Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you couldn’t read, or could only read on a first- or second-grade level? Well, for starters, you wouldn’t be able to read this article or the rest of this newspaper. You would have difficulty getting a job, because you couldn’t fill out a job application, or wouldn’t be able to read any work manuals or important training information.

You would have a hard time with health care, because you couldn’t read the prescription or over-the-counter labels to find out what the product was or how to take it properly. You would have to go by the pictures on cans of food to get what

you wanted and you wouldn’t be able to use a telephone book or a computer. You would miss the wonderful experience of reading to your children or grandchildren, and wouldn’t be able to help them with their homework. You wouldn’t be able to read the Bible or any Sunday school material. You would have to find ways to compensate for your inability to read, and try to hide this fact from your friends and family because you were embarrassed.

You might even think you were stupid.

Would you believe that there are about 2,200 people in Van Buren County that fit this description? All except the one about being stupid. The fact is that these people are not stupid, but they never had the chance to learn how to read for a variety of reasons.

Some had to drop out of school at a young age to work, some moved around a lot and went to many different schools, some had difficult family lives, some had learning difficulties, and dozens of other understandable reasons.

How can these people be helped? By you. Yes, you could become a reading tutor with the Van Buren County Literacy Council and help an adult feel the joy of becoming literate.

It’s easy. You attend a one-day training class at the council’s classroom in Clinton and learn easy and fun ways to teach adults to read. All the books and workbooks are provided free to you and the students. You tutor just one person at a time, and you and your student choose a location and time that is convenient for both your schedules. Time commitment is only an h0ur or two a week. That’s it. And you can be sure you will feel excited as you see your student make progress and start to improve his or her life.

For further information, call the Van Buren County Literacy Council at 253-1873. A training class will be held in March, so call soon.