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Adult Basic Education

Read, Learn and Grow!

Work on your reading, writing and math skills at the library! The Waukegan Public Library can help you to open the door to a better future.

We work in partnership with the Literacy Volunteers of Lake County (LVLC) and the College of Lake County (CLC) to provide no cost educational opportunities for adults in reading, writing, math or speaking English. Our programs are for adults with skills that are below the 9th grade level.

All our classes and programs are free of charge.

Adult Literacy Tutoring

Trained volunteer tutors meet one on one with adults seeking to improve their reading, writing, and math skills. If you would like to schedule a one on one tutor, please call 847-623-2041, ext. 225 or janderson [at] waukeganpl [dot] info (subject: Read%20to%20Achieve%20tutoring) (email).

Family Literacy Classes

Family classes teach children through stories, music and activities, while their parents are in the classroom next door. Curriculum covers basic reading, writing and math skills.

Children must be between the ages of 0 and 6 years. You must not have a high school diploma or a GED and the child must attend with a parent. If you would like to enroll in a class, please call 847-623-2041, ext 223 or galegraves [at] waukeganpl [dot] info (subject: Family%20Literacy) (email).

Family Literacy Classes ESL

We also offer classes, in English, for adult ESL learners and their children, from 0 to 6 years of age. Go here for more information about our Spanish Literacy opportunities.

Literacy Classes

Classes are offered to improve basic reading, writing and math skills. You must not have a high school diploma or a GED to attend. Classes are run by the College of Lake County. If you would like to enroll in a class, please call 847-623-2041, ext. 223 or galegraves [at] waukeganpl [dot] info (subject: Literacy%20Classes) (email). 

Computer Classes

Classes are available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level students. Classes are held on weekdays and weekends during the day and evening. Go here for more information or call 847-623-2041, ext. 234.

Walk-in Reading, Math, and Computer Help

Volunteer tutors are ready to help adults improve your reading, writing, math and computer skills. The walk-in lab is held every Thursday from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. in the Adult Literacy Classroom on the lower level. If you have questions, please call 847-623-2041, ext. 222 or jwigodner [at] waukeganpl [dot] info (subject: Walk-in%20lab) (email).


Learning eResources

Whatever your goal, our eResources will help you succeed. Online websites offers practice tests, exercises, and skill-building to learn and grow —at school, at work, or in life.

These great tools are made available free to you at the library or at home for research or homework. With a Waukegan Public Library card, you can use these databases from home. Go here for a list of all our eResources.

A Success Story

There were three things that Maria always wanted: to be a good parent, to have a good job and to understand the mysteries held in the pages of books. One key road block that was keeping Maria from accomplishing her goals was to her inability to read well.

Maria believed that she was not very smart.  Although she spoke English, Spanish was her native language. She had attended school in the United States, but she still spoke mostly Spanish and did not read very much in either language. As a new mother, Maria felt it was time to make a change by returning to school and learning to read.  In addition, Maria feared her daughter would have a similar fate, if she did not make a change.

In addition, Maria felt that she was not capable of preparing her child to do well in school. This was a constant worry even though her baby was only three months old. Maria remembered her struggles in school. She was still embarrassed and uncomfortable when it came to reading directions, manuals or instructions and she knew that she did not want her baby, Sophia, to have the same feelings.

When Maria first heard about family literacy, she went to enroll in the ESL class, but she was surprised when she tested into the English literacy level. The instructor was surprised when Maria said she could not speak English – in Spanish. With some encouragement, the instructor convinced Maria to try the literacy class and she decided to give it a chance because ,ultimately, she knew it was what she needed.

When asked to read a passage from a book aloud, Maria’s response was, “I can’t read!” But, then she proceeded to read three paragraphs. The problem wasn’t that she couldn’t read; the problem was Maria did not understand the meaning of what she read.  

So, day after day, Maria and Sophia came to class. Listening, reading, learning and growing. Slowly, through class participation, parenting discussions, library utilization and PACT, Maria started to see herself differently. She felt empowered. She felt smarter. She even began to feel prepared to teach her child to read. In the beginning, Maria wasn’t sure how the children’s education component would help Sophia because she was so young. But one day, Maria walked into the children’s classroom and saw Sophia finger painting and laughing. Maria burst into happy tears and began to understand that the time she already spent talking and playing with Sophia was the perfect time to include literacy learning.

At the end of the program in May, Maria felt more felt confident as her child’s first teacher. She felt more comfortable doing PACT activities at home. Maria promised to read for herself and to Sofia, every day in the summer. Maria also committed to return in the fall and continue her development as an adult learner and as her child’s first teacher.