Our History

Early Days! First staff (L) and first women's group (R)

Throughout the 1980s, Canadians were becoming increasingly aware of the considerable literacy challenges experienced by many people in society. In 1987, Action Read was started as a project of the Centre for Employable Workers in response to the significant literacy needs of adults in Guelph, ON. Action Read set out to pair individuals who wanted help with trained community volunteers. From there, small group learning, family literacy and computer-based learning programs quickly emerged.

In 1991 Action Read became an independently incorporated charity. Throughout the 1990s, we moved several times to accommodate our growing programs. From 2000 until 2017 we were located at the Park Mall building in downtown Guelph. In April 2017 we came to our present location at 8 Cork Street East.

While many changes have occurred at Action Read since 1987, we remain a community-based agency committed to learner-centred programming, involvement and accessibility – the values that propelled us forward from the beginning. Adult learners are encouraged to participate on committees and to assist in volunteer capacities such as the Board of Directors or Hiring Committees. We work with over 125 volunteers annually who provide critical support in the areas of tutoring, front desk reception, committee work and administration. We have published 10 books through our own ‘Garlic Press’.

For almost three decades, literally thousands of Guelph residents have participated in the broad range of programs Action Read has developed. Our services help people transition to their goals for employment, training, education or further independence. To help meet these goals, we partner with many local organizations and literacy networks such as Continuing Education, Conestoga College, Project READ, and other Employment Ontario agencies.

Please check out Action Read’s organizational history, for more detailed information.