It's just not possible to make one's way in today's world without the ability to read. For 90,000 of DC’s functionally illiterate adults, low literacy skills are a barrier to just about everything – completing their education, getting and keeping a decent job, staying out of poverty. The Washington Literacy Center removes the barrier by teaching basic skills – word attack (sounding things out), fluency (reading at a proper pace), and comprehension (understanding and thinking critically) – to adults who read below a fifth grade level. Professional, part-time educators, trained in the successful Wilson Reading System, provide individual attention in groups of 8-10, while a case manager connects students with the next steps they will take in their long-term education. Research shows that individuals with reading deficiencies need 200-250 hours of practice to begin closing the gap. WLC students are well on their way, receiving, on average, over 200 hours each year. This year, WLC will help 100 District adults read the signs that point to a brighter future. You can lead the way.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; WLC is located in the Shaw community and serves residents of Ward 5,6,7, and 8.

Age Groups Served: Adult (25-49)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Latino/Hispanic

  • Improve Basic Reading Skills :   90 District adults
  • Improve reading skills at least one level as measured by the CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Series)required for entry into District GED and job training programs:   40% of adults served

Awards & Recognition



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Budget (FY2013)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for The Washington Literacy Center is: $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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