How to refer a student

Referring a student to the KLC is simple. If you know someone who needs help with reading, writing or spelling, call the KLC office at (269) 382-0490, Ext. 222, or e-mail us.

The program staff will schedule an assessment for the prospective student to determine his or her reading level. After the assessment, the student will be matched with a trained tutor who will work one on one with the student to improve his/her literacy skills. Sessions will be held in a public place that is convenient for the student.


  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Be able to speak and understand English
  3. Have access to transportation – private or public

Recognizing and Approaching a Non-Reader

Many adult non-readers never reveal their circumstance, even to their immediate families, and hiding the truth becomes an additional burden. They avoid situations that require reading and have developed an arsenal of behaviors that conceal their inability to read.

The non-reader is difficult to identify. The following suggestions may help identify and support the non-reader.

Recognizing a Non-Reader
Most non-readers will not tell you that they cannot read or write. Sometimes behaviors are colored by an angry tone to discourage further interaction with you. This is normal defensive behavior. Please remember that all of us want to avoid embarrassing situations.

Here are some common behaviors:

  1. Gives excuses for not reading.
    “I forgot my glasses. Could you read this for me?”
    “I have bad arthritis in my hand. Could you write this for me?”
    “I can’t understand this form. Would you explain it to me?”
    “I don’t have time to do this right now. I’ll take it home and bring it back later.”
  2. Takes a long time or appears confused, angry, or agitated when given something to read or write.
    “Why do I have to fill this out? I have better things to do.”
    “I just gave this information. Why do I have to do it again?”
  3. Misses appointments or gets dates and times mixed up.
  4. May sign a form after pretending to read it. Don’t be fooled. Generally, non-readers can sign their name.

Approaching a Non-Reader
If you suspect that someone is having trouble reading, be very sensitive to the person’s self-esteem. With empathy and discretion, your specific approach will differ with each person.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Quietly ask to speak with the person.
  2. Go to a private area.
  3. Using a gentle tone, tell the person that you have noticed difficulties in (specific area).
  4. Ask if that is correct and if the person can identify the problem. If may be that the person simply needs glasses.
  5. Whatever the problem, assure the person that you are there to help.

Tell the person about the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, that our services are free and confidential, and that adult tutors will work with them on a one-on-one basis in public places, such as the library.