About Teaching Illiterate Adults

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In America, 11 million adults are illiterate and 30 million have insufficient skills that require instruction from trained teachers. They are unable to understand information from various sources, for example, in the workplace, home or doctor’s office.

1 Definition

An illiterate adult cannot or struggles to read and write. Reading requires the ability to understand the connection between speech and print, understand unknown words, have a background and vocabulary that creates comprehension, possess an ability to derive meaning from print and be motivated to read.

2 Preparation

Teachers determine the instructional needs of their students and review material that help them achieve their goals. When the teacher knows the subject matter and prepares students, learners will know what information to look for and be able to answer questions.

3 Multimedia

Video is used to teach new ideas, demonstrate behaviors and inspire students, while print materials support the lesson with instruction and practice. Visual presentations are most effective when presented in a well lit room with frequent breaks. The Internet is another tool teachers can use to stimulate students to study and stretch themselves.

4 Outcomes

Acquiring literacy assists adults in obtaining employment and improving their emotional health. Students benefit from increased self-worth and feeling in control of their lives.

Carola Finch began freelancing for newspapers and magazines in 1976. She specializes in writing about people with disabilities, business, Christianity and social issues. Finch studied journalism and communications at Red River Community College.