Raising awareness through TV programmes

Since 2000, NALA has been using the mass medium of television to highlight literacy issues, outline supports that are available, motivate people to return to education and provide opportunities for learning in the privacy of their homes. We have developed 61 hours of broadcast content in 13 prime-time TV series with our broadcast partner RTÉ and three different TV production companies, funded through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

This includes 5 ‘Read Write Now’ TV series that ran from 2000 to 2004, attracting audiences of up to 293,000. Over 20,000 workbooks were posted out for each series. In 2006 and 2007, The Really Useful Guide to Words and Numbers was broadcast and accompanied by print materials, freephone and web support.

In 2008 NALA developed ‘Written off?’, a fly-on-the-wall, eight part television series that followed 11 adults who returned to learning, and showed the benefits it has had on their lives. It was broadcast on RTE One and attracted weekly audiences of 200,000 viewers. Due to the success of this programme a second series of ‘Written off?’ was produced and broadcast in 2009, again attracting weekly audiences of 200,000 viewers.

‘Stuck for Words’ was our tenth TV series with RTÉ One and told the personal stories of people with literacy difficulties and the profound impact going back to education had on their lives. Once again, it was an enormous success when it was broadcast at 7.30pm on RTÉ One in May and June 2010 with average weekly viewership an impressive 200,000 per episode, representing 20% of the viewing public.

'A story with me in it' was broadcast in June 2011 and 2012. Both years, it teamed up six well known Irish authors with six adults who had struggled with writing throughout their lives. Each programme focused on one person’s story and the challenges they faced to write that story down. 

Our most recent TV series was about Family Learning, called 'The Family Project'. Here we matched six very different families with different learning needs with six well known Irish personalities and family learning experts, including Johnny Murtagh, Jon Kenny and Mary O' Rourke. Each 30 minute programme followed the families as they worked with their mentors to improve their own family learning situations.