International Literacy Day

September 8th is International Literacy Day, opens a new window! Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.

International Literacy Day shines a spotlight on global literacy needs:

  • 32 million adults in the United States struggle to read and write
  • 10.5 million of these adult learners live in California
  • Over 1 in 10 San Mateo County residents struggle with basic English
  • 15% of those 16 years and older in San Mateo County lack basic literacy skills

The Cost of Low Literacy

Low literacy in adults is linked to widespread socioeconomic problems. For example, low literate adults do poorly in the job market, struggle to help their children in school, are more likely to suffer from poor health, and are more likely to receive public assistance.

What Can We Do About Low Literacy?

San Mateo County Libraries is dedicated to supporting the literacy needs of our communities, through the following programs:

  • Literacy. Our adult literacy program, offered at the East Palo Alto and Half Moon Bay libraries, provides free one-on-one tutoring and conversation clubs to adults who want to improve their reading and writing skills. Adult learners meet with their trained volunteer tutor 2-4 hours per week in a reliable, safe, and caring learning environment.
  • Get a Diploma Online. Career Online High School (COHS) enables San Mateo County residents age 19 years and older to earn an accredited high school diploma while gaining real world career skills.
  • Volunteer. Help an adult build literacy skills and change their life. Literacy tutors receive training to work one-on-one with adult learners.

If you want to improve you literacy, or work on your diploma, or have questions about volunteering to improve the literacy of adults, please reach out to us at (650) 323-0362 or email, opens a new window.