Why Reading Against the Odds?

Reading Against the Odds was an outgrowth of the need for a program to supplement the Adult Literacy (AL) curriculum at Literacy Chicago, especially for students who read between the 1st and 5th grade level. Prior to starting the group, agency-based internal testing showed that the reading scores of these learners had not risen as expected. Reading Against the Odds was designed to enhance the work done in the regular AL classroom by introducing works that were both intellectually stimulating and reflective of student experiences.

Who is Reading Against the Odds?

A range of students have been involved in the group. While the majority are students in the AL program, we have welcomed ESL students and those working toward their GED's. Some students have been involved with the group since it began and attendance is generally excellent.

One participant proudly declared: "Every book I read…inspires me to read," while another noted: "I never did learn how to read -- now I have the opportunity." Students have found that being able to keep the books after they finish them fills them pride since they can start and/or build a "library" of their own.

Where can I get additional information about adult literacy issues?

For adult literacy in general please check out:

The Central Illinois Adult Education Service Center

Literacy Works Chicago

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

WE LEARN [focuses on women and literacy]


For information about Reading Against the Odds:

Jones, J. (2009). “Reading against the odds:” African American women, literacy and transformation.” in Empowering Women through Literacy by M. Miller & K. P King (Eds). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.