The Oakland Literacy Council believes that all people have a fundamental right to literacy. With support from our funders, we pair trained, compassionate tutors with adult learners until they become proficient readers, writers, and communicators. As literate adults, they make our communities and our democracy stronger. They contribute to our economy, exercise their voice in their communities, and give their children a solid educational foundation.
For 35 years, the Oakland Literacy Council has offered free one-on-one tutoring to adults who function at the lowest levels of literacy. Initially launched in 1984 as a project of the Oakland County Library Board, the Council achieved 501(C)3 status in 2004 and became completely independent.
The Council has served more than 10,000 students since it first opened its doors. Calculated at the modest sum of $20 per hour (half of commercial tutoring costs), the Council has contributed more than $10 million worth of service to the community, by leveraging the work of volunteers.
PRIORITIZING NEEDIEST STUDENTS
In general, to be eligible for service from the Council, a student must function below the 9th grade level as assessed by the federally- approved CASAS exam. The Council prioritizes service to those who score lowest on the exam. As of July 2019, the Council requires students who score at higher levels on the exam to demonstrate that they are working toward a high-school equivalency degree, improved job prospects or (in the case of English-language-learners) U.S. citizenship, in order to receive service. These requirements ensure efficient use of our limited resources.
HIGHLY TRAINED VOLUNTEERS
The Council provides comprehensive training for volunteers. Using state-of-the-art instructional design technology, interested tutors first complete an online introduction to the Council’s mission and approach. Volunteers then attend a six-hour classroom training program with an expert in adult education. After volunteers are certified and matched with a student, they receive additional training in lesson planning.
On any given week, 200 of our trained volunteer tutors meet individually with students for two hours at a time. They meet at public locations in their neighborhoods at times convenient for both tutor and student.
PARTNERSHIPS IN FIGHTING ILLITERACY
The Oakland Literacy Council believes that adult illiteracy cannot be solved alone. Oakland Literacy has strong relationships with other adult education, workforce development partners and other human services organizations.