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Adult Education Program: Literacy Center

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Adult illiteracy is defined as the percentage of the population aged 15 years and over who cannot read and write with understanding a short simple statement on his/her everyday life. A large number of Americans have trouble reading, speaking, writing, and listening. With this percentage in mind as well as meeting the needs of a community, adult literacy centers have been created. Adult literacy centers are made to improve literacy, which in part boosts self-esteem and life-long learning. They improve the quality of adults’ lives by teaching them to read, write, and comprehend correctly.

Almost all of the people that are seeking an adult literacy center struggled and were left behind by their teachers and classmates. Parents from low income families come often to better themselves and make a better living to support their children, as well as adults that had to leave school due to child birth and problems at home. Most of these people are under 25 and come to create something out of themselves before they see it is too late to learn. A portion of adult learners also use English as their second language. Many people come to earn their GED (General Educational Development). Most places of employment today require a college diploma or a passing of the GED. For example, in one case, a man was let go from his job and was searching for a new job but no one wanted to hire a high school dropout. The man took time and finally decided to go back to a school that was made for him. He studied hard and received individual teaching and finally earned his GED and is now employed. Other people seek adult literacy centers to become better parents, siblings, and family members. They want to be able to read to the children that come into the world and don’t want them to be left behind as well. In addition, other adult learners want to be able to completely understand what is going on in the community, in the world politics, so that they can potentially use their knowledge to influence their communities on issues they became passionate about.

There are many branches of adult literacy because most adults come to literacy centers looking for something different. Many students come to learn the Adult Basic Education (ABE). This group consists of English speakers who want to improve their reading, writing, speaking, problem solving or computation at a level necessary to function in society, on a job or in the ‘family”. ABE learners, many times, were never given the opportunity to reach their higher education and employment goals.

Some of the adults that come in may have had a learning disability throughout their school years, while others may have a developmental limitation and want to improve skills so that they may eventually have more opportunities to use the knowledge learned. Adult secondary education (ASE) is “designed to help adults who have some literacy skills and can function in everyday life,3 but are not proficient or do not have a certificate of graduation or its equivalent from a secondary school”. Adults usually attend ASE classes to earn a GED (General Education Development). Sometimes these students do not know what the test consists of and end up needing extra tutoring before they take their GED. Generally, each subject on the test can be taken up to three times per year. If a student passes any of the subjects, they do not need to retake that portion of the test. When these students come with their GED in mind, they tend to want to be in and out. A group of adults who claim English as a second language (ESL) come in to seek instruction. These adult learners want to improve their English conversation skills. They usually ask for individual help. ESOL learners also work on improving reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar and other skills once their speaking is fairly fluent.

Many people refuse to enter an adult learning center because they fear what everyone around them will think, especially those who are reasonably successful and well-known in the community, would rather not have services at all than have their friends and neighbors find out that they have a literacy problem. A team of volunteers, who are not widely known, can be hired to bring people in and make them want to stay by teaching them with an unbiased approach.

The use of digital media can help draw students in and stimulate their learning process. Using digital media can help when wanting to find new topics that will enhance interest in reading and writing for all students, including adults, to support their learning with prompts to give them more practice. It is likely to motivate their interest in at least three ways: technologies are novel, they can ease the unpleasant parts of practice, and they can empower the learner through development of valued, relevant digital literacy skills.

In conclusion, the adult literacy center will be created solely to satisfy the needs of each person that steps foot in the building. The staff will have a clear understanding that each student comes from a different walk of life, and that is something that should be understood by a staff member. The main goal of the adult literacy center is to give adults the extra push that they need, and to provide them with an education that they have been longing for.

Works Cited

  • National Reporting System for Adult Education. (2001). Measures and methods for the national reporting system for adult education—Implementation guidelines. Washington, DC: Division of Adult Education and Literacy, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education.
  • Britannica, T. E. of E. (n.d.). Adult education. Retrieved from
  • Churchill, L., Mulholland, R., & Cepello, M. R. (2008). A practical guide for special education professionals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.
  • Rabinowitz, P. (n.d.). Section 12. Planning an Adult Literacy Program. 
  • Read ‘Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation’ at (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • The Adult Literacy Center has moved. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Types of Literacy Learners. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Stuart, F. & Curtis, H.A. “Climate controlled and non-climate controlled schools.” Clearwater, Florida: The Pinellas County Board of Education. Air conditioning, Heating, and Ventilation 1964: 57, 78-79.

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