harris 041420DOLTON – With South Suburban College set to receive over $98,000 from the Illinois Secretary of State to develop their adult literacy program, State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) urges residents to volunteer as tutors for the program to help adult learners hone their reading, math, writing and English-language skills.

“Literacy is one tool to help people move out of poverty and get better paying jobs to support their families,” Harris said. “This funding is essential, but it’s also imperative that people contribute their time to help their neighbors learn—literacy skills benefit not only the struggling reader, but the entire community.”

Adult literacy programs throughout Illinois will serve more than 13,500 students. Supported by $5.6 million in state funds, the programs will depend on nearly 6,000 volunteer tutors to provide skills training for students, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Adult literacy projects are focused on improving reading, writing and math skills for Illinois adults who read below the 9th-grade level or speak English at a beginning level. 

The Secretary of State awards grants in these categories:

  • Adult Volunteer Literacy Grants provide training for volunteers who tutor people 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 (individual and public), preschool programs, school districts, domestic violence shelters and correctional facilities.
  • Penny Severns Family Literacy Grants provide 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.
  • The Workplace Skills Enhancement Project Grants provide onsite instructional services to employees of participating Illinois businesses, enabling them to enhance their basic reading, writing or language skills and improve their chances of promotion. Eligible employees must read at or below the 9th-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.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 800-321-9511.