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Founded by Dr. Lois Bader and a group of people wanting to make an impact on illiteracy in the Tri-County area, we officially opened the doors of Capital Area Literacy Coalition (CALC) in 1985. Formed as a way to share resources and provide free help with literacy instruction, the group was led by volunteer representatives from adult education programs, libraries, human service agencies, college and university programs, churches, unions, and state and local agencies in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties. Today, volunteers from throughout the greater-Lansing community give their time and talents to help our many students.


In the beginning, only adults aged 16 years and older not in school were served with basic literacy instruction. In 1988, services were added for migrant workers, refugees and immigrants desiring to learn English as a Second Language. In l989, CALC further evolved our services to include Children's Programs. The Read to Succeed and Family School Partnership programs were intended, respectively, as a diagnostic/remedial literacy program for children and a program for children and teens in public-supported housing. The Children’s Book Drop program was established in 1990, giving more than 35,000 books a year to children and families living in low-income neighborhoods. The GED Program was established in 2004, powered by community volunteers who assist students studying the four GED test areas of Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math.

CALC has been recognized on national, state, and local levels with awards for the high quality of its programs. In 2003, CALC was designated as a “Supplemental Services Provider” by the State of Michigan for all school districts.


Also called The Reading People, CALC continues its comprehensive program today. All services continue to be 100% free for students: Adult Basic Literacy, English as a Second Language / English as a Foreign Language (ESL/EFL), the children's program Read to Succeed, and GED Services. 

In 2022, CALC - The Reading People, launched its Book Building, 'Lansing Largest Free Library,' as a way to expand the Children's Book Drop program. CALC continues to give away thousands of books annually and regularly hosts book-exchange events that are open to the public.  

We are a nonprofit agency, section 501 (c) (3). We solicit funding from sources including but not limited to federal, state, and local grants, foundations, businesses, and the donations of individuals. We are audited annually by a Certified Public Accountant. 


lois A. BADER, PHd

Born in a rural mining and steel mill area of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Dr. Bader dedicated herself to combating poverty by providing the gift of literacy and language to people in need.


Lois earned her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland prior to accepting a professorship at MSU's College of Education, in which she had a long and prestigious career as a Distinguished Professor. She served as the founder and Executive Director of the Capital Area Literacy Coalition from our founding in 1987 until her death in 2022.

Throughout her professional career Dr. Bader created programs for our communities and abroad to promote both literacy and education. Dr. Bader's numerous awards include CASE Professor of the Year, the ALER Research and Scholarship Award, a lifetime acknowledgement as part of Michigan's Women's Hall of Fame, and awards for her work from governors and legislators of all parties.

Dr. Bader authored many books and articles, including Read to Succeed and the Bader Reading and Language Inventory, which continues to be a standard in the field of literacy, designed to help teachers, adult students, reading specialists, clinicians, and volunteer tutors diagnose specific literacy needs, measure a reader's growth, and the effectiveness of different reading approaches.

Dr. Bader created literacy and educational programs including Basic Literacy and Communication for the U.S. Marine Corps in Asia, Vocational and Workplace Literacy for the U.S. Army in Europe, and grass roots literacy programs in Liberia and the Philippines. She worked as an instructor, consultant, and speaker on English as a Second Language, curriculum development, and literacy and learning disabilities across the United States and internationally in Japan, Honduras, Germany, Taiwan, Australia, Thailand, Korea, Liberia, Switzerland, Okinawa, Egypt, Malaysia, Philippine Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

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