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Adult Learner > Factors > Literacy Environment

Literacy Environment

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How Literacy Environment connects to...

An adult's Literacy Environment reflects the many different contexts in which they might learn. These include informal or formal educational settings and workplace training. Resources and opportunities provided by home, work, school, and the community help adults to develop their literacies.

Main Ideas

The Literacy Environment spans across contexts, including online environments, to influence the continued development of adults' reading, writing, Numeracy, or digital skills. Learning in adulthood often occurs in real-world settings that support situated, or everyday, learning.

The Literacy Environment is multifaceted. It involves aspects of print exposure, including:

  • The availability of learning materials, including Internet access, to practice skills in the home, school, work, and community;
  • Exposure to print, writing, and learning opportunities through a variety of media including fiction, magazines, manuals or reference material, the Internet, emails, and text messages; and
  • Time spent reading and writing for school, work, and for pleasure.

The relationship between print exposure and language and reading development likely spirals over the lifespan with greater exposure stimulating stronger skills which in turn lead learners to choose to read more.

The Literacy Environment also involves how others, such as family, community members, peers, or co-workers, influence a learner, including the encouragement they provide to read, write, or practice digital skills. Supporting adults' literacy skills and enjoyment of reading may also impact their children's reading development. Further strengthening family literacy practices can help create an equal foundation for all students.

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