SPRINGFIELD - Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded over $4.7 million in Adult Literacy Grants to develop and enhance students’ reading, math, writing and English language skills.

“An estimated 2.1 million Illinois residents need adult literacy and/or English language instruction,” said White. “I am pleased to provide 76 local literacy providers with funding that will allow adult students to achieve their utmost potential in the upcoming year. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that all Illinoisans have access to quality literacy programs.”

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Nearly 13,500 students will be served by adult literacy programs around the state. More than 6,200 volunteer tutors will provide instruction and guidance for students. Adult literacy projects help Illinois adults who read below the ninth-grade level or speak English at a beginner level improve their reading, writing, math or use of English as a new language.

The Adult Literacy Program — administered by the Secretary of State’s Illinois State Library Literacy Office — awards grants in three categories:

  • Adult Volunteer Literacy Grants provide training for volunteers who tutor those ages 17 and older in basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Participating literacy providers include libraries; volunteer tutoring organizations; community-based organizations; community colleges; regional offices of education; schools; preschool programs; school districts; domestic violence shelters; and correctional facilities.
  • Penny Severns Family Literacy Grants provide educational services to parents and children in an effort to enhance basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Programs must partner with an adult literacy provider, a child-at-risk agency and a public library.
  • The Workplace Skills Enhancement Project provides onsite instructional services to employees of participating Illinois businesses, enabling them to enhance their basic reading, writing or language skills and increase their opportunity for career advancement. Eligible employees must read at or below the ninth-grade level. Grantees must match the grant award and may also provide instructional services to prospective employees. The fiscal agent and submitting agency may be either the educational partner or the business partner.

Individuals interested in becoming volunteer tutors are encouraged to contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 1-800-321-9511.

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