Partners in Reading

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Partners in Reading (PAR) Events

Welcome to Partners in Reading

The mission of Partners in Reading is to enrich the lives of adults through reading, writing, technology, life skills, critical thinking, as well as English language learning; equipping them to achieve their goals and participate more fully and with greater confidence in all areas of their lives.

What Does Partners in Reading Do?

We provide free one-to-one and small group tutoring for adults whose reading or writing skills are below the ninth grade level. To qualify as a learner, an adult needs to speak and understand English at a conversational level. Tutoring is provided by trained volunteers at the King Library, a San José Public Library system branch, or another public site in San José. Tutors and learners are required to make a six-month commitment to meet three hours per week. We also have English as a Second Language classes for adults so that they can build conversational skills and then begin meeting with a volunteer tutor.


reader and learner   Image tutor and learners studying


Established in 1989, Partners in Reading (PAR) volunteers have contributed over 208,000 hours of service. In 2013/14 PAR learners achieved over 2,600 learning goals, which resulted in greater participation at home, at work, and in the community. As a member of California Library Literacy Services, we are part of a statewide network of almost 100 public libraries providing adult literacy instruction. We work cooperatively with other literacy providers, social service agencies, and community groups.

Change a Life - Give the Gift of Reading

The next volunteer orientation is Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Find out more about the orientation. If you have more questions, please call (408) 808-2361.


Read this opinion piece from California State Librarian Greg Lucas in the September 9, 2014 Sacramento Bee about the importance of tutoring adults to build basic reading, writing, and technological skills.


Literacy by the Numbers

Read more about how individuals and the community have benefitted from PAR's 25 years of service.


PAR celebrated 25 years of helping improve the literacy level in San Jose on September 17, 2014. It was also a time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of California Library Literacy Services, all of our learners, and the release of PAR's newest book, The Magic of Learning.


Read What These Learners Wrote About Their Library

Members of the PAR Writing Boot Camp class were asked to complete this sentence: I love my library because . . . Some of their responses are below.

  • it has a lot of resources

  • it helps me read

  • it helps me learn how to read to my granddaughter

  • it makes me love to read

  • it is close to my house

  • there are many books I can read and take home if I want

  • it has many things that help my life get better

One learner wrote this paragraph, which has been edited slightly, about why she likes the library.


We thank them for coming to the library and for improving their skills with Partners in Reading.


Read these yelp reviews about Partners in Reading to learn what other volunteers think about the program. If you are a learner or a tutor you can add your opinion too. Thanks!



New Tutor Resources

Partners in Reading and Read Santa Clara are excited to introduce these great videos with excellent tutoring strategies for adult literacy tutors. This online training was made possible in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Enjoy the videos and give us your feedback through the surveys in the descriptions.



Click here for more great videos.


Stay Connected

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Meet Typical Adult Learners

Adults participate in PAR for many reasons. Meet Kristi, a typical adult learner who has participated in a library literacy program to enhance her language and literacy skills.


Adults who have problems reading and writing also have problems when they go to the doctor. Some try to hide their problem from their doctors. This video shows the connection between patients who have problems reading and writing and health problems and complications. They are more likely to be sick because of limited literacy skills. In addition to the human costs, in the U. S. the annual monetary cost is over $200 billion when adults go to emergency rooms more frequently, are sicker, and are hospitalized longer. Medication errors often happen when adults can't read the instructions on their medicines.



Join the program. Improve your reading and writing.

Donations are made through the San Jose Public Library Foundation. Please write "PAR, Partners in Reading" in the Additional Comments section to ensure your donation supports adult literacy.


Did You Know?

About 16% of American adults function at the lowest level of literacy.

In San José, that means over 160,000 adults lack the basic skills to read the directions on a medicine bottle, find an intersection on a map, or fill out a job application.

Recognize the Signs of Low-Level Literacy (PDF) and refer an adult to the program.

Contact Us

Partners in Reading
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
150 East San Fernando St.
San Jose, CA 95112


Mon.   9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tue.     9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wed.   9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thu.    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri.      9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat.     9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sun.   Closed

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