Of adults with the lowest literacy levels, 43 percent live in poverty. Seventy percent of adult welfare recipients have low literacy levels. Because half of American adults have trouble understanding and using health information, more than $230 billion in health care costs is linked to low adult literacy each year.
The fact is, health, poverty, economic growth, and every other socioeconomic issue intersects with adult literacy. By enabling adults to gain the basic skills they need, there can finally be an end to the intergenerational cycles of low literacy and poverty.
What It Is to Be a Volunteer Adult Literacy Tutor
Volunteer tutors are pillars of strength for adult learners who are trying to gain the literacy skills they need to live a higher quality of life. Tutors are the foundation of community and socioeconomic growth.
Volunteer tutors are tremendously valuable to any adult literacy program. But a program’s success increases when its tutors are prepared with the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to help adult learners improve their literacy skills and quality of life.
To help tutors be more prepared, ProLiteracy is developing new tutor training to utilize instructor-friendly technology that will reflect the latest research, best practices, and most innovative strategies in the field. Basic literacy and English language learning (ELL) tutors will have access to a comprehensive selection of training materials that can be applied to a variety of instructional settings and used online or face-to-face.
For tutor training to be successful, ProLiteracy has learned from its members that programs need a blend of online and face-to-face training materials, materials that can be scaled to different sized instructional settings, and materials that cover topics such as advanced instruction techniques, goal setting, lesson planning, and foundational literacy concepts.
Shaping Future Volunteer Adult Literacy Tutors
Based on member feedback, ProLiteracy implemented the following into our user-friendly technology platform that enables a more manageable learning environment:
- Updated guidelines and content based on modern literacy and ELL instruction
- An expanded collection of videos demonstrating several teaching approaches and strategies
- A flexible modular design that can be incorporated into existing tutor trainings
- A wide variety of lesson plans and classroom activities that can be adapted to any curriculum
Our newly developed tutor training will encourage a more progressive approach that encompasses both the traditional face-to-face method of training, and the use of evolving online content. Trainers will be able to:
- Download materials — such as trainer’s manuals with speaker notes, PowerPoint slides, handouts, and videos — to integrate into existing in-person training methods
- Assign online training courses to potential tutors that can be completed at their own pace
The online and print training materials can be used to:
- Prepare tutors before their in-person training begins
- Provide alternative, quick, and easy training when an in-person session does not fit everyone’s schedule
- Offer make-up training for missed sessions
- Provide multiple pathways to meet the training needs of diverse volunteer populations
- Offer continued education and support for tutors
The new tutor training will be available this fall. The online training modules and in-person workshop materials will be free to ProLiteracy members through ProLiteracy Education Network. Materials will be available to non-member programs for a fee. To learn more, visit ProLiteracy Education Network at proliteracyednet.org. You can also gain more insight and register to attend the 2017 ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Literacy where Tutor Training is planned to be launched.