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Literacy and Numeracy: It's Not Rocket Science

This is the plain-English introduction to literacy and numeracy that you've been looking for to help you understand what everyone else Is talking about.

Kia ora...! Welcome...!

Discover how to be more successful in your teaching journey. I'll introduce and explain some of the fundamentals of adult literacy and numeracy education.

Once you’ve finished reading, you will have a better understanding of basics including how this relates to technical and vocational education and training.

What are you going to get out of this?

If there are three major takeaways. You'll learn that:

  • Literacy and numeracy AREN’T rocket science.
  • If you understand what literacy and numeracy are and how they work, they can help you teach better.
  • If you teach better, you’re more likely to see better results with your learners.

There are three short sections. Here’s what’s involved:

What do people mean when they talk about literacy and numeracy?

Even the words "literacy" and "numeracy" sound kind of intimidating. But the reality is that you deal with them every day. As a teacher or a trainer, you might do this automatically. That's ok, but it's not enough.

We’ll take a look at what people mean when they talk about adult literacy and numeracy.

We’ll dig into what’s different or the same about the various kinds of literacy and numeracy, including in the context of vocational education.

What's under the hood?

They won't succeed if you don't make a start on integrating or embedding LN. So, we’ll also look at some of the frameworks that can guide us to a better understanding of learning and teaching. Some of these frameworks are there to guide your approach to teaching. Others are to help you see your learners through new eyes.

Included are specific frameworks you need to understand when you're designing teaching and learning, but we also look at two case studies from recent work in Aotearoa New Zealand that might be relevant to your learners. 

  • New Zealand Case Study 1: A NZ Māori framework
  • New Zealand Case Study 2: Pacific Literacy

These are still relevant even if you're not from New Zealand because they illustrate how you can work with learners from different cultural perspectives and backgrounds that leverages their strengths.


What’s causing the problem of low adult literacy and numeracy?

Lastly, we’ll look at some of the factors that cause low levels of literacy and numeracy in your learners.

This is not designed to be an exhaustive empirical study. Rather, it's a snapshot of the main factors likely influencing your learners.

Clearly, not all learners are the same. And your students are going to be different to mine. But many of the issues that cause them difficulty in learning are similar. We'll dig into that.

Here's Exactly What We'll Cover

1. What do we mean?

  • Introducing literacy and numeracy
  • Embedded literacy and numeracy 
  • ESOL 
  • New Zealand Case Study: Māori literacy and numeracy 
  • New Zealand Case Study: Pasifika Literacy 

2. What's under the hood? 

  • Frameworks that can help when you’re working with literacy and numeracy learners 
  • Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy 
  • Read with understanding 
  • Write to communicate 
  • New Zealand Case Study: The Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT) 
  • Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy 
  • Make Sense of Number 
  • Measurement 
  • Te Whare Tapa Whā 
  • Fonofale Pasifika 
  • ESOL Starting Points 

3. Why do we have low adult literacy and numeracy? 

  • The impact of colonisation 
  • Socio-economic factors 
  • Cycles of poverty 
  • Poor teaching 
  • Technology 

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