In Arkansas, 13.7% of adults age 16 and older lack basic literacy skills (Health Rankings, 2015). Nearly 19% of Arkansans 25 and over (347,032 people) do not have a high school diploma or GED, and over 130,000 have less than a ninth-grade education (U.S. Census Community Survey, 2009). Adults with low literacy skills often cannot effectively negotiate the health care system, read food or prescription drug labels, fill out a simple job application, support the educational development of their children, or manage their finances. They experience greater difficulty both in finding and retaining employment and face significant obstacles that can prevent them from being engaged members of their community.
See data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 2012.
ALC Provides a Solution
Fortunately, when Arkansans who need it seek or accept help, community based literacy councils are there to provide instruction, materials and support. A critical part of the programs’ success is one-on-one instruction in a private setting provided by well-trained volunteer literacy tutors at no charge. Our tutors understand the value of teaching an adult to read and the profound and lasting impact is has on their ability to successfully function within their community.
ALC Produces Outcomes
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015:
- 2,741 Arkansas adults received free educational instruction
- 4,526 Arkansas adults learned to read or learned to read better
- 982 Arkansas adults learned to write or learned to write better
- 2,087 Arkansas adults learned to speak English or learned to speak English better
- 17,843 personal achievements made by students – 18,377 measurable educational advancements made by students
- 911 Arkansans served as tutors
- 65,711 instruction hours held
- 100+ Arkansas adults currently waiting for a tutor to receive free instruction
Arkansas Literacy Council tutors contributed $1.6 million worth of service hours, according to Independent Sector, a nonprofit that calculates the value of a volunteer hour. Including pre- and post-lesson preparation, board meetings, and special projects, literacy council volunteers contribute over $3 million in services to Arkansas’ adult education each year.