Secrets and Words: literacy changing lives

Secrets and Words programme imageThis week the BBC is broadcasting a week-long drama series concerning adult literacy.  Secrets and Words, which is being aired at 2.15pm on BBC One, examines some of the problems faced by the millions of adults in the UK who have difficulties with reading and writing.  Relationships, job prospects and public speaking are just a few of the subjects to be explored in this important new series.

The Secrets and Words series is also being supported by BBC Skillswise, which is providing learners with an activity to participate with following each episode.  Tutors can also find classroom resources to stimulate discussion with regards to the issues raised.

The series was developed with the help of NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education), following on from the independent Inquiry into Adult Literacy it supported last year.  Sue Southwood, Programme Manager at NIACE and series consultant on Secrets and Words, comments:

There are still far too many people in this country coping with poor reading and writing skills that affect them on a daily basis. They are seriously disadvantaged as workers, parents and citizens.

Showing the lives of five ordinary people who, for various reasons, all share the same secret, is an inventive and original approach to reach adults who feel they are in a similar situation. This is where television proves that it’s not only entertaining, but that its influence can change lives for the better.

Not only do those who who read regularly have better life prospects than non-readers, research has shown they are also less socially isolated, happier, and healthier. We read aloud in our Get Into Reading groups so everyone, no matter their ability, is able to enjoy these benefits, not to mention share the sheer pleasure of reading aloud together.

The current issue of NIACE’s Adults Learning journal features an article about The Reader Organisation’s work, ‘Big Books: Small Marvels’, which movingly details some of the “remarkable” outcomes from Get Into Reading. Click here to read the full article.  


3 thoughts on “Secrets and Words: literacy changing lives”

  1. just watched this afternoons play which was very good I found it by accident as was in a fowl mood! (again) and decided to glare at the tv but switched on and began to get involved with the story and at the begining “yey its karren from outnumbered “but soon for got that !

    I did not realise at the begining it was a reading thing but soon dawned on me the point they were trying to make but not in a phony preaching way , and you could reccomend the plays even if not in the least bit interested in reading etc , as it strangely rings a few alarm bells but not in an obvious way !( I got told off ignoring a fire alarm but told them you have a practice this time every week no panic )
    I am tempted to catch up with the other plays on i player and see what i have missed !

    ps no longer glaring at tv , well actually cant be watching tv at the time as writing this can i may be clever but not that clever

  2. ‘We read aloud in our Get Into Reading groups so everyone, no matter their ability, is able to enjoy these benefits, not to mention share the sheer pleasure of reading aloud together.’ Has no one actually met the people who find reading aloud so difficult and traumatising!

    1. Yes, we meet with people every day who find reading aloud hard and are nervous about doing so – that’s why there is no pressure to read aloud in Get Into Reading groups. People can just sit and listen to what’s being read if that’s what they feel comfortable with – it’s the the experience of being read to that can have the most calming effect. You don’t even have to talk in a group – the group facilitator ensures that nobody is singled out or made to feel uncomfortable.

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