Project Read helps Utahns learn to read, write

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Students ages 16-82 come to Project Read to enhance their reading, writing, math and digital skills. Many of them are between an elementary and middle school level. 

“We have 45,000 adults in Utah County and another 150,000 adults in Salt Lake County who can’t read or write at the most basic level,” Executive Director Shauna Brown said.

The Utah nonprofit organization, Project Read, wants to change those demographics and desires to improve lives and open doors through literacy.

“We really focus on print-based literacy skills … about half of our students are native English speakers, and the other half are not native English speakers,” Brown said.

Students need to be proficient in English to enroll in the program. The program offers one-on-one sessions with volunteer tutors, as well as small group sessions led by paid instructors. Project Read offers classes in both in-person and hybrid formats. 

“It’s so fun. Our students are fabulous,” Brown said.

Brown said serving at Project Read changed her life through an experience she had with a single mom and her two daughters. 

“I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to be able to help her learn how to read. She could read bedtime stories to her girls. She could, you know, help the girls with their schoolwork. She could get a better job and provide for her family more.’”

One day, the mother walked into Brown’s office with a medicine bottle and did not know how to dose her four-year-old daughter.

“Literacy affects everything we do in our life,” Brown said. “I realized at that moment how all-encompassing literacy skills are and what an impact that it can have.”

Project Read is always accepting volunteers to help with their students.

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