Our volunteers teach basic—but life-changing—communication skills to adults who want to learn English.
Since 1972, we’ve been equipping a big-hearted army of tutors to sit side-by-side with adults who cannot understand, speak, read, or write English. Imagine! We give these volunteers the materials, techniques, and confidence they need to help adults bust through language barriers and experience a whole new world of communication and connection—right here in DuPage County.
Once each tutor is ready, we match him or her with an adult who wants to learn English. The learner and tutor decide on a convenient meeting time and place—often at the local library.
From there, the instruction is entirely customized. The learner chooses specific goals—understand street signs, decipher prescription labels, read mail, tell bedtime stories, apply for a job—and the tutor offers practical instruction in response. This highly personalized approach gets results, builds relationships, and strengthens communities.
Our community’s language gap may surprise you.
More than 100,000 DuPage County residents need help improving their English skills. We dream of matching every one of them with a Literacy DuPage tutor.
Every year, Literacy DuPage serves more than 500 adult learners in more than 30 communities throughout DuPage County. But right now, our waiting list includes 300 more people who hope to be matched with a tutor.
We’re proud of the difference we’re making in so many lives, but we have far to go in achieving full literacy throughout the county. Learn about our five-year plan for doubling the impact of Literacy DuPage and read our Fiscal Year 2019 Program Report and 2017 Annual Report to learn about the latest impact we have had in the community.
These are your neighbors in need.
Literacy DuPage learners are adult men and women of all ages, nationalities, and social backgrounds. They all live in the western suburbs of Chicago. They all have hopes and dreams—to be self-sufficient individuals, productive employees, involved parents, connected neighbors, informed citizens.
And they all struggle due to language barriers
Generally, learners come to us with English literacy skills below ninth-grade level. Some are native English speakers, but most are immigrants. Our learner base consists of 36 first languages, with learners coming from 58 countries.
- Our English as a Second Language (ESL) Learners have limited skills to read, write, speak, and understand English. Tutors help ESL Learners understand and use English so they can be independent and successful at home, at work, and in the community.
- Our Basic Literacy Learners are proficient in English but may have difficulty identifying letters or words, reading signs, completing job applications, or doing simple math. Tutors help these adults master skills like these, to become more productive in society.
Literacy DuPage is an alternative to classroom instruction.
Literacy DuPage offers free, customized, one-on-one tutoring for adult learners.
For two hours each week, tutor and learner meet at a mutually convenient time and place—like the local library.
This flexible, accessible approach accommodates learners who can’t participate in classroom-based programs. Maybe they don’t have access to transportation. Maybe they can’t afford childcare. Maybe they’re juggling several jobs and work schedules to make ends meet.
With Literacy DuPage, learner and tutor work together to overcome these challenges—bringing instruction to those missed by more traditional programs.
For groups of learners, we offer conversation practice and workplace training.
In addition to our core program of one-on-one tutoring, Literacy DuPage offers Conversation Groups and Workforce Education Programs:
- Conversation Groups let adult English as a Second Language (ESL) learners practice speaking English in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. The program is open to Literacy DuPage learners and tutors, as well as any English learner who wants to participate. There’s no need to register, and no charge to attend. Meetings take place often and throughout the county, typically at local libraries. See the Conversation Group schedule.
- Workforce Education Programs are customized classes held at your worksite, designed to help your employees develop literacy and communication skills. Literacy DuPage creates these programs to address your business’s specific needs—such as safety, productivity, customer service, or even employee morale. If your workforce struggles with low-level literacy skills, Literacy DuPage can develop a curriculum to build skills that help your workers—and your business—succeed. Contact us to explore Workforce Education for your team.
Literacy is a connected cause—globally and locally.
Literacy DuPage collaborates with other organizations that share our passion for literacy.
Literacy DuPage is an accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy Worldwide, based in Syracuse, New York. ProLiteracy Worldwide was formed in 2002, a merger of Literacy Volunteers of America and Laubach Literacy International.
Literacy DuPage is a member of the Literacy for Adults Partnership, which formed in 2006 to unite four like-minded Chicagoland organizations in promoting literacy programs and recruiting volunteer tutors. Together, Literacy Dupage, The Literacy Connection, Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley, and Literacy Volunteers of Western Cook County can raise greater awareness and engage more people to serve a growing population of learners.