I don’t know whether you managed to catch ‘The Write Offs’ with Sandi Toxteth, on Channel 4.  What a heartwarming programme about adult literacy.  The two part programme  follows a group of 8 people struggling with literacy – the ability to read and write.  A man who cannot read to his 3 year old, another unable to write a letter thanks, and all unable to follow simple instructions and directions. 

Literacy Levels In The UK

By highlighting the fact that the UK has one of the worst literacy levels in Europe it emphasises the absolute necessity to teach children fundamental literacy and numeracy skills.

The ability to read and write is something we take for granted as it such an integral and inseparable part of our lives.  It is shocking to discover that approximately eight and a half million people do not have basic skills and one in five children leave primary school unable to read or write properly.

That is why we started this website to promote our own products to help children learn through play.

How Do Poor Literacy Skills Affect Lives?

Adults with poor literacy skills are more likely to be unemployed or in low-paid jobs. There is a link between low levels of literacy and shorter life expectancy, depression and obesity.

According to an article in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/mar/03/literacy-white-working-class-boys-h-is-for-harry

‘Functionally illiterate adults are more likely to be socially isolated and lack self-esteem. Books, newspapers, email, the internet, forms, road signs, bank accounts, instruction leaflets, written directions: all are beyond their reach. They are unable to help their children with schoolwork, reinforcing a cycle of illiteracy. On top of that, there is a pervasive sense of shame and secrecy. “It’s a lifelong disability,” said Fiona Evans of the National Literacy Trust.

What Does ‘Writes Offs’ Investigate Literacy?

Throughout the programme the group learns to read and write. Some struggle with dyslexia and were labelled at school as ‘thick’ or ‘disruptive’, often developing strategies and behaviours to avoid situations in which they felt they could not cope or to mask their problems. Some railed against school for other reasons.

They are helped to conquer their fears and break free from their prisons, opening  up a whole new world of opportunities. It is so rewarding to see adults who describe themselves as feeling bullied, imprisoned, isolated, terrified and lonely, transform into confident and empowered individuals with a new found spirit of adventure.  What a huge impact on their lives, not only practically but emotionally.

Many adults are unready to admit to their literacy difficulties and ask for help.  One of the most important aspects of helping adults with low literacy levels is to increase their self-esteem and convince them of the benefits of improving their reading and writing.

The Importance of Teaching Early Literacy and Numeracy

The programme demonstrates unequivocally, the importance of education in the early years of a child’s life. We must be equipped to give them the vital and fundamental  literacy and numeracy skills they need to make their way in the world.

Every child has the ability learn if they are given the opportunities.

Make Sure Learning Is Accessible To All

There are techniques and strategies we can use to make sure that learning is accessible to everyone.   We all learn in different ways and are stimulated by different triggers, so we need to expose our children to many alternative approaches, to find the most successful way.

Pinpointing how someone learns best can dramatically affect their ability to connect with the topics you are teaching, so try to find out which mixture works best for you and your child.

We Can All Help!

Together we can make a difference and play a part in helping to raise national literacy levels, to ensure that everyone has the vital skills they need to access the wonders of the world around them.

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