06/14/2011 – Literacy Volunteers Tutors Help Open Doors To Better, Fuller Lives

Imagine the doors that would be closed, the opportunities that would pass you by, and how much you would miss, if you could not read.


The adult illiteracy rate in Oswego County is 19 percent (which represents 1/5th of the county), and Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County is recruiting adults to train and serve as tutors. The training consists of four 3-hour sessions. Graduates are certified literacy tutors and will be asked to commit to a two-hour session per week with an assigned learner.

The first session is a Volunteer Orientation to be held Tuesday, June 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.    The session will be held in the Pathfinder  Conference Room at 34 East Bridge Street, Suite 301, Oswego.

‘Helping an adult learn to read can make an immeasurable difference in that person’s life. We’re thrilled to see people willing to help,’ said Jane Murphy, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County.

‘There’s not a lot of training involved to become a tutor. It’s an informal workshop, with only one requirement – a desire to help,’ Murphy said. “The training consists of four sessions, using Lit Start instructional materials to help tutors teach adult literacy. The Lit Start series is one of the largest resources in the world designed for adults with few or no literacy skills.”

‘Do you remember learning how to read?’ Murphy asked. ‘I can remember, and it’s a whole other world that you’re not a part of if you can’t read. When you can give that to someone, it’s an expression of joy that can’t be explained.’

Studies show that 20 percent of adult Americans read at or below a fifth-grade level – far below the level needed to earn a living wage. The National Adult Literacy survey found that more than 40 million Americans, age 26 and older, have inadequate literacy skills.

‘What we’ve learned is, as adult learning improves, a child’s learning improves too – which means through programs like ours, there’s hope that the cycle of illiteracy will end,’ Murphy said.

Some causes of illiteracy include: poverty, family responsibilities, family moving often, domestic violence, non-reading parents, learning disabilities, dropping out of school to work, difficulty with English language, and missing school due to illness.

The LVOC tutoring program offers its participants the basics needed to meet the requirements to earn their GED, obtain a job or promotion, or meet many other fundamental needs.

‘Our goal is to get the word out to people who want to become tutors, and to those needing the service as well,’ Murphy said. The agency currently depends on word of mouth and referrals.

At an orientation session, you can learn how to help people in your community “open doors”.  Call the LVOC office at 342-8839 to register for the orientation by Friday, June 10.  For more information on LVOC and its services, call the office or visit our website at www.lvoswego.org.