Why literacy matters: Understanding the effects of literacy education for adults
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This is an important book which needs to be read and studied carefully throughout the adult literacy world. Ralf St Clair of Glasgow University draws on his experience of adult literacy learning programmes in the USA, Canada and the UK (especially Scotland, which has a distinctive approach to adult education) to see if he can clarify issues around the impact of learning literacy on adults. Like many others, he omits numeracy, “not because numeracy is unimportant, but [because it] has its own concept with its own set of concerns” (p. 3). “[M]y intention has not been to assess if literacy education matters, but to try to identify the ways in which it matters” (p. 169). Throughout the book, he is concerned to try to distinguish between those outcomes which arise from literacy and those which arise from participation in an adult learning programme, “the side effects that come simply from being educated” (p. 130). This is a book primarily for policy-makers and programme planners; there is...
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