The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 21, 2014

Reader's Route looks to add several volunteer tutors

New interest in math due to GED test

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — The Reader’s Route seeks new volunteer tutors to help adults learn to read better and improve their math skills.

Scott Heatherton, Reader’s Route coordinator and tutor recruiter, said the literacy program needs five to six tutors in each of the following areas of discipline: reading, basic arithmetic and English as a Second Language.

The need for volunteer tutors is greater now than in the past because of the new GED test being administered this year.

“We’re primarily a reading program, but because math is on the new GED, we have taken a greater interest in the math area,” Heatherton said. “We can use tutors in all disciplines.

“We’re primarily hoping they will be nighttime tutors because that’s the need we have,” he said. “We have 60 to 70 students between three classes at DACC, a class in Westville and a class in Georgetown.”

The Reader’s Route, which is offered by the adult education division of Danville Area Community College, will provide volunteer tutor training from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, April 8 through April 29 at the Westville Public Library, 233 S. State St.

Ann Vogel, who taught in the Georgetown-Ridge Farm School District for more than 30 years, will be the tutor trainer.

Space is limited to 12 participants, and all 18 hours of training are required. The Illinois Secretary of State, whose office funds the project, requires volunteers to complete at least 12 hours of training before becoming tutors.

In addition, the Reader’s Route will offer a one-time training session on Tuesday for past Reader’s Route volunteers and DACC students who are education majors.

“This would be a different way of reaching (DACC) students to become tutors,” Heatherton said. “We’ve always had a goal of having students being Reader’s Route volunteers.

“That could be beneficial for both (DACC students and students being tutored) because we could give them their service hours and let them find out if this (education field) is what they want to go into,” he said.

The Reader’s Route pairs volunteer tutors with adults who are 16 years old or older and who read below the ninth-grade level.

“The tutor helps break down concepts with the student so the teacher can go on with the lesson,” Heatherton explained.

The requirements to be a volunteer tutor include having completed high school themselves, being at least 18 years old, having the desire to be a tutor and being flexible. Tutors do not have to be bilingual. Prospective tutors also will attend sexual harassment training and submit to a background check.

“They do not need a background in teaching, but they have to be a GED or high school graduate,” Heatherton said.

Last year, the tutor training curriculum was rewritten to include seven hours of observation. It provides an opportunity for prospective tutors to observe two actual tutoring sessions during the second week of training.

“The second Tuesday (during training) is spent out at DACC observing a tutoring session and an adult education teacher,” he said. “It gives the tutor the idea of whether this is for them.

“We initiated it last year, and we have had a 100 percent completion rate and our (tutor) retention rate is better than ever,” he said of the observation component.

“When they see our tutoring sessions, they see themselves in that role.”

To register To register for volunteer tutor training sessions, call Scott Heatherton at 443-8785 or Ann Lilley 443-8783.