Busting the myths around Adult Literacy in NZ

Literacy Aotearoa Wellington 23/08/17

Literacy Aotearoa Wellington is challenging people to confront some of the myths around Adult Literacy in New Zealand. In preparation for September 8th - International Literacy Day Literacy Aotearoa Wellington has released information on the most common misunderstandings they come across in relation to adult literacy.


Myth 1 - The only adults with Literacy issues in NZ are migrants and refugees

Truth - 1 in 4 Adult New Zealanders struggle with some of the literacy skills they need in their everyday life. 70% of Literacy Aotearoa Wellington's students are NZ born.


Myth 2 - You are either Literate or Illiterate

Truth - Most people are good at some things and struggle with others. Many people can read and write but not well enough to do the things they want. They have literacy issues or challenges but are not illiterate


Myth 3 - Literacy is just about reading and writing

Truth - Literacy (and numeracy) includes a range of skills for life. As well as reading, writing and working with numbers, literacy is about communication, technical skills (digital literacy) and life skills.


Myth 4 - If you didn't learn it at school - you are just "thick"

Truth - People miss out on learning at school for a number of reasons. Regardless literacy is not a measure of intelligence - it is a set of skills that can be learned at any age or stage.


Many New Zealanders underestimate the scale of the issue facing the adult literacy sector and that lack of understanding impacts on the development of effective interventions. Manager of Literacy Aotearoa Wellington Bridget Murphy says “Adult literacy issues can be addressed by normalising literacy learning in workplaces, communities and families. Whenever the problem is misunderstood orminimised we lose opportunities to help. That is why this year we are encouraging everyone to bust the myths around literacy and become more aware of what help is available Have a conversation with your boss, your neighbour or your Mum – share your knowledge on this issue.”

Lower levels of literacy are known to be linked to a range of social issues and disadvantages including poverty, unemployment and poor health. “Until the realities of Adult Literacy are understood both at work and home, people will be marginalised and disadvantaged.”

Literacy Aotearoa Wellington is also running an open day on Friday September 8th from 9am to midday. Staff will be available all morning to enrol new students and there will be information talks at 9am, 10am and 11am for any employers, unions, social services, government agencies or members of the public who want to know more.

Literacy Aotearoa Wellington is an award winning not-for-profit organisation providing free training in a range of basic skills including literacy, numeracy, communication, digital literacy, financial literacy, job seeking skills and more. Literacy Aotearoa Wellington is a member of Literacy Aotearoa who have member organisations throughout New Zealand.