Become A Volunteer
Our Ideal Volunteer Tutor
The ideal volunteer tutor is someone seeking to make a one-year commitment of two hours per week to help someone else make the change of a lifetime. For our volunteer tutors, an education background is helpful, but not necessary. The most important qualities are patience, an open mind, and resourcefulness. Tutors also need to be non-judgmental and sensitive to cultural differences. A GED or high school diploma is required. Ideal tutors enjoy seeing concrete outcomes from their efforts and sharing in the life-changing successes of others. See our full tutor position description here.
Five Steps to Become a Tutor
1. Contact the Literacy Council. Call (828)254-3442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you are interested in becoming a volunteer. We will get back to you within two business days.
2. Attend orientation. Orientations for the Adult Education or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs are held every month. Augustine Project® orientations are held at various dates and times in the month before Augustine Project® training, which typically takes places over two weeks during the summer.
3. Attend tutor training. Sign up for training at the end of the orientation session. Adult Education or ESOL tutors receive 15 hours of training. Augustine Project® tutors receive 70 hours of training.
4. Get matched with a student. The program director for your chosen program will match you with a student or small group of students who corresponds to your preferences. The program director will set the date, time, and location of your first meeting. After that, you will schedule your tutoring sessions directly with your student.
5. Start tutoring. Meet with your student(s) for at least two hours per week for a minimum of one year. Share your success stories with us, attend periodic in-service trainings to freshen up your skills, and proctor annual tests for your student.
Learn more about the tutor training for each program
Adult Education Tutor Training
Adult Education Tutor Training
Adult Education training is learner-centered and life skills-based. It equips volunteer tutors to work with adult students, understand language learning disabilities, and use phonics-based, multi-sensory instruction techniques.
The Literacy Council uses the Wilson Reading System, a research-based reading and writing program designed specifically for the at-risk adult and dyslexic student population.
The basic purpose of the Wilson Reading System is to teach the structure of words in the English language so that students can master the “coding system” for reading and spelling. This includes sight word instruction, fluency, vocabulary, oral expressive language development, and comprehension.
The quality and effectiveness of Wilson Reading System is further recognized by the State of North Carolina, which endorses it as one of four reading programs to be used to improve the performance and success of students with learning disabilities.
Learning to read is hard work – especially for the adult non-reader. During Adult Education tutor training, we encourage tutors to customize their lessons to fit the student’s needs and learning style, create exercises that are personal and relevant to the student’s life, and always be flexible, patient, and encouraging.
Course Outline: Adult Education Tutor Training
- Get to know the group.
- List 3 characteristics of an Adult Ed student.
- Describe dyslexia, dysgraphia, and auditory processing disorder.
- Identify and discuss challenges adult learners face.
- Review community resources available for students and tutors.
- Complete Tutor Preference Form.
- Identify the four components of the reading process.
- Discuss the Wilson Reading System and multi-sensory approach to teaching language.
- Take multi-sensory language instruction vocabulary quiz.
- Describe phonemic awareness skills.
- Practice phonemic awareness activities in small groups.
- Identify the structure of a lesson plan.
- Describe teaching techniques using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic channels.
- Learn tips for teaching vowel sounds.
- Practice in pairs teaching new sounds for reading and spelling using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic channels.
- Watch video of tutor-student pair working through a lesson together.
- Review the Wilson Reading System teaching sequence, lesson plan structure, and teaching procedures.
- Identify the six syllable types in English.
- Demonstrate how to teach spelling patterns and sight words.
- Brainstorm ways to supplement standard lesson plans.
- Demonstrate creative and helpful instructional activities.
- Complete evaluation of training sessions.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
The Literacy Council strives to make learning English both enjoyable and easily accessible for its students. Our tutor training is thorough and offers theoretical background in language acquisition and the learning process along with hands-on practice of teaching strategies and techniques recommended by experts in the field of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instruction. An important component of our ESOL tutor training is the opportunity to observe one or more of our tutoring sessions, and even to practice-teach one or more activities during a subsequent session. (This is optional for those with substantial teaching experience.)
We teach volunteer tutors to employ learner-centered, communication-based strategies. Each student’s educational background, employment history, home life situation, and personal goals for learning English are important factors in designing their instruction program. We always teach language in the context of life skills and we use various types of multi-sensory activities through each lesson.
Some examples of methods and activities that tutors are taught and encouraged to use in their lessons are: Total Physical Response, dialogues, role-plays, the Language Experience Approach, and various conversation games.
A language lesson might involve role-playing a visit to a doctor, an upcoming job interview, or a parent-teacher conference. Students might read and explain a teacher’s homework assignment, or view photos of favorite foods and create a shopping list.
Students learn best when tutors incorporate real-life situations and materials into their lessons. Students are welcome to suggest topics that are relevant to their daily lives and allow them to practice their English.
The Literacy Council has a substantial resource library that includes a variety of textbooks, sample lesson plans, and instruction aids for use by our tutors. We provide each student with a textbook carefully chosen to suit his/her English level, educational background, and learning goals. Tutors are encouraged to take advantage of the resource library for additional materials to supplement the student text.
Course Outline: ESOL Tutor Training
- Discuss the cultures, needs, and goals of LCBC’s ESOL students
- Examine the six ESOL levels and the evaluations used to determine them, including the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS )
- Explore a typical adult ESOL textbook
- Observe (on video) a demonstration of utilizing visuals in teaching adult ESOL
- Experience as a learner and then practice as a teacher two techniques for teaching vocabulary
- Explore several examples of vocabulary practice activities
- Observe (on video) an adult ESOL vocabulary lesson
- Experience as a language learner a lesson from a popular ESOL reader
- Observe (on video) two adult ESOL reading lessons
- Review basic grammar tenses
- Observe (on video) an adult ESOLgrammer lesson
- Identify the stages of a lesson and suggested activities for each stage
- Provide ESOL Director with availability and tutoring preference information
Should I be a tutor? What’s involved?
Understand the Commitment
Tutors agree to provide the student with at least 40 hours of total tutoring time. These 40 hours consist of 2 hours per week of direct one on one service within 9-18 months after they are matched. Tutoring should generally take place 2-3 times per week. It will be important for tutors to be proactive in terms of communicating with the student’s school to coordinate tutoring times, share observations about the student’s needs, and ensure they are providing consistent tutoring to the student
Orientations will allow us to share the history of the Augustine Project®, the scope of the tutor training and support, as well as the details about the volunteer commitment required. Individuals who are interested in learning more about becoming an Augustine tutor should email email@example.com or call (828) 254-3442 x 202 to reserve a space in an upcoming orientation.
Individuals who have completed orientation must submit an Application for Augustine Project® Tutor Training as well as information for a background check. While our training costs are over $600 per trainee, we ask that you pay only $200 to minimally cover the cost of your books and materials, which you keep. Limited scholarship funds are available. Full details will be discussed at the orientation meetings. Class size is limited.
Topics Covered in Classroom Training
- definition and characteristics of dyslexia
- understanding poverty & reading problems
- principles of multisensory language education
- assessment instruments and procedures
- introduction to the Wilson Reading System materials
- lesson plan format & procedures
- phonemic awareness games & activities
- alphabetic principle (phonics)
- 6 syllable types
- spelling rules & generalizations
- strategies for improving fluency
- strategies & activities for teaching vocabulary
- strategies & activities for improving comprehension
- handwriting instruction
- teaching written expression
- phonics games & activities
- working within the schools
- advocating for a student’s needs
- sexual ethics training
Training culminates in a celebratory party with practicum students and Augustine Project® supporters.
Note: Up to 6 CEU credits are available for those needing NC teacher renewal credit.
Meet Your Student
The Literacy Council will help facilitate your match with a low-income child reading, writing, or spelling below grade level. We may match you with a student from our waiting list, or contact a school and request that they select an appropriate student for you. If you are a teacher or work at an afterschool program, etc. you may already have identified a child in need of tutoring. If this is the case, you are welcome to work with the student you have in mind, provided he/she is behind grade level and would qualify for free or reduced lunches through the school system.
Prepare & Deliver at Least 40 Hours of Tutoring
Tutoring usually takes place twice a week – some tutors see their students more frequently – at the child’s school during the school day if the teachers and administration are amenable. Alternate tutoring sites may include afterschool programs or community centers. Lessons last about 50 minutes.
Tutors may borrow phonetically controlled books and other materials from the Literacy Council library and are encouraged to call the project director or their practicum supervisor for advice. An “inservice” meeting where tutors and trainers can share lesson planning ideas is scheduled every month. The project director and/or a practicum supervisor observes each trainee in the course of his or her tutoring to ensure fidelity to the program and also provide support and suggestions.
Post-test Your Student & Return Results to the Literacy Council
Tutors administer pre and post testing for their students in phonological awareness, word attack skills, fluency, comprehension and spelling. Results must be documented and returned to the program director at the Literacy Council. You’ll receive a certificate of completion and thanks for your service. After this point, many tutors choose to continue their service by tutoring thier student through another school year or taking on a new student.