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Online Adult Literacy

Many people who return to education after a long "time-out" find they need to brush up on their reading and writing skills in order to get the best out of their learning opportunities. In fact, if you are hoping to study for a recognized qualification, or a university-level degree or diploma, improving your literacy skills may be an essential step on the way to building a professional career. Sadly, many people who still struggle with reading and writing as adults aren't aware that opportunities to improve their literacy skills are available to them - they think they missed their chance at school and it's now too late to think about going back. Nothing could be further from the truth! A simple internet search for "adult literacy course" will lead you to a range of places where you can join a class to improve your literacy skills. Better still, adding the word "online" to the search will direct you to internet-based courses which you can take from the comfort of your own home, at a time and pace that suits you and your work schedule.

What Does It Involve?

Adults who have limited reading and writing abilities, non-native speakers of English and even those who simply feel that their written and perhaps even oral communication lacks a bit of "finesse" will all benefit from online literacy training. Many courses will offer you a free taster session to help you decide whether or not the course is for you. Then, if you are happy with what you find, you will usually be asked to complete a short reading and writing test to help your online tutor decide where you need to start learning. This is not a test that you can pass or fail, so don't be nervous; it's simply needed to give you the best possible start in your learning adventure. Many online literacy courses will put a tutor at your disposal for the duration of the course. Together, you and your tutor will work to improve your:

Writing Skills - These are essential skills for working and studying. You'll learn how to produce appropriately written documents in many different situations (for example, an official letter, a work-related email, a company presentation or a university essay). You'll also work on accurate spelling, grammar and vocabulary.

Speaking and Listening Skills - You'll learn how to take part effectively in discussions in various situations, for example, when attending work meetings, making a phone call to an official office or making a speech or presentation. You'll also learn how to communicate clearly and make sure people understand exactly what you want to say.

Reading Skills - Being able to read simple, everyday texts, from street signs to a letter from your bank, is an important life-skill which an online course can help you to improve. You'll also get the chance to learn how to understand and summarize longer, more specialized texts that you might encounter through work or further study.

How Can All That Be Done Online?

Thanks to modern technology, it's now possible to teach literacy courses very effectively via the internet. Many courses use Learning Management Systems, which allow you to simply log in and access all your learning material, and your teacher, via the web. This means that you can attend classes and tutorials (often recorded on video and uploaded to the website, from where you can download them and watch them when you have time), complete assignments and have your work assessed and returned to you by your teacher - and you can do all this wherever you have access to the internet. Also, software programs with advanced speech-recognition technology may be used to create interactive dialogue situations through which you can improve your communication skills and receive instant feedback on your speech, even when your teacher is not online.

The Next Step

Don't forget that improving your reading and writing is not the only skill you can develop online. A wide range of courses are available to help you increase your employment and education opportunities, for example, computer skills and foreign language learning.


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