The Voice of Literacy in Central Oklahoma

Volunteer • Learn To Read • Support Literacy

Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition (OKCMLC) recognizes the power of linking stakeholders, neighborhoods and services together to increase literacy levels through coordinated, high-accountability service provision.

Our Goals

  • To ensure that anyone who wants literacy services can readily access them
  • To ensure that every literacy provider has the resources needed to provide the best possible services for every learner
  • To bring this community together in order to present a united voice for literacy

Our Vision

Metropolitan Oklahoma City is a fully literate community

This vision means the following statistics about Oklahoma City must change:

  • 4th grade reading scores at proficient and advanced levels range from 5% to 90%
  • High School Drop-Out rates range from 1% to 40%
  • In Oklahoma County, 1st to 3rd grade students in reading remediation range from 14% to 63%.
  • 20% of young adults lack their high school diploma in Oklahoma County

Our Values

  • We believe that metropolitan Oklahoma City can achieve 100% literacy.
  • We respect and learn from the experience of all segments of the community.
  • We believe in the wisdom of collective work and responsibility.
  • We are support all partners in a community who have a stake in increased literacy levels


Why a Coalition?

The significance of our low literacy problem is daunting. The issue must be addressed in a collaborative manner. Literacy and economic development go hand in hand.

Employers now find it more cost effective to relocate operations if they cannot find the skilled workers to meet their needs in the local area. A literacy system that begins in early childhood should scale up services for all members of the community and create a strong economic foundation for the region.

We educate our children because they will become the workers, citizens, parents and communities of tomorrow. But the educational needs of undereducated adults are just as real, and they are immediate. Adults at any time are the workers, citizens, tax-payers, parents, and communities of Today!


How We Began…

In response to increasingly low literacy levels in the metropolitan Oklahoma City area, concerned leaders from the Junior League of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Community Foundation, United Way of Central Oklahoma, Community Literacy Centers, Inc., and R.S.V.P. (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) convened the community to address literacy problems and find solutions.

Eight task forces were formed and worked for a year to develop a plan to increase literacy levels through a coordinating coalition.

  • Early Childhood/Family Literacy
  • Evaluation/Accountability
  • Curriculum/Best Practices
  • Funding
  • Learner Retention and Recruitment
  • Marketing
  • Non-profit/ESL/Faith-based Organizations
  • Workforce Partnerships

Representatives who work in a range of areas including civic, social services, faith, law enforcement, early childhood, education and workforce investment professionals met monthly over a year. Each task force was chaired by a community leader and a literacy provider. In all, over 80 people worked on the project. The task forces created a blueprint for literacy in our community and to implement that blueprint, the OKCMLC was formed. The founding of the Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition as a 501c3 was a direct result of  task force findings that there needed to be a centralized communication/ networking hub to bring together literacy services in our community.

Click here to read the report: Status of Literacy in OKC.

Moving Forward….

  • Provider Network Meetings – topics have included: Vision and Literacy, Financial Literacy Conflict Resolution, Communication and Social Media, Community Collaborations and Advocacy
  • Partner with literacy organizations and community groups for Book Distributions – Four annual Drop Everything And Read Day at the State Capitol – 400 at-risk students attended the most recent DEAR day on April 12, 2013
  • GED Fee Scholarships to those who have prepared for GED testing
  • Two help lines for those seeking literacy services
  • Tutor recruitment and referral
  • Provide membership to Re$ourceLine through Literacy Powerline for all OKCMLC members
  • Special Community Events that spotlight Literacy-The first statewide summit on Health Literacy in September 2012

Kris Steele and Andrew Rice at Network Provider meeting

Kris Steele and Andrew Rice at a  Network Provider Meeting – March 22013

Legislators at DEAR Day

Oklahoma State Representatives David Perryman, Jason Nelson and Joe Dorman at D.E.A.R – April 2013

Our Leadership

Board of Directors:

  • Mary Surbeck, Chair
  • Betsy Mantor, Treasurer
  • Alexandra Rupp, Secretary
  • Scott Butcher
  • Adrienne B. Elder
  • Bevan Graybill
  • Kathleen Lienke
  • Anika Wilson

You can join us today!

It is critical for all Literacy Efforts in central Oklahoma to receive our support and advocacy. If you would like to join the Board of Directors please email: and a Board member will contact you soon.

OKCMLC is a nonprofit 501 c 3. All donations are tax deductible.



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