Frequently Asked Questions by Students
Q: How do I sign up to be a student?
A: We have a simple 5-Step Process.
Step 1: Call or visit the Literacy Council.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment with the Adult Education Coordinator or attend ESOL Student Orientation.
Step 3: Complete assessment testing.
Step 4: Be matched with a tutor.
Step 5: Attend tutoring sessions.
Q: Do you offer group classes or individual tutoring?
A: Most of our instruction is conducted one-on-one by trained volunteers. We do have several small group ESOL classes, in most cases consisting of fewer than ten people.
Q: How often do classes or tutoring sessions meet?
A: A minimum of two hours per week for at least nine months. Students and tutors collaborate on the best time of day and day of week.
Q: Where are tutoring sessions held?
A: Most students meet their tutors at the Literacy Council office. Others choose to meet at pre-approved locations such as public libraries, churches, community centers, workplaces, and occasionally students’ or tutors’ homes. We work with each student and tutor to find a convenient and comfortable meeting place.
Q: Is there a fee?
A: Tutoring is offered free of charge. We do request that students make a donation of $25 to offset the cost of their workbooks and materials. If this presents a hardship, the Literacy Council has scholarship funds available and can waive this book fee upon request.
Q: How can I learn to read?
A: Many people have a hard time with reading, spelling, or both. It’s quite common for people to feel ashamed of their reading difficulties, especially when they are competent in so many other areas. The first requirement is that you sincerely want to learn to read and are willing to work hard and put in the effort. The next requirement is proper teaching methods. The Literacy Council uses the Wilson Reading System, which has been proven to work again and again with adults and children who could not learn reading through methods taught in the public schools. At the Literacy Council, our strategy involves structured individualized lessons, patient tutors, lots of review, multi-sensory instruction, and real-life content. Yes – there is hope. Yes – you can learn to read!
Q: Can you help me get my GED?
A: Yes. Once you are reading English at the 10th grade level, your tutor can help you prepare for the GED. Most of our GED-prep students also utilize the services of the A-B Technical College GED program. Our tutors provide extra review and study help. Additionally, tutors can provide information about the GED tests, arrange for GED orientation and pre-testing, and help students sign up for online classes.
Q: How long does it take to learn English?
A: This varies greatly depending on your current English level, exposure to conversational English outside the tutoring session, your age, and your educational background. Most experts estimate that it takes between five and seven years to become proficient in another language.
Q: Do you offer U.S. citizenship classes?
A: If your primary goal is to pass the U.S. Naturalization Exam, and you are at the intermediate level of English, we can assign you a tutor who has been specially trained to help you prepare for and pass the exam.
Q: Do you speak my language – Spanish, Russian, other?
A: We have staff members at the Literacy Council who are fluent in Spanish, Russian, and German. They can help you get started in our ESOL program. Some of our volunteer tutors also speak a variety of languages. However, we do not require that tutors speak a second language. In fact, we’ve learned that students sometimes progress more rapidly if their tutor does not know their native language. We work with non-English speaking students every day, so never fear talking to us and making yourself understood.
Our 300+ students prove there is help for non-readers.
… Alice learned to read at age 74.
…Bill proved the “experts” wrong – he learned to read and holds a job.
…Maria wants to renew her nursing certificate.
…Jose owns his own business and is sending his three children to college.
…Luz now teaches ESOL classes and opened a day care center.
…Many students plan to enter a GED prep program.
…Nearly 60 students have earned their U.S. citizenship.