About Us

Our Mission

To offer adults basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills to enrich quality of life.

Our Strategy to carry out our Mission includes:

  1. FREE TUTORING – We offer free services to adults 19 and older in Clermont and Brown Counties. We offer one-on-one tutoring; and a student computer lab is available for independent studies. Literacy services include help in reading, writing, spelling, and grammar. Students must go through a 1-hour Orientation and Assessment process, and then they will be matched with a tutor in their geographic area.
  2. TUTORING ENGLISH FOR SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES (ESOL) – The Literacy Council provides one-on-one tutoring and language practice in speaking, reading, and writing English for students of other cultures.
  3. TUTOR TRAINING – Tutors are certified after 8 hours of training in the phonics-based Laubach method of one-on-one tutoring. We offer workshops twice a year; the cost is $20. Tutors and students should meet at least 2 hours each week, in one or two sessions, at a mutually convenient time. We suggest meeting at public places, such as libraries, churches, etc.
  4. ANNUAL SPELLING BEE– Business and community groups compete in this annual summer fundraiser to see who the most proficient speller is! This activity provides community visibility, and raises money for our non-profit agency. To become a participant in the Bee:
    • enter a team of 3 members to compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place
    • provide corporate sponsorship
    • fund or co-fund someone else’s team
    • donate door prizes for our many winners
    • advertise your business with team attire
    • attend the Bee to show support for The Literacy Council!
  5. SPEAKING OUT FOR LITERACY – Inform church, community, civic, and business groups about the 26,000 illiterate in Clermont and Brown Counties. Encourage low-level readers to get the help they need, and encourage others to become tutors or volunteers. We will rely on your group to call us with the details, and then the Literacy Council will provide a guest speaker and visual aids.

History

Edna Litton and Norma Scalf started the Literacy Council for Clermont County in 1980. Edna had been involved with literacy while living in England, her home country. She went to the literacy program in Cincinnati and was trained, but she wanted to serve students in Clermont County. She decided to start her own program and they began working out of Edna’s garage.

Mr. Van Landingham, a real estate agent and developer in Goshen, offered a small office space without charge. Over the next five years Edna served as the Council Director, and Norma served as her right hand person. They trained volunteer tutors and served 20 or so students each year. They had assembled a cadre of tutors through word of mouth and by dragging in some friends.

The agency’s operating budget those early years was less than $1000 and it all came from personal donations and some bake sales. In 1987, the Literacy Council and the Clermont County Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) unit began to collaborate. Initially the ABLE program would purchase material for the agency. In return the ABLE program would be allowed to count The Literacy Council’s students in its state report.

In 1989 Edna Litton moved out of Cincinnati. At the next Literacy Council Board meeting a proposal was put on the table to disband and send the students to the Greater Cincinnati Literacy Network Programs. However, with the dedication and commitment of a drafted director, Marie Streng, the Literacy Council survived. Marie was instrumental in expanding the ABLE relationship to an annual funding source. She also was responsible for the first proposal to the United Way for program funding. The first United Way grant was for around $3000. The money allowed the agency to pay the director for the first time.

In 1991 the agency was able to expand service into Brown County, which had been a hope expressed by the United Way. The Literacy Council of Clermont & Brown Counties grew because there was and is a need. More volunteer tutors were trained and the student count grew.

Susan Vilardo became the Executive Director of the Literacy Council in 2004. Today the Literacy Council pairs volunteer tutors with adult learners who need help with reading, writing and comprehension skills. Tutors also volunteer in UC Clermont College remedial English composition classes. The non-profit agency receives funding from United Way and many generous individual and company donations.

The Literacy Council has established itself as an important agency in the Clermont and Brown County communities and is run by a Board of Directors. As the agency grows to meet the needs of non-readers in Clermont and Brown Counties, the Literacy Council continues to seek additional support through volunteer tutors and adult learners, as well as individual and corporate funding.