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Empowerment Through Literacy!
The Reading People works to eliminate illiteracy in our community by providing free educational support to anyone on a language-learning journey.


We serve adults with personal or job-related literacy goals, any immigrant, refugee, or asylum-seeker learning English as a second language, and children at risk of falling behind in school for any reason.

We believe the ability to read and write is critical to personal freedom. Through improved literacy, we empower and help unlock pathways to new and better opportunities.

Our Vision

A community of empowered individuals, able to access the benefits that come with the ability to read, write, and speak English.

Our Core Values

Empowerment: We empower our students to thrive.

Community: We value lasting relationships and serve all who have educational goals.

Warmth and Openness: We create safe and welcoming spaces for learning.

Empathy and Compassion: We honor the well-being of our students and show one-another grace.

Resilience: We persevere on a path to eliminate illiteracy in our community.

Equity and Inclusivity: We value diversity and provide opportunities for all.

Cultural Sensitivity: We treat everyone with kindness and celebrate differences.

Gratitude: We deeply appreciate the crucial support of our community and our volunteers.



20% of adults in the greater-Lansing counties of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham – or 80,000 individuals – lack basic literacy skills.

According to the National Literacy Institute:

  • 130 million adults in the US are unable to read a simple story to their children.

  • 21% of adults in the US are functionally illiterate in 2022. 45 million adults read below a 5th grade level.

  • 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage.

  • 50% of the unemployed between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate.

  • Between 46% and 51% of American adults have income well below the poverty level because of their inability to read.

  • Approximately 50% of Americans lack the skills to perform simple tasks such as reading prescription drug labels.

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