What We Do

We teach students and train volunteers to teach reading,writing, math, computer skills, work skills, GED and citizenship using evidence based teaching methodology.

What is evidence-based instruction?  According to the International Reading Association (IRA), evidence-based instruction is an instructional approach, practice, or methodology that is derived from empirical research, resulting in reliable, trustworthy, and valid information suggesting that a program or practice is effective and that all proofs are scientifically based.  Professional wisdom, based on educators’ individual experiences are also sources of evidence.


The National Research Council has identified that adult education teachers help to advance learner goals when they:

  • Explicitly address foundation of reading and writing
  • Combine teaching and extensive practice using diverse and differentiated materials and approaches well-suited to learner
  • Develop leaners’ skills to ensure transference to highly valued tasks external to the classroom
  • Adjust instruction through frequent monitoring of and feedback on student progress.

An overview of studies on evidence-based research also suggests that effective instruction includes:

  • Designing learner-centered instruction
  • Developing standards-based instructional units and lesson plans
  • Using instructional techniques based in adult learning theory
  • Designing instruction to build on learners’ technology and media skills.

What does research tell us about adults learning to read? Unlike normally progressing young readers who have even reading profiles, 95% of ABE readers tend to have very uneven reading profiles.[1] Standardized reading assessments are not sufficient.[2] The TABE(Tests of Adult Basic Education) only measures text comprehension and does not provide any information about learners’ alphabetic, vocabulary and fluency skills. Educators find that it is helpful to use diagnostic assessments to pinpoint the individual needs of their learners and plan instruction that accelerates their reading acquisition. [3] We determined that there is a need to provide our students with diagnostic testing. The answer came when we were invited to participate in STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) Trainings.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) has developed STAR to provide states with the resources and training needed to improve the quality of reading instruction in adult education. STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) was created to improve the reading achievement of intermediate-level adult learners (GLE 4.0-8.9) in ABE. STAR provides teachers and administrators with web-based tools that translate reading research into practice, and high-quality training and technical assistance to build capacity for reading reform. The research produced findings that together form the basis of evidence-based practices. Among them:

There are four key component areas of reading: alphabetics (phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding), fluency (the ability to read accurately, at an appropriate rate, and with prosody), vocabulary, and comprehension. Learners’ strengths and weaknesses need to be assessed in each of the four components. Instruction should be based on assessment results. Instruction should be systematic, sequenced, direct, and explicit. Instruction and materials need to be engaging and relevant to learners’ needs. Instruction must be continuously monitored, by teacher and learners, to gauge its effectiveness. Those are exactly the practices that we use in education classes.

[1] Strucker, 1995

[2] STAR: Bridging Research and Practice

[3] Strucker, 1997

Our History

Created in 1986 by a group of individuals who saw a need in the community to teach English to Hmong refugees, the organization was first called Literacy Volunteers of America Chippewa Valley.  In 1988 Family Literacy program was added.

In 2007 the name was shortened to Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley (LVCV).

During our strategic planning sessions in 2015 the Board of Directors decided to update our name to Literacy Chippewa Valley (LCV).  Of  the 77 Wisconsin Literacy member agencies, only one other agency includes the word volunteer in its organizational title.  Of the over 200 non profits in the Chippewa Valley, nearly all agencies utilize volunteers.  None of them include the word volunteers in their title.  We heard from many stakeholders and funders that they thought we were all volunteers.  Although we depend on volunteer tutors, we have a small paid highly educated staff to assess students, match them with the appropriate tutor and train and support tutors.

Over the years we have been recognized nationally, regionally and at the state level as an exemplary literacy program. Past awards include:

  • Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Adult Education and Literacy Programs, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. (1998)
  • Literacy Volunteers of America Exemplary Practices Award (2000);
  • Governor’s Workforce Innovation Award (2000);
  • First Lady Jessica Doyle Award for Family Literacy (2005);
  • Advocacy Champion Award from the National Center for Family Literacy (2006); and
  • ProLiteracy Accreditation – highest national standards for volunteer literacy programs. (2009)

Our Partners

Community support is at the heart of everything we do. Each of our volunteers is committed to improving people’s lives right in their own community. We are well connected to the other service and education providers in each community and meet regularly.  See our full list of partners below.

Our Staff

Elizabeth Hart
Executive Director
(715) 834-0222 ext. 1
Marge Beebe
Data Coordinator
(715) 835-0610
Louise Bentley
Chippewa County Coordinator
(715) 738-3857
Debbie Erwin
Family Literacy Coordinator
(715) 835-0610
Kao Lor
Family Literacy Instructor
(715) 835-0610
Cheryl Sutter
Eau Claire Coordinator
(715) 834-0429
Dunn County Coordinator
(715) 233-5363

Our Board

Vice President
US Bank

Carlton Brumbelow

JAMF Software

Drew Duggan

JAMF Software

Spectrum Reach

Volume One

President, Board of Directors

Xcel Energy

Dean of Academic Development & Services
Chippewa Valley Technical College

Past President, Board of Directors

Wipfli LLC