Literacy Project

Books on a yellow background

Did you know only 37% of students in Winnebago County are reading at a third grade level or above?

The inability to read has an enormous impact on health, employment, and crime. That's why we're teaming up with more than 20 impactful agencies and organizations to solve our low literacy rate together and transform our community!

Learn more below on why we chose to tackle the literacy rate in our community, and the incredible organizations helping us to do so.

What we're doing

In Winnebago County, only 37% of our 3rd graders can read at grade level or above. United Way is working with 25 local agencies to change this staggering statistic. We are utilizing the power of collective impact to remove barriers to literacy, thereby lifting our whole community! A reading community decreases poverty, increases a viable workforce, reduces crime, and brings strong mental health.

Why does a low literacy rate matter?

  • Health - The inability to read accounts for $282 billion per year nationally due to low use of preventative services and the misunderstanding of medical instructions. (American Journal of Public Health)
  • Employment - Higher paying jobs are unattainable to those who are illiterate. (2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Crime - 60% of people in prison cannot read; 85% of youth offenders struggle to read. (The Literacy Project Foundation)
  • Poverty - 43% of adults with the lowest literacy live in poverty. (National Institute of Literacy)
  • Generational literacy - 68% of 4th graders read below proficient level, 82% are from low-income homes. (Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Help us prepare every child to enter kindergarten ready to succeed and to promote their reading ability through 3rd grade and beyond!

  • A $20 donation provides six books to a child between the ages of 0-5
  • A $100 donation provides six books to five children between the ages of 0-5
  • A $200 donation provides six books to ten children between the ages of 0-5

Donate today by clicking here

Want more information on how to support literacy in our community? Email or call 815-968-5400.

We're teaming up with so many impactful organizations to solve our low literacy rate together and transform our community. The following list are just some of our collaborators, as this list is growing regularly:

  • Alignment Rockford
  • Blackhawk Day Care
  • Cherry Valley Library
  • Circles of Learning
  • City of Rockford
  • Discovery Center
  • Easter Seals
  • Harlem School District
  • Junior League
  • Literacy Council
  • Milestone
  • Patriots Gateway
  • Rockford Boys & Girls Club
  • Rockford Public Library
  • Rockford Public Schools
  • Rockford Rotary
  • Severson Dells
  • St. Rita Catholic School
  • SwedishAmerican Hospital
  • Trinity Day Care
  • United Way of Rock River Valley
  • Winnebago County Health Department
  • YMCA of Rock River Valley
  • YWCA of Northwestern Illinois