Being able to read the English language is a skill that most of us take for granted. Those who are unable to do so, however, are reminded every day that part of the world around them is inaccessible. Fortunately, the Pleasanton Public Library sponsors an adult literacy program, Pleasanton Reads, which works to bring the gift of reading to adults throughout the community and which is now actively seeking volunteer tutors to help reach even more students.
Currently, the program has between 65 and 70 students and 58 tutors, with over 100 potential students waiting for tutors to become available. Training, materials, and ongoing support are all provided at no cost to teachers.
"Our training essentially gets a volunteer to understand what it takes to encourage an adult who is struggling with reading, either because they have struggled through school growing up or because English is their second language," says Morgan Mitchell, the program's head. "Our volunteers are simply trained to understand how to help that person learn faster."
Those enrolled in the program are unanimous in their praise, says Mitchell. "The students love it - they absolutely love it. Many of them are university educated in other countries but they really need to be fluent in English - and that's writing and reading and understanding - before they can be successful in our society."
Those interested in becoming Pleasanton Reads tutors are invited to attend two meetings to receive their training. The first meeting takes place on Monday, January 30 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the large meeting room at the Pleasanton Public Library at 400 Old Bernal. The second meeting follows in the same location on Saturday, February 4 from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. "The first date is a brief introduction and overview to the program," says Mitchell. "The Saturday training is where we really get down to it and they learn how to teach another adult how to read in English."
Mitchell explains that one of the program's chief needs is volunteers with flexible schedules. "The ideal adult volunteer is someone who has some flexibility in terms of what times they could meet with students. Our program is one-on-one and students need to meet at all different times - some during the day, some in the evening, and some on weekends. Tutors and students make the decision between themselves; they arrange the best time and the best place to meet, with most of them meeting in the library."
To learn more about the program or to reserve a place at the training sessions, contact Mitchell at (925) 931-3411.
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