Literacy DuPage

Literacy DuPage is a nonprofit, community-based organization which serves over 30 communities in DuPage County, Illinois.
Our mission is to provide accessible and customized tutoring in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English to help adults achieve independence.

Literally changing lives

Literacy DuPage provides free literacy tutoring for adults in west suburban Chicago in DuPage County.

Our tutor training teaches people like you to help a neighbor read, write, speak, and understand English better. Our volunteer tutors have helped thousands of people achieve greater success in life through literacy during French school vacation & holidays.

Join the Laps for Literacy team!

On April 25, 2015, our “Laps for Literacy” team will participate in the 5K and Fitness Walk, The Human Race, hosted by Giving DuPage.
Over two thousand participants are expected to attend at the Esplanade at Locust Point in Downers Grove (Butterfield & I-355).

Find out about three ways in which you can participate at Giving DuPage’s 2015 The Human Race!

Become a tutor today!

We have over 200 adults waiting to improve their English skills. Become a tutor today!

About Literacy DuPage

Established in 1972, Literacy DuPage, formerly known as Literacy Volunteers of DuPage, is a nonprofit, community-based organization. The organization serves over 30 communities in DuPage County.

Literacy DuPage is comprised of a board of directors, staff and office volunteers, and nearly 400 volunteer tutors who serve over 500 adult students.

Literacy DuPage trains volunteer tutors to provide customized, learner-centered English language instruction. Tutoring occurs in one-on-one or small group settings at a mutually convenient time and location for both tutors and students.

Materials and techniques are provided to allow the tutor to guide the learner toward achievement of personal goals. Tutors incorporate everyday materials such as a newspaper, map, or job application into their lessons.

In addition to tutoring, Literacy DuPage offers eleven English Conversation Groups to ESL students of all levels, at no charge. These are conducted in Addison, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Darien, Glen Ellyn, Itasca, Lisle, Naperville, West Chicago, and Westmont. Please contact us for more information about this supplemental English practice opportunity.

Board $ Staff

Board of Directors



Financial support for Literacy DuPage comes from foundations, service clubs, churches, corporations, and individuals and includes grants from the Bersted Foundation, Chicago Tribune Charities, Community Memorial Foundation, DuPage Community Foundation, DuPage County Human Services, Grand Victoria Foundation, Ronald McDaniel Foundation, Secretary of State Literacy Office, Taproot Foundation, and United Way of DuPage Area.

Letters for Literacy partners and sponsors


Advantage Employment

Advantage Employment, Inc. helps small businesses manage their routine as well as complex employment relationships. Payroll, benefits, hiring, terminating, compliance, record keeping and many other employment matters need to be handled in a way that won’t expose the company to liability. When questions and unique circumstances arise, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable HR resource who can provide answers directly to the company AND to its employees. Advantage Employment handles all of these issues which frees up time, and enables small business owners to remain focused on their core business.



Aramark is a $12 billion world leader in professional services, regionally headquartered in Downers Grove. We provide award-winning food services, hospitality management, facilities management and uniforms for hospitals, universities, schools, stadiums, businesses and many other clients. We help clients use these support services to achieve their mission.

B and T and B

Canteen Coffee & Refreshment Services

At Canteen Coffee & Refreshment Services, we provide endless flavor and variety of coffee, espresso, tea, healthier choice snacks and beverages. We align with what is important to your business to customize a Best in Class specialty beverage program; filtered water/ice system; and healthier choice vending solution.

Caton Commercial Real Estate Group

Corporate Concepts

As a Knoll and DIRTT Furniture Dealer, Corporate Concepts’ top priority is to provide its clients with the very best in design for their workspace. We can guide you through the process of defining all your furniture needs, whether refurbishing a small office or orchestrating a large project with complex logistics. Order entry, tracking, delivery, and expert installation of product and other value-added services are available as well, including chair re-upholstery, furniture standards programs and financing consultation.

Dedication to discovering and fully understanding its clients’ needs is the foundation on which Corporate Concepts was built.

C.SAW Marketing Group

Design & Promote

Design & Promote is a full-service web design & internet marketing firm in Naperville, IL. We provide visually engaging high performance websites that businesses are proud to stand behind. With over 10 years in SEO expertise, we also help all businesses reach their highest potential in the search engines.

Illinois Roofing Corporation

We are a full service commercial and industrial roofing contractor that offers a variety of quality roofing services such as re-roofing, steel roof restoration, Preventative Roof Maintenance programs, and many others. Located in the suburban Chicago, Illinois area, we serve Northern Illinois and Indiana. Behind every service, our commitment is to provide excellence in roofing solutions.

Solving commercial roofing problems is our reason for being in business.

Edward Jones

Erich Kroll

K. Peterson Associates Incorporated

Prime Meridian Insurance Group

RPC Leadership Associates Inc.

Everyone has leadership potential. We define leadership as the ability to set goals and achieve desired results. RPC Leadership Associates, Inc. was founded on this singular premise and is focused on helping organizations, individual professionals and students achieve their full leadership potential. We take focus on performance change to a new sustained level such that leadership becomes a way of life for lifelong professional and personal success.

Sequoia General Contracting

Our focus at Sequoia is to provide professional construction services with the highest level of integrity and customer service.

We work on all types of projects, including small remodeling, complex additions, and new construction. Utilizing our knowledge of many different aspects of commercial construction, our approach at Sequoia brings additional value to clients by maximizing their investments. Sequoia is a perfect fit for servicing office management companies, retailers, restauranteurs, and both industrial and institutional owners.

It is our sincere desire to not only to assist clients with their building plans, but also to provide them with total satisfaction throughout the entire construction process. We consider forming solid business relationships to be extremely important part of what we do.

Wolf & Company LLP

Wolf & Company LLP provides accounting and consulting services to closely held businesses, not-for-profit organizations, governmental entities, community banks and employee benefit plan sponsors. Our 120 professionals provide accounting, tax, business consulting services, and as a member of the Wolf Financial Group, investment banking, wealth management and retirement plan services.

Mission and vision

Our mission is to provide accessible and customized tutoring in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English to help adults achieve independence.

Our vision is that we will be recognized as a leading provider of customized English literacy skills that will help literally change the lives of adult learners and impact future generations.

National affiliation

Literacy DuPage is an accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy Worldwide, based in Syracuse, New York.

ProLiteracy Worldwide was formed in 2002 as a result of the merger of Literacy Volunteers of America and Laubach Literacy International.

Learn more about ProLiteracy at


Our one-on-one adult literacy program

Helping learners achieve their goals

In this free program, we train volunteer literacy tutors to work one-on-one with Basic Literacy learners and English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.

Our learners are adult men and women of all ages, nationalities, and economic and social backgrounds, living in west suburban Chicago. They’re neighbors all around us, trying to fit in, communicate better, get jobs, or improve their work and family lives.

Our learners

Neighbors ready to succeed

Our adult learners perform at the lowest levels of English proficiency, often below a sixth-grade reading level. Many cannot attend traditional English classes due to their schedules or other personal reasons. We have two main types of learners: Basic Literacy learners and English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.

Basic Literacy learners

Tutors assist adult learners who are proficient in English but may have difficulty identifying letters or words, reading a menu or sign, filling out a job application, or doing simple math. Tutors focus their lessons on improving the learner’s reading, writing, spelling, and basic math skills, if desired, in order to help the adult learner function more self-sufficiently.

English as a Second Language (ESL) learners

Tutors help adult learners with limited English skills learn to read, write, speak, and understand English better so that they can take a more active role in society. Learners may or may not be proficient in their native language but are living in a community in which improving their understanding and usage of English is crucial to their success at home and at work.

Program details

Identifying our learners’ needs and goals

We begin by using in-depth interviews and extensive learning assessments of each adult learner to determine his or her learning needs, reading abilities, and life goals. The tutor then develops customized lesson plans that are used to guide the instruction. The tutor and learner meet weekly for two hours at a mutually agreed upon time and place.

Conversation groups

These groups are designed to give adult English-as-a-second-language (ESL) learners more practice in speaking English in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. There is no charge for attendance.

Important: It is not necessary to make a commitment or to register to attend a group. Individuals are welcome to attend whenever they can.

All adult English learners are welcome. Contact the Literacy DuPage office at either or 630.416.6699.

English conversation groups

Addison Public Library
4 Friendship Plz
Addison IL 60101–2787 1st and 3rd Saturday
of every month

10:00 AM – 12:00 noon Jane Sajewski
Bensenville Community Public Library
200 S Church Rd
Bensenville IL 60106–2303 Every Wednesday
of the month

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM Cindy Schwartz
Bloomingdale Public Library
101 Fairfield Way
Bloomingdale IL 60108–1537 2nd and 4th Wednesday
of every month
September through May only

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM Julie Keating,
Adult Services
Carol Stream Public Library
616 Hiawatha Dr
Carol Stream IL 60188–1634 Every Tuesday
of the month

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Bo Robertson
call Adult Services
Glen Ellyn Public Library
400 Duane St
Glen Ellyn IL 60137–4508 2nd and 4th Wednesday
of every month

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM Quinn Hampton
call Adult Services
Indian Prairie Public Library
401 Plainfield Rd
Darien IL 60561–4207 1st and 3rd Saturday
of every month

10:00 AM – 12:00 noon Kathy Conrad

Gretchen Wasniewski
Itasca Community Library
500 W Irving Park Rd
Itasca IL 60143–2018 Every Wednesday
of the month

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Soon Har Tan
Lisle Library District
777 Front St
Lisle IL 60532–2287 2nd and 4th Saturday
of every month

10:00 AM – 12:00 noon Jane Cox
Naper Boulevard Library
2035 S Naper Blvd
Naperville IL 60565–3353 Every Wednesday
of the month

10:00 AM – 12:00 noon Rao Lakkaraju

Mark Munoz
West Chicago Public Library District
118 W Washington St
West Chicago IL 60185–2803 1st and 3rd Saturday
of every month

10:00 AM – 12:00 noon Bill Abernethy

Liz Stefanski
Westmont Public Library
428 N Cass Ave
Westmont IL 60559–1502 2nd and 4th Saturday
of every month

10:00 AM – 12:00 noon Karen Fuist

Lynn Robertson

Workforce education

Literacy DuPage provides customized, on-site, practical English classes designed to meet the specific needs of your workforce.

The success of your business depends on the successes and skills of your employees. Whether your day-to-day business concern is safety, productivity, customer service, or even employee morale, you may already recognize the importance of your employees’ ability to communicate in English and perform basic math computations.

However, if you have a workforce struggling with low-level literacy skills, Literacy DuPage may have a solution that will impact your bottom line!

What is workforce education?

Workforce education consists of customized literacy and basic math computation classes held at your worksite and designed to provide effective communication tools for your workforce. The return on your investment will include:

Let us design a program just for you

Literacy DuPage has over 35 years of experience providing customized literacy instruction. That means using real-life materials appropriate to everyday situations. Our instructors know how to create lessons that are of immediate use to your employees. We’ll develop a curriculum based on the communications needs in your industry, including the use of your company’s own terminology and documentation.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Needs assessment

Our commitment to the community

As a community-based not-for-profit, our mission is to improve the lives of DuPage county residents. Our workforce programs not only improve the lives of your employees, but also the lives of their families.

Any additional revenue realized through workplace education programs is fed back into our community education programs.

Become a tutor today!

Literacy DuPage is proud to have nearly 400 volunteers in DuPage County helping to change lives and impact future generations through literacy.

Volunteers come from many different backgrounds and experiences.

How to join our growing family of volunteers:

Letters for Literacy

Increase your visibility from the recognition we will provide when you become part of a community-based alliance that helps DuPage County residents become better workers and better citizens.

Letters for Literacy is a fund-raising effort that lets local employers and organizations help support adult tutoring instruction designed to improve skills for employability, health and welfare, and overall independence. Our current Letters for Literacy partners and sponsors are listed here.

You can help us impact future generations

In addition to supporting your community in a practical way when you buy a letter, you will receive a number of valuable benefits including:

Partner Level $500

Sponsor Level $250

How to participate

Contact Bernie Steiger at 630.416.6699 or with any questions or for more information.

Help us by offering your time

Help is frequently needed in the office. Tasks may include the preparation of mailings, telephone calls, copying, record keeping, and/or computerized reports.

Volunteer office staff may help during any days and hours that the office is open.

Several times a year, we conduct fundraising and public awareness events at various locations in DuPage County. We also host a recognition event in the fall. If you prefer to volunteer just a few times a year, you may want to contribute your expertise and time for one of these events.

You must attend an orientation before becoming a volunteer. Read more about this requirement at our page on volunteer orientation.

About our students

Our learners are those adults over the age of 18 who cannot get to or cannot succeed in classroom instruction. They may not own or be able to drive a car, may have to be at home with young children, or possibly have work schedules that conflict with the time classes are offered.

Their English literacy skills (listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing) are generally less than 9th-grade level. Our current students represent 35 first languages and 30 countries.

Student accomplishments

Fiscal year 2014 results

465 adult learners benefitted from our services.
368 volunteer tutors were trained and matched with learners.
Nearly 30,000 hours were volunteered on behalf of Literacy DuPage.
100% of adult learners with 35 or more hours of tutoring reported gaining new life skills.
203 learners gained 1,498 new skills as family members




Student writing collection – You Need to Know the Language

You Need to Know the Language is a collection of writing by Literacy DuPage adult students who are learning English.

The Need

The U.S. literacy challenge

According to ProLiteracy, 14% of, or 44 million, adults in the U.S. cannot read beyond a fifth-grade level. 43% of those with low literacy live in poverty and struggle to find work, remain healthy, and support their families.

Low literacy is expensive; it costs the U.S. $225 billion in workforce non-productivity and lost tax revenue due to unemployment and $230 billion in annual health care costs (patients with low literacy skills have a 50% increased risk of hospitalization).

The DuPage County challenge

There is a growing need to provide educational services to many new residents to help them fully contribute to the local economy and achieve self-sufficiency.

Often new residents cannot afford or access transportation or child care. They may work two or more jobs, which makes it daunting for them to pursue classroom education.

Literacy facts

Learn more about the need for improved literacy by reading our 2014 Literacy Fact Sheet.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Are you interested in helping to change lives and impact future generations? If so, then please read on!

What qualifications do I need to be a tutor?

Be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate, sensitive to the issues of literacy, the adult learner, and other cultures
Be patient, dependable, friendly, optimistic and open to learning new things
Be respectful of confidentiality, interested in others, and able to communicate with compassion
A sense of humor and enthusiasm are very helpful also!
Do I need to know another language?

No, you do not need to speak another language to tutor.

Do I need prior teaching experience?

No, we will train you!

How much time do volunteer tutors commit?

90 minutes for an initial orientation (volunteer orientation details)
18 hours of tutor training spread over several days (tutor training details)
Minimum of two ongoing tutor-education sessions (in-service workshops) each year
Minimum of six months of tutoring their adult learner for two hours per week
Is there a cost to becoming a tutor?

The tutor training is free; however, we do charge a fee of $25 to partially defray the cost of materials.

What are tutors’ responsibilities?

Meet with learner regularly and punctually
Prepare each lesson to meet learner’s goals and needs
Identify the learner’s special interests and integrate related material into lessons
Set up an assessment meeting after every 35 hours of tutoring
Submit hours online on a quarterly basis
Contact program staff for support at any time – they look forward to assisting you!
Please contact us for more information or to register for an upcoming volunteer orientation.

Volunteer orientation

Learn about Literacy DuPage’s mission, program, and volunteer opportunities by signing up for an orientation session. You’ll explore the possibility of tutoring adults who need help with reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English and find out more about how you can help change lives and impact future generations!

You must attend an orientation before becoming a volunteer. Seating is limited. Please call 630.416.6699 to register.

Tuesday, January 6 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM Wheaton Public Library

225 N Cross St
Wheaton IL 60187–5342
Saturday, January 17 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Nichols Library
200 W Jefferson Ave
Naperville IL 60540–5351
Saturday, February 7 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Itasca Community Library
500 W Irving Park Rd
Itasca IL 60143–2018
Tuesday, February 24 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM | Westmont Public Library
428 N Cass Ave
Westmont IL 60559–1502
Wednesday, March 4 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church
1828 Old Naperville Rd
Naperville IL 60563–1580
Tuesday, March 31 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM | Lisle Library District
777 Front St
Lisle IL 60532–2287