Seattle is one of the most literate cities in the nation, and yet tens of thousands of people in our own community struggle daily to get by with very low literacy skills.

Low literacy and/or English language skills prevent too many adults from getting, keeping, and advancing in jobs, supporting their children's learning, and ultimately fully participating in the community.


  • In Washington state, 1 in 6 adults lack the basic skills needed to get a livable wage job.
  • More than 36 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third grade level.
  • Nearly half of all adults at the lowest literacy levels are living in poverty.
  • Children from families with low levels of education are ten times more likely to have low literacy skills than their peers from more highly educated families.
  • Data on foreign-born adults (ages 18-64) living in Seattle indicates that of those who are Limited English Proficient (LEP), only 14.2 percent are employed.
  • Low literacy costs the US $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
  • Two million immigrants come to the U.S. each year, and about 50% of them lack high school education and proficient English language skills.

More adult literacy statistics are available at ProLiteracy.

The need for adult literacy programs is clear - our communities, families, and individuals depend on services like those provided by Literacy Source. As supporters of adult literacy, together we can give our time, gifts, and resources to help adult learners, and we can also encourage others - including our government - to do the same.

What can you do?

  • Volunteer: Literacy Source volunteers are integral to students' success, and are the foundation of our organization. Come be a part of our volunteer team!
  • Donate: Your donations to Literacy Source help increase adult literacy in our community. Your support will not only help a student, it will also have a positive impact on their family, employer, and the community at large. Please give today!
  • Advocate:
    • Sign up for the Literacy Source monthly newsletter. We include ways to advocate for adult literacy in every issue.
    • Sign up for advocacy updates from ProLiteracy. Whenever new bills that impact adult literacy are brought to the floor, you'll get an email with action steps to follow. Often, these will ask you to send an email or call your elected officials to voice your opinion.
    • Download the Advocacy Toolkit from ProLiteracy, which includes adult literacy talking points, tips for calling or emailing your elected officials, etc.
    • Sign up for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project mailing list to receive periodic updates on proposed immigration policies, resources, and community events.