Literacy Volunteers of South Sarasota County needs volunteers in North Port to work with adults who are learning English as a Second Language, or who need help improving their reading and writing skills.

Tutors spend one to two hours per week one-on-one with their students plus another hour or two in preparation. Most tutor/student pairs meet in a public library or other public place for tutoring sessions.

Volunteers are trained free of charge by a ProLiteracy-certified tutor trainer. We also provide access to learning materials for all levels as well as for basic adult literacy. It is not necessary to have teaching experience or speak a foreign language.

Anyone who can read, write and speak English, and is willing to help someone, can become a trained tutor. We also have many other opportunities for volunteers to become involved with our organization, but tutors are our greatest need.

We not only match tutors with students individually, but also provide various classes of different levels of English as a Second Language. For these classes, we are seeking volunteers to substitute for some of the classes when the tutor is out for an extended period of time.

It’s important to our community for every adult resident to read, write and speak English. When workers can understand and speak English, they get better jobs, and their earning power contributes to the economy. Workplaces are safer, literate residents are less likely to be involved in crime. (At least 60% of prison inmates can barely read and write.) When parents learn to read, it’s an investment in the next generation.

Prior to attending tutor training, interested people are asked to attend an orientation session to learn more about becoming a Literacy Volunteer. These will be scheduled on an individual basis prior to Feb. 1.

The next tutor training will be held at the Shannon Staub Library, 4675 Career Lane, on two successive Saturdays. It will be necessary to attend both days. Pre-registration is required. The sessions are set for 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 1 and Feb. 8.

These two sessions will prepare attendees to become tutors. Tutors will have the opportunity to select a student to work with during this training program. We currently have over 60 students waiting for individual tutors, and more are signing up every day.

Many of the students have been on the waiting list for many months and up to more than a year. Our North Port population does not have as many retirees and it is therefore difficult to find a sufficient number of volunteer tutors. We are asking that anyone who can speak, read and write English consider becoming a tutor.

For more information or to register for an Orientation and Tutor Training Sessions being held in North Port, please contact me, Karen Bridegam, North Port Literacy Coordinator, at 941-861-1320, or north.port.literacy@gmail.com.

The Literacy Office hours are generally 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays and 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays. The North Port Library provides for office space as well as meeting and study rooms for tutors to use when meeting with their students. There is a very large supply of ESL and basic literature for the tutors’ use as well.

There are other orientation and tutor training sessions available, not only in North Port, but also in Venice. If the dates for this tutor training don’t fit into your schedule, please contact me to learn of other dates.

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