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Home  >  Reading and Writing  >  Inspiring Readers
The Anchorage Literacy Project  -  Literacy and You
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Anchorage Literacy Project (ALP) is a non-profit organization whose mission is changing lives through literacy. Since 1974, ALP has been training volunteer tutors to teach adults and teens basic reading and writing, or to teach immigrants, refugees and other foreign-born adults to speak, read and write English. Each year, approximately 185 volunteers receive training and donate at least three hours a week to work in a one-on-one tutoring relationship. ALP has more than 20 on-site classes at its Rudakof offices. Director Polly Smith says people from ages 19 to 70 seek services from the Anchorage Literacy Project.

Polly Smith, far right, chats with students and staff at Anchorage Literacy Project.

Facts about Literacy

  • The U.S. ranks 49th in literacy among the 185 members of the United Nations. Fifty years ago the U.S. ranked third.
  • Adults with low literacy skills are less likely to work full-time, to be economically self-sufficient or to vote.
  • Twenty-two percent of adults in the U.S. are functionally illiterate; another twenty-five percent have only marginal English literacy skills. About 50,000 of these adults reside in Anchorage.
  • Research shows that functional illiteracy is strongly intergenerational, demonstrating that when literacy is not held as a family value, it will not be actively pursued as a set of skills.

ALP has many programs targeting the problem of illiteracy in different areas and communities. For instance, ALP is a partner in the Anchorage Family Literacy Program that targets families with young children, offering classes in adult literacy, child development activities and parenting skills. ALP also has a program to assess and teach students with learning difficulties or disabilities.

To learn more about ALP or to find out how to you can become a tutor, contact the ALP office at (907) 337-1981.

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