While the ability to read and write is often taken for granted by many, it is not a guaranteed skill set shared by everyone. With this in mind, LearningQuest’s Adult Literacy Program is hoping to recruit more volunteer tutors to help adult students throughout Stanislaus County improve their basic reading and writing skills in order to achieve their individual goals — whether it is earning a high school diploma or getting a promotion at work.
Literacy Program Manager Natalie Ochoa said that there are currently 25 to 30 adults currently on the program’s waiting list, which is why LearningQuest is actively looking to enlist the help of volunteer tutors.
“So many people take it for granted that they can read, so you just never know who’s out there who can’t read,” said Ochoa. “That’s why this is an amazing program.”
Students who are currently registered for the program and awaiting tutors include a 46-year-old man who fluently reads and writes in Spanish, but hopes to improve his reading and writing skills in English to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma; a 32-year-old woman who was born in Kuwait that can speak four languages, but is looking to improve her reading, writing and conversational skills in English; and a 50-year-old South Korean man who teaches Korean in Modesto and wants to improve his reading and writing skills in English to help him pass the CBEST test so he can teach high school.
“For a lot of our students, English is their second language, so they are able to communicate with me in English, but maybe their reading skills are too low and they want to improve them in order to get a High School Equivalency,” said Ochoa. “Some were born and raised here, but maybe were pushed through the system. Although they might already have a job because of their high school diploma, their reading levels are at fourth or fifth grade. So, if they maybe want a promotion or they want to improve their communication skills, they come to us for help.”
Volunteers will be trained to work one-on-one with adult students who would like to learn how to read and write in a way that will allow them to achieve their individual goals. Students and tutors will meet in a public setting for three hours a week for a span of at least six months. Training, materials and ongoing support will be provided.
“Teaching an adult how to read is one of the most gratifying volunteer experiences,” said Ochoa. “You will receive the tools and support you need to help another adult learn to read.”
Ochoa said that the program currently has about 100 tutor-student pairings throughout Stanislaus County. She said that while LearningQuest’s main tutoring office is located in the Modesto Library, volunteer tutors and students can meet at any public setting that is both quiet and convenient for them.
“We actually serve anyone in Stanislaus County, so if I have a tutor who comes to us from Turlock, I try to find them a student who lives in Turlock, and then they can meet at the Turlock Library,” said Ochoa.
The Literacy Program orientation will take place on from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on April 6, followed by training from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 8. Both sessions will take place at LearningQuest, 1032 11th Street in Modesto. The cost to attend is $10.
Learning Quest’s tutoring office is located at the Modesto Library, 1500 I Street in Modesto. For more information or to register for training, call 558-2505 or visit lqslc.com.