Program News

ESL Small Groups Begin at Wingate (2014)

Education programs that help people move beyond low literacy are important for national workforce readiness, as well as for individuals’ ability to get and keep jobs that pay sustaining wages. (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

Addressing workforce development in Union County, the Literacy Council has sometimes partnered with businesses to offer tutoring to employees on the work site. In academic year 2013-2014, such a partnership began with Wingate University. Two tutors each teach about six students a week. This technique engages students in dialogue, helps build confidence, and supports a shared sense of community.

At Wingate, the students are learning English as a second language. "Wingate University is grateful for the fine work of our Hispanic employees. We feel that learning to communicate in English will make their lives better in many ways. We appreciate the fine work that the Literacy Council continues to provide to our region." - Dr. Jerry McGee, President, Wingate University

Job Search and Workplace Lessons Aid Students

In FY2013-2014, a volunteer started an ongoing small group that meets weekly at the library in Monroe to practice computer skills. Focusing on additional technology-based initiatives for workforce development, other tutors and staff:

  • Held three workshops to teach how to start up and shut down a computer, identify components, open and close a program, and use email.
  • Provided tutors an index of jobs-related instructional materials and held in-service workshops to present research-based texts and handouts for teaching workplace skills.
  • Offered a job search workshop and a resume writing workshop to students.

Prison Literacy Project Reaches 9th Year

At Brown Creek Correctional Institution in Polkton (Anson County) in 2013-2014, we facilitated one-on-one literacy instruction. The program is funded by private donations. Thirteen inmates trained as tutors taught 24 inmates. Through this program, inmates acquire reading and writing skills that will help them return to civic life.


Summer Literacy Leads to Mission Expansion

Our fourth Summer Literacy series welcomed 17 mothers and 30 children in Summer 2014. Teaming with Union County Public Library staff, our ESL staff showed parents how to read to their school-age children. Due to the enjoyment and attendance of this project and students’ goals to help their children with homework, we are expanding curriculum to include more instruction suited for parents and children learning together.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our community and expand individual potential by teaching adults and families to read, write, speak, and understand the English language.

2013-2014 Annual Report

The Council equips beginner reader adults to become the parents, workers, and community members that they aspire to be through improved literacy. In 2013-2014:

  • 70% of our students worked and most of them set job-related goals (getting a job, understanding workplace safety signs, etc.), and
  • Approximately 80% of the adults we served had children enrolled in public schools.

Our 2013-2014 Annual Report provides more information about our service to 198 adults who received 17,120.75 hours of free, basic literacy instruction. Thank you for your donations of time and resources!

Demographics on Literacy

In the (most recent) 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 11% of Union County’s then 106,416 population scored Below Basic in prose or could not be tested due to language barriers (US Dept of Ed). In Monroe, 12% of adults 25 years or older held less than a 9th grade education (2010 US Census). Most of our ESL students did not complete high school. Of the Adult Basic Education students who entered our program in FY2011-2012, 80% pre-tested at 0-3rd grade.

Latinos continue to be the fastest growing population segment. The number of school age Latino children in Union County grew 46% from 2005 to 2008. In Monroe schools, Latinos are the largest segment of students and account for 47% of the enrollment (United Way of Central Carolinas).

Commentary on Adult Literacy