Literacy Instruction Moves Online

From Chatham Literacy

One in five adults in Chatham County lack the literacy skills to navigate daily activities. Individuals struggling with limited literacy are experiencing greater challenges during this pandemic: a higher rate of job loss, a higher exposure to COVID-19 in low-paying ‘essential’ jobs, food insecurity, the possibility of eviction from their homes and the challenge of helping their children learn online and from home. 

Chatham Literacy, a non-profit actively working to increase the literacy and educational skills of adults living or working in Chatham County since 2008, responded quickly to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Beginning in March, volunteer tutors and adult learners shifted to an online learning environment. Tutors developed their abilities for remote instruction, and adult learners (who received laptops and a digital learning app) were flexible while learning this new environment.

During 2019-2020, 183 adults participated in free literacy programs offered by Chatham Literacy. Of those, 53% transitioned with Chatham Literacy to distance learning. Programs include Adult Basic Education such as reading, writing and basic math; High School Equivalency preparation; English for Speakers of Other Languages; preparation for the U.S. citizenship test; and life skills literacy such as basic computer skills, financial literacy and workplace enhancement and readiness skills. Chatham Literacy will continue to provide tutoring services through distance learning indefinitely until it is safe to re-introduce face-to-face tutoring.

As the economy in Chatham County begins to rebuild in 2021, Chatham Literacy will be there, helping to create an educated workforce through our program offerings. Chatham Literacy staff and tutors plan to expand current levels of service by enhancing distance learning (remote instruction and digital learning app) and re-introducing face-to-face tutoring.

Through their generosity, individual donors and grantors make it possible for Chatham Literacy to provide the instruction and learning tools needed in our community. For specific information about programs and success stories, read Chatham Literacy’s 2019-2020 Annual Report, found on the home page of the agency website at