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What does literacy mean to you?

Published: 
Thursday, August 9, 2018

In just about one month, registration for Alta’s 2018/2019 academic year begins. In preparation for this year’s registration and in honour of Alta’s 25th anniversary being celebrated this year, this week’s article takes a look at the importance of literacy. What exactly does literacy mean and why does the work of Alta continue to be of growing importance?

The meaning of the word literate has long been debated but has come to refer to the ability to read, understand and use information and while many persons may take these skills for granted, they are just that- skills. Without proper teaching and practice, these skills can become underdeveloped and this often results in struggling readers or non-readers.

The Adult Literacy Tutors Association was formed in 1992 to address issues in adult literacy in Trinidad and Tobago at a time when many were not aware that a literacy problem existed. The literacy survey completed by ALTA in 1994 found that 23 per cent of the population struggled with everyday reading and writing.

This percentage accounts for approximately 300,000 persons in T&T. Over the course of 25 years ALTA has trained over 300 volunteer tutors and helped over 2,000 students ages 16 and over, reach their literacy goals. ALTA provides classes of different levels and evaluates potential students and places them in classes dependent on their skill level.

Through its work, ALTA also tries to combat the attitudes towards non-readers by others. There is a stigma and a stereotype attached to persons who have difficulties with reading and writing. Often times persons assume that there is a link between literacy and intelligence but the two are not synonymous and many people assume that a person who struggles with literacy is not intelligent which is certainly not the case.

ALTA tries to combat that negative stereotype and encourage non-readers to work beyond their fears and seek assistance to greater improve their quality of life.

Literacy lies at the heart of education and serves as the gateway to social and economic mobility and builds a foundation upon which persons can forge a life away from poverty and crime.

More info

On Tuesday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 5, from 9 am to 6 pm, ALTA holds registration for the new academic year at the following libraries: Arima, Couva, Chaguanas, Mayaro, POS, San Juan, Siparia, Tunapuna, Point Fortin, Princes Town, San Fernando and Sangre Grande. Other registration venues include the Warrenville Regional Complex, Shiva Boys’ Hindu College, Brighton AC School La Brea, 18 Cedar Hill Road Claxton Bay and ALTA San Fernando Office.

ALTA continues to change the lives of its students and continues to work towards its goal of empowering adults through literacy.

Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA

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