Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2017 Contents life B5
Thursday, May 4, 2017 guardian.co.tt Why adult literacy?
It is a question
that has been
times since Alta's
adult literacy and
not children's lit-
It is clear that
many children in
T&T struggle with
reading and writ-
ing on a daily basis
which impacts their
ability to perform
well at school.
Alta receives countless messages before, during
and after its annual student recruitment, enquiring
about an Alta programme for people 16 and under.
Alta's focus on adult literacy is explored in a con-
tribution from long standing Alta Tutors Brenda De
Silva and Noreen De La Rosa which was published
years ago in this column.
While the Alta programme is offered to people
16 years and over, Alta's strategy captures both
children and adults.
Alta's founder, Paula Lucie-Smith, reasoned
When adults learn to read, they ensure that their children are literate and
equipped for life. PHOTO: HILL STREET STUDIOS
that teaching the decision-makers in families (the
adults) would bring long term benefits beyond
individual students and into each family.
The structure of the programme content in the
Alta workbooks offers students opportunities to
learn reading and writing while stimulating com-
prehension and showing lifestyle choices.
One major choice for families is where to place
priority for its resources.
Many Alta students tell tutors that they spent
very little or no time at school. One of the most
pressing reasons to keep children from school is
the opportunity for them to earn some money,
whether in family ventures or other, commercial
There's also a decision to be made on if the fam-
ily can afford the immediate expense of sending
children to school.
Alta's 25 years of existence has spanned gen-
erations and gives it the perspective to gauge its
influence within families.
Noreen De la Rosa, who volunteers with both
Servol and Alta, recalls several instances where
some of her students made the switch from looking
for instant gain to long term benefits for them-
selves, their children and grandchildren.
One student, Patsy, related her unnerving histo-
ry. She suffered from poor vision from childhood
and when her mother took her to school at age five
she was told to have a doctor test Patsy's eyesight.
This wasn't done and the child stayed at home for
the next 12 years, never going out of doors.
When a vision test was eventually done, doctors
diagnosed cataracts in both eyes. After a series of
operations and treatment, Patsy's sight improved
and some years later she joined Alta.
Recognising the value of education and her ex-
perience of being denied the opportunity, Patsy did
better by her daughter who attended both primary
and secondary school.
Another telling experience was that of a 16-year-
old Servol student who took the mechanics course
and the Alta programme.
He went on to open his own mechanics shop and
now has two children who attend Bishop Anstey
The generational effect came also for Noreen's
housekeeper who joined the Alta programme as
did her daughter.
The housekeeper's grandson currently attends
one of the best secondary schools in Port-of-
Noreen believes that the real value of the Alta
programme for students is that it fosters a climate
for learning that extends to a wider community
and that more often than not, Alta students en-
sure that education is a priority for their children.
It is also very common for Alta's adult learn-
ers to teach their children what they learn on a
Alta undoubtedly has had impact on the cycle of
poor literacy which could continue if parents who
are poor readers could not access literacy classes.
While adults are Alta's priority, since 2008 the
Association has offered small Youth Lit classes in
partnership with Nalis for people nine-15 years
of age at libraries around the country.
Registration for this programme will take place
on September 25 and 26 at a library near you. Every
year, the programme fills up quickly.
From October, Alta Online will also be available
for purchase---the programme will be suitable for
ages 10 and up so by 2018, the Alta programme will
be available for use by almost anyone who needs
to develop their literacy skills.
Call Alta at 624-2582 for more information.
Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call 624-
2582 or email Altapos.email@example.com for more info.
Keep up to date with Alta on Facebook, Twitter and
Instagram: Alta TT
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