Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley

“As a society it’s our responsibility to reach out and help people become good citizens, help them become contributing members of society. Why not give them the tools they need to contribute?” – Marisol Rodriguez, Executive Director, Literacy Connections


Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley provides adult basic literacy, English as a Second Language (ESL), and child literacy services to residents of Dutchess, Columbia, and Greene counties. One-on-one instruction is available for adults facing basic literacy challenges. “They’re trying to pay their bills, they’re trying to feed their kids, they’re trying to make that leap to the next step, whatever that is,” says Laura Lane, Literacy Connection’s Poughkeepsie area coordinator.

Because ESL needs have a greater emphasis on conversational use of the language, Literacy Connections offers drop-in centers where students can meet for group encounters and goals are student-centered. “If someone is looking to get their driver’s license, we use the driving manual as their text book,” says Rodriguez.

The Book Buddies program has had 150 volunteers donate over 2,000 hours of their time to help school children learn to read. Third grade is the point at which children should make the critical transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. If they don’t make that transition, there is a significant chance they will not complete high school.

Literacy Connections Book Buddies program coordinator, Judy Connolly, says, “Ninety percent of our students show improvement over the course of the school year.”

Education is a historic focus of the Dyson Foundation, and literacy is the most basic component of education. It contributes to the alleviation of poverty and the ability of a person to be fully involved in their families and communities. In 2016, the Dyson Foundation awarded a general operating support grant to Literacy Connections. This grant falls within the Enhancing Education and the Strengthening Nonprofits themes.