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Developing an adult literacy instructional program



I had a couple email exchanges with one of our Reading and Writing community members. In those exchanges, we shared a little information about her interests in participating and a question. Since the community members are so wise and experienced, we are posing the question or request which we hope will generate some helpful guidance as her church community develops an adult literacy program. I've made a couple edits to her message in the interest of space and clarity. Thank you for your guidance and suggestions.



smarty49 ( has sent you a message via your contact form at LINCS Community.


I am an associate minister at a church on Long Island. I am in the process of starting an adult program to help our members some of whom are functionally illiterate, some have reading difficulties, and even the ordained elders of the church do not read well. I thought it would be smart to start a reading program, not a GED program, that would be the next installment. Does anyone have any ideas about resources to start?


Marn Frank's picture

Hello! I applaud your intent to start an adult reading program for your church community. I have some questions for you to consider before you begin the hard work of starting a program:

  1. Is there already an adult literacy program in your neighborhood (like at a library or community center)?
  2. If so, would the teachers/tutors be willing to help you start a program at your church?
  3. Or, would they be willing to offer classes or tutoring at your church?
  4. Or, are there members who are willing to provide transportation to the existing program?

Another idea: How about starting with a read-aloud book group to gauge members' true interest and oral reading skills? There are many high-interest, leveled books available from Townsend Press Library. The book group leader should be the most frequent reader, the only corrector, and invite others to read aloud as they feel comfortable. The leader should stop occasionally and discuss the book to ensure understanding and enjoyment This may be the first time some members have started and finished a book - and quite the motivator to attend reading classes!

Linda Church's picture

I'm not sure where on Long Island you are, but it is definitely a good idea to contact existing programs before you decide to start your own. Here are a couple of possibilities:

FREEPORT, NY 11520-4323
Ph.: 516-867-3580

Ph.: 631-951-4783

You can find other programs here in the National Literacy Directory:

Linda Church


Syracuse NY