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Delaware Literacy Alliance: Join the Movement for Literacy in Delaware

Join us at the Delaware Literacy Alliance as we spearhead a transformative literacy movement. Our collaboration with key partners, including the Delaware Division of Libraries and Literacy Delaware, is paving the way for lifelong learning and success in our communities. This journey is about more than just reading and writing; it’s about equipping every Delawarean with the tools for a brighter, more informed future. 

Your involvement is crucial—each contribution helps us advance toward a literate, informed, and thriving Delaware.

Addressing Delaware's Literacy Crisis

We face a stark reality in Delaware—a significant literacy gap that threatens our community’s future. While we’ve made strides, the challenge remains substantial, impacting individuals and the broader community.

Understanding Our Challenge 

Approximately 130 million adults in the U.S. 
lack basic literacy proficiency. 
of Adults
0 %
In Delaware, 20.3% of adults have low literacy skills. 
Around 129,649 adults in Delaware read below a third-grade level. 
at Grade Level
0 % Reading
Only 35% of Delaware’s third graders read at grade level in 2021. 
Language Arts
0 % Proficient in
During the 2021-2022 school year, just 42% of Delaware students were proficient in language arts. 

Why Literacy Matters  

Take a Stand for Literacy: Confronting Delaware's Urgent Challenge 
A Nationwide Crisis, Echoed in Delaware

Literacy isn’t just about reading and writing—it’s a fundamental right that shapes our future. Across America, approximately 130 million adults lack basic proficiency, with 43 million unable to read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level.

Unfortunately, Delaware’s statistics are very similar to these national metrics, with approximately 20.3% of adults facing low literacy, causing Delaware to rank 26th out of 50 states for literacy rates.

Delaware's Critical Crossroads

This crisis hits close to home in our state. Nearly one in five adults grapple with basic literacy, ranking Delaware 26th in the nation. Our children’s future is at stake, too, with less than half achieving proficiency in reading and even fewer excelling in math.

The Ripple Effect

Low literacy is more than a personal struggle—it’s a trigger for broader social issues, impacting economic stability, food and housing security, healthcare quality, and even mental health and public safety. It affects all, cutting across socio-economic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and genders, leaving a mark on every corner of Delaware.

Join the Movement

The power to vote, learn, work, and live with dignity all start with literacy. It’s time to face this challenge head-on. Delaware calls for your engagement and action to remove the barriers to literacy. Together, we can write the future, one word at a time. By addressing Delaware’s literacy shortfalls and their socioeconomic consequences, we can pave the way for future growth. Join the movement for a 100% literate Delaware!

Introducing the

Delaware Literacy Alliance

In response to Delaware’s critical literacy challenges, we are proactively transforming the state’s literacy landscape. Our comprehensive approach includes integrating literacy into key policy and community health areas, revitalizing school libraries, initiating adult literacy programs, and implementing workforce literacy training. This strategic, intergenerational plan elevates literacy at all life stages, ensuring every Delawarean can thrive in an empowered, literate society.

Literacy Best Practices

Leading the adoption of effective and culturally sensitive literacy practices in education sectors.

Literacy Awareness

Elevating the importance of literacy as a critical driver for equity through comprehensive awareness campaigns.

Literacy Access

Developing a comprehensive system to support individuals with low literacy, ensuring accessible and appropriate interventions.

Literacy Collaboration

Establishing a robust operational framework to drive literacy initiatives across Delaware.

Literacy Policy

Comprehensive Literacy Advocacy. Fostering systemic changes to enhance literacy and promote equity for all Delaware residents.

Aligned with Excellence 

The Delaware Literacy Alliance proudly operates under the collective impact model, guided by the nationally recognized Baldrige Excellence Framework. As part of the Communities of Excellence (COE), we are committed to implementing a congressionally approved framework for success, ensuring large-scale social change through broad, cross-sector coordination.


Ensuring Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity in all our endeavors.


Building transparent, empathetic, and trusting relationships.

Engaging communities and partners for collective action.
Being agile and responsive to the evolving needs of our community.

Join Our Literacy Efforts in Delaware

Become a part of the Delaware Literacy Alliance today. Work alongside us to help everyone in Delaware read and succeed. By joining us, you’ll connect with a dedicated team working towards a common goal: literacy for everyone.

Get to know our literacy plan for 2024-2027. It’s our roadmap to help people in Delaware thrive through reading and writing.
Take action with us. Whether it’s guiding a council, advising our team, or supporting literacy in schools, your role is important.

Learn More About Our Plan 

The ‘State of Literacy in Delaware’ report is a beacon of collective determination and insight, reflecting our united vision for a literate Delaware. It encapsulates the wisdom of experts, the resilience of advocates, and the success stories that fuel our journey toward literacy.

This document serves as a roadmap, drawing from innovative methodologies and collaboration across various sectors, underscoring our commitment to making literacy accessible to all.

Literacy Champions

Meet our Literacy Subcommittees. Join the movement!
Dr. Annie Norman

Chair: Annie Norman, PhD

State Librarian, Delaware Division of Libraries
Delaware Literacy Alliance

Dr. Annie Norman, Chair of the Delaware Literacy Alliance, brings her extensive background in community service, having served as the state librarian for over 22 years. Her experience and deep understanding of the value of collaboration are crucial to our mission. Dr. Norman is passionate about literacy, and her leadership is instrumental in crafting strategic initiatives and forging meaningful partnerships to promote literacy across the lifespan.

Cynthia Shermeyer

Co-Chair: Cynthia Shermeyer

Executive Director, Literacy Delaware
Delaware Literacy Alliance
As Co-Chair, Cynthia Shermeyer brings a wealth of experience in education as the Executive Director of Literacy Delaware, a 40-year-old organization supporting foundational adult literacy. Cynthia understands the importance of literacy, and her passion drives our efforts to create impactful change and foster widespread literacy awareness throughout Delaware.
Picture of Greg O'Neill

Chair: Greg O’Neill

MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, NPD-BC - Patient & Family Health Education Director, ChristianaCare
Health Literacy

The Health Literacy Council of Delaware is committed to promoting optimal health through awareness, education, and advocacy of health literacy policies and practices. Our subcommittees—Policy and Advocacy, Education and Training, and Community Outreach and Engagement—work collaboratively to advance health literacy across the state, empowering leaders, organizations, and individuals to achieve better health outcomes.

picture of Diane Frentzel

Chair: Diane Frentzel

Program Manager, Delaware Readiness Teams
Early & Childhood Literacy

The Delaware Literacy Alliance’s Early Child Literacy Subcommittee is dedicated to advancing initiatives focused on developing foundational reading and writing skills in young children for academic success. It aims to build partnerships, enhance collaborations, and facilitate effective referrals for children in need of literacy intervention, ensuring access to high-quality services and materials, and raising awareness about the importance of early literacy.

Margie Cyr

Chair: Margie Cyr

Adult Literacy Project Specialist, Delaware Division of Libraries
Adult Literacy

The Delaware Literacy Alliance defines adult literacy as the ability to use printed and written information to effectively engage in society, accomplish personal goals, and enhance one’s knowledge and potential. The subcommittee is dedicated to fostering opportunities for all adults in Delaware to attain literacy, enabling them to achieve their goals and realize their fullest potential.

Our Partners

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