FAQS & Links


FAQs & Links

What is adult illiteracy?

According to a 2003 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) - entitled the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), one out of five adults in America reads below the fifth grade level. The study further revealed that nearly half the adult population is condemned to poor earnings and limited opportunities because of insufficient skills.

In November 2006, the USDE released its report on the health literacy levels of American adults.  The results mirrored the findings of the 2003 NALS: one third of adults surveyed had only “basic” or “below basic” (the lowest of four categories) health literacy comprehension.  These adults were also less healthy than those who demonstrated “intermediate” or “proficient” health literacy.

  • More than fourteen million U. S. workers read below the fourth grade level.
  • One fourth of all students in the United States leave school without a high school diploma.
  • Nearly 60% of prison inmates are dropouts.

The impact and the cost to our quality of life are indeed overwhelming.  Business and industry lose billions of dollars each year in diminished productivity.  Those who cannot secure sustainable employment for lack of basic skills cost the economy because they cannot purchase goods and services or pay taxes.  Furthermore, children of parents who do not have a basic education are severely disadvantaged when they enter school - they are twice as likely to leave school before graduating.
The cost of adult illiteracy to society is indeed great; but to the individual who cannot read it is even greater. Imagine not being able to read a prescription label, menu, bus schedule, tax return, a child's report card or traffic signs. For thousands of people in our community, that is a reality.


Where does our funding come from?

Project Learn receives funding from foundations, corporations, individuals, contract services, and the United Way of Greater Cleveland.  It also has several annual benefit events with Visible Voice Books, Ohio’s premiere independent bookstore, and it hosts its annual signature event, The Alphabet Affair.

Where do we get our volunteers?

Project Learn volunteers come from all walks of life.  Our volunteer tutors are people in business, retired folk, your neighbor next door. They do share one thing in common:  the satisfaction they feel in helping someone learn to read and become more confident and more self-sufficient.

What can I do to help Project Learn?

There are several ways to help Project Learn…
Become a trained tutor.  (link to volunteer tutor page)
Make a donation.  (link to donation page)
Join the Special Events Committee and have fun working on our benefit events. (link to Our Volunteers)


How long has Project Learn been an adult education program in Greater Cleveland?

Project Learn is one of the oldest adult education programs in the United States.  It began in October 1974 and has been in operation ever since.


Who are Project Learn students?

Look to the right and then look to the left.  Our students are your neighbors, friends, family members, and the people with whom you work.

What is success for a Project Learn student?

Success is very individual.  Every student who comes to Project Learn has a goal.  Some students want to get their GED, some want to learn to read, some want to obtain a job, some want to attend college.  It is their goal that determines the instruction and support they receive from Project Learn.


Learn more about the Saint Luke’s Foundation and their support of Greater Cleveland non-profits.



To get up-to-date information about health literacy in the United States go to the Health Literacy List Serve