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 and training symposium

The Kalamazoo Literacy Council, in partnership with Western Michigan University, will host the annual Adult Literacy Research and Training Symposium, on Friday, December 9, 2022, from 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at WMU’s Fetzer Center. This year’s theme is “Cultivating Literacy and Learning at the Neighborhood Level.” Attendees will enjoy insightful sessions on strategies and best practices that demonstrate and encourage learning and equity for adults and their families in the neighborhoods where they live, work, and play. This free event features a welcome address by Dr. Deveta Gardner, Associate Dean, Merze Tate College at WMU. Presentations will highlight success stories in Parent Literacy/Multigenerational Learning, Digital Literacy, English as a Second Language, and Health Literacy. The keynote will be delivered by Dr. Karika Parker, Community/University Fellow, on the EDIsON “Education Is On” initiative, which serves to transform the Edison neighborhood into a vibrant learning campus. A catered lunch is included. Don’t miss this exciting day of learning and sharing! Register by Friday, December 2 for in person or Wednesday, December 7 for virtual attendance. 

right to literacy

On November 10, 2022, 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 KPS Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri, Dr. Grace Lubwama, CEO of YWCA Kalamazoo, and Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedel. 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 ESL classroom assistants and basic literacy one-on-one tutors. Volunteer hours are flexible and we supply free books, materials, and ongoing support. The training is all online, however you may choose to tutor in-person at a Community Literacy Center or virtually. 

With just a few hours a week, you can help change someone’s life. Click the button below to learn more about volunteering with us and to register for the January session of tutor training.  

KLC in the media

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.

 

August 25, 2021
Kalamazoo Literacy Council combats low adult literacy in West Michigan
“All across the state, all across the country, we do find that there are adults who struggle to read and the term functional literacy really means reading at 0 to fourth grade level,” Michael Evans, the executive director of the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, said. “Most documents for adults struggling to read at that level, they may not be able to read it independently. So that might mean the mail you receive, the applications you need to fill out if you try to apply for a job — not being able to search those jobs and be able to see how you fit.”

July 21, 2021 
First in 47
Published by our partners at the Kalamazoo Promise, this article celebrates the appointment of Cyekeia Lee to KLC board president as well as our Parent Literacy Together program. 

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Kalamazoo Literacy Council is a member organization of ProLiteracy. 

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