Literacy group offers free help to adults with reading difficulty

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BATH — While it’s the time of year for kids to go back to school, there are still millions of adults across the country who lack key educational building blocks, such as being able to read beyond a third-grade level.

Tri-County Literacy, a non-profit organization that offers literacy programs to adults and families in Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties, and northeastern Cumberland County, wants to lend a hand, confidentially and for no charge.

“It’s always in a public place, and it’s always in a place that can be accessed by the learner,” said Darlene Marciniak, executive director of Tri-County Literacy.

A recent press release from the Bath-based organization noted that many adults find ways to hide their difficulty with reading from their families, friends and coworkers. They might find an excuse to avoid reading aloud, or hide their writing from other people, or commit information to memory so that they don’t have to write things down.

“As children and teens go back to school, this is the perfect time for adults in need of educational services to take this important step to simply ask for help,” Marciniak said. “Our organization helps adults of any age and any educational background to address their literacy challenges.”

She estimated that nearly 10,000 adults in Tri-County’s service area could be potential users of the organization’s services.

People who need help or are willing to offer tutoring services can contact Suzanne Gastaldo, coordinator of Tri-County Literacy’s Volunteers Program, at 443-6384 or toll-free at 877-885-7441. She can also be reached by email at

Tri-County Literacy, which helped more than 180 adult learners in the past year, is affiliated with the ProLiteracy network. The network is composed of adult literacy and basic education organizations geared toward increasing adult literacy rates throughout the U.S.

Tutors volunteer to work one-on-one or in small groups with those requiring help with basic reading, comprehension, writing and math skills, English as a second language, GED preparation, basic computer literacy and health literacy.

ProLiteracy has 1,000 member programs in the U.S. and works with organizations in more than 30 developing countries.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.