Citizen Literacy is a wholly independent Community Interest Company (CIC) a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping improve adult literacy in the English language, based and registered in Scotland (SC671958).

Our Aims – Defining the problem

An open book with a pair of glassesThe scale of low literacy in the English-speaking world is so large and has its roots in such structural and systemic factors, that no single organisation can hope to solve it alone. The situation facing adult literacy tutors and learning providers is that they are overlooked, undervalued, and underfunded in our societies. As a result, in the USA the UK and elsewhere, adult literacy support is highly fragmented and difficult to access. Research in the UK and the USA has identified a lack of instructional resources specifically designed for adults and training resources for tutors to help improve adult literacy. Especially acute is the lack of structured adult literacy programmes using phonics methods and training for tutors and volunteers to deliver them (1).

Our Objectives – Our contribution to a solution

A group of young adult learnersAs a small non-profit organisation based in Scotland, we decided that our contribution to improving matters would be to create an adult literacy programme of digital and printed learning resources and tutor training materials. Designed so that others can adopt it, use it at scale or at micro levels, adapt it and deliver it in their own varied contexts. To do this we collaborate with the international community of literacy educators around the world to design and create our resources in both digital and printed forms, getting regular feedback from the front lines of adult literacy. Our resources are specially designed to be used by tutors in the different and often challenging contexts of adult literacy education – working with some of the hardest to reach learners in society. The educational design of the programme is a good fit with the ideas connected to the Science of Reading and the use of phonics, but with very different methods to those used with children. Where possible we make the resources free (e.g. the free learner web app and downloads for tutors to use in ‘class’) or we make them available as economically as we can e.g. the printed Tutor Handbooks, Learner Workbooks, or the online Tutor Hub service.


Girl using her mobile phoneTo date, the reaction to our work has been extremely positive and has encouraged us to continue developing our resources. The impact and take up of our work is spreading well beyond the areas we initially targeted i.e. improving the literacy skills of existing speakers of English. We are pleased that our work is now being used in a growing area of applications such as for ESL / ESOL literacy learners whose first language is not English. Stroke recovery. Refugee Education. Secondary / Senior Education. Special Needs Education. Dyslexia support and many more. Please see our Case Study pages for more information.

Our Resources

We have created an integrated, yet flexible, set of digital and printed learning resources to support tutors and their learners, plus tutor training materials. You can find out more about them on our Resources page, current costs are on our Pricing page. Here is a summary:

Further Information – links

Citizen Literacy Programme Prospectus
Information about the Programme design and structure and how it fits into the existing education systems.

Citizen Literacy White Paper
For general readers and those involved in adult literacy. Raises awareness of the scale and nature of the adult literacy challenge in the UK. Describes our ideas, activities and approach to contributing towards a solution.

A list of organisations and people who have helped us – for which we are very grateful.

Meet the team (forthcoming)


(1) References
Citizen Literacy White Paper 2023 (UK)
Adult Literacy in the USA – Investigative Report
Adult Education in the England (UK) – Investigative Report