Friday 30 September 2016

Adult literacy courses spell success for late learners

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 09/09/2015 | 02:30

Olive Phelan pictured in her home at Tymon North, Tallaght, Dublin. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Olive Phelan pictured in her home at Tymon North, Tallaght, Dublin. Photo: Caroline Quinn

An inability to spell proved an obstacle throughout the working life of Joe Cummins.

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The Dubliner spoke yesterday of how he could not advance in jobs because he was not able to spell words or fill out forms by himself.

Joe (58), a resident of Crumlin, said a decision just five years ago to enrol in a course at Crumlin College supported by the National Adult Literacy Agency helped to bring big benefits to his life.

"My spelling had always been an embarrassment to me. But, with the encouragement of my children, I recently passed the Junior Cert English exam and I'm delighted," he said, speaking on International Literacy Day.

Two of his daughters are teachers and one of his two sons has a doctorate in chemistry, but passing the Junior Cert English exam recently brought him added pride, he said.

Clare McNally, spokeswoman for the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), said any adults seeking to solve problems with reading, writing, or the use of numbers can call the agency on 1800 202065 and discuss several options for learning these skills.

Tuition is even available over the telephone or on a one-to-one basis. Courses are completely free, she said.

People are relieved to finally be able to send a text or an email or book a flight online, as computer skills are also taught, she said.

Another person who spoke yesterday of the huge benefit of adult literacy learning was Olive Phelan (58) of Tallaght, who mastered reading and writing on NALA courses in recent years. She kept her literacy difficulties a secret, even from her children, but now she takes part in public events promoting literacy classes.

Irish Independent

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