The Baha’i Community of Sheboygan began discussing adult literacy problems in the community and the Literacy Council was then founded in September 1987 by a group of volunteers. Thirty volunteer tutors were trained that year in the Laubauch method of tutoring. From 1987–1998, volunteers ran the organization. In 1999, the first executive director was hired and the Literacy Council moved into 926 Broughton Drive, a city-owned building right by the Sheboygan YMCA, where it remained for several years. In 1998, Partners in Reading was launched and was taken under the wings of the Literacy Council. Partners in Reading was an elementary school program where volunteers read books with children. It lasted until 2013 when it was discontinued by the Sheboygan Area School District. Over the years, Literacy Council initiatives included workplace literacy, ESL classes, and tutoring of inmates at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution. In 2007, the Literacy Council came under the auspices of the Family Resource Center of Sheboygan County as one of two programs that the nonprofit Family Resource Center oversees—the other program being Parents as Teachers, a home visitation program for new parents.
Today, the Literacy Council’s main focus is on one-on-one tutoring. Tutor trainings include a balanced literacy approach to authentic reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Also, this past year our tutors: Volunteered at Lakeshore Technical College as tutors in the English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) and the Adult Basic Education (ABE) open computer labs, ran a citizenship class under the auspices of Lakeshore Technical College, tutored in the Sheboygan County detention centers, & ran an English practice conversation group at Mead Public Library. Just as thirty years ago, there continues to be a strong need for the Literacy Council’s services. Today, many of our adult students are English-as-a-Second Language students and come from all over the world. Refugees are also an increasing population being served by the Literacy Council. If you are interested in impacting another person’s life in a spectacular way, “make history” by becoming a volunteer tutor for the Literacy Council.