MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) — Believe it or not, nearly one out of every five Oklahomans over the age of 18 struggle with illiteracy. However, one program in Midwest City is trying to fix that.
Literacy Link received two grants allowing the organization to assist more adults who cannot read or write.
Literacy Link helps people in multiple cities on the eastern side of Oklahoma City. The grant comes at a good time so they can hire more tutors and add to what they can do, because more students continue to sign up.
“So, it’s been a year when I started. We had eight students and four tutors,” Antonia Walker, Executive Director of Literacy Link said. “We now have nine tutors, including myself, and we have 17 students.”
Literacy Link is growing in hopes of lowering the states illiteracy levels. Oklahoma is currently ranked 23rd in the nation.
“When I found out there are all these adults, like the same age as my parents, it kind of hurt my heart because I was just like, that person has gone through majority of their life not knowing how to read properly, and they’ve covered it up by any means to not let you know that they have what in essence is a disability,” Walker said.
The Oklahoma Department of Libraries awarded Literacy Link a $9,600 grant and ProLiteracy awarded them a $3,500 grant to help support their program.
With a rising number of students ranging from 18 to 76 years old, Walker says more tutors are needed.
“It’s hard to find tutors,” Walker said. “I’m getting a lot of students, but in essence, I need more tutors to come in, and it’s not even an hour and a half a week that it takes.”
Walker added that she knows it’s uncomfortable for adults to come forward saying they can’t read or write, so her goal is to put them in a welcoming environment on the road to success.
“We already know that they’re coming in, not feeling the best of themselves or feeling that they’re judged,” Walker said. “The first interaction that I’ve had with a student is that we just sat there and we just talked. I don’t want you to jump into it if you’re not ready to do so. Like the first few sessions, it could just be getting to know each other.”
If you’re interested in becoming a tutor, or want to strengthen your reading and writing skills, you can call Literacy Link at (405) 732-2737 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.