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Come Meet the Literacy Council!

Come Meet the Literacy Council!

The Literacy Council of Washington County is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides adults with help to meet their basic educational goals.

Our work has the ability to improve and expand the workforce in Washington County. We literally change lives one tutoring session at a time. 

The Literacy Council initially began in the City of Hagerstown at Zion Baptist Church on Bethel Street under the name Northwest Central Literacy Council.  We were born out of a need in the Community for increased literacy in English, both basic skills and ESL (English as a Second Language), and math. While their efforts centered on one- on-one tutoring, classes were also taught in prisons (teaching those who were able to teach others) and workplaces. This iteration of the Council ceased to exist in 1994. 

In 1996 a tutor from Hagerstown attended Tutor Training at the Literacy Council of Frederick County. She didn’t want to commute to Frederick weekly to work with a student and asked for a student in Hagerstown. From that seed, our Council began to grow. In 1999, the Literacy Council of Washington County was created. 

In the 24 years since, the Council has seen seasons of growth and seasons of decline. Like the rest of the globe, our Council saw a sharp decrease during COVID when we were forced to move our efforts to Zoom – both for tutor/student work and for training new tutors. The good news? Our Council has emerged, stronger than ever, and has entered another season of growth that shows no signs of slowing. 

At this writing, our Council has 40 students working with 26 tutors with a wait list of 17. Much of our work is one-on-one, though we are also moving into classroom environments. Our services and materials are free; our tutors are volunteers. We’ve built important partnerships in the Community: HCC (Hagerstown Community College) where we help those who do not meet entry criteria for their GED (a path to a high school diploma) and ESL programs, The Family Center where we help parents working towards their GED, the Western Maryland Consortium where we help GED candidates, and more. We are always looking for volunteer tutors and Community partnerships! 

Looking forward, the Council hopes to expand our services into more classes and to introduce workplace literacy – where a tutor would go to a place of work and teach English skills to improve communication within the workplace and to improve communication with customers and customer service. 

Additional Info

Media Contact : Jane Powell; 301-739-4208;

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