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Our Mission 

Believing that literacy is the foundation for a sustainable community, Washtenaw Literacy provides literacy support, free of charge, to adults through a network of trained tutors. 

It is our Vision to eliminate illiteracy in Washtenaw County.

ABCs of Washtenaw Literacy

Are you interested in
volunteering with
Washtenaw Literacy?

attend one of our
upcoming ABC's of
Washtenaw Literacy
Information Sessions to
learn more about all of the many ways you can help!

Save the Date!

Celebration of Learning

Annual potluck, honoring the hard work of all our learners and tutors.

March 22, 2018
6:00 pm
Ypsilanti Free Methodist Church
1800 Packard St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Power Tutoring

Since 2004, Washtenaw Literacy has offered this free daylong series of workshops for adult literacy tutors. 

We hope you'll be able to join us for this invigorating, informative event on  February 17, 2018

Thank You Literacy Circle Sponsors!

December 2017
In This Issue

It's Not Too Late! 

Washtenaw Literacy Learners count on your support!  Give before December 31 to maximize 2017 income tax deductions!  There are three ways to donate before the end of the current tax year:

ONLINE. Make a secure gift online at this link:


BY MAIL.  Mail a check payable to Washtenaw Literacy to 5577 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197, post-marked by December 30.

GIFT OF STOCK. A stock contribution allows you to receive a tax deduction for the current, full market value of the stock and avoid capital gains taxes on the profit from the sale of securities.  For more information call 734-337-3338 or contact Mark Foster at Boardwalk Financial Group:  734-929-4235

Staff + Mentors = Together for Literacy

Washtenaw Literacy's tutoring model is propelled by the experienced and highly trained Washtenaw Literacy Tutors known as the Mentor Team. The Mentor Team help deliver effective programming and extend the reach of Washtenaw Literacy's small staff. 

Mentors act as guides for Tutors and support Washtenaw Literacy's programs as a whole. Every Tutor who completes training is assigned a Mentor to provide initial support with lesson planning, materials selection, and practical advice. Mentors also take on additional tasks, such as planning and coordinating trainings, workshops, and events. They also staff Washtenaw Literacy's Tutor Learner Resource Center, a literacy materials lending library, and provide office hours for Tutors to drop in with questions.

Mentors are a key link between Tutors delivering programming annually and staff. This year the Mentor Team includes 26 highly committed volunteers. They meet monthly, partly social events that foster communication and creative planning.  At the 2017 year-end meeting, Staff updated Mentors about plans for programming and Tutor training to be rolled out in the New Year.  Input from the Mentor Team is crucial; they are on the front lines of programming.

Washtenaw Literacy serves around 2000 adult literacy Learners annually, and the over 600 volunteer Tutors who work throughout the entire county are quite spread out. A key to effective, quality programming is maintaining relationships and on-going professional development for volunteer Tutors.  The enthusiastic Mentor Team helps ensure that every Learner benefits from the most effective literacy programming for each individual.  

Adult Literacy Impact!

Washtenaw's Literacy 2017 Learner Advocate Calisa Reid tells about how her life changed as a result of investing in literacy in the video link below.  Research by Dr. Stephen Reder at Portland State University strongly suggests that Calisa's experiences are outcomes that can be expected after participation in literacy tutoring. 

The Longitudinal Study of Adult Learning (LSAL), conducted from 1998 to 2007, followed 1,000 high school dropouts, both participants and nonparticipants in adult basic skills programs, and measured the long-term impact of in several outcome areas. These outcome areas included economic outcomes, literacy growth, high school equivalency attainment, and postsecondary engagement.

"By being able to read, I was able to design my own jobs." 

Dr. Reder followed participants in adult basic skills programs, providing the same services as Washtenaw Literacy, and has shown mean income gains of 53% as compared to an income drop of 2% in nonparticipants. 

Participants who attended an average of more than 100 hours of instruction averaged $10,000 more in annual income. The LSAL also demonstrated that individuals who were active in literacy programs were more likely to show an increase in literacy skills than those who were not, with participants continuing to improve their skills, achieving higher levels of literacy in the future, as a result of participating in a program.   The study showed that this trend in increased achievement also carried over the high school equivalency attainment, with participants in programs being twice as likely to have achieved their high school equivalency when they were enrolled in a program for 100 hours or more. Likewise, the study showed that participants in literacy programs were more likely to achieve some kind of postsecondary education, with 31% participating in some level of postsecondary engagement. 

Findings show the positive personal and societal impact that increased literacy can have. Income gains result in an increased tax base, an improved labor force and decreases in income subsidies. Higher literacy and education levels also equate to lower health care costs for all Americans, and provide a stronger base for parents to help encourage and assist in the education of their children, or grandchildren, a key element in the effort to improve cross-generational low skills.

Tutors: The Heart of Washtenaw Literacy

Washtenaw Literacy's nationally recognized Tutor training prepares volunteers to confidently deliver literacy programming and help Learners realize their goals. The centerpiece is Core Tutor Training.  Offered three times a year, or by arrangement, Core Tutor Training provides research-based tutoring strategies focused on lesson planning for specific goals. Paired with contextualized materials new Tutors learn to customize lesson plans that address the needs of each individual Learner.  During training, literacy sensitivity activities give volunteers the chance to simulate the challenges faced by those they will tutor.

New Tutors and Mentors working 
together  at Core Tutor Training.

Washtenaw Literacy's Program Staff are certified as trainers through ProLiteracy, an international adult literacy membership organization, but the training is a hybrid of several successful models.  Tutors report that the hands-on, participatory activities are effective in preparing to work with a low-literate adult.  A new Tutor who recently completed the training reported, "After a career in business that required all kinds of professional development, this is one of the best I have taken." 

Tutor training does not end after Core Tutor Training.  New Tutors are assigned a Mentor for the first months of their volunteer service, an experienced Tutor who can answer questions and help with planning.  Materials and resources are available at Washtenaw Literacy's Tutor Learner Resource Center, an extensive lending library.  Members of the Mentor team hold office hours at the Resource Center. 

The Perfect New Year's Resolution:
How to Become a Tutor!

The first step to becoming a Tutor is to attend a one-hour informational session, the ABCs of Washtenaw Literacy.  All questions answered before attending training!

There are two ABCs Sessions scheduled before the next Tutor Training:
  • January 5 - 3 PM - Nicola's Books
  • January 11 - 4 PM - Nicola's Books
Register ahead of time at this  link, or call 734.337.3338.  

The next Core Tutor Training will be on three consecutive Saturdays: January 20, 27 & February 3.  Register for training at the ABCs informational session!