The Missing Components in Dutch Literacy Training: How to support and improve literacy training

Marlou Zandgrond

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Illiteracy has recently resurfaced as being a big societal issue in the Netherlands that might be passed on from generations or that arises due to failures to gain a sufficient educational level. It consequently could lead to a lower income, higher health risks and shame. It therefore might be of vital importance to try to decrease the illiteracy rate in the Netherlands, to prevent people with low literacy skills to be excluded in our modern society.

This study provides an inventory of recent, relevant studies, programs and materials that aim to decrease the Dutch illiteracy rate. This inventory illustrates that, although many factors are being accounted for (e.g. ways to improve illiteracy identification or communication), many other questions are still unanswered. Therefore, the second sub-study focuses on literacy training in Taalhuizen to get an insight look and to look for improvements based on instructors' experiences.

This study's results indicate that these trainings provide for positive improvements in decreasing illiteracy. However, it still remains difficult to reach and identify the target group in which shame continues to be a major factor. In addition, the literacy training environment is not ideal. Separate rooms are not always available, which leads to a lack of privacy and a higher risk of distraction. Lastly, majority of the materials remain unused, due to the fact that they either do not align with participants' learning goal or with their literacy level.

This study shows that we should continue to focus on improving such factors to maximize the impact of literacy training. It also suggests to break the taboo of illiteracy by focusing not only on things that the illiterate population cannot do and needs to improve, but also on things the literate population can improve to meet them in the middle.
Originele taal-2English
UitgeverijScience Shop, University of Groningen
Aantal pagina's108
StatusPublished - 27-jun-2019

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