IMPROVING PRISONER LITERACY AND NUMERACY



It is a sad fact of life that many prisoners are almost illiterate, although it is usually lack of education rather than lack of intelligence which is the root cause of their problems. Dyslexia is a frequent obstacle. For some of the illiterates, obstacles to learning arise because of anomalies in the phonetics in the English language and non-phonetic spelling. Progress in numeracy is hindered by the complication of dealing with parallel metric and Imperial measuring systems. No doubt in the future spelling reform and discontinuation of Imperial units will make life easier for students but at the moment they must cope with the status quo.


There are syllabuses in effect for the various levels of literacy and numeracy of the prisoners but the material the tutors use is sometimes uninspiring. Frequently it consists merely of monochrome pages photocopied from schoolbooks. To improve the presentation of the information we have prepared some material which can be accessed through the links below. The material can be amended if tutors feel the need for it. We are also happy to prepare presentations on other subjects if required.

The Alfarap video is aimed at zero-literacy students. It's an aid to matching the letters in the alphabet to their sounds, including some of the anomalous sounds.

The Play Your Cards Right sequence starts with the basic 'sounds of letters' and then introduces some spelling and pronunciation rules. The written material that accompanies it is in two formats: the first assumes zero literacy. The student listens to the audio and is guided through the lesson by reference to the 'playing card' icons (the assumption being that most prisoners will be familiar with them!). The second format shows in written form the entire spoken lesson. The intention is that as a student's literacy improves he can gradually transition from the first format to the second.

Basic grammar rules are introduced in a separate presentation.

The links below are for more traditional material intended to improve numeracy and related subjects, presented as simply as possible. They deal with:

dimensions
area
fractions
distance, speed and time
decimals
subtraction


To comment on these ideas or to add suggestions, please contact us.

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