Literacy Council of Seattle Programs
English as a Second Language (ESL): The Literacy Council offers free English classes and tutoring for immigrants and refugees. According to the 2010 US Census, over 20% of Seattle residents speak a language other than English at home; almost 49% of those say that they do not speak English well. 2008 American Community Survey data states that 5% of Seattle residents do not speak English well or at all. Without basic English skills, it is almost impossible to find employment and provide for a family’s basic needs.
Adult Basic Education (ABE): The Literacy Council provides free tutoring to native-born
English speakers whose lack of functional literacy creates tremendous economic and social hardships.
Tutor Training Workshops: The Literacy Council provides ongoing training workshops to
community members, educating and empowering them to provide literacy services to students
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
While the Literacy Council is a primarily all volunteer grassroots organization, we have experienced rapid growth over the past decade in response to increased demand for our services. Five years ago, LCS served 200 students on average; now we serve 300-441 students each year. Two years ago, LCS offered five beginning English classes each quarter; now we offer ten. Last year, we provided services to a record 441 individuals.
The Literacy Council partners with the Seattle Public Library, community centers and transitional/low-income housing facilities managed by other local nonprofit organizations to offer classes in Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill, North Seattle and downtown. All of our spring classes are currently full.
2004-2005 enrollment records from the Washington State Board for Community and
Technical Colleges show that only 12.2% of individuals who could benefit from English language instruction receive it, and the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that one in ten adults over 16 years old lack basic English literacy skills. In spite of our organization’s rapid growth over the past five years, the number of other nonprofit organizations, transitional housing facilities and individuals who come to LCS seeking our services continue to outpace our resources.