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About Literacy

English literacy is the ability to read, write, and communicate at a level sufficient to reach one's full potential as a parent, worker, and community member. English literacy is the foundation for individual and family success and self-sufficiency. Without English literacy, adults and families are isolated from the community and its opportunities, and may be unable to:

  • Call 911
  • Apply for a job
  • Pass the citizenship test
  • Talk to a child's teacher
  • Communicate with a neighbor
  • Fill out a form
  • Read a prescription
  • Get a library card
  • Speak with a doctor

English literacy is also the foundation for our community's economic and social prosperity. Adults with greater literacy skills can earn more, better support their children's education, and participate in civic life. As a result, we all benefit from greater tax contributions, a more educated population, and a more connected community. For every $1 invested in adult education, there is a $3.15 economic benefit to the community.

Today in Montgomery County 80,000+ adults lack basic literacy, i.e. the skills to complete a job application (NAALS 2003); 12,000+ children in public schools have parents with English literacy needs (MCPS, Urban Institute); 132,000 residents are limited in their ability to communicate in English (ACS) and thousands of adults are on waiting lists to take English literacy classes

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