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National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week raises awareness of a forgotten community problem

Hello from The READ Center!

Adult Education and Family Literacy Week is next week, and we want to get the word out. Adult literacy is a big issue in our community, and according to the US Census, around 73,000 people in the Richmond area struggle to read. This impacts their health, family, careers, and more. Think about what it would be like if you couldn’t read a medical form, fill out a job application, or read this email!

READ provides classes and one-on-one tutoring, free of charge, to any adults (18+) in the Richmond area who struggle with reading and writing. We host a class in East End Library on N 25th Street, among other locations.

Read the Press Release below:

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week raises awareness of a forgotten community problem

RICHMOND, VA — September 22, 2019 – “I am excited to step into a new world. I dream about reading new books that I never could read before. I am excited to write down everything in my head…good things and bad things. I want to read to my grandkids (ages: 13, 10, 4) for the first time. I want to go to a restaurant and order food on my own. I want to travel on a plane to visit other cities and countries. I would like to sit down and have a conversation with people. What people take from granted I want to do,” says K.H., a READ Center student.

While most adults learn to read in elementary school, a significant number across the nation and in our community do not. Today in the U.S, an estimated 36 million adults cannot read, write or do basic math above a third-grade level. According to the US Census, more than 73,000 people in the Richmond area lack basic literacy skills.

“National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, September 22-28, 2019, helps raise awareness of a very difficult issue,” says Executive Director Karen La Forge.  “Adult literacy intersects with almost every major social issue we need to tackle in metro Richmond—parenting, health disparities, income inequality, housing affordability, and workforce development. Low-literate adults often are unemployed, take low-paying jobs or work multiple jobs to make ends meet. If we are committed to improving our community, we must invest in adult literacy.”

Low literate adults would find it very difficult to read and understand this article, their mail, prescriptions or a job application. Participation in job training programs or GED classes is not an option as these programs requires participants to read at a 6th grade or better equivalency. 76% of READ Center students read at or below the 5th grade equivalency.

“Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves,” added La Forge. “Parents are our first teachers. If they cannot help with homework or read bedtime stories, the cycle of low literacy continues. To reach a child, teach an adult to read.”

The READ Center is a non-profit community-based organization that offers free classes and one-to-one tutoring for adults aged eighteen and over who want to improve their reading, writing, basic math and digital skills. READ Center offers classes that are held twice weekly in the East End Library, among other locations.

“I am glad that the READ Center helps me learn to read. I also like my tutors. My teacher’s name is Don. I liked it when we went to the museum… I would like to thank the READ Center for all they have done for me”, READ Center student C.F.

For more than 35 years, The READ Center has helped adults develop basic reading and communication skills, so they can better fulfill their roles as family members, workers, and members of the community. For more information about The READ Center, visit or call 804-288-9930.

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