City of Longview

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

Project READ - Adult Literacy Volunteer Tutoring Program

1. Who are the learners you serve?
Project READ serves adult learners who are trying to improve their reading, math, writing, English, preparing for the GED, or preparing for the Citizenship exam. Learners are considered Adult Basic Education (ABE) learners or English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. ABE learners are usually native English speakers who need to improve basic skills, obtain a GED, or prepare for specific tests and evaluations. ESL learners are traditionally immigrants or refugees who range in ability from literacy levels ("What is your name?") to transitional English, which is pre-college level. ESL learners in our program come from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and South America. Learners range in age from 17 to 70.

2. What are the needs of the learners?
ABE learners request assistance with reading, writing, spelling, math, or test preparations. ESL learners request assistance in developing their English speaking, listening, pronunciation, reading and writing skills. Nearly all the learners benefit from the personal attention to their learning goals. As they improve their skills, their self-confidence increases.

3. What services do you offer learners?
Learners are eligible for two hours of tutoring per week.

4. What would I do as a tutor?
There are several ways that tutors can provide help: first, working with a learner one-on-one; second, working in a small group situation; or third, participating in an ESL conversation group.

5. What is the time commitment involved?
Tutors are asked to commit to a minimum of two hours per week for six months.

6. Where does tutoring take place?
All tutoring takes place in the Longview Public Library.

7. What kind of training or support would I receive as a tutor?
Tutors are required to attend an 8-hour training session. This training will provide an overview of cultural issues, teaching strategies, and specific activities for your tutoring sessions. Individual training and quarterly sessions providing specific material training or tutor sharing opportunities are offered throughout the year. The Adult Literacy Coordinator will provide information, guidance, and training. Project READ maintains a collection of literacy materials for use by the learners and tutors.

8. What qualities are you looking for in a tutor?
One of the most important qualities in serving as a tutor is having respect for the life experiences of each learner. Tutors should be supportive of the learner's effort and help him/her to build confidence as well as skills. Patience and enthusiasm are also valuable traits in empathizing with the learner's situation and encouraging her/him to be excited about learning. Creativity and flexibility are also key factors in that tutors must be willing to explore a variety of ways to best assist their learner.

9. What challenges might I face as a tutor?
As a tutor, you will face different types of challenges. Parking is an issue at the library at different times, especially during the book sales. Scheduling can be a challenge due to changes in availability because of work or family commitments. As these changes occur, the coordinator tries to make the transitions as smooth as possible. Also, developing activities for the tutoring sessions can be challenging. The coordinator will provide as many ideas and suggestions as necessary and the library materials contain many interesting and effective activities.

10. What do I do next if I am interested in volunteering?
You need to fill out an application packet to be a volunteer. You can request one from Elizabeth Partridge in the Project READ area. We will schedule an interview with you to explore your interests and concerns and clarify the details of the volunteer positions. We will then find a suitable match for you and discuss training, scheduling and materials for tutoring. Then you can begin to enjoy your experience helping learners reach their learning goals!