We help adults and families achieve financial independence, good health and greater involvement in community life.
Literacy Network helps adult learners to:
- Support the education of their children
- Pursue education options for better employment
- Better understand health care
- Navigate systems in the community
More about our work
We help more than 1,000 adult learners each year acheive their goals for better work, involvement in their children's education and improved health outcomes. Our programs take place in 21 different locations including schools, community centers, hospitals, colleges, libraries and other social service agencies.
Last year, 526 volunteers donated more than 28,000 hours to support at a value of more than $630,000!
About 55,000 adults in Dane County struggle with reading, writing and English language skills. Low literacy means lower productivity, higher accident rates, decreased product quality, and higher operating costs. When adults struggle with literacy, they can’t be their child’s first teacher, or make good health decisions.
Adult literacy affects the economy
Approximately $60 billion is lost to businesses each year in the U.S. due to low basic literacy skills.
Literacy Network learners address their reading, writing and language needs and are supported on their path to success. Our schools, businesses, healthcare settings, and community life all benefit. We have developed innovative programming to support workforce education. The college transition project helps adult learners get the support they need to complete degrees at Madison College, maximizing our skillset while teaming with local partners who specialize in compatible services.
“Since we began, my learner received a promotion at current job, spoke with co-workers in English, read documents in English, achieved a goal on a work project, and was given new responsibilities at work.” – Literacy Network Tutor
Adult literacy affects health
Approximately $465 million is lost in Dane County annually because of low health literacy. Low health literacy results in medication misuse, unnecessary visits to hospitals, inability to follow instructions and more. Our award-winning Health Literacy program in hospitals and clinics was named a “promising practice” by the State of Wisconsin and is serving as a national model for programs. Literacy skills are the strongest predictor of an individual’s health status - more than age, income, education level, or ethnic group.
Adult literacy affects children
Family participation in education is the most important factor in student success. Reading aloud to young children builds their listening skills and increases their capacity for learning in the future. Our local Family Literacy programs in 13 schools, libraries and community centers empower parents and family members to be active partners in their children’s education and reduce the achievement gap.
This year, we have helped more than 100 learners and tutors navigate the Madison College system. Here are just a few ways we help adult learners meet their goals of a better job through education:
- Helping learners with degrees from other countries in fields such as nursing, accounting, massage therapy, and engineering manage the process of getting their transcripts reviewed and working on their English language skills.
- Supporting learners and tutors with their goals of entering and advancing college programs.
- Advising learners who are working toward their GED and providing tutoring assistance.
The Classroom Tutoring Project has resulted in better retention of students, more people advancing an ESL level, and better support of learner goals. We are developing replication of this innovative model for other technical colleges and literacy organizations.
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