It is estimated that approximately one third or 8.7 million adults over 20 years of age in South Africa may be functionally illiterate. As a signatory to the Framework for Action for achieving Education for All by 2015, South Africa committed to the goal of achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015. The goal of reducing illiteracy is thwarted by problems in delivery of adult basic education & training (ABET) programs as well as challenges faced by learners participating in programs. In addition, the existing pool of adult illiterates is likely to increase over time as the children currently unable to access schooling, or receiving minimal or inadequate schooling reach adulthood. This article proposes a multi-faceted approach that includes a focus on curtailing illiteracy in children by improving the quality of early literacy instruction, & introducing intervention in families & communities to promote early literacy development.