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Woman pointing to Peninsula READS sign

“I came to Peninsula READS to get better reading skills.  I wanted to enroll in GED classes and get my GED so I can pursue a degree in Business Management.  The skills I am learning have given me confidence.  Everything is easier, even going to the grocery store!”

– Audrey

Relevant Education for Adult Developmental Success


To provide literacy skills necessary for adults to function more effectively in their lives and communities.


In today’s society, information is constantly and quickly moving across various forms of media. Therefore, in order to be successful, whether at home, at work, or in the community at large, adults must have the literacy skills and tools needed to access this information.  Without the necessary skills, adults are often unable to find work, educate their children, read prescription labels, or even go to the grocery store or physician by themselves.


Peninsula READS, together with a team of dedicated volunteers, strives to provide the resources necessary to equip adult students with the knowledge and skills critical to successful performance in a literate society.


Peninsula READS is a community-based adult literacy program that provides one-on-one instruction in the areas of reading, writing, and math, as well as small group instruction in English for speakers of other languages.  Instruction in computer literacy is also offered.  These tutoring services are provided by trained volunteers who are dedicated to helping adult learners reach their literacy goals.  Services are available to residents of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and York County, and both our offices are conveniently located on bus lines in Newport News and Hampton for easy access by the community.

Incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Peninsula READS is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for the provision and supervision of the Executive Director, who manages the staff and daily operations of the organization.



Michelle's Story


Peninsula READS offers two primary programs, Adult Basic Literacy Program for American-born English speakers and English for Speakers of Other Languages Program (ESOL).  Upon entrance into one of the programs, learners are matched with trained and dedicated volunteer tutors who will meet with them about twice a week to help them reach their literacy goals.  Each learner comes with different goals that reflect their individual needs.  Therefore, curriculum is individualized to give each learner a learning experience that is relevant and engaging.  Additionally, since technology is becoming increasingly necessary for everyday tasks, computer literacy is incorporated into the curriculum.


Since 1968, Peninsula READS has been teaching adults literacy for success, serving about 250 adults per year.  The organization has historically guided the development of numerous other literacy organizations and continues this mentoring to the present time. Since 1971, Peninsula READS has been a proud member agency of the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula. On two occasions, the Virginia Literacy Foundation recognized Peninsula READS as an “Outstanding Private Literacy Group” in Virginia.



Many of the adults seeking literacy education are working toward earning their GED® or other high school equivalency. Having a high school credential provides adults with a larger job pool. And on a more basic level, learners without functional print or computer literacy may be unable to locate and read — much less complete — job applications for the positions they seek. By empowering them to find and maintain employment, Peninsula READS and other adult education organizations are helping people to provide for their families, gain self-confidence, and strengthen the economy.

Their Health

There is a strong correlation between literacy and health. A 2006 report by the U.S. Department of Education found that adults who self-reported the worst health also had the most limited literacy, numeracy, and health literacy skills. Conversely, improved literacy results in more informed health decisions regarding nutrition and preventative care. Without the ability to read nutrition labels, for example, learners have a harder time making informed decision. Literacy — and, by extension, health literacy — is crucial to the well-being of our community.

Their Children’s Academic Success

Alongside working with these learners to improve their reading and math skills, the services provided by Peninsula READS can also improve the success of their children. A 2010 study funded

by the National Institutes of Health found that mothers’ reading skills are the most significant factor

when it comes to their children’s future academic success — more so than school location or socioeconomic status. Helping an adult to gain or improve their literacy skills is an investment in their child’s future, as well as their own. The success of these children, in turn, could effectively break the cycle of low literacy and the poverty and poor health that come with it.

Their Daily Lives

Low literacy leads to a number of smaller struggles that occur throughout learner’s daily lives. Imagine trying to make your way through life unable to read street signs, write emails, or understand your bills. These struggles make up the reality for the lives of adults across the United States.

The wide-reaching effects of low adult literacy are clear. But the good news is, the positive impacts of adult education are just as vast. By donating to Peninsula READS or becoming a tutor, you can help contribute to that positive impact in your community.

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