About Adult Literacy

Literacy is a Community Issue

Low literacy has a direct and significant impact on the lives of those with lower skills – on their families, their community life and at the workplace.

Low adult literacy marginalises and disadvantages individuals, often leading to social exclusion and financial disadvantage, fewer opportunities for individual growth and a lack of engagement with community, education and the workplace.

The flow-on effects of low literacy through communities are enormous.

Many adults who cannot confidently read or write, find they are ill-equipped to:

  • effectively support their children’s education and academic development
  • engage effectively at all levels within their communities e.g. vote in elections, consult their pharmacist
  • participate confidently in school and community activities, sport or volunteering
  • enroll in adult education and gain new qualifications
  • find or retain a full-time job and fulfilling employment
  • progress confidently at work, be promoted and develop their career
  • grow as individuals without fear or embarrassment

People with low literacy skills cannot do what the rest of us take for granted – it’s a ‘quality of life’ issue . . .


The sense of shame often associated with an inability to read or write means life is incredibly challenging for some people. There are many adults who feel trapped by their lack of skills, who feel unable to take advantage of main-stream options to address their skills deficit and for whom confidential, 1:1 fee-free tutoring is their only option.

In partnership with Read Write Now! the Community Adult Literacy Foundation supports Western Australians who are self-motivated to improve their literacy. Through 1:1 tutoring individuals are provided with a unique and highly-focused learning opportunity. They finally have a chance to develop their skills and feel more confident about the future.

Literacy – we all need it!

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Adult Literacy in Australia

Two surveys by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 1996 and in 2006, revealed that approximately 46% of adult Australians ‘experience some level of difficulty with everyday literacy tasks’. Similar figures have been found in other countries including Canada, the UK and USA.

The skills and knowledge gap for adults with lower literacy skills is as big as it’s ever been with many people at risk of falling even further behind. Even in today’s ‘high-tech’ world, effective communication still requires reading fluency and the ability to compose a clear sentence.

Many adult Western Australians continue to feel they need to improve their literacy for their workplace and career prospects. Since community-tutoring began in 1977, many thousands of people disadvantaged by their low skills have improved their reading and writing through 1:1 tuition.

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