Literacy is the ability to read, write and do basic maths. Over 40% of the adult population in New Zealand struggle to do so well enough to meet the demands of modern life and work.1

This page outlines the various ways in which Christchurch City Libraries can help you improve literacy skills and is aimed at both students and tutors.

International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8 September. It is a UNESCO-led initiative which acknowledges that literacy is a human right.

Browse our catalogue

English language skills collections are available in most of our larger libraries and online. They include resources for both people with literacy difficulties and their tutors. They are designed to help develop skills:


Simplified readers

The range of resources varies, but all English Language Skills collections include simplified readers: books which have been written or re-written especially so that they can be enjoyed by people with different levels of reading ability.

Simplified reader series in the catalogue include:

Simplified readers

Dyslexia-friendly books

Dyslexia is a term used to describe a range of persistent difficulties with aspects of reading, writing, and spelling. Around 10% of the population has dyslexia, and common symptoms are that words and letters appear to “move around on the page” or blur and blend into each other. Dyslexia-friendly books use a special typeface and off-white pages to help dyslexic readers.



Learn about dyslexia, explore useful resources for dyslexic people, and find dyslexia-friendly books to read.

Confessions of a dyslexic librarian

Find out how Katie has rediscovered the joy of reading through accessible formats, namely eBooks and eAudiobooks.

Dyslexia and eBook settings

Do you struggle to read because of dyslexia? Our eBook providers have many options for people with dyslexia.

OpenDyslexic Font

The OpenDyslexic font is installed on our public computers. On a Free Internet public computer you can create or edit a document and use OpenDyslexic from the available fonts menu.

The OpenDyslexic Chrome extension is installed on our public computers. To activate in the Chrome web browser select the extensions tool bar icon (it looks like a jigsaw puzzle on the right-side of the address bar), then select OpenDyslexic.

eResources for people with limited literacy skills

Use these eResources at a library or enter your library card and password / PIN

Road to IELTS: General

Access a self-study preparation course to help candidates prepare for the globally recognised IELTS exam. It tests English use at a general level.

World Book Discover

World Book Discover offers access to reference resources for reluctant readers, students with learning difficulties, adult literacy students or those who are learning English as a second language.


Road to IELTS: General

Self-study preparation course to help you prepare for the globally recognised IELTS exam. Tests English proficiency at a general level.

World Book Discover

Reference resources for reluctant readers, students with learning difficulties, adult literacy students or those who are learning English.

Find adult literacy providers in CINCH

CINCH lists contact details for adult literacy providers in Christchurch and surrounding areas.

Providers include Literacy Aotearoa Aoraki, Hagley Adult Literacy Centre and Adult Literacy at Ara Institute of Canterbury. Some organisations provide tutoring one-to-one or to small groups; others offer a more structured class-based approach.

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Related pages


1. The Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey: An Introduction, Ministry of Education, September 2007. Accessed 5 September 2012.

Learning to read

Find resources to help children learn to read.
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