5 Resources for Free Reading and Adult Literacy Education Online

See our list of the top free online resources for reading and adult literacy. Learn about what courses are available, what topics they cover and whether you can use them to get college credit.

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Online Reading Education for Credit

Online reading education that's free won't provide college credit. lessons have a low fee, but many of them can lead to credit. These online reading classes are designed to help you earn college credit by examination or pass the GED.

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Free Online Reading and Adult Literacy Course Info and Requirements

Students looking for online reading and adult literacy courses will find programs that make use of lesson plans, video lectures, slide shows and readings, which are aimed at improving a student's reading and speaking skills. While the courses are free of charge, students may be required to purchase reading materials. These free online courses typically don't provide students with grades or credits.

The Open University

  • Exploring the English Language focuses on the English language and developments that occurred throughout that languages history. For example, students look at linguistic and grammatical properties of language. Course activities challenge students to recognize nouns, verbs and adjectives in sentences and match words with their definitions. The course includes downloadable video content and text documents as well.
  • Reading helps students build skills for both leisurely reading and academic reading. Students in this course build their skills through a series of lectures and practical activities in areas such as skimming, speed-reading and active reading. The course uses online learning tools such as knowledge maps and learning clubs. The eight-hour program consists of six lessons.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation is designed for high and intermediate-level ESL students. The course aims to make these students more comfortable with English expressions, idioms and gambits. Students can explore video lectures in areas such as sentence stress, rhythms and prominence, which are downloadable. The school also offers study materials that examine connected speech, compounds, intonation, vowels and positional variation.

ProLiterary Education Network

  • Recognizing the Main Idea is designed to help readers identify a foundational part of any type of literature: the main idea. Students participating in this activity read a series of interactive paragraphs. They are then asked to identify the author's main idea in each example. This course presents each example in both text and audio formats.


  • Understanding What You Read is a series of videos about reading designed to help adult students learn language and communication skills. There are an array of video lessons that cover topics like reading newspapers, reading poems, summarizing and even reading medicine labels. TV411 also features web lessons on scanning for specifics, reading the fine print and using context clues. Print downloads are also available.

Goodwill Community Foundation

  • Grammar Briefs include lessons and videos that teach students basic skills about sentences, contractions, possessives, various forms of punctuation and more.
  • Reading Activities allow students to engage in interactive projects as they build essential letter and word recognition skills.
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