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Spring Spotlight on Adult Literacy

Megan Katz, Librarian, Office of Education and Literacy,
Collage of Adult Literary program volunteers

Looking for a way to contribute to your community? Consider becoming an adult literacy volunteer with the Los Angeles Public Library! Statistics show that an estimated 33% of the adult residents of Los Angeles lack basic prose literacy skills. This means that, at best, they may be “able to locate easily identifiable information in short, commonplace prose text, but nothing more advanced” (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). Of course, many of these people cannot read at all.

Los Angeles Public Library tutor Luisa Latham says of her students: As a result of being illiterate, these individuals have felt isolated and alienated and not able to function fully within their communities…[They] have expressed to me their fear and hesitancy around any experience where they would be asked to read—to fill out a job application, to vote, to do so many things that we take for granted and that they cannot participate in. You can help alleviate literacy inequality by becoming a volunteer. We have many different opportunities, including teaching classes, working one-on-one with a student, and more. 

Claire Chandler and Alma Velasco

Tutor Claire Chandler and student Alma Velasco

Tutor Claire Chandler decided to use her time to help others, “When I retired, I thought about volunteer opportunities and about how to work toward changes I would like to see in the world. Even though I had no experience teaching anyone how to read, I applied to be a tutor at the Adult Literacy Program.”

Carmen Chavez and Lorena Lordanic

Student Carmen Chavez and Tutor Lorena Lordanic

Adult literacy volunteers change lives, but the most inspiring thing about volunteering may be what you will gain from it. Tutor Lorena Lordanic tells us, “Tutoring Carmen this past year has benefited my life in so many ways. Not only do I get to think of innovative ways to help her reach her goals, but Carmen also inspires me to continue learning.”

“Volunteering at the library has been one of the best decisions I've made, and meeting Elsa has been life changing.” —Tutor Thayne Clark

Are you ready to have your life changed by becoming an adult literacy volunteer? Contact us today! Call 213-228-7037 or find the Literacy Center closest to you.