Literacy activities for adult learners    

Australian Broadcasting Commission (Free, aimed at children but great resources for adults, parents, teachers ,tutors)

Games, puzzles and activities 

Grammar exercises

 Apps  50 popular apps for struggling readers and writers. Free or inexpensive  apps for adults who need to improve their reading and/or writing skills.

Shadow Puppet is a free mobile app for creating digital stories and videos which allows users to upload video, search the web for animated images, add music from iTunes, and draw on the screen.

Search engine for Apps – Quixey is a functional search engine –  which helps you find apps through a description of what you want to do, so you’d don’t need to know the name of the app you’re looking for. Quixey gathers millions of pieces of data from the web, including blogs, reviews, articles and tweets, to learn exactly what each app can do.

Sailers Apps directory:  The content and graphics of these apps are great fun but are very childlike so be sure to let your learner know this.  The directory gives extensive links to reading, writing, maths, music, art and photo apps, as well as organisation and communication Apps.  iPhone, iPad and iPod touch Apps for (Special) Education.  Some of the apps learners may find fun and useful are:

  • See, read, say. The complete Dolch sight word list of 220 words (prepared by E.W. Dolch) which make up 50 to 75 percent of the reading material encountered by learners.  See a short Youtube link for an outline
  • ABC Spelling Magic. Adult voice. Excellent word building exercises with ’tiles’ and pictures. Plenty of options to choose to tailor to your learner’s preferences (difficulty level, male/female voice, fonts, modes) See a detailed Youtube link. on Spelling Magic 1 (short vowels).
  • Rocket Speller. Players select a level and based on the level the spelling becomes more difficult as you go. Childlike rewards though (building a rocket as you go) Short Youtube demo 
  • Word Bingo. Players make their own profile and play word bingo with cute bingo creatures See a short Youtube demo.
  • Word Magic. See Youtube demo  This one is quite child-like with an American accent and over-use of  “Awesome”, but the reward format may suit some.
  • School Writing. Upper and lower case writing with sounds and pictures attached.  Youtube demo. Students can record and play back the recording of themselves making the sound.
  • Sentence Maker. As you type, interactive tiles open up.  Short Youtube demo   Options include hiding tiles or revealing words one by one. Activities: “What are the missing word, what is this well-known sentence” or asking you learner to re-arrange words.

iOS apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch iOS apps on Sailers site include ArtikPix for speech articulation, PhonoPix for phonological processes. Eric Sailers apps

Media activities for learners

The Electronic New Stand –

ABC Online – –  News articles as the basis of a suggested lesson (activities and exercises)

Newspapers on Trove – Trove give free online access to over 350 Australian newspapers. Users can enhance the data through subject tagging, text correction and annotations.   Behind the news. Two stories weekly are supported with  teacher resources, discussion questions and full transcript. Aimed at kids, great fun

Storytellling tools – Doklab ( A Netherlands organisation) works with libraries/cultural institutions on a variety of projects to develop storytelling tools, share vision & give advice on innovation in the cultural and information sectors. storytelling tool, multitouch reading platform, heritage browser

Online dictionaries, encyclopedias and maps

Electronic Dictionary

Online newspapers

White pages

Yellow pages

Macquarie Dictionary –

Australian Map Search –

Easy Unit Converter for Online Calculator/Metric Conversions.

Literacy organisations and resources  

Australian Council of Adult Literacy

Queensland Council of Adult Literacy new site mid 2014

Adult Learning Australia (ALA)

Education Network Australia

Reading Writing Hotline http:

Literacy Exchange – world resources World literacy exchange 

Read Write Now – improving adult literacy in Western Australia Read Write Now 

United Nations Literacy Decade

British Council Teachings English  Articles, teaching suggestions, games.  Most games are appropriate for adults, some specifically for ESL.  Their newsletter includes links to the best blogs

Victorian Adult Literacy and basic education council

NSW Adult Migrant English Service

ESL Café – USA

Teachers Of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Free UK Family learning program which helps parents’ skills in literacy, numeracy and speaking and listening by providing fun learning activities with and for their children.Family Learning 

Dave’s ESL Café (for ESL teachers and students) www.pacificnet/%7Esperling/eslcafe.html

A Canadian handbook and resources demystlifying Adult Literacy for tutors – New Zealand Literacy portal – great tutor resources

Great writers’ insights into writing:

Capstone Editing, an Australian based academic editing company, has a Video Resource Hub that holds educational videos to assist academics and students with editing and proofreading their material.

Literacy Programs with info on websites

Carlton Adult Reading & Writing Program

NSW Far North Coast Adult Literacy Network

Duke Street Community House  (blog has exercises)

Flemington Reading & Writing Program

Southern Western Port’s Learning Networks Program –

South Australian Council for Adult Literacy –

Digital literacy and computer skills tutorials

No Excuses List a huge range of free online courses – basic skills in the cypercentre – E-learning for community partnerships resources – Digital literacy – accredited resources – Unleash your digital literacy

literacy – emotional literacy and how it relates to technology free 2019 digital & media literacy guide for students/parents/educators

Computer skills tutorials   – Using a mouse – excellent (American) tutorial  – Teaches typing skills – create your own log on – BBC webwise provides info and  programs about using computers and the internet, including social media  – Good site for beginner computer users – Great pictorial site which teaches how to use Word, Publisher, Excel & Powerpoint. Created for those with learning challenges so very user-friendly

 Lifestyle literacy – Australian Securities Commission – Health literacy UNE Interview guide that helps students prepping for UNE admission interviews – how to address common questions, how to present yourself, strong body language, what to wear, and more.

 Useful sites for non-english speaking students

The sounds of English –  Very handy site for non-english speaking students, gives specific help with tongue and mouth movements with sounds like th, ph – Preston Reservoir Adult & Community Education. Exercises about the Australian beach – safety, dangerous animals etc.  Also useful for ESL students. – Designed for ESL students but is useful with all LLN students. – Useful for ESL students who have trouble choosing the correct tense to use.  A short, simple cartoon clearly illustrates the meaning of the verb.

Numeracy teaching practice  (Material from a 2015  ACAL webinar)

Some numeracy (and literacy) resources and materials – a list compiled by presenter, Dave Tout.

Numeracy by Measure (a zip file so will download) – a link mentioned by a guest, Tina Berghella.

Building Strength with Numeracy – VALBEC numeracy resources by Beth Marr – many of them free.

Sample budget planner from MoneySmart – by guest Poonam Bhamgara .

An ACAL video of Beth Marr demonstrating some strategies and techniques using Building Strength with Numeracy.

Wished you were there?  You can see a video recording of the August 5 webinar here.

The MyTutor Guide to UCAS: Your One-Stop Guide  (United Kingdom Maths)  A complete up-to-date Maths GCSE guide to exams, exam-boards, marking-schemes (including infographics) key exam dates, topics students struggle with & an expert Maths tutor’s tips to passing the exam. Plus, study notes, revision guides, past papers and relevant textbooks.

Online Calculators & Conversions    – free maths & science resource with hundreds of online calculators & conversion tools for teachers to use in maths and science classes.

Maths and Finance guide. Free help with maths/finance, includes a guide about the history of calculators with examples of how they are used in everyday life. The site is free of advertising.

Find a tutor in your area

Reading Writing Hotline Reading Writing hotline, Australia-wide. If you need help  with reading, writing or basic maths, call 1300 655 506 for info about: Classes that are close to you.

Most Australian public libraries have free adult-literacy resources & volunteer tutor programs. If you’d like more info about a tutor in your area, call the Hotline on 1300 6555 06.The Reading Writing Hotline also has a range of useful tutor resources available for download.  A UK-based tutor search-service so students can find all the tutors within their local area. Educational services company IvyPanda provides academic self-study services & online tools for students across the world.

Which books to read or read next

In-depth Grammar:

There are hundreds of sites and grammar books that you can go to for detailed grammar help, but some good examples of sources that can explain detailed concepts are:

Grammar Tip of the Day – By Thoughtco.

Online Writery at Purdue University.

Teaching and learning resources for Australian teachers – many are useful for English tutors or students worldwide

English for the Australian Curriculum A wide range of English literacy resources for anyone teaching any level of English.Detailed units of ACARA-based study for early, primary & secondary. Unit plans provide teaching activities, worksheets & links to wide ranging online resources.

Education Services Australia–‘Teaching English in P-10’ Ed Services Australia online resources to support teachers & school leaders implementing the English Curriculum. Collection of video snapshots include strategies for teaching reading, spelling, punctuation & grammar.Good insight into Latin &S Greek roots for words and why, in a classroom lesson.

The Bridging Differences Playbook maps out core skills & strategies for positive dialogue, relationships, and understanding between groups or individuals across political, racial, religious, or other divides. Produced for the US but based on wisdom and best practices from decades of scientific studies/interviews/ with dozens of leaders & ground-breaking programs tackling these issues. This can help tutors and learners gain confidence & tools to take steps toward overcoming divisions & divides – whether within families/between groups, or across nations.

The Surfing Scientist Detailed lesson plans, conundrums, tricks and videos.

Behind the News (BTN) -Investigates current world & national news, putting it into a child friendly context so that complex issues are more easily understood.

 Literacy Teaching Toolkit Practical advice & high-impact teaching practices to improve outcomes in reading, writing, speaking & listening – for primary-level learners. (the explanations of vocabulary, & early language development provide great insight to tutors)

The Australian Human Rights Commission https:/ – interactive free resources to help students understand human rights.

 Literacy and numeracy resources for families 

Dept of Education, SA. Wide range of useful teaching/learning info & links for parents

Global Education Resources for teaching Humanities and global education.

State Library of Queensland Join to borrow resources and e-resources Online journals, newspapers, magazines & websites as well as excellent books available as



National repository for educators, with 20,000 digital resources aligned to Aust Curriculum. Rego free for HEU registered families & is supported by the Australian Gov Dep of Ed. Contact the Home Ed Unit for further info about free Scootle registration.

 Resources for schools – Educational links from a wide range of institutions including the National Museum and Gallery of Australia, the National Library, the Australian War Memorial and other government organisations across the country.

Library Link  (Kim’s site):   Library systems,library resources, internet resources