Frequently Asked Questions

Who can call the Reading Writing Hotline?

We get calls at the Hotline from people such as:

  • Adults who want to improve their reading and writing. Some need help with basic reading skills, while others can read and write well enough for their everyday needs but may have problems with the reading and writing needed at work or for a course of study.
  • Friends or relatives of adults who want to improve their reading and writing.
  • Employers who want to help employees who are struggling with work-related literacy or numeracy issues.

What will happen when I ring the Hotline?

One of the experienced adult literacy teachers will answer the phone. You can talk with them about your literacy or numeracy problems, and they will be able to suggest a class in your area if that is what you want. These classes are run by organisations such as TAFE, community centres or similar organisations. The Hotline teacher will give you a phone number and other contact details, and you then make the contact yourself. If you are not able to go to a class, the Hotline teacher can discuss other possibilities with you, perhaps a distance course or other ways you might be able to get started.

Does the Reading Writing Hotline run courses?

No, we do not run courses ourselves. We have a list of courses that are run throughout Australia at places such as TAFE colleges, or other training organisations, community centres, or community libraries. We can refer you to one or more of the courses that are run in your area

Can I get advice about my child's reading problems?

Not really. The courses listed on our database are adult literacy courses that will only accept young people after they have left school. We do have information about a very few other child-specific helplines that may be able to offer assistance to parents.

I think I have dyslexia. Can the Reading Writing Hotline help me?

Dyslexia means ‘has trouble reading and writing’. Specialists may use longer definitions. There can be a lot of different reasons for trouble with reading, especially for adults. Sometimes the person has missed out on some important part of their schooling, or were bullied at school. Some people have a specific learning difficulty. Some adults have been told in the past they are dyslexic by people who are not experts. Just because someone has told you that you have dyslexia, it doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your reading and writing.

Whatever the cause, most people can improve with time and practice and a helpful, experienced teacher. Call us on the Reading Writing Hotline if you want to talk about it some more. We can also help you to find a class near you, or specialist help if needed.

I think my employee/s need help with their work related literacy or numeracy. Can the Hotline help me?

Yes. We may be able to suggest a literacy/numeracy trainer you could employ to come to your workplace, or a local class you could refer your employee to. We may be able to provide information about any sources of funding which may be available.

I can read quite well, but my spelling is a problem. Can the Hotline help me?

Yes, we can help people with a wide range of literacy or numeracy needs, not just basic literacy. If you are struggling with spelling, we can suggest a distance course, some self-help books and resources, or possibly a local course.

Why do some Australian adults still have trouble with their reading and writing in the 21st century?

For some, it has been an issue of broken schooling due to health issues, family issues, or language issues for children of non-English speaking families. For others, it may be an issue of a specific learning disability, sometimes called dyslexia.
Many people can manage their everyday literacy and numeracy needs quite happily, but find they have a problem in certain employment or further study contexts. Literacy in different contexts, such as family or employment, require different sets of literacy skills; it is not the case that having learnt some basic set of literacy skills, you can now deal with any reading and writing tasks. This is the situation for many callers to the Hotline. They may have been offered a promotion which involves literacy demands that they are uncomfortable with, or they may be required to do some workplace training that involves literacy that they are not confident with.
The fact that they need to work on their literacy skills is not because they have a skills deficit but because the requirements of the workplace are becoming increasingly more complex.