181 Brackett St.
Portland, ME 04102
207-775-0105 (t) | 207-780-1701 (f)
Confidential fax: 207-775-1392
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Literacy Volunteers-Greater Portland
Since 1973 Literacy Volunteers - Greater Portland has been providing individualized learning opportunities to local residents who have low literacy skills and a desire to change certain circumstances of their lives. Our mission is to recruit, train, and support volunteers to provide free, confidential, student-centered individual and small group educational programs and services that improve reading, writing, and related literacy skills. Literacy Volunteers-Greater Portland joined LearningWorks in November 2009.
To qualify for our program, students must be at least 18 years of age or older, possess low-level literacy skills (below an eleventh grade level), have a desire to increasing their literacy and/or English skills, and be willing to commit to the program expectations. We have a very diverse student population that includes native Mainers as well as immigrants. Currently more than 60 percent of our students are English Language Learners (ELLs) from countries including Angola, Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Taiwan, Congo, Lebanon, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Barbados, Brazil, Cameroon, Eritrea, Vietnam, Thailand, Djibouti, Ukraine, Philippines, Russia, China, South Korea, and Jamaica.
Some learners come to us with very specific goals, others with a general desire to improve their reading, writing and speaking skills. Common desired outcomes for our students include:
-- Improve their employability/get a job
-- Improve their current job performance
-- Gain life skills/survival skills
-- Obtain citizenship
-- Obtain a driver’s license
-- Help their children learn
-- Pursue further education
In addition to reaching important life goals like reading their first books, obtaining their GED, writing letters, taking care of personal bills, following basic medical instructions, and finding employment, we observe that as the literacy skills of adult learners improve so do their confidence, self-esteem and independence.
Volunteer tutors are the core of our organization. Our direct services are 100% volunteer provided. After being trained in the tools, techniques, and strategies to educate adults with low literacy and/or English language fluency, tutors are matched with a learner.
Most tutoring is one-to-one, with some small groups when appropriate. Sessions are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the tutor and learner for time and place, in neutral, usually public locations such as libraries, churches, community centers or at our Portland headquarters.
Consistency in meeting is the single most important factor for the success of the learners who come to us, which is why the expectation is for pairs to meet for two hours each weekly, over the course of a year, or until goals are met. Instruction learner-centered which means the tutor’s role is to meet students at their current level and build upon that to accomplish goals the student identifies as highest priority. Since our students are those who had limited success in the traditional educational system and/or speak little or no English, it is this individualization that enables them to succeed.
Becoming a Literacy Tutor
Volunteer tutors commit to completing a minimum of 12 hours of preparatory training and to meeting 2 hours a week for tutoring. We ask for a one-year commitment, for either a calendar or an academic year. For more information on tutoring, check out these tutor profiles or read the tutor handbook.
Process for becoming a volunteer tutor:
-- Fill out and submit an application
-- Attend an orientation to learn more about the program, ask questions and clarify volunteer expectations – held monthly
-- Complete tutor training to gain the skills and strategies needed to be an effective literacy tutor – held every other month
-- Get matched with a student and begin tutoring!
While tutoring regularly, volunteers keep in close contact with the director and are invited to monthly tutor support meetings and periodic trainings so that they can receive whatever assistance they need to be effective in their work.
Upcoming Tutor Training Dates:
- Evening and weekend parking for LearningWorks is available in the Reiche School lots on Brackett Street, one near the basketball courts and one next to Fresh Approach Market at 155 Brackett Street.
LearningWorks is a proud recipient of a Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy grant.
Forms & Paperwork