1 in 8 adults in Kalamazoo County struggle to read.

These adults struggle to read to their children, fill out a job application or understand medical information. But you can make a difference in their lives and your community.

adult literacy research & training symposium

Welcome to the 10th annual symposium! This year’s theme is “Everyone Needs To Read: Community Literacy in Action.” The symposium will bring together educators, volunteer tutors, students, and community members who are passionate about advancing literacy for all. Attendees will enjoy sessions and workshops that explore engaging and effective strategies in Digital Literacy, English as a Second Language, Multigenerational Learning, and more. The symposium promises to be a platform for learning and collaboration, providing attendees with valuable insights into the world of adult education. 

The Edison: “EDucation IS ON” initiative will be a featured presentation that includes a photo and art exhibit plus exciting updates on significant outcomes achieved during the past year through the robust KLC/WMU partnership.  

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided and a virtual option is available. SCECHs will be available as well. 


right to literacy

Last Fall, education advocates from across the community gathered at the Kalamazoo Public Library to celebrate literacy and declare it as a right that everyone deserves. The event featured powerful speakers including Dr. Grace Lubwama, former CEO of YWCA Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedel, and former KPS Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri. The evening also included the signing of the “Literacy Scroll” which served as a pledge to take real action to reduce low literacy rates and increase support for agencies that have tutoring as central to their work. 

We are grateful for the strong partnerships and shared passion around an issue that affects us all. 

As part of this initiative, Kalamazoo Literacy Council, Read and Write Kalamazoo, SLD Read, and Communities In Schools Kalamazoo issued a joint statement on the importance of achieving a fully literate community and the critical need for volunteer tutors.   

become a tutor

We’d like to invite you to join online tutor training with the Kalamazoo Literacy Council! In this training, you will learn effective strategies and techniques for teaching adults with low literacy, whether they’re native English speakers or English language learners. Our services help strengthen reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension skills so adult learners can reach their full potential as parents, employees, and community members. We have immediate availability for classroom assistants and basic literacy one-on-one tutors. Volunteer hours are flexible and we supply free books, materials, and ongoing support.

With just a few hours a week, you can help change someone’s life. To sign up for in person or online tutor training, call Abbey at (269) 382-0490 ext. 219 or email [email protected].  

KLC in the media

August 17, 2023
Public Media Network’s Neighborhood Voices segment features Kalamazoo Scrabble Fest!

August 5, 2023

Kalamazoo Literacy Council hosts “Scrabble Fest” to raise funds and awareness for adult literacy.
Nearly 100 players gathered to celebrate literacy and play in the city’s only Scrabble tournament fundraiser. Thanks to all of our sponsors and attendees for a wonderful event! 

July 6, 2023 
Kalamazoo Scrabble Fest supports literacy
Executive Director Michael Evans and Kito Jumanne-Marshall promote the 12th annual Kalamazoo Scrabble Fest. 


May 19, 2023
Family Literacy Days start today in Kalamazoo 
The KLC’s Kamaria Nichols and Kito Jumanne-Marshall join WOOD TV’s EightWest morning crew.



March 30, 2023
WMU launches paid internship program with local businesses
“This is a great pathway into full-time positions if it’s not with us with any other organizations,” Evans said. “An internship is a very critical part of their professional development. It’s a walking interview but it’s also an opportunity to really be able to retain the talent that comes to Western Michigan University.”

December 16, 2022
KLC and WMU team up for adult literacy symposium
The Adult Literacy Research and Training symposium is in its ninth year, and represents one of the signature components of the university/community partnership. 

September 23, 2022 
Kalamazoo Literacy Council, YWCA declare right to literacy with fundraiser 
The Kalamazoo Literacy Council and YWCA are joining forces in a $60,000 fundraiser that declares the right to literacy. Fall fundraising began on Sept. 19 for the Everyone Needs to Read annual campaign. Grace Lubwama, CEO of YWCA Kalamazoo, is serving as this year’s campaign chair.

June 30, 2022
Adult Literacy Can Impact Employment Opportunites
“Empowered learners make better employees and build the best businesses,” Rose Fetzer, Adult Learning Services Navigator at KLC. “When we say, ‘Everyone needs to read to excel at work,’ we mean that employees are empowered when they have the literacy skills to navigate through their careers,” Fetzer said.

June 29, 2022
Nothing happens by itself
KVCC’s ValleyHUB is the champion of Southwest Michigan’s local food system. This blog post features KLC Executive Director Michael Evans and Kym Hollars, Adult Education and Training Manager at Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan, and profiles Family Literacy Days in the Read and Seed community garden and outdoor classroom. The article also highlights the many ways KLC and KVCC work together, from planting, to internships, to developing career pathways.  

June 13, 2022
Kalamazoo organzations win national grants to fill childcare gaps
Michael Evans, executive director of the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, said a $150,000 grant from the ECIC will help a collaboration of organizations increase wages for early education professionals.

February 10, 2022
Language barrier key to welcoming refugees
English skills make accessing services and work opportunities easier – and widens the circle of support for processing trauma.

December 22, 2021
Parents encouraged to share ideas in upcoming early childhood education summit
On January 28, program partners will host a summit focusing on attaining input from local parents, and learning their priorities and concerns regarding early childhood education.

December 10, 2021
Western, Kalamazoo Literacy Council team up to boost adult literacy
WMU president Dr. Edward Montgomery formally announced the partnership during his welcome address Friday, December 10, at the 2021 Adult Literacy Research and Training Symposium.

November 18, 2021
WMU formalizes partnership with Kalamazoo Literacy Council
Dr. Edward Montgomery will formally announce the partnership during his welcome address at the 2021 Adult Literacy Research and Training Symposium from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, at the Fetzer Center and online. This free, annual symposium, “Fostering Leadership and Equity Through Adult Literacy,” facilitates cooperation between the academic research of best practices in adult literacy and community-based application of this knowledge.

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Kalamazoo Literacy Council is a member organization of ProLiteracy. 

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