Adult Literacy Program

The WLC Adult Basic Education Literacy Program improves basic reading skills for adults who struggle to read by providing small group instruction using the Wilson Reading System. The WLC is committed to providing students with direct instruction in reading and spelling skills so learners can enter a GED program, job-training program, or obtain or improve employment.

Our Program

The Washington Literacy Center (WLC) provides a re-entry point for adults to reach their employment-based goals through reading remediation. Due to low student-instructor ratio and the individualized learning needs of our students, intake does not guarantee enrollment. We place students in classes according to specific phonics gaps and availability. An assessed potential student may wait a week to 6 months to be placed in a class.

Ideal Candidate

*Required due to grant funding requirements and mission

DC Resident*
• Low-income
• Employment-based goal*
• Entering workforce or improving employment
• Entering job training program
• Enter GED program to further employment goals
• Highly motivated*
• Transportation and childcare costs are covered.

Case Managers, please contact Christina Keen directly at 202-387-9029 x14 or for your clients.
For other referrals, have the potential student leave a message on our Intake Line at 202-387-9029 x13.

Our Response

The Washington Literacy Center (WLC) was founded in 1963 to address adult illiteracy in Washington, District. WLC began as an all-volunteer literacy organization. For the first forty years of the program, the WLC was a one-on-one tutoring program based on the “each one teach one” philosophy of literacy pioneer Frank Laubach. For Laubach, literacy training was a matter of social justice and individual dignity. While this remains true, the current approach to literacy stresses its role in breaking the poverty cycle and access to jobs.

In 2010, the board of the Washington Literacy Council directed the staff to focus the organization’s efforts on adult non-readers seeking to earn their GEDs. While the District strongly supports job training and GED programs, many residents lack the basic literacy and numeracy skills required to enter or successfully complete these programs. These are the people that WLC serves. We are determined to do so effectively, proving that it is possible to make the main paths out of poverty — education and work — accessible to this segment of adult residents.

How To Enroll

District of Columbia adults over the age of 18 who struggle with reading can apply to enter the WLC program by calling 202-387-9029 X 13. You will be asked to leave your name and a phone number on the Intake Voicemail. You can expect a return call the following Friday. The WLC is not the best program for all adults, so we offer referrals to other community reading programs. Our goal is to find the best program to meet your needs.