January 19, 2010

Racine Literacy Council needs tutors; 16 and up can volunteer

Kay Gregor, head of the Racine Literacy Council, sent over an urgent note this morning seeking volunteers for RLC's adult literacy programs.

"We have so many adults who are on the waiting list – it is sad to put them on a year’s waiting list," she wrote. "Reminder: high school students 16 or older make great tutors."

Here's the council's full press release about its need for tutors:

The Racine Literacy Council (RLC) is in need of volunteers to tutor adults who want to learn English or improve basic literacy skills. We have a shortage of tutors and are offering an additional informational meeting on Tuesday, January 26 at 6: 30 p.m. at the Racine Literacy Council, 734 Lake Ave. Persons interested in becoming a tutor with the Racine Literacy Council Adult Tutoring Program are encouraged to attend the one hour meeting to learn about the tutoring experience.

According to Kay Gregor, Executive Director, the need is most apparent with 96 adults on the waiting list. Some have been waiting since March 2009. Last week a woman came in referred by Head Start. Unfortunately, she will have to wait almost a year before she can take the RLC placement exam. Even learners who have taken the placement exam have to wait a bit longer. One woman who went through the intake process in September is hoping that she will have a tutor soon. She wants to improve her English so she can get a promotion at work, to understand her children better when they speak English, and to be able to write checks.

Noted Gregor, “Often there is a misconception that a tutor needs to be able to speak another language, like Spanish, to be a tutor. This is not true. All instruction is done in English and the tutor training makes it possible.” The RLC program has served people from 25 different countries over the past several years. There are also 20 adults waiting for a tutor to help them work towards their GED and to improve basic reading and writing skills. Last year 355 adult received tutoring, with 128 volunteer tutors.

This is an exciting time at the RLC, as the organization will soon have additional tutoring space in the newly remodeled lower level. The agency is in the process of completing the renovation of the basement at the RLC building. This will add three new classrooms, a computer lab, and additional tutoring space. It is slated to be completed by March 1. The project is being paid for by funds from the Johnson Fund, a City Community Development Block Grant, UW Parkside Capacity Building Grant for Non- Profits, and contributions from many individuals.

The next tutor training takes place on the first three Saturdays in February: 6, 13, and a half day on February 20 at the Racine Literacy Council. The training covers how to work with an adult learner, an introduction on how to teach reading and writing to adults, techniques to teach English to non-native speakers, and a review of the books and materials used in the program. No teaching experience is needed. The obligation after the training is to work with an adult learner for two hours per week. The day and time for the tutoring is set by the tutor and students schedule. Tutoring may take place from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Thursday at the RLC. Other tutoring locations include churches and public libraries throughout Racine County. For more information call the RLC at (262) 632-9495 or check the website at www.racineliteracy.com.

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