Adult Literacy Programs


Adult literacy programs provide opportunities to adults to learn basic skills, including reading, writing, document use, mathematics, computer use and communicating with others. Specialized programs for adult literacy include financial literacy and health literacy courses. Adult literacy programs are available through local literacy advocacy organizations, libraries and learning organizations such as community colleges. The National Institute for Literacy publishes America's Literacy Directory, an online resource that offers a specific list of literacy programs in each state.

Nonprofit Literacy Organizations

  • Nonprofit organizations in every state offer adult literacy programs. An example of a typical literacy program would be a small classes with group of three to 10 learners. These classes usually are taught by a qualified instructor with experience and expertise in addressing the needs of literacy learners. Nonprofit literacy organizations tend to offer free or low-cost programming to learners. The organizations themselves receive funding from the government, from donations or through fundraising activities in the community.

Volunteer Literacy Tutoring

  • Some organizations offer one-to-one tutoring with volunteer tutors. These programs are especially popular in rural and remote areas where there may be fewer qualified instructors available to teach classes and where it is more difficult for learners to commute to and from a classroom site. Volunteer tutors work with learners on an individual basis, tailoring the sessions to the specific needs of each learner. While many tutors have some training in how to teach adults, others rely on their own education and experiences as a student to teach literacy skills.

Library Programs

  • Local libraries are another source of expertise for adult literacy. They have resources in terms of books and materials and also have tables and chairs available for small group classes. Many offer reading circles, literacy classes, workshops in basic research skills and programs on how to use computers to find information. The types of programs offered by libraries include reading programs, literacy programs for those with limited English proficiency and workshops to help learners improve their job search skills. Libraries are also becoming involved with the development applications, or "apps" for mobile devices. This initiative on the part of libraries may advance literacy learning possibilities for adults, as they may have opportunities to increase their technology literacy skills using mobile devices through their local library.

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