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When Ana and Gregorio moved the the United States, they didn’t speak any English. They found work but knew in order to build a brighter future for their small family, they needed to learn the language.

They heard Literacy Council of Tyler offered English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and found out they could attend sessions close to home and around their work schedules. They enrolled in night classes and made quick progress. They’re just two of the many hundreds of adults The Literacy Council of Tyler helps every year.


What is Literacy Council of Tyler?

LCOT’s website spells out their mission like this: “Literacy Council of Tyler believes that education is powerful and can unlock potential. And we believe that every adult should have the opportunity for education at any stage of life. Our educational programs offer the opportunity for transformational results in the lives of adult learners, families and the greater community.”

Executive Director Whitney Patterson explained how they achieve those results. “We have programsgeared toward adults focusing on education and literacy. That’s done in a variety of ways across several different programs. For example, we work with anyone who needs GED or high school equivalency prep and tutoring, any adult who wants to learn or improve their English and any native English-speaking adult who wants help in reading or writing.

“We also have career pathways for English Language Learning or GED prep students, or individuals looking to change their career or find a better job. We work with TJC, to offer as many as 12 different certificate programs.  For those students, Literacy Council covers tuition.

“Across all our programs we help students learn to apply for jobs, interview, develop their resume, and figure out where their skills best fit. We also have other programs that are offshoots.”


Community Impact

Gregorio got his contractor’s license and started East Texas Irrigation, where he installs and maintains sprinkler systems. Ana received her GED in May of 2022. She also enrolled in Literacy Council of Tyler’s business entrepreneurship class to learn how she could help him get off to the best possible start.

She’s now taking LCOT’s Quickbooks class so the couple can take their business to the next level. She says she has big plans for her future. The couple went from strangers to the country to involved in the community in a very short period of time.

They’re far from Literacy Council of Tyler’s only success story. In 2021, the last year for which data is available, LCOT had 1,615 adults enrolled in area programs. Of those, 195 completed the career pathways program and received certification through TJC.

The organization offers classes in the morning or evening to accommodate working learners, with frequent enrollment sessions. They have several locations throughout Smith County to minimize the travel requirement for anyone who wants to learn.


31st Annual Spelling Bee

The 31 Annual Corporate Spelling Bee, Literacy Council of Tyler’s annual fundraiser is tomorrow, August 2, 2022 at Green Acres Baptist Church. It’s a real, traditional spelling bee but with adult contestants representing corporate sponsors and partners. The event takes place over lunch, with a trophy for the winner.

“Some of our sponsors and partners have been doing this for years,” said Patterson. “It gets pretty competitive.” Spellers represent sponsors in teams of two. Audience spell allows everyone to get in on the fun. Images from last year’s event are available online.

Literacy Council of Tyler is always looking for volunteers to serve as teachers, teacher’s assistants or office workers. You can also make a donation of any size when you click here.