Adult Literacy Program
The Program Background
One out of every five American adults has trouble with day-to-day literacy activities. Things like reading a prescription label, writing a phone message, identifying the differences between cat food and tuna fish are impossible tasks. This does not mean these adults lack intelligence. It simply means they did not get the kind of reading and writing help they needed when they were young. The problem exists in big cities and in rural areas. It exists in Beaumont.
In 1993, the Beaumont Library District, under the administration of Clara DiFelice Library Director, received funding from the California Literacy Campaign and the U.S. Department of Education to start a literacy program. She engaged La Vergne Rosow to design and coordinate a leading edge volunteer program based on her research. Twelve members of the community volunteered to become pilot tutors. After being paired with an adult learner, convenient times for both were established. Each tutor volunteered for a minimum of 50 hours or six months of student contact time. Most served as volunteers for considerably longer. Additional learners heard about the program from fliers, newspapers, TV public service announcements, radio programming, or word of mouth. Initially, most teams met at the Beaumont Library. As the program grew, the Beaumont community provided quiet places where two people could work together. San Gorgonio Hospital and Wyle Labs generously offered space in order to further the cause of literacy.
How to get involved!
VOLUNTEER AS A LITERACY TUTOR
Interested individuals attend an orientation meeting, followed by tutor training for those who decide to volunteer. Ongoing support for tutors and learners is readily available. Staff, more experienced tutors, and advanced learners in the program are all willing to help. Bi-monthly Tutor Roundtable meetings are held and Beaumont tutors are encouraged to attend. Materials, workbooks and other supplies used by tutors are made available by the program. Tutors are also provided with opportunities to attend local and regional workshops and conferences.
The Beaumont Library District has a rich collection of books on the subject of literacy development. Search Library Catalog using the following keywords: Literacy or Adult Education. These books are recommended to tutors, future tutors, parents who want to help their children become better readers and writers, students who plan to enter a teaching program, and others who are interested. There are also resources available to you on our Resources page that may help you as a tutor as well as Monthly Tutor Reports and Tutor Interest Forms.
SUCCESSFUL VOLUNTEER TUTORS:
- Read and write comfortably in English
- Are at least 21 years old
- Need no previous teaching experience
- Are stabe, mature women and men
- Have good listening skills and a great sense of humor
- Are flexible and nonjudgmental
- Have basic computer skills
- Are able to learn and use a variety of teaching methods, including computer assisted instruction (training is provided)
- Have patience and empathy
- Are willing to try new things
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Adults interested in enrolling as learners or volunteering as tutors may call the Adult Literacy Program office at 951-845-1357.
Learners will be invited to come in for a basic assessment to determine appropriate placement to help them reach their goals. Afterwards, the learner will have a follow-up interview to gather additional information so staff can prepare an individual learning plan.
ADULT LEARNERS ENTERING THE PROGRAM ARE:
- English speaking
- At least 16 years old and not in a regular high school ( continuation and adult education students are eligible)
- Women and men from diverse backgrounds
- Seeking better skills for their job futures
- Wanting to help their children succeed in school
- Often able to do some reading and writing, but not enough to participate effectively in today's rapidly changing world.
Each adult learner is unique. No two tutor/student pairs are alike. Following are just a few examples of successful outcomes for adult learners:
- Earned a GED
- Got the first job in her life
- Read to his child for the first time
- Entered community college
- Wrote a letter to a long-lost relative
- Wrote a poem to a spouse
- Discovered reading glasses were key
- Requested and got a promotion
- Entered a college teaching program
Have questions regarding Adult Literacy. The FAQ page can help answer questions that you may have.