Lost for Words - adult literacy in Australia

We look at a series that shows what it's like to struggle with the written word.

If you need a business case for a plain language rewrite of your organisation's website, current literacy abilities in Australia is one good reason.

In Australia about 44% of adults read at literacy level 1 to 2 - a low level.
Literacy and access - Australian style manual
  • Level 1 is primary school equivalent - these readers understand short sentences
  • Level 2 is years 7-10 equivalent.

Catching a train or shopping for groceries is a struggle for millions of people who read at Level 1.

To help us understand what this existence is like SBS Australia created an excellent doco/reality series called Lost for Words.

Lost for Words follows 8 Australians on a life-changing opportunity to transform their lives by taking part in an intensive nine-week long adult literacy program. Hosted by literacy advocate Jay Laga'aia, it is an empowering and uplifting observational documentary that confronts Australia's staggeringly low adult literacy rate.

You can find Lost for Words on SBS On Demand. It is currently limited to Australia but check your local networks. It's insightful viewing for anyone who wants to understand more about users and how they experience words and content.