Adult Literacy Tutors Association

NGC Above and Beyond 2020 Presents Stand Tall

Adult Literacy Tutors Association

Bringing about positive social change in the Caribbean through improved literacy

About Alta

Literacy is key to removing barriers and providing a path to success for all members of society.

The Adult Literacy Tutors Association, a non-profit organization in existence since 1992, provides the only comprehensive, structured adult literacy programme in Trinidad and Tobago. It has trained literacy tutors in Grenada, St. Vincent and Antigua using the ALTA approach.

As a non-governmental organisation, ALTA uses easily accessible public spaces as venues for its classes, ranging from community centres and libraries to schools and churches. Literacy instruction is available free to the public and students pay only $20TT for workbooks each term.


  1. Provide free and effective adult literacy classes for persons 16 years and over.
  2. Develop and publish local adult literacy materials.
  3. Create and maintain a bank of trained and experienced professional literacy tutors.
  4. Maintain resource libraries of materials and teaching aids for ALTA tutors.
  5. Through sponsored programmes, support literacy efforts within NGOs, the workplace, government initiatives and specific communities.

Programmes and Services

  • Free community-based adult literacy classes
  • Free ALTA-V virtual adult literacy classes
  • Free NALIS ALTA Youth Lit (10-15 year olds)
  • ALTA Reading Circles for registered students
  • Training programmes for adult literacy tutors
  • ALTA Online web-based programme of instruction
  • Local adult literacy materials, with these available to the public: ALTA Spelling Dictionary, ALTA 6-in-1 Caribbean Game Pack, ALTA Readers (3), ALTA Predictable Books (18), Phonics, Sight word and literacy rule cards

About the founder

Paula Lucie-Smith

Paula Lucie-Smith won a Trinidad Island Scholarship in Modern Studies and went on to graduate from the University of Warwick (BA, History) and the University of Leicester (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, 1983). Paula returned to Trinidad and went into teaching. This experience opened her eyes to the huge literacy deficit among secondary school students. In 1990, International Literacy Year, Paula attended a UNESCO-sponsored course in Trinidad to train volunteer adult literacy tutors. She is also a certified teacher for dyslexics. After two years’ teaching adult literacy, Paula founded the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA).

Paula Lucie-Smith

NGC-Sponsored ALTA Projects

Project One

I am ALTA – STAND TALL Campaign

Watch Thelma’s Story


To encourage key stakeholders to publicly embrace the ALTA brand and see themselves either as a potential student making positive strides in their literacy journey or as a supportive member of the reading public.


  • To deliver a combined traditional and social media campaign including videos, interviews, press articles, television and radio ads.
  • To encourage adults with inadequate literacy skills to sign up for ALTA instruction.
  • To change perceptions of literacy and the lack thereof so that literacy is viewed as a skill unrelated to intelligence for which persons have differing aptitudes.

Project Two

Pilot ALTA Online Application


ALTA Online brings our classroom programme to a virtual space, taking students through the same systematic course of instruction via a series of interactive activities to improve reading and spelling.

The aim is to evaluate the functionality, usability, and look and feel so that ALTA Online is ready for launch in 2021.


  • To test and provide feedback on the effectiveness of ALTA Online by taking students independently through Book 1 content.
  • To gather feedback from two age groups: teens/pre-teens and adults.

Project Three

ALTA Spelling Project


Creation of the ALTA Phonics Chart and distribution of ALTA Spelling Dictionaries to schools in Trinidad and Tobago.


  • To improve the teaching of spelling in primary and secondary schools.