WELCOME to calc

Thank you for your interest in the Capital Area Literacy Coalition (CALC). CALC is a private, non-profit volunteer literacy organization founded in 1986. Also called The Reading People, CALC provides a variety of free services to help empower people to achieve their personal goals through literacy. The ability to read is critical to personal freedom and the maintenance of a democratic society.  As such, CALC's core values are:

  • Empowerment of clients and staff to work together to become self-sufficient and productive

  • Service to our community, residents, partners, and clients

  • Integrity displayed in all relationships and activities

  • Commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity in our program and board decisions

  • Cultural sensitivity, compassion, and courtesy shown to participants, volunteers, and staff

  • Dedication to the mission of the Capital Area Literacy Coalition



According to the 2010 U.S. Census, twenty percent (20%)—or approximately 93,000 adults in the Greater Lansing area—are functionally illiterate. Many cannot read well enough to hold a job, read directions on prescriptions, or read to their children.


Adults who are functionally illiterate cannot read above third grade level. Practically, this means they cannot do things like:

  • read a pay stub

  • understand directions on a bottle of medicine

  • complete a Social Security application

  • calculate the total of an order form

  • or read the instructions for a microwave dinner.


CALC, through its small staff and volunteer tutors, provides free diagnostic testing and one-to-one instruction in reading and writing. Student goals are paramount and may include reaching grade level or job requirements for literacy, earning a GED, and preparing for citizenship testing.


Our free programs are geared toward children struggling in school, at risk-teens, and adults. Immigrants and refugee families can learn English as a second language. Our typical program commitment is two hours per week for a period of six months. Our services are free thanks to donations, fundraisers, grants, and bequests.

your gifts
at work

Donations are critical to enable CALC to focus resources on free services.

  • Recruit students and tutors;

  • Diagnose student literacy level;

  • Provide tutor training;

  • Match tutors and students and monitor progress;

  • Conduct research for program improvement and evaluation;

  • Develop special programs for dissemination;

  • Collaborate with other agencies and schools;

  • Provide like new/gently used children's books;

  • Paying costs for study materials and testing for GED students;

  • Obtaining "COVID" supplies, such as masks, plexiglass partitions, signage, cleaning supplies, and face guards for tutors


The Capital Area Literacy Coalition has delivered exceptionally high-quality programs for over 30 years. Because of its proximity to Michigan State University, many undergraduate and graduate students choose to obtain independent study or intern credit for their work with our programs.


Professors and technical/clerical workers generously donate their time. Our founder and emeritus MSU professor, Dr. Lois A. Bader, is an internationally known authority in literacy and learning. Thus, students obtain a high level of service regardless of any disability or learning difficulty they may have.  Click here to read program testimonials.