I started training to become a tutor...

for adult illiterates. Last night was my 1st of 3 3-hr observation periods. Then I will have a 3-hr period of hands-on training. After that I will be a tutor. :slight_smile:

The organization is The Houston Read Commission. It is free to the students, and is entirely non-profit. I am a volunteer. :slight_smile: This is the first time I have ever volunteered in the community, and I’m very excited.

There are three programs:

ABE - Adult Basic Education - includes basic math skills and Language Arts.
ESL - English as a Second Language
GED - GED (General Education Development) preparatory class. (Passing the test equals a high school diploma.)

I attended ABE. It is geared toward passing the GED test. It was a little strange for me at first. Reminded me of hgh school. Most of the students were in their early 20’s. Most of the students were Hispanic. Some African-Americans, some from other countries. I think I heard a Nigerian accent.

I’m excited! Sitting through the lessons was a little boring, but I learned some things too. I know I can help these people learn.


Congratulations !!! I commend you on volunteering your time for such a worthy cause.

I was involved with the adult literacy program here in San Diego a few years back. It was very rewarding, and we’ve staying in touch since the time we worked together (she had to move out of state).

I thought I’d pass along some tips (which they probably went over in your training. Your training is way more extensive than mine was, BTW):

  • Be prepared for a long term commitment. They told us most “assignments” lasted from 6 months to a year. I was working with my student for almost 2 and a half years (we met less and less regularly during the last year, though).

  • Also be prepared for “regressing”. It was kind of disheartening to find my student regressing in some areas. Not every week or session will show improvement - it’s not a steadily improving process. So be prepared to go over material more than once.

  • Keep your eyes open for new material. My student (an ESL student) had difficulty with slang or seemingly illogical use of words or phrases (idioms) in our language (like “out to lunch”). And I would find tons of “material” in the various joke e-mails that people would send me. Plays on words, etc… Just when I felt like I was really scraping for material, someone would send me a joke e-mail, and I’d realize I could use that. So keep your eyes open.

  • I found that the books and materials that the program provided only took me so far. So I would create a lot of lessons/exercises specifically geared toward things my student was having difficulty with. (BTW, I’d be happy to e-mail you some stuff, if you’re interested - and I can dig it up).

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck. Be aware that you’re not just helping your student learn to read/write/speak, but you’ll likely become a key resource for lots of other things as well.

Thanks! I really am not being trained in the true sense of the word. Just observing for now. Then I will be assigned to help small groups, so I’m told. It seems to be all play it by ear. It’s waayyyy early yet…