Becoming a Literacy Volunteer
You Can Help
Volunteer tutors are the foundation of Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec (LVK). After completing the tutor training, volunteers tutors work with adults one-to-one, creating a very strong and unique learning partnership.
Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec (LVK) tutor training program is focused on ways to explore the adult learning process and supports a learner-centered instruction.
The training incorporates strategies that are especially effective in working with adult learners and suggests ways to use “real-life” materials in lesson planning. Training is based on material presented in the 8th edition of Tutor, published by New Reader’s Press, ProLiteracy’s publishing division, Syracuse, NY.
Tutor is a professionally designed and field-tested approach that provides:
- a theoretical and attitudinal base for working with adults
- demonstrations, discussions and rationale of needed skills and approaches for tutoring
- opportunities to practice skills in a collaborative environment
- a full complement of tools and case studies that will deepen learning.
The LVK tutor training program offers tutor training workshops designed to address the busy schedules of our volunteers. We work to give more options to our volunteers as well as ensure the availability of tutors to match the steady intake of new learners.
LVK also offers training following the I Speak English, Fifth Edition, by New Readers Press which is a guide to teaching English (listening, speaking, reading and writing) to speakers of other languages.
All volunteers are required to participate in a 1½ hour volunteer orientation. The focus of this workshop is to learn about the needs for adult literacy in our area and to introduce our agency and programs. Following this orientation, volunteers can decide what role they would like to take in our organization – tutoring a learner, assisting with fundraising, marketing, writing grants, joining our board of directors, or office support. There is no fee for the orientation workshop. Volunteers who wish to become a literacy volunteer tutor are required to participate in the 5-hour tutor training.
Volunteers who wish to become a literacy volunteer tutor, either at one of our Community Literacy Labs or with an individual learner, are required to participate in the following 5-hour tutor training. Training is most often divided into 2-evening sessions (usually 5:30-8pm) and often takes place the week following orientation. Often our winter session is a 6-hour workshop on a Saturday from 9am-3:30pm. There is a $15.00* fee for the manual, Tutor, Eighth Edition, by Ruth Johnson Colvin and published by New Readers Press (the publishing Division of ProLiteracy). This manual incorporates professionally accepted, integrated approaches to teaching adult basic literacy. *Currently through 2020, there is no fee for the training manual due to a generous grant from New Readers Press.
Volunteers, are asked to track and submit hours monthly, including preparation time, travel time, training, or doing on-line research about learning/teaching techniques. A simple email to the office is fine. Having an accurate count of volunteer time is helpful to LVK in applying for grants and in understanding the significant impact you are making in the community.
After a volunteer completes the tutor training, the executive director and the volunteer together choose an appropriate learner. Matches are based on needs of the learner, skills of the tutor, general preferences and availability of both tutor and learner. The executive director may facilitate the first tutoring session or the learner and tutor may do that independently. The first session incorporates initial introductions, discussing learner goals, scheduling meeting times and place, and generally getting to know each other. It is always important to remember that the relationship between tutor and learner is a collaborative relationship where each is learning from the other.
Technology Access Program:
Through generous support through the United Way of Kennebec Valley Covid-19 Relief Fund, Central Maine Power (CMP), Kennebec Savings, and the Maine Humanities Council, LVK is making tablets available to learners and tutors so they are able to work remotely. Many individuals with the proper skills and technology were able to continue to work, communicate, and maintain some normalcy in these trying times, yet many individuals with limited literacy skills were left behind. This program hopes to address these concerns, and help learners further expand their capabilities, as they learn the technology skills needed to thrive. Tutors who decide to meet virtually will have an initial training session with the LVK Technology Advisor to get set up with their tablets and will have ongoing access to the advisor to address needs as they arise.
The executive director is always available to answer questions, provide information and support to all tutors. Tutors are also asked to attend at least one tutor support workshop throughout the year. These workshops focus on a specific topic of interest such as using technology in tutoring, understanding learning disabilities, tutoring English Language Learners as well as providing a forum for tutors to discuss successes and frustrations, ask questions, get ideas and check out new material in the LVK Library.
Volunteer and potential volunteer tutors are encouraged to take advantage of courses offered through the ProLiteracy Education Network (EdNet). The service provides dozens of online professional training courses that volunteer tutors can complete at their own pace.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
- Participate on a committee, such as fundraising or planning.
- Volunteer to speak at local service organizations about the issue of literacy
- Help staff a Literacy Volunteers booth at area events.
- Search for/write grants to benefit LVK.
- Organize the library
- Participate on the Board of Directors.
For more information about Tutor Training opportunities at LVK, please contact Virginia Marriner, Executive Director by calling 626-3440 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org