Adult Literacy Bible study group

Adult Literacy Bible study group
At the request of several Adult Literacy students who initially joined the program so that they could read the Bible (a frequently stated goal for students in this program), Literacy Together has partnered with First Baptist Church of Asheville (FBCA) to develop an Adult Literacy Bible study group designed specifically for our students.  The group is made up of several FBCA members and several Adult Literacy students. The group It’s co-led by one FBCA member and one Adult Literacy student. The Bible study is designed to build community and reinforce literacy skills at the same time, within each Bible lesson.
The six-week pilot took off on March 29, and we have had wonderful feedback from both students and congregants. We appreciate the partnership of FBCA as they have created a safe and welcoming atmosphere where our students can learn about the Bible, ask questions when they need to, and practice those literacy skills they are working on with their tutors. 

The Adult Literacy Program teaches reading, writing, spelling, and math to adults who read at or below a basic skills level. This program serves approximately 50 students per year. Students come to Literacy Together because they want to improve job prospects, help their children in school, enroll in a High School Equivalency Program, and better navigate the world around them.

Although English is their native language, Adult Literacy students struggle with recognizing individual sounds, written words, and comprehending a sentence or longer passage.  They comprise a diverse group in terms of educational background, socioeconomic status, personal goals, and learning styles. Many are challenged by learning differences such as dyslexia. All Adult Literacy students courageously take the step to give reading another chance. Learn more about volunteering with this program.

Read these Adult Literacy Program success stories!

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Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2021

Adult education and family literacy week 2021
September 19-25, 2021 marks the annual Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, hosted by the National Coalition for Literacy.
This week exists to remind us all that reading, writing, and basic math remain an elusive target for 43 million adults nationwide, including 1 in 10 adults in Buncombe County (this is enough people to fill the Harrahs’ Cherokee Center three times). These neighbors lack the literacy skills they need to get better jobs, help their children with homework, or participate fully in our community. They struggle with simple tasks like completing a form at the doctor’s office or reading the label on a prescription medicine bottle. 

43 percent of adults who have low literacy skills live in poverty, and 72 percent of children of low-literate adults read below grade level. What does this say about the cycle of poverty?  The mission of Literacy Together is to break that cycle of generational poverty

In recognition of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, Literacy Together would like to ask you to join forces with us to accomplish our mission to transform lives and communities through literacy. I invite you to learn more about how you can help with the literacy crisis by checking the Literacy Together website or calling our office at 828-254-3442. Even if you have visited our website before, I encourage you to check the website again to see the life-changing programs that Literacy Together has been providing during the pandemic. You can also learn more about our recent summer camp and the other ways we are tackling this literacy crisis head-on. I truly believe that we can make a difference in our community and change lives together through the power of literacy

Marilyn Lindsley Cortes,
Board Chair of Literacy Together

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Bob’s success story as an Adult Literacy student: “I am going to get this!”

Bob came to the Adult Literacy Program in 2019 to work on his basic literacy skills. He is a single father devoted to his three kids. Like most parents in our program, he enrolled to improve his literacy not just for himself but for his children. While reading had always been a challenge for Bob, math, and mechanics had come easily. So he used that expertise to build a career as a mechanic, and that is how he supported his family until he found himself unemployed for the first time. That’s when he came to Literacy Together. He planned to strengthen his literacy to regain employment, to improve his ability to support his children in school, and to achieve more independence and opportunity in his life. Keep reading about Bob’s inspirational success story!

When Bob met Tim, the retired lawyer who would be his new tutor, they connected immediately despite their differences. Bob’s energetic personality complements Tim’s somewhat controlled demeanor. They learn from each other and often surprise each other in their sessions. Bob and Tim would likely never have crossed paths if they had not met at Literacy Together, but this partnership has changed both of their lives and perspectives.

During the pandemic and consequential shutdowns, Tim and Bob both wanted to keep their momentum going. Bob lives in a rural community with no home computer, but they each had a textbook, a phone, and every intention of moving forward, so they made it work. Since he began in 2019, Bob has completed over half of the Wilson Reading System and moved up to the next level in his annual literacy test. He shows no signs of stopping. Tim says, “I think that I have it too easy.  Bob may have the best student want-to-learn attitude ever. As I have said before, he exclaims every session about getting a word that he never got before. And as he said last time with a certain fierceness, ‘I am going to get this!'”  

Please watch this video to learn more about Bob’s success story as an Adult Literacy student and the work he’s doing with Tim.

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Volunteer tutors make the world a better place!



“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections when they arise, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” Anonymous


Literacy Together is celebrating our 35th year of transforming lives and communities through the power of literacy.  Our work is accomplished by, through, and with the commitment and dedication of our volunteer tutors.  Throughout the year, volunteers touch the lives of children who struggle to read; provide encouragement to adults with the courage to overcome the barrier of low literacy, and work alongside immigrants motivated to learn the language of their new community. It requires technical skills, patience, persistence, a sense of humor, and the desire to be of service. 

We currently have more than 220 volunteers who have been willing to continue their work throughout the pandemic by being creative with the use of Zoom, Google Meet, WhatsApp, Skype, and even plain old phone calls. 

So, during this National Volunteer Month – but also every day throughout the year – we say THANKS to each and every one of you!!!

A special thanks to ten amazing individuals who have volunteered for Literacy Together for ten years or more. (I apologize in advance if any names are missing from this list—-please let us know who you are):

Dian Leeper—2004

Anne Dachowski—2005

Mary Sugeir—2006

Katie Winchell—2006

Marianne Newman—2008

Linda Kane—2010

Kathryn Kowal—2011

Linda Van Tuyl—2011

Jim McGlinn—2011 

Martha Woolverton—2011

We honor your contribution to making the world a better place.  And we look forward to continuing our work together in the future.

With gratitude,

Cindy Threlkeld

Executive Director

Do you want to be one of our amazing volunteer tutors? Click here!

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Notes of inspiration from Adult Literacy tutor Beatrix

Beatrix and Mary have been working together for a month. When Mary enrolled, we asked her what she ultimately wanted in a tutor, and she said she would love to have a tutor who was like a “buddy.” Has she found them? Keep reading!

“First off I just want to actually say wow! I can see this system doing its magic with Mary, she’s getting much faster and comfortable when she’s trying to read unfamiliar words and she’s finally starting to consistently use the tapping method. Things are still going extremely well! I’m having fun and I think she is too!

Mary is ready for every lesson and is enthusiastic about every meeting. One really great thing I’ve noticed about her is the fact that she doesn’t seem to be discouraged when she makes mistakes. We are SO close to having the alphabet down…the only part she messes up on is m and n; she usually forgets the n. I think within the next few weeks she’ll have it down though, which is exciting!

I thought you’d be happy to know that Mary actually called me right at midnight on New Year’s Eve just to wish me a happy new year! So, at the very least, we’re buddies. It certainly put a smile on my face to hear from her that night.”


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