Quite rightly, a lot of emphasis is placed on the development of children’s literacy skills. But what about if you are an adult and have not had the opportunities, time or inclination to perfect your basic literacy skills until now? It’s never too late to learn, as the saying goes, so whether you want to build your skills from scratch or simply give them a polish, there are plenty of ways to do this.

To describe the best way to do this, we need to make it clear exactly what we mean by ‘literacy’. Simply put, then, it is the ability to read and absorb knowledge, write in a coherent fashion and think critically about what you have read or written. Literacy is so important for your personal development because there are very few jobs today that will not require you to possess it on a basic level. The internet offers an endless pool of information to absorb, and if you don’t have the skills to do this your are missing out on a vital element of modern life.

So how can you develop your basic literacy skills? There are plenty of ways to do this so we will suggest some of the more popular ones here. To begin with: extensive reading. Read whatever you can get your hands on, from books and newspapers to magazines and online articles. You will find that the more your read the better your vocabulary becomes and the more comfortable you feel about your use and understanding of the English language.

But reading alone is not enough. You also need to be able to think critically about what you’ve read and communicate your thoughts. One of the best and more enjoyable ways to do this is to join a book group in your area. You will be surprised at how much learning how to discuss your reading and convey your ideas will boost your confidence.

Another tip? Get into the habit of writing in a diary every day about what you have read. You don’t have to spend a long time on this as you don’t want it to become a chore. But taking a few minutes every day to express your opinions on what you have read in written form is a great way to hone your critical thinking. Also, if you are looking for a job then bear in mind that a good grasp of written English can improve your prospects in almost any career path.

Lastly, if you really do lack confidence in your basic literacy skills then you could consider investing in yourself by taking an English course. You can attend a class or take an online course if you need a bit more flexibility. It may cost more, but many people prefer a more structured approach to learning rather than trying to do it alone.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson is a UK based business consultant writing and working for online educational provider BWS Business who provide courses on English improvement such as improving basic literacy skills.