Why Literacy Matters
1.5 million people in Wisconsin need help building literacy skills. With literacy support, adults and children:
- learn to read and understand math;
- earn their GED credential;
- understand their health;
- improve their spoken and written English; and
- build work readiness skills.
Recent Success Stories
For the past twenty years, the African American Mutual Assistance Network, Inc. (AAMAN), based in Onalaska, has provided resources to children and young adults in Wisconsin and beyond. This support equips and empowers youth to reach their full potential. AAMAN was founded by Cecil and Valjean Adams in 2003.
Communicating with teachers and doctors is just one part of being a parent. When your child has special needs, coordinating school details and medical information is especially important. That can be challenging for any parent – and even more so when you do not know English well. That is the challenge Consepcion, a student at Faith Literacy in Janesville, has been facing.
In Janesville, boosting literacy is a collective effort involving a diverse, dedicated group of stakeholders. “The students, the tutors, everybody comes from all over the community,” says Barb Becker, who runs Faith Literacy. “It’s turned into a big community sort of thing.”
Still in high school but already looking to potential career paths, Michele made a promise to herself to work on her reading ability. “I wanted to have a good skill in life, and reading is an important skill,” she says.
Before founding Reading Connections in 1996, Mary Bowers was a second-grade teacher. When her son had trouble learning to read, Mary and her husband, Rick, did everything they could to help him. Rick says, “You need to be able to read well to succeed.”
When Jacob first sought help with reading and speaking English, he only knew a few words of the language. That was more than eight years ago. Since then, his English has improved so much that he now translates for others in the local Hispanic community when they need to buy something or get medical care.
In the 10 years since the Marinette and Oconto Counties Literacy Council was founded, the number of people in the area who speak English as a second language has increased. Many are immigrants who work at nearby dairy farms. Unlike more urban areas, low literacy is more common in the outlying areas of the two counties.