WHO WE ARE
We build skilled, passionate, habitual,
critical readers, writers, and mathematicians!
(Find out more about how to join us as an
The Literacy Action Center, a community-based private
nonprofit corporation, was established by June Moss, a lay
minister at the First Baptist Church in Salt Lake City,
Utah, in 1984 and received 501(c)(3) status in February
1985. As the need for literacy instruction grew beyond the
churchís surrounding area, our boundaries expanded to
include all of Salt Lake County, Utah. In 1995, Davis
Countyís Project Read was dissolved and this county was
added to our jurisdiction.
We teach functionally-illiterate, English-speaking adults
to read, write, and calculate. The population of adults we
serve enter our doors with less than fifth grade level in
one or more of these areas. There are over 60,000 of these
adults who qualify for our services in Salt Lake County,
Utah, and over 10,000 in Davis County, Utah.
Action Center, however, is the ONLY adult literacy
organization focusing on functionally-illiterate,
English-speaking adults in either county. We are not an
English-as-a-Second-Language program. Many other
organizations and school districts in both counties teach
these adults to speak English. No one else serves the
adults we serve.
In addition to providing small group instruction, we
educate volunteers to work one-on-one with these adults.
Find out more about Volunteer
The Literacy Action Center envisions a world of literate adults. These
adults use literacy skills and abilities to participate actively in all
contexts of their lives, as family members, workers, and community
participants as well as to further their personal development.
We teach adults to read! We teach English-speaking adults, with low-level
reading, writing, or math skills, to become skilled, passionate, habitual,
critical readers, writers, and mathematicians! This effective and
confidential literacy education, delivered through professional staff and
trained volunteers, gives these adults the tools for interpreting and
communicating with print. The goal of this instruction is to engage adult
learners in developing literate behaviors, assisting these learners in
accomplishing literacy-related goals, and facilitating changes in the
quality of these adultsí lives.
Literacy Action Centerís instructional practices are built upon a solid
foundation of theory and research. The theoretical constructs underlying our
effective practices are derived from the humanistic and cognitive paradigms
of learning. The humanistic paradigm places the control of learning in the
hands of the adult learners, recognizing that human nature, potential, and
emotions play a part in learning. The cognitive paradigm features such
instructional practices as modeling, explicit explanations, guided practice,
and multiple opportunities to apply knowledge. Adult learnersí are guided to
become skillful at monitoring and applying declarative, procedural, and
conditional knowledge. Using this learner-centered approach in a nurturing,
encouraging environment allows adult learners to flourish, as they have
input into the content of what they are learning and how they will go about
the process of learning.
Several principles emerge from these two paradigms. These principles form
the foundation of instructional practices and educational progress at
Literacy Action Center. These principles guide our interactions and the
delivery of instruction-related methods, materials, and support:
Education empowers all people.
Adults accepted into our program can learn.
Adults are responsible for their learning.
Instruction is a cooperative venture among the adult learner, tutor, and our
Learning is a dynamic interaction among the learner, what is to be learned,
and the context of the
Instructional strategies and materials are based upon an individualís needs
Instruction fosters success from the beginning.
New learning is based upon previous learning.
Instruction fosters the transfer of literate behaviors through the use of
authentic, real-life materials and
Learning is scaffolded through appropriate modeling, direct explanations,
guided practice, and application
The practice of literate behaviors outside of instruction increases learning
Assessment is an ongoing process. (Soifer et al, 1990)
How do these principles influence instructional practices at the Literacy
Action Center? First, this means that Literacy Action Center promotes a
learner-centered curriculum that uses content, activities, and materials
that best support each learnerís needs, interests, goals, and competencies.
Second, Literacy Action Centerís tutors emphasize reflection and awareness
of strategic literate behaviors, thus encouraging them to monitor their
understandings of print. Third, Literacy Action Center supports the use of
authentic and meaningful materials and activities.
The Literacy Action Center strives to meet the following goals:
Successfully teach 200+ English-speaking adults annually to read, write, and
new community volunteers annually to maintain an annual match of 150 active
and tutor pairs
and retain an active 20-member Board of Trustees
recognition as the place to seek literacy-related answers
$250,000 annually, gaining a stable, ongoing funding base
Four groups of people keep the Literacy Action Center alive and well: adult
learners, professional educators, community volunteers, and donors. Members
of these groups are not exclusive. Donors, for instance, can be members of
any of the other groups. Learners can also be volunteers and donors. Below
is a list of some of the individuals who currently serve in leadership
positions in our organization.
Deborah Young, Ed.D.
Dr. Deborah Young is the executive director and learning specialist for the
Literacy Action Center. Dr. Young educates and supervises professional staff
and community volunteers to work in small groups and one-on-one with our
learners, oversees curriculum development and delivery, screens all incoming
learners, and teaches. She organizes and oversees all fund development,
marketing strategies, and administrative activities.
Dr. Young has a BS in reading and special education from the University of
Maine at Farmington, a MA in literacy and learning disabilities from Eastern
Michigan University, and a Ed.D. in learning, literacy, and technology from
the University of Michigan. She is co-author of The Complete
Theory-to-Practice of Adult Literacy: Curriculum Design and Teaching
Approaches (1990), Teachersí College Press, New York. Her teaching
experiences include: manufacturing plants, reading clinics, prison halfway
houses, university settings, and preschool-12. Dr. Young started with the
Literacy Action Center in 1996 as a member of the Board of Trustees.
Board of Trustees
Susan Fine, President (1/07)
Charles Curtin, Secretary (11/11)
Margaret Griffin, Treasurer
Deborah Young, Ed.D., Executive Director
Literacy Action Center has only one physical location,
and we cover both Salt Lake and Davis Counties from this location.
Our office (and classroom space) is located at 3595 S Main Street.
Our name is on the sign next to the street but not on the
building. The name on the building is Salt Lake Housing
Authority of Salt Lake County. We are located in the basement
of the Salt Lake County Housing Authority building.
Most of our small group instruction
and tutor training workshops are held in our classroom space at
3595 S Main Street. While some one-on-one tutoring also takes
place at our office, most of our tutoring is done in the Davis
County, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and Murray library
Literacy Action Center - 3595 South Main Street,
Salt Lake City, UT 84115-4434
Phone: (801) 265-9081
Fax: (801) 265-9643
No person shall be denied services because of race, religion, color, sex,
disability, age, or national origin.