New Spelling App for Literacy and Language Learners

GRETB’s Adult Literacy Service is delighted to announce the launch of their new spelling app, Syllables, on the App store. It is free to download and is primarily aimed at literacy and language learners. This app is perfect for learning the basic principles of syllable division and allows learners to practice using common everyday words in 5 different levels and 8 different topic areas. Understanding syllable division also aids decoding skills necessary for reading, and the app will increase vocabulary among language learners. It is bright, cheerful and easy to use, with an option to unlock all levels if desired.

Please download it and try it out if you have learners who would benefit from it and then send us any feedback you may have to

Many thanks!

Student Learning Journey

Student Profile (Male aged between 50 & 60)

Richard suffered from depression for many years he was attending a psychologist who encouraged him to go to the local literacy service to address his literacy difficulties this was 2012. He was extremely nervous at the first initial meeting and he started in one to one tuition. Richard really enjoyed working with his tutor one to one but it was obvious he had better literacy skills than he thought and so he was encouraged to progress into group tuition.


This was another big step for Richard – going into a group class. He attended a Basic English class with a number of other men and they all just clicked as a group. In fact Richard got very friendly with some of his class mates and progressed a weekly game of golf outside of the centre. He then attended an ITABE group where he was introduced to maths for the first time. Richard found he had an aptitude for maths he didn’t even know he had. In fact Richard was working out maths problems on a daily basis in his work as a building contractor so he was familiar with angles, fractions, measurement etc. Up to this point all the courses were unaccredited.


The next step was achieving accreditation. So in September 2013 Richard started Junior Certificate Foundation Level English class and Level 3 Maths class in which he was very successful obtaining a B in Junior Cert English and getting his QQI Level 3 certificate in Maths.


September 2014 saw more challenges for Richard he started a QQI Level 4 Maths and a two year Leaving Cert English programme. The plan was for Richard to sit his Junior Cert Ordinary English exam in year 1 and to sit the Leaving cert English exam in year 2. He also agreed to partake in the TV3 documentary series ‘Getting the Numbers Write’ During the first half of the year Richard appeared on breakfast time TV, national radio with Pat Kenny and in the local papers.


By June 2015 Richard had achieved and a C grade in Junior Cert ordinary level English and a QQI Level 4 certificate in Maths. At this stage this was as far as the Adult learning service could bring Richard in terms of his Maths and although Richard wanted to sit the leaving Cert in Maths all the BTEI programmes were during the day and this didn’t suit Richard as he worked full time.


Finally in June 2016 Richard achieved his goal of obtaining his dream of passing his Leaving Cert English exam – achieving a C1. He was over the moon he was the first member of his family to sit the leaving cert.


In November 2016 Richard achieved his long term goal to train as a One to One tutor. Richard successfully attended the initial tutor training programme and was looking forward to starting with a student in 2017. Unfortunately Richard hasn’t managed to start tutoring yet as he has ongoing health problems which prevented him from getting started.


Launch of new UIL publication on family literacy and learning

A new FL resource has been developed by UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (with a sub Saharan African focus) .

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is launching a new publication highlighting the critical role family literacy and learning play in breaking down barriers between different learning contexts and engaging hard-to-reach adults and children in education. Learning Together Across Generations: Guidelines for Family Literacy and Learning Programmes was developed as part of a family learning project initiated by UIL in 2016. Based on the experiences of promising family literacy and learning programmes implemented in all world regions, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa, it provides stakeholders in Member States with evidence-informed guidance on how to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a pilot family learning programme, stressing, in particular, the value of an intergenerational approach in addressing the learning needs of disadvantaged families and communities.

An innovative approach to literacy and learning

The innovative family-centred and community-based approach to literacy and learning has great potential in overcoming the barriers between school, home and community. It requires providers of early childhood care and development or pre-school education, primary education, and adult literacy and education to work together to redress educational disadvantage among vulnerable families. Evidence shows that such an approach also helps to overcome gender disparities. The publication provides guidance on how to respond to the learning needs of women and their families through the strengthening of positive, gender-conscious and culturally sensitive intergenerational learning practices.

The Guidelines are divided into three sections:

  • A theoretical introduction clarifying the concept of intergenerational and family learning.
  • A set of guidelines supporting potential providers in planning and delivering a pilot family learning programme.
  • A collection of examples of pedagogical materials.

The Guidelines aim to support stakeholders in Member States in successfully piloting a family learning programme. The principles, recommendations and examples of pedagogical materials featured in the publication were gathered during the International Workshop for the Development of a Resource Pack to Reach Vulnerable Families with Intergenerational Approaches to Literacy, which took place in Hamburg, Germany, in November 2016.

While they speak to all Member States, the examples included in this publication should resonate most with those who plan to implement a family learning programme in multilingual and multicultural contexts in rural or peri-urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

This piece is taken from:


This document is available to download in the ALOA downloads page.

Bray Adult Learning Centre – Integrating Digital Education in Adult Literacy

Bray Adult Learning Centre are taking part in a KA2 Strategic Partnership called IDEAL – Integrating Digital Education in Adult Literacy.  Four staff members attended a transnational teaching and training event in Helsinki in October 2016.

The project involves sharing good practice and exploring the use of digital technology in teaching adults basic skills. They are developing the use of the interactive whiteboard and a workshop was held on this in Helsinki.

Check out the video below:


hel-1 hel-2 hel-3 hel-4KWETB Schools Open Nights 2016 – All Welcome

Mná Tí – Skills for Work Initiative in Gortahork



Mná Tí from Gael Linn summer colleges who took part in a 9 week Skills for Work course (a National programme run in Donegal by Donegal ETB) in Nutrition – Food Allergies and Food Intolerances.  The women spent time identifying and learning about the different allergies and food intolerances that exist. They planned meals for students with special dietary requirements and they assessed these in terms of nutrition, cost and ease of cooking.  Towards the end of the course they spent some time cooking these new menus.



Mná Tí Ghael Linn a ghlac pairt i gCúrsa Cothaithe , Neamhoird Bhia agus Ailléirge.  Cúrsa 9 seachtaine faoin chlár Scileanna don Obair – clár náisiúnta atá á reachtáil i dTír Chonaill ag Bord Oideachais agus Oiliúna Dhun na nGall.

Chaith na Mná Tí tréimhse ag fiosrú agus ag foghlaim fána ailléirge agus eadulaingtí a thig leis a bheith ar na páistí  faoina gcúram. Rinne siad béilí a phleanáil do réimse daoine le riachtanais bia speisialta agus rinne siad iad a mheas ó thaobh cothú, costas agus indéantacht.  Ag deireadh an chúrsa chuir siad an méid a d’fhoghlaim siad i bhfeidhm nuair a rinne siad na béilí seo a chócaireacht.





Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB)                    skills-for-work-logo

Integrating Literacy and Numeracy in GRETB Training Centre

picture1The Adult Literacy Service is active in supporting apprentices in Training Centres across the country and a number of initiatives to integrate literacy and numeracy are underway. Here in Galway we have incorporated support that aims to help apprentices with maths, comprehension and reading skills. We also support those who are in the first phase of becoming an apprentice (those who are on the job), in order to help them to prepare for phase two, which is in the centre.

Our initiatives in the centre are as follows:

Study and Learning Guide for Apprentices: this is a tailor-made workbook which covers aspects of study, taking notes, how to learn as well as exam preparation. It also gives details of what to do to get extra support. The workbook is taught as a classroom activity in three sessions and is done by all apprentices.

Drop in support: we have a dedicated room with resources on site. Apprentices can drop in or make an appointment and typically receive help with reading, taking notes and comprehension.

Maths support: Each group is assessed for maths skills at the start and following this, small group classes are offered as needed to each trade group. Topics covered are specific to those trades e.g. Ohm’s law for Motor Mechanics.

Ideas for Integrating Literacy booklet: this booklet is for instructors and is full of examples of different types of worksheets that can be used to good effect for those who are struggling with following the course texts and the theory side of their work.

Phase One: help is offered at induction stage of phase one and any apprentice can start classes in their local ABE centre. Apprentices are taking us up on this offer of help, with classes taking place in Galway, Roscommon and Castlebar to date.

Feel free to contact Alison Jones on 091 706289 or for more information on any of this.