Literacy DuPage tutors and student win Spotlight on Literacy Awards

Updated 2/9/2021 12:17 PM

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White recently announced the winners of the 2020 Spotlight on Literacy Awards, which recognize participants in Illinois literacy programs.

Literacy DuPage, one of the state's largest volunteer tutor literacy organizations, is proud that one of its students received the Spotlight on Achievement Award and two volunteer tutors accepted the Spotlight on Service Award.


Due to restrictions involving the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual in-person ceremony was cancelled.

"I am honored to congratulate these outstanding students for their hard work and determination to achieve lifelong reading and learning skills," White said. "Many of them have had to overcome great difficulties and personal obstacles to reach this level of achievement. I am also proud to recognize our outstanding volunteer tutors for their generosity and encouragement in helping literacy students achieve their highest potential."

Literacy DuPage offers free, customized, one-on-one English literacy tutoring for adults. Established in 1972, Literacy DuPage serves more than 500 adult learners in more than 30 communities throughout DuPage County, enlisting its big-hearted army of over 400 volunteer tutors.

Award winners

• Maria Wisniewski emigrated with her family from Poland and had limited opportunities to speak, read, or write English regularly. Wanting to improve her language skills, she sought the help of tutors at Literacy DuPage. She has blossomed during the past year, speaking, reading, and writing English. She helps translate English instructions to her co-workers and recently read her first novel in English. Wisniewski also participates in a conversation group at her local public library.

• Sue Jones joined Literacy DuPage in 2012 after retiring from her private practice law firm. Over the years, she initiated three conversation groups, two at the Wheaton Public Library and one at the West Chicago Public Library. Sue looks for creative ways to help her learners and works hard to connect with them on a personal level. Her attitude creates a safe, friendly, and warm environment in the groups, in which multiple learners with varying native languages come together to practice English conversation.

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• Since arriving at Literacy DuPage in 2014, Barbara Langfeld has been assigned 15 different learners, who hail from Mexico, Venezuela, South Korea, India, China, Serbia, and Belarus. She takes the time to get to know each student. The learners share with Langfeld what they aspire to achieve, and she helps them accomplish their goals in a practical, supportive, and methodical manner. She devotes a minimum of nine hours of volunteering each week for one-on-one tutoring and preparation time. She is a true cheerleader of her learners and celebrates each success and accomplishment along the way.

Literacy DuPage serves adult men and women of all ages, nationalities, and social backgrounds. Some students are native English speakers, yet most are immigrants. Tutors assist learners in improving their reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills, allowing them to be more independent and successful at home, at work, and in the community.

To become a volunteer, make a donation, or get details, call Literacy DuPage at (630) 942-5210 or visit

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