Mission & History

Mission & Vision

Literacy Works’ mission is to strengthen adult literacy, parent education, and workforce development programs by developing and providing innovative training and knowledge-sharing opportunities for professionals and volunteers.

Literacy Works’ vision is that one day, all people will be able to realize their full potential through the ability to read, write, and interpret the world. This ideal inspires our team and drives our work.

Our Core Values

  • We believe literacy is a human right.
  • We honor and respect cultural and linguistic diversity.
  • We believe that all adults bring knowledge, wisdom and life experience to their education.
  • We believe literacy is ever-changing and multi-faceted; it supports the pragmatic needs, civic participation and creative aspirations of both individuals and communities.
  • We believe that the most meaningful learning experiences stem from collaboration among organizations and between educators and learners.
  • We are committed to excellence in the training we develop and provide along with the knowledge we share, drawing from the expertise of the local literacy community as well as sound research in the field.


  • Over 600,000 adults in the Chicago region cannot read or write well enough to meet the demands of today’s economy or attain their own goals.
  • Half a million people in Chicago over the age of four cannot speak English well.
  • Nearly 25% of immigrants and refugees in Chicago have an 8th-grade education or below; among certain populations, as many as 45% have left school before the 9th grade.

Organized in 1995 by four community-based agencies struggling with the challenges of volunteer-driven literacy programs, Literacy Works was awarded 501(c)(3) status in 2001. Today, Literacy Works has a membership of more than 50 adult literacy and parent education programs throughout the Chicago area. Additionally, we partner with dozens of workforce development programs to help them in their work with clients who have low literacy.

Each year, Literacy Works:

  • Trains nearly 1,000 community volunteers and professionals who work with tens of thousands of adults enrolled in Chicago-area literacy and employment programs;
  • Provides training and networking opportunities to community-based adult literacy, parent education, and workforce development programs;
  • Instructs over 100 adult learners in two specialized areas: expressive writing skills and family literacy.

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Literacy Works | 773-334-8255 | info@litworks.org
*Visit us* at Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St., 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60661
*Mail us* at Literacy Works, c/o 6216 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60660