Let’s talk about literacy.

In Ireland, about one in six adults has unmet literacy needs. Many more have unmet numeracy and digital literacy needs. This means they may be unable to fill in a form, read instructions, add up a bill or search online for information.

Unmet literacy needs can exclude people from carrying out a range of everyday activities and prevent them from participating fully in society. With your help we can change this.

Literacy is a human right

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Literacy changes lives.

Literacy allows us to engage effectively with others, access public services, understand and act on new information, and use technology. It allows us to stand up for ourselves and our communities on issues that affect our lives.

Adult Literacy for Life (ALL) is a 10-year strategy dedicated to ensuring that anyone with unmet literacy needs can participate fully in society. We want to ensure that everyone has the literacy to meet their needs, and that literacy is valued and supported at every level of our society.

You can make a difference.

1. Talk about literacy

Talk about literacy with your friends and family and help to reduce the stigma. Some people feel embarrassed and hide their literacy needs from friends and family.

2. Raise awareness of local services.

Currently in Ireland there are over 40,000 adults attending literacy courses nationwide. This service is provided by the Education Training Boards (ETB) Adult Literacy Service. The service is free and is a very different experience to school. Tutors work at a pace that suits the learner and their interests, and there are no exams. Find out more about local literacy services. The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) also offers a service called Learn with NALA where you can learn with a tutor over the phone or online. Find out more on Learn with NALA.

3. Become ‘literacy friendly’.

Unmet literacy needs can often exclude people from carrying out a range of everyday activities or successfully interacting with public and private services. You can address this in your work by:

  • being aware and taking account of literacy needs,

  • identifying and removing literacy-related barriers,

  • using plain English in your communications, and

  • providing literacy awareness training to staff.

Find out more about plain English and free courses in understanding literacy and becoming literacy friendly.

Learn more about how you can make a difference

Keep informed

We want to ensure that everyone has the literacy to meet their needs, and that literacy is valued and supported at every level of society.

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