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Literacy and Scouting

More than any other single skill, the ability to read- and read well- allows a young person to succeed in school, learn about the world, function in society, and someday have good job options.

Literacy is simply the ability to read and write. There are a number of reasons why a young person might be illiterate and there are many ways you can respond to this within Scouting. Literacy can cause problems for adults too; it is something to be aware of when engaging with adults who are new to Scouting.

Related difficulties

Young people who have difficulties in reading and writing may also have difficulties in other activities including:

They may also use immature speech and have poor concentration and or, organisation skills. Leaders should be aware that some challenging behaviours might be due to such difficulties rather than deliberate 'naughtiness'.

Producing resources

In Scouting, communication usually uses written text eg. letters, newsletters, magazines and web text. For many people this is not a preferred form of communication. It is therefore very important that when you produce written material the message you are trying to get across is clear. It is also important that it has a clear and simple design.

Below are some simple guidelines, which will help you to produce material that is appropriate and easy to read:

Practical tips within the Section

Further information

Discuss with parents/ carers the extent to which help is needed and ask them for practical tips to support managing the situation. They will have insights into the individual needs of the young person and the support which is in place at school.

Support organisations

The National Literacy Trust



A parent-led organisation that helps children and young people who have a speech and language impairment.






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