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The Lake Martin Laubach Literacy Council has helped illiterate adults learn to read since 1986.

The program currently has 12 students and served 24 people last year. Volunteers use Phoenix Reading for students and it takes about nine months to a year for students to master it, according to director Rita Cream.

“This is a long-term commitment,” Cream said. “It takes a lot for people to learn to read.”

The program offers one-on-one tutoring for adults in Tallapoosa and Coosa counties. Students and volunteers meet at an agreed public location once a week and work at the students’ pace.

“There’s about 24 million Americans who can’t read well enough to write a note or read a newspaper,” Cream said. “That comes out to about one in four who don’t read well enough.”

Most of the adults who join the program want to learn to read the Bible and write. Cream said most of them have never written a letter and some can write only their addresses.

“We get adults who want to learn everything,” Cream said. 

A Lake Martin Area United Way agency, the organization is able to buy tutoring materials and day-to-day needs such as copy paper from its funding. The funding helps keep the literacy group active in the community, according to Cream.

“It’s very helpful because generally those are funds we can count on,” Cream said. “We know if they tell us we’re getting a certain amount, that’s what we get. It kind of gives us some peace of mind.”

Cream said the group appreciates being one of the United Way’s 28 agencies.

The literacy council is always looking for volunteers who can call 256-215-4347 if interested.

“Any adult who reads well can be a tutor,” Cream said. “They just need patience and a sense of humor.”