About Us

The Literacy Council, founded in 1985, is a not for profit organization that empowers people to achieve. Through programs and services The Literacy Council offers, adults, children, and families will grow from the literacy skills they have obtained. Our programs include: one on one tutoring, English as a Second Language classes, computer classes and READy to Learn. All programs are offered at no cost to the client.

In 2016, The Literacy Council became a community partner with United Way on a early-grade learning initiative entitled I READ. Please visit the “Get Involved,” section of our website to learn how you can help The Literacy Council empower people to achieve.



The cost of low literacy, per the National Institute for Literacy, advises “Adult illiteracy carries an estimated price tag of $225 Billion annually as a result of loss of income and tax revenue, unemployment or underemployment, incarceration, and supplemental training for entry-level jobs.”

  1. Crime rates:  60% of U.S. inmates cannot read or write a letter. 75% of state prison inmates did not complete high school.
  2. Unemployment: Job searching and the ability to maintain a job demands literacy skills along with an increase in specialized vocabulary skills.
  3. Health Care: The inability to read medical documentation adds over $230 billion to the country’s annual health costs.



There are over 44,000 people in our three county service area without a High School diploma or GED. Without that achievement, there are a low number of jobs available for them, and none of those jobs pay enough to sustain day to day living. It means an elevated crime rate, children starting school with low literacy skills, and more taxes going to support public assistance programs.


Why provide instruction at no cost?

Thousands of adults in our community hide behind guilt associated with illiteracy. Others cannot speak the English language. These are activities that the rest of us can take for granted like filling out job applications, understanding pill bottle labels and helping children with homework. These become a daily struggle for adults with low literacy skills. There is a direct link between low literacy skills and public assistance, which includes children living in poverty, and the increasing prison populations. Literacy is one of our greatest weapons in the ongoing struggle between a person succeeding or failing. Without literacy, uneducated adults struggle to reach their full potential as individuals, parents, employees and United States citizens. Help us raise awareness of this issue.


Local Statistics for Boone, Ogle & Winnebago Counties

Total Populations, Boone 53,426 – Ogle 21,692 – Winnebago 293,581
Adults (16 & over) – Living in poverty, Boone 3,874 – Ogle 1,074 – Winnebago 35,094
Adult Public Aid Recipients, Boone 3,028 – Ogle 1,058 – Winnebago 30,907
Adults (16 & over) – Less than 9th grade level,  Boone 1,933 – Ogle 549 – Winnebago 10,810
Adults (16 & over) – Some High School with no graduation, Boone 3,922 – Ogle 1,427 – Winnebago 25,003
English – Not a Primary Language in the home, Boone 6,829 – Ogle 669 – Winnebago 26,096

Literacy services are supported through a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a division of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds designated for literacy. For the purpose of compliance with Section 511 of Public Law 101-166 (Stevens Amendment), approximately 10.5% of The Literacy Council’s FY2015 funding comes from federal sources. The total amount received was $56,535.