What Is Post Literacy?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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Post literacy is an area of adult education that focuses on maintaining literacy in people who have recently acquired functional reading skills. It includes finding and using available resources for further education and for strengthening existing skills. One main area of post literacy education also concerns the role of digital media as part of a literate environment. This type of adult education is designed to both lower the average numbers of illiterate adults and to equip them with the tools they need to continue benefiting from the ability to understand written text.

Teaching post literacy often overlaps with teaching certain aspects of information literacy. Many adult education specialists agree that recognizing text correctly is only a beginning part of becoming fully literate. Learners also need to be able to locate specific texts and evaluate them for their usefulness whether for information or entertainment. Comparisons of separate texts and identification of author biases are additional skills covered in post literacy training. Unlike other types of further education that focus on teaching specific job skills, this type of education can be used in any area of life that involves interpreting information.


Another important part of post literacy education is done at the community level in areas with higher percentages of emerging adult literacy. Such measures include making libraries and book exchanges readily available for people who would have otherwise had little access to them. These community resources provide both traditional printed material and other mediums for continued learning. Many post literacy measures can be seen in libraries that offer learning opportunities that blend reading with technology use.

The role of electronic media is frequently an area of debate among educators and researchers who study post literacy in depth. Some of them believe that digital media is gradually eclipsing written text as a main source of information. They often warn that this trend could eventually lead to a backward slide in literacy rates, resulting in adults who are able to gain surface-level information through video clips, images, sound bites, and brief online text but who are unable to understand long passages of complex writing in depth. Another camp of scholars takes the opposite view and argues that digital media enhances rather than detracts from reading capabilities among adult learners. These researchers often point out that adult literacy is a fluid rather than a static area of continuing education that keeps changing with technological developments.


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