SPRINGFIELD - Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded over $5.6 million to the Adult Literacy Grant Program to help learners develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and English-language skills.

“An estimated 2.1 million Illinois residents need adult literacy and/or English-language instruction,” White said. “I am pleased to provide funding for 113 local literacy projects that will allow adult learners to achieve their utmost potential in the upcoming year. I will continue to do all I can to ensure that every citizen of this state has access to quality literacy programs.”

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A total of 14,352 learners will be served by adult literacy programs around the state. A total of 6,086 volunteer tutors will provide training for learners putting them on the path to lifelong learning. Adult literacy projects help adults who read below the ninth-grade level or speak English at a beginning level to improve their reading, writing, math or use of English as a new language.

The Secretary of State’s Illinois State Library Literacy Office administers the Adult Literacy Grant Program that supports services in the following areas:

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Adult Volunteer Literacy Project — Provides training for volunteers who tutor individuals ages 17 and older in basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Participating literacy providers may include libraries, volunteer tutoring organizations, community-based organizations, community colleges, regional offices of education, schools (individual and public), preschool programs, school districts, domestic violence shelters and correctional facilities.

Penny Severns Family Literacy Project — Provides educational services to parents and children 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.

Workplace Skills Enhancement Project — Provides on-site instructional services to employees of participating Illinois businesses, enabling them to enhance their basic reading, writing or language skills, and improve their chances for promotion. Eligible employees must read at or below the ninth-grade level. Grantees must match the grant award and provide instructional services to prospective employees. The fiscal agent and submitting agency may be either the educational partner or the business partner.

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

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