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Our Impact

Source: U.S. Skills Map: State and County Indicators of Adult Literacy and Numeracy;

Why Literacy Matters

  • 43% of adults with low literacy live below the poverty line. 
  • 70% of individuals living in poverty have low literacy.
  • 10.4% of the population in Utah County is living below the poverty level..
  • Individuals with low literacy have difficulty comprehending their personal healthcare and medical needs and are therefore more likely to be in poor health.
  • Children of adults with low literacy will likely (72%) have even lower literacy skills.
  • Illiteracy correlates with low education levels.
  • Child mortality rates are significantly higher when the mother is uneducated.
  • Low literacy and education levels also have a negative impact self-esteem, self-empowerment, self-sufficiency, critical thinking and decision making skills, political participation, interpersonal skills, and creativity.  


Utah County, 2021

The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that Utah County has an adult illiteracy rate of ~12%, or 55,155 adults that can’t read above a 4th grade level.  

  • Population: 684,986
  • Children (under 18): 225,360 
  • Adults (over 18): 459,626
  • Utah County has a poverty rate of 10.4% 


Project Read’s Impact

By continuing to offer tutoring in literacy and life skills, Project Read is able to change the lives of individuals, and improve the economy of Utah County.

Each student that comes to project read helps break the cycle, improving the education, health, and quality of life of the next generation.

As students increase their literacy and education levels, they become more employable and start earning more money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lifetime earnings of those with less than a  high school education are $260,000 less than peers who earn a diploma. Dropouts on average make $20,241 annually, $10,000 less than high school graduates, and over $36,000 less than those who obtain a bachelor’s degree.  That means a student who earns a High School Equivalency can earn an extra $10,000 annually–nearly a 50% increase for that person. 

In addition to the individual gains, the return on investment to the economy as a whole is undeniable.  The economy gains $2.5 billion back in tax revenue and reduced expenses for every 400,000 adults that earn a highschool diploma.  That means each adult education graduate contributes $6,250 to the economy! An additional $200 billion is added annually in the form of reduced costs for public support programs designed for low-skilled, low literacy adults that these graduates no longer need.  


  • Bureau of Labor and Statistics;
  • Carnevale, A., Strohl, J. and N. Ridley. (2017). Good jobs that pay without a BA. Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University.
  • McLendon, L., Jones, D. and M. Rosin. (2011). The Return on Investment from Adult Education and Training. McGraw Hill Research Foundation.

Project Read by the Numbers

  • Each year, Project Read works with about 100 adult literacy students.  At any given time, Project Read has 40-50 active tutoring pairs. 
  • The Project Read library has over 7,000 books selected and even more online resources to help adult learners improve their literacy skills.

In FY2021 …

  • 195 volunteers donated 3,863 hours. 
  • (57 tutors donated 2,329 hours)
  • 3 students entered employment.
  • 74% of students who retested gained at least one grade level in either reading or language.
  • 1 student passed the GED.
  • 5 students entered a post-secondary program.
  • 75 immediate family members were impacted.

Where your donation goes

Project Read is funded entirely by your donations and a few federal grants.

Your donation helps:

  • Create and maintain tutoring materials
  • Provide lab instruction to further assist students
  • Ensure efficient management of resources
  • Produce outreach and marketing materials
  • Maintain accurate records of student progress
  • Sustain communication between Project Read staff and tutors and students

The tutors at Project Read are all volunteers and receive no compensation for their time.

The Provo City Library allows us to operate from an office on the second floor, without asking for rent or utilities. This helps keep operating costs to a minimum.