About Us

Who We Are

Helping adults read to lead a new life.

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County teaches individuals basic reading, writing, math, and English language skills through individual and small group instruction by trained tutors. Students, young and old, gain self-confidence and develop self-sufficiency to transform their lives as individuals, parents/children, workers/students, and citizens.

Success comes from the trusted bond that develops between our instructors and students. The Literacy Council, a non-profit organization accredited by ProLiteracy America and serving the community since 1987, provides highly individualized tutoring to fit the needs of over 300 students annually in three programs: Adult Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and the Augustine Project®.

Our Mission

To increase comprehensive literacy and English language skills through specialized instruction by trained tutors.

Our Vision

A community in which literacy is highly valued and achievable for all.

Guiding Principles

The Literacy Council strongly believes in and practices the following principles as our basic foundation for helping adult learners become literate in English:

  • Champion the basic human right of all individuals to education and literacy.
  • Offer an accessible, encouraging, and stable environment for students who seek our help and volunteers who support our mission.
  • Treat all students with respect, understanding, and compassion.
  • Protect the confidentiality of the student-tutor relationship.
  • Engage in straightforward, frequent dialog with both students and tutors regarding expectations, abilities, and progress.
  • Be a knowledgeable resource and implement best practices in literacy instruction, advocacy, and fundraising.
  • Maintain the highest standards of professionalism, honesty, and integrity in all individual, business, and community interactions.

Results and Measures

  • We tutor an average of 300 students each year.
  • 200 volunteer tutors give over 15,000 hours of instruction annually.
  • 83% of Adult Education students improved their reading test scores by at least one point in 2012/13.
  • 69% of ESOL students who complete at least nine months of instruction advance to a higher English level or improve their test score by at least six points.
  • We retain 85% of all students and 90% of all volunteer tutors for their full nine months commitment.
  • 95 ESOL students received their U.S. citizenship since the inception of our citizenship program.
  • The annual cost to support one student-tutor team for their minimum nine month commitment is approximately $675.

Read success stories from our students and volunteers >>

The Book

By Fred Chappell

Poet Laureate Emeritus of North Carolina


It waits as patiently as a forest trail

To take you to a place you must have heard about,

Quiet and exciting, a glade to be alone in,

With those who came before.

At first the journey is one slow letter at a time,

But sooner than you thought, you clip along,

Your pace growing smarter with each step.


You never arrive at an end

Because you never want to,

And a thousand other trails lead off from this one path,

Mysterious, inviting, alive with shadowy light.


The book will go with you as far as you desire.

And if you like, I will come with you.