, it can lead to negatively impacting some adult’s lifestyles. Adult illiteracy can be very disadvantageous for social skills as some people may exclude themselves from certain situations in order to protect themselves. In some instances, this can also lead to unemployment as some adults are afraid to admit they are struggling. As literacy levels are falling for the younger generation, it suggests that there is a likelihood that adult illiteracy will increase in the future. This shows that something must be done to help stop illiteracy in both adolescents and adults.

Although it is essential that we aim to combat adult illiteracy by concentrating on the younger generation, there are organisations in the UK that help adults with developing their literacy skills. Illiteracy in adults isn’t always down to not paying attention in school. Some people find the systematic schooling traditions to be difficult to follow as many students learn in various different ways. Many students can feel left behind in the classroom as they are expected to understand the work set out for them. This may suggest that the bureaucratic systems that are currently in place in the majority of schools and academies in the UK are not currently representing students who struggle with their schooling arrangements. Bearing this in mind, there needs to be alternative ways on teaching literacy that is available for our struggling students. It is also fundamental that any signals concerning illiteracy are made aware of within the school and at home so they are more likely to get the help they require.

Other arguments discussing the causes of illiteracy in later life point towards the home life rather than within the classroom. Some studies show that a ‘stimulating home life’ can increase a child’s literacy levels. Sitting down with your child and reading with them or helping with their homework can increase brain activity outside of school that can be beneficial for literacy skills and brain development. Illiteracy can also be caused by a number of reasons, such as learning disabilities and academic stress. According to the Foundation of Alphabetisation the main factors that can cause illiteracy in adults are due to a lack of schooling and difficult living conditions. One other concern pointed towards the lack of academic resources that was available to children in the home. Books and other literacy-based resources are extremely beneficial for children as they can stimulate the mind within in a non-stressful home environment.

There are charities and trusts in the UK that aim to stop adult illiteracy and help those who are affected by it. There are certain classes that are available for those who need support in developing their literacy skills. There are also family learning activities that are provided by schools and other organisations that help with senior student learning that can provide you with the appropriate material to help you progress in the literacy sector.

One organisation called Read Easy UK was set up to help people learn to read both individually and as a group. There are many of these organisations around the UK so it isn’t too late to progress despite what your circumstances may be.In many cases, illiteracy can be prevented for adolescents and counteracted for adults. It is important that we consider the benefits of extra-curricular activities for students and young people that can help with their literacy skills. This way, we may be able to increase our literacy levels and help give the younger generation a brighter future. Furthermore, it is important to raise awareness for illiteracy in adults and promote the organisations around the UK that can help develop literacy skills in senior students.

 

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