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Meet Cheree: A Journey to Literacy and Independence

Posted June 11, 2024

Cheree’s journey is one of resilience and determination, and we are thrilled to share her story with you.

When I left high school, my literacy level was low and I was finding life hard to navigate. I
struggled to read important everyday signs and notices; I couldn’t fill out applications for
employment; and I had no chance of understanding login instructions or menus so I couldn’t
even use a computer without a lot of help.

I have dyslexia and I wasn’t able to get specialised help at school, but I really needed it. So I
just did my best. I always turned up for class, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t
understand the work. My teachers thought they were helping me by automatically giving
me D minuses and sending me up to the next year level, just because my attendance and
efforts were high, but I would have preferred to repeat a couple of years of high school. I
felt I might be able to get a grasp on reading if I stayed back. My parents didn’t understand
my struggle at all and they were glad that I was passing each year.

I graduated with Year 4 Level reading and maths and I couldn’t use a computer on my own. I
went from employment agency to employment agency with no luck. I asked them to help
me find an adult literacy program, but they said that wasn’t their role.

I got a Diploma of Costume Design, because I had a talent for making clothes, and I also
started a course in Auslan, because there was a shortage of translators, but on each path I
took, my low literacy eventually became a road block. My self-esteem plummeted.
Finally I was referred to Prace by a disability agency and everything changed. I started
classes on campus in mid-2022. We studied reading, writing and computer skills, starting
with the most basic level to get us going. When I moved to a suburb that was too far from
Prace, I transferred into online classes, because by then I was comfortable using the

Online was a great option because it meant that even though I’d moved away I could stay
enrolled with Prace, but I’m definitely glad I was on campus until my confidence developed.
Adult Literacy is a great program and everyone is so nice. The staff don’t treat you as if you
aren’t trying if you don’t understand something. I always tried and it was so frustrating
when school teachers and other people would just say, ‘oh you just need to try harder’.
They had no idea what it was like. That doesn’t happen at Prace.

It was also really nice when after a few classes, we discussed everyone’s experience and
we’d all had similar problems of not being able to read posters, book tickets to events,
understand road signs and all the other ‘automatic’ reading that most people just take for
granted each day. It was comforting to know we weren’t alone in our feelings of exclusion.
We use Moodle in class. I needed help with it at first, but now I’m confident using it by

In this internet age, once you have both traditional and digital literacy skills, the world just
opens up. There is so much information available on every topic you can think of, and you
can learn so much. I have a greater independence and I’m more confident in everyday
life. I wish I had discovered Prace a decade ago.

People might wonder why everyone with low literacy doesn’t just take this course, but if
you can’t even research you can’t find about it. It’s a Catch 22! I would really encourage
anyone who might know someone struggling, to tell that person about Prace and help them
find out more about the Adult Literacy Program.

Learn more about our Adult Literacy courses.