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Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Learn to Read of Northwest Florida, Inc
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

“All people should be able to live fulfilling, enjoyable lives, providing for themselves and their families, and contributing to society. The mission of Learn to Read of Northwest Florida, Inc., is to ensure that no adult members of society be denied these opportunities and privileges because they cannot read and write. We will teach them.”

Submission Information

Impact Essay


3300 N. PACE BLVD., SUITE 324


PH. (850) 432-4347

Current academic research supports that literacy is not only a social problem facing our society today, but is rapidly becoming a wide spread economic epidemic. Local literacy problems mirror those experienced nationwide. Roughly 18% of Americans cannot read well enough to function in today’s society. A few specifics are far more revealing: 10% of children starting kindergarten live in households with no literate adults; 20% of all adults cannot write a check, and 22% cannot address a letter; 35% of adults who take jobs cannot read their W-4 forms unassisted; 50% of all calls to poison hotlines are made by people who cannot read the labels on the containers; 85% of juvenile offenders are illiterate. Learn to Read has stepped up to ease this social and economic burden, by filling an educational gap that’s long overdue. Learn to Read has approximately 110 volunteers diligently attempting to eradicate these heart wrenching statistics by improving the skill level of one reader at a time. Founded in 1984 and incorporated in 1989, Learn to Read of Northwest Florida, Inc. (LTR) recruits and trains volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring of adults who are poor readers or, are unable to read (ages 16 and up, reading levels below grade 7) using phonics-based curriculum materials. LTR is an affiliate of Pro-Literacy Worldwide, an international literacy advocacy organization. LTR is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as an exempt non-profit educational organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c) 3. A board of directors comprised of local business and professional associates, provides leadership and policy guidance for the organization. LTR receives prospective students through local advertising, referrals from social service agencies and individuals already in the program. New students are initially screened to evaluate their entry reading levels using diagnostic guides provided by Pro-Literacy. Background checks are conducted on all students and volunteers. Students are then matched with available tutors, who initiate self-paced training programs in Basic Literacy (BL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) beginning at the students’ starting skill levels. Students are asked to make short term and long term goals. The tutors and students work together to achieve those individual goals in addition to completing skill level textbooks. LTR operates in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties from the main office in Pensacola, and a branch office at Century, FL.

The branch office located in Century, FL is a rural impoverished community population of approximately 1788. It has great potential and opportunity for it’s’ citizens to become productive, informed and involved, but lacking viable community resources and technological skills to launch forward.

In 2009, the vision for the newly established facility in Century is to increase our student and tutor ratio to an additional 120 student/tutor pairs. Thus far, the outcome has resulted in presenting a successful February 2009 workshop for tutors which also produced 33 new tutors. The next scheduled tutor training workshop is reserved for 15 participants. The 120 potential tutor pairs mentioned is projected based on advertising with local media, broad public speaking engagements with local civic groups, business constituents and partners of other agencies. Due to this initiative to bring into focus additional information concerning low literacy, has increased awareness for LTR since 2008. LTR trainers conduct workshops several times a year to train new BL and ESL tutors. Upon completion of the workshop and certification by Pro-Literacy, the new tutor volunteers are matched with students. Tutors and students meet for sessions at libraries, area businesses, churches, schools, social service agencies and other appropriate sites. We also conduct two-hour English conversation classes two days each week to help immigrant students improve English conversation skills. The impact of a financial investment on student achievement as well as teaching others to read will be evaluated. Students will learn a basic literacy skills course content, digital literacy and technology skills as they complete curriculum-based modules that culminate in multimedia products. Student growth will be assessed by an online assessment tool, measure course content, technology skills, and collaboration. The ambition of LTR is balanced with compassion, motivated with passion and an urgency that requires immediate action on behalf of the lives and livelihoods of thousands who are at risk. Otherwise, if left unattended and ignored, the problem will only fester, erupt and produce illiterate generations in the future. Remaining on the frontline with adequate resources and tools to confront this dilemma is crucial. LTR need more enhanced and sophisticated technology that would help decrease the growing epidemic of literacy among the target population. By receiving new computers and software, LTR will make available to student’s state of the art technology tools to expand their learning. Modern technology is a doorway into the future and a much needed tool to for achieving our goal in reaching as many people who desire to learn to read. The established computer learning lab will help us bridge the gap between literacy and those who fall short of this valuable 21st century life skill. Furthermore, to focus on technology enhanced reading-based learning activities will be an integral part of the instructional process. Students will learn content knowledge, develop information and communication technology literacy and cultivate workplace competencies such as teamwork, communication, planning and problem solving. The LTR desires to provide laptop computers for tutors, additional digital resources for tutors to use in targeted learning sessions and extensive professional development for the students’ tutors to be prepared to incorporate these technologies. LTR envisions creating a journey to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum by moving beyond the student’s comfort zone, fears and stereotypes. A journey to introduce students to a world of technology possibilities, boundless opportunities to discover, navigate and perfect reading, and writing skills as an enjoyable and rewarding adventure. Thank you for your consideration of your generous donation.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery