Adult Reading Classes


One out of 10 Knox County adults cannot read or write above a 6th grade level. Friends of Literacy’s Adult Reading Classes are the only classes in Knoxville that teach basic reading skills for adults. Classes meet twice a week for one and a half hour sessions, for a total of three hours per student each week. The classes are led by a reading specialist and assisted by dedicated volunteers.  Classes meet at our Hill Avenue Office and are held in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Also, students who would like extra help can request a tutor at no charge.

To learn more about our Adult Reading program or to enroll in classes, please contact us at 865-549-7007 or email us at

Meet Ralph: Adult Reading Class Student

Ralph Burns never received an adequate education. He was abandoned as a child and dropped out of school in the third grade, and never learned how to read. Burns says, "I was sometimes embarrassed, but I got over that."  Upon leaving school, Burns learned the skill of painting in order to make money. He has also been playing the guitar since age five, and continues to play at bars, weddings, and even charity events.

He always wanted to learn to read. So he came to Friends of Literacy and met Sydney, a volunteer and his teacher. Burns says, "I've been through 50 to 100 teachers. No one taught me. She's got that gift though." Sydney began with the basics, teaching Burns about the alphabet, phonics, and the difference between vowels and consonants.

After meeting every Tuesday for two hours a week with his literacy teacher for the past year and a half, Burns can read enough simple words to understand road signs. He can identify items displayed on grocery shelves or at the deli counter. He no longer has to rely on servers to help him when he eats out.

Ralph now loves his school and has no plans to stop anytime soon.

  Ralph reading a book with Friends of Literacy Volunteer, Sydney

Ralph reading a book with Friends of Literacy Volunteer, Sydney