DANVILLE — Danville Area Community College’s Reader’s Route seeks volunteer tutors to help adults learn to read, write and improve math skills.
Forty-five million people in the United States are functionally illiterate. The Reader’s Route literacy program provided by DACC’s adult education division hopes to change that number with the help of volunteer tutors who help people learn to read or read better.
“We’d like to have a dozen tutors,” said Laura Williams, director of adult education at DACC. “We have a couple of tutors retiring.”
The tutor training sessions are set to begin in mid-June to prepare volunteers who want to help adults with basic reading, math and conversational skills.
“Tutors don’t have to be a specialist in any specific thing,” Williams said.
For example, the program helps 20 to 25 English as a Second Language students who need to hear tutors talk and with whom they can practice conversational English, Williams said.
The tutor training sessions will be offered from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, June 16, 23 and 30, at the DACC Village Mall location.
“We try to offer the training at different places (throughout the year) to accommodate as many people as possible,” she said.
As part of the training, volunteers will observe an actual tutoring session at the college, scheduled at the convenience of the prospective tutor. The volunteer also will learn basic reading techniques.
Tutors are asked to commit to a minimum of one hour per week or several hours every other week. Tutors can work with individuals one-to-one or with small groups of learners. Most of the tutoring takes place onsite at the college.
The Reader’s Route pairs volunteer literacy tutors with adults who are 16 years old or older and who read below the ninth-grade level.
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The tutors assist students with reading, writing and math as well as comprehension and word recognition.
The requirements to be a volunteer tutor include having completed high school themselves, being at least 18 years old, having the desire to be a tutor and being flexible. Prospective tutors also will have to submit to a background check and participate in an hour-long session on sexual harassment.
The tutor training curriculum was rewritten a few years ago to include observation. It provides an opportunity for prospective tutors to observe an actual tutoring session.
Tutors do not have to be bilingual, and all hours of training are required.
The Readers Route program, which is in its 32nd year in Danville, is made possible with a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a division of the Office of Secretary of State, using state funds designated for literacy.
Williams said when her office applied for the grant to continue the literacy program, the Secretary of State’s office was surprised at the lengthy duration of the local program.
“They can’t believe we’ve continued it for this long,” she said, adding that there continues to be a need for the program in the community.
To learn more, contact Williams at 443-8878.
The Danville Area Community College’s Reader’s Route will have a training session for new tutors from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, June 16, 23 and 30, at the DACC Village Mall location. If interested, please contact Laura Williams at 443-8878.