Every four seconds of an American school day, another student drops out.

That's 7,000 students a day—or nearly 1.3 million a year. These alarming figures from the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, D.C. based policy institution, illustrate the problem of adult illiteracy across our country.

An under-educated adult population, combined with discouraging rates of poverty and unemployment, have generated significant social and economic challenges in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is why Literacy Services of Wisconsin (LSW) is increasingly important to the community where we live and work.

For more than five decades, LSW has been here when motivated adult learners want to improve their education, particularly those who dropped out of school years ago. We're also here for people who come to our country and want to learn our language, or for those who want to attain a high school equivalency degree.

Our core programs—basic reading and spelling, English Language Learning (ELL), and General Educational Development (GED®) Preparation—exemplify our belief that every person has a right to an excellent education. Our unique service delivery model of one-on-one tutoring offers students individualized assistance and produces decisively positive outcomes.

In addition, our integrated Functional Literacy sub-program with three core areas—computer literacy, financial literacy, and workforce readiness—provides students with the skills needed to use technology efficiently, make smart financial decisions, and search for and secure employment.


LSW provides literacy education to motivated adults through the dedication of our volunteers, the support of the community, and the use of specialized curricula to meet individual and community needs.

Our Mission

Literacy Services of Wisconsin educates, motivates, and inspires engaged adults to achieve greater independence and transform their lives.

Our Vision

We are the premier adult basic education provider dedicated to changing lives and transforming the community one student at a time.

Our Guiding Principles

We believe in the right of every person to receive a quality education.

We treat every student seeking our service as an equal and with respect.

We provide our volunteer tutors and staff with guidance, respect, support, and every resource possible to ensure the success of their students.

We provide innovative programming incorporating continuous improvement to achieve the best possible outcomes.

As a member of the adult literacy community, we are committed to positive leadership and partnership with those in our field and beyond.

We are excellent stewards of our resources—human, financial, social, and physical.


If you would like to know more about volunteering at LSW, please join us for one of our Volunteer Orientation meetings. The one hour session will introduce you to what Literacy Services is and how you can help in our mission to educate adults in Milwaukee. Our events calendar lists the dates and times of upcoming Volunteer Orientations.

If you'd like to attend a Volunteer Orientation, please email volunteer@literacyservices.org.