The publication Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy describes the steps towards competency in literacy that apply to most New Zealand adult learners. For some adults, however, the progressions do not adequately describe the initial knowledge, skills or understandings required to begin learning to read and write. Starting Points: Supporting the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy targets New Zealand adult learners who need to develop the prerequisite skills and understandings to decode basic words for reading, or to write (forming letters and encoding) basic words.
Learners may, however, have other literacy skills; for example, they may have excellent listening and speaking skills, including listening comprehension. Some adults may be learning English as a second or other language (ESOL learners) and, for them, a lack of English, along with a limited or very different literacy knowledge in their mother tongue, may be a barrier to progress. Therefore Starting Points: Supporting the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy may be useful for some ESOL learners as well as for speakers whose mother tongue is English, depending on their specific needs.
Starting Points: Supporting the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy gives a framework for learning to which tutors can add content and contexts appropriate to the situations and needs of their learners. It has been developed to complement and support the adult literacy learning progressions. Specifically, the seven areas selected as starting points provide support for working out how to read and write words (decoding written words, forming letters, and writing or encoding words) to enable learners to access and work within the first steps of the learning progressions.
They represent critical skills and knowledge that are essential for supporting adult literacy development. Without these skills and knowledge, it is unlikely a learner could advance significantly through the progressions for reading and writing.
Unlike the progressions, the areas selected here as starting points are not represented in strands or in a sequential way, because the skills and knowledge are closely interdependent and are related most closely to only two of the learning progressions: Decoding (in Read with Understanding) and Spelling (in Write to Communicate). They are underpinned by the skills represented in the Listen with Understanding and Speak to Communicate progressions, particularly those for vocabulary and comprehension.
This resource is designed for use by literacy tutors who will have the skills and knowledge to teach at this level and to support tutors (such as vocational tutors) in their work with learners.