According to the United States Census Bureau, about one in five native-born, adult U.S. citizens whose first language is English is functionally illiterate. Of those, about 2.5 million live in California.
To combat the problem of adult illiteracy, the California State Library in 1984 initiated a Literacy Campaign that finances reading programs over the state.
Adults in the San Fernando Valley area who want to learn to read or improve their reading can contact any of the programs, listed below. Students must be at least 16 years old and have a basic understanding of English.
The Granada Hills and Pacoima branches of the Los Angeles City Library offer tutoring for illiterate and semiliterate adults, focusing on basic reading skills such as sounds, vocabulary and comprehension. This program, part of the city library's Adult Reading Project, includes one to two hours a week of one-on-one tutoring and asks students to make a six-month commitment. At Granada Hills Library, call 368-5687; at the Pacoima branch, call 899-5203.
The San Fernando branch of the Los Angeles County Library offers a reading-tutoring program similar to the city library's. Students must be prepared to meet weekly and do an hour of homework per lesson. Call 365-6928.
The San Fernando Valley Literacy Council helps match adults seeking reading instruction with its own staff of volunteer tutors, and refers reading students to the city and county library literacy programs. The Literacy Council also offers free English as a second language classes at eight San Fernando Valley locations. Call 893-5216.
In Ventura County, the Roots & Wings program, administered by the Ventura County Library, offers a 40-hour, 20-week, one-to-one reading-tutoring program in Ventura, Moorpark, Ojai, Port Hueneme and Saticoy. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Call 805-652-7511.
Local community adult schools offer reading classes ranging from illiteracy to college-entry level throughout the day. In the Valley, contact Van Nuys Community Adult School, 785-5427; North Hollywood Community Adult School, 766-8186; Reseda Community Adult School, 343-1977; Kennedy San Fernando Community Adult School, 368-3702; El Camino Real Community Adult School, 888-1491.
Students enrolled in all Valley-area colleges have access to on-campus programs such as reading classes and self-directed reading courses designed for each student. For information, call: at California State University, Northridge, 885-3333; at Pierce College, 347-0551, ext. 291; at Valley College, 781-1200, ext. 481; at Moorpark College, 805-529-2321.