The Brightside: Project READ
About 10.5% percent of people in Wicomico County don’t know how to read.
That’s according to literacy rates from 2003.
That’s also where Project READ comes in to fill in the gap for residents looking to improve reading, math and job readiness skills.
The program is headed up by Wynette Curtis and has been around since 2016.
“Project READ is a free one-on-one confidential program for adults. We assist them with literacy needs which include reading, writing, math, basic computer skills and financial literacy.”
But program organizers, like Curtis say because there is a stigma attached to adults with literacy challenges so many people are shy about signing up.
“We try to do a lot of advertising, we do a lot of outreach. I go out and talk to a lot of groups. the problem is that there’s a stigma attached to being an adult that cant read.”
31 year old Teresa Werner comes a couple times a week for sessions with a tutor. She says she is making progress that she hopes leads to a degree in the future.
“Being able to learn so I can go to college some day. I’m reading faster. I’m doing harder math and I’m spelling big words.”
Curtis says one of the biggest obstacles for the program and its learners involves building up trust.
“We just try to keep them safe and let them know they are in a safe where they can develop trust with their learner and trust with me and trust with the program.”
Volunteer Marty Reiss says one of the reasons its been such a hit is because each student gets a specially-made lesson plan and the service is confidential.
“Basically I work with adults. Wynette does the work up as far as abilities skills whatever. Then based on her recommendations, the person I’m working with now, we started with phonics.”
Curtis tells 47 ABC Project READ is just one of the ways the library is changing to serve the community.
“People have the perception that libraries are no longer relevant. But there’s so much that a library has to offer. For everyone. Even with technology, you can’t discount the fact that there’s nothing like holding a physical book in your hand.”
If you’d like to learn more about Project READ, click here.