How was ALTA started?
ALTA was stared in 1992 by Paula Lucie-Smith, a national scholar and former secondary school teacher. In 1990, Paula Lucie-Smith attended three days of a two-week course by the Ministry of Education in partnership with UNESCO as part of COMILYTT, the Committee for International Literacy Year, Trinidad & Tobago. Volunteers who attended the course were assigned to Woodbrook Secondary where they were expected to teach adult literacy.
Fortunately, Paula heard about her assignment to teach from a newspaper ad and turned up to teach in the second week of the class, despite having missed a large part of the course due to illness. At the class, Paula found students not only from Woodbrook but other parts of the country, but neither she nor the other tutors had been given any materials to teach.
The situation demanded that the tutors be creative. In the two years that followed, Paula used what she learned from her study at Leicester University and from the Dyslexia Association (Dyslexia Association Training in Methods for Teaching Dyslexics) training, to come up with a structure she could use for the classes. ALTA was founded in 1992 to bring together these adult literacy teachers to share ideas and materials as well as to direct students to teachers close to their home or work.