IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Adult literacy

We have a strong interest in adult literacy research, policy and practice, and supervise doctorates in this area.

Doctoral supervision

Please contact Sam Duncan

Adult literacy work

Our research interests include pedagogy and policy related to adult literacy, as well as real life adult practices. Our recent research includes:

Post-16 Phonics

Commissioned by The Education and Training Foundation (ETF), we investigated uses of phonics as part of adult literacy teaching in further and adult education. This included experiences of using phonic approaches with diverse adult learner groups and barriers and enablers to effective practice.

The project report also provides guidance and recommendations for future work in this area:

The study led to work (in collaboration with Claire Collins Consultancy) developing a toolkit for phonics teaching in the post-16 sector, providing a principles based approach to using phonic approaches in the teaching of reading and writing with post-16 learners. 

Reading Aloud in Britain Today

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Reading Aloud in Britain Today was a two-year study of contemporary adult reading aloud practices, to find out whether, what, where, how and why adults read aloud, or listen to others. For more information: Reading Aloud in Britain Today

Some of our adult literacy work falls under the Centre for Post-14 Education and Work.

Teacher training

We also have a well-established teacher education course for adult literacy (and ESOL) teachers:



Staff members who work in this area: