The READ Center is a community-based nonprofit organization providing classroom instruction, one-to-one tutoring, financial literacy, and health literacy to students who need to improve their literacy skills. Literacy is essential if we are to eradicate poverty, improve housing opportunities, stabilize families and communities, and create sustainable employment. Without literacy skills-- the abilities to read, write, do math, solve problems, and access and use technology-- today's adults struggle to take part in the world around them and fail to reach their full potential as parents, community members, and employees. Illiteracy is the largest solvable disability in Richmond and across America; it is the issue of our time. The READ Center believes everyone needs and deserves a literate life.
Digital Literacy Services
READ is currently developing content to better address digital literacy within our existing work. To address both the current and long term needs of our students, we have invested in a new Distance Learning Coordinator position. This position will focus on addressing students’ barriers to distance learning (lack of skill, access to reliable internet, and personal computers) and identify and develop content for READ students to create remote classrooms that meet our student’s complex and varied needs. They will also create pre-instruction programming targeted at developing students’ skills in using cell phones, text, emails, etc. prior to being placed in a READ classroom or tutoring pair. This pre-instruction digital training will ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to fully participate in READ programming.
Adult Literacy Tutor Training
Tutor Training includes a two hour orientation, classroom observation, and eight hours of training. Tutors work in READ classrooms to help student with lessons and to support their personal literacy goals. 1:1 tutors work outside a classroom. 1:1 tutors are provided with Challenger adult literacy curriculum as a base for lessons. Additional resources are provided to support student goals, like driver’s license study materials and GED study manuals. Professional development opportunities are provided to tutors throughout the year. Help and support is available to tutors from READ tutor trainers, teachers and staff. In the 2018-2019 academic year, 102 tutors gave more than 5,270 hours of time and caring to READ Center students. For more information and to register to become a READ Center tutor, please visit the READ website at www.readcenter.org or call 804-288-9930.
The READ Center has developed, in partnership with Atlantic Union Bank, a financial literacy curriculum for low-literate adults. The curriculum includes how to write a check and balance a check book, budgeting, cutting expenses and saving money, investments, identity theft and computer security. The READ Center has provided financial literacy classes for our students, trained employees of The Market at 25th Street and offered the classes in the Market's Community Room. In August, The READ Center will use the curriculum to inform incoming freshman at Virginia Union University about budgeting and credit. The READ Center holds a two evening classes on the campus of Virginia Union and this is an opportunity to give back to VUU and their students.
The READ Center integrated health topics that impact our students into instruction during each semester. READ Center students learned about the importance of dental health from VCU dental students and hygienists in the fall semester. In the second semester, READ partnered with local health organizations for a Stress and your Heart in February. Each students received a READable on the topic and had an opportunity to attend a presentation at the Capital One Cafe on financial stress. READables are READ-developed easy-to-read booklets. In the last semester of the academic year, READ students learned about exercise and nutrition lessons. Each receive a READable with information on exercise and nutrition that they could read and word search and other literacy activities for them to complete. A health fair was held at the Robinson Theater with Shalom Farms. FeedMore, Gold's Gym, The Market @25th Street and other READ partners attending.
Adult Literacy Services
The READ Center provides 1:1 tutoring and classroom instruction to adults 18 and older who want to improve their literacy skills. To inquire, or refer for help, call 804-228-9930. The READ Center serves adults reading at between a 0-7th grade level. 76% of READ students read at or below the 5th grade level, while 58% are beginning readers and read at or below the 3rd grade level. Beginning readers are typically placed in classes which meet twice each week for two hours each class and provide a structured learning environment. Students at a 4th grade reading level or above have basic reading skills and have the option to be paired with a 1:1 tutor. Pairs meet at least once a week for two hours. On average it takes 100-150 hours of instruction for an adult learner to increase one grade level in reading.