Student Stories

Literacy changes lives.

Students share their stories on video and below through writing their stories.

Play the videos below to hear what learners say...

Thank you to Literacy Aotearoa, Pukekohe for sharing the videos below:


My Journey Begins - Alan

Before I came to Literacy Aotearoa I was a lost soul. I was always afraid of pen and paper, I would sit there trying to look intelligent but I had no confidence in even trying to read and write.

Through my lack of education, I thought people were mocking me and putting me down. It made me feel depressed and worthless. Here I am a man in my early 50's, I never thought I could learn to read and write.

Since I have been coming to Literacy Aotearoa it has changed my outlook in handling a pen and paper and picking up a book. I have started learning how to pronounce words and use them properly, where before it would make me angry and resentful. It has changed my thoughts about life and myself and changed my behaviour.

I have learnt to read simple books and it is broadening my mind, it is much more than just reading and writing.

I enjoy walking in the Literacy Aotearoa door because of the beautiful atmosphere. The staff are awesome and there is a positive vibe, coming here has made me feel that I am intelligent.

I am now more in control of my whole life. I am working towards putting words into the right context and have more confidence in doing that without doubting myself. I have more confidence in reading and writing.

One day I want to be a person sitting at a desk sharing my knowledge with others and I feel with Literacy Aotearoa it can be possible.


Upper Hutt

My journey so far

My journey of self discovery and determination.

I am a husband, father and a builder. How I have struggled through the years with reading, writing and spelling. About a year and a half ago I decided to do something about it.

I signed up at Literacy Aotearoa, since then my reading has improved 60%. I still find it difficult with my spelling, but we are working on it.

At work a month ago the project manager went on holiday to Florida USA. I took on some of his responsibilities. I was also asked to take on the day to day supervision of five teams of builders, each building a new house.

Every now and then the Hamilton Manager does a quality control visit to make sure things are done the company way. He came and made a list which I was able to read and tell the carpenters to do the jobs correctly.

I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this before.

I also would have struggled with contacting companies to put in order. I feel more confident now, talking to staff, clients, builders and subcontractors.

Pukekohe, Mahuru (September) 2016


Thank you to Literacy Aotearoa, Pukekohe for sharing this video


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Thank you to my family and adult literacy

Four years ago I wasn't the man I am today. I had no confidence and would not challenge myself with any maths, reading or writing.

When I started my apprenticeship about four years ago MIT suggested I get some help from Literacy Aotearoa with my book work using the Apprenticeship workbooks. It was a great help and I have qualified.

I have also sat and passed my forklift licence. Along with all this I have passed my Firefighter's certificate and now I have gained my Queen's Medal for fourteen years' service.

Now I am studying to get my Senior Firefighter's certificate. I can now help my children with some of their schoolwork.

Thanks to my family and Adult Literacy.

Pukekohe, Mahuru (September) 2016


A Tutor's Story

Empowered – Paul MacGregor (Tutor)

One reading-shy apprentice was having difficulty finding opportunities to practise his reading, especially at home, where he flatted with several mates.  Very self-conscious of how long he would spend on each page, he would turn the pages prematurely just to appear to be a 'normal' reader.  Consequently he gave up trying and his only reading was limited to grappling with his apprenticeship assignments while at work.  Tutor Paul MacGregor suggested he undertake some 'toilet-training' and to leave some ‘Motoring’ magazines in the toilet.  The pile of magazines attracted little suspicion amongst his mates, but little-by-little his reading began to improve.  The magazines, coupled with his weekly tutor support and his new-found determination to push on with his assignments, saw him turn a learning corner.

At work, two very significant benefits soon became apparent.  Firstly, the young apprentice began to become more confident reading his training manuals and completing his assignments.  The frustration of not having high literacy skills, a frustration that had burdened him most of his life, began to dissipate and was replaced by a quiet 'can do' attitude.  First steps but very significant ones.

Secondly, in the workshop he was better able to read the workshop manuals before commencing jobs, and not just be guided by the 'parts' diagrams and guessing the unfamiliar spaces in his reading of the text. Now his eyes are not 'jumping ahead' and leaving out blocks of text, and he feels able and willing to persevere and read the instructions.  His assignments are now exciting, not threatening.  He is no longer experiencing anger and frustration when he faces a page of text.  Rather he sees it as an achievable challenge and 'a ticket' to his goal of one day being the workshop supervisor. Empowerment! Never under-rate it! 


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