Leslie is one of READ’s longest-tenured tutor trainers and teachers.

In 2006 I finished a Master’s program in Adult Education and was looking for an opportunity to give back. I Googled the word ‘read’ and the READ Center popped up. I had never heard of the READ Center before. They were described as a non-profit literacy organization that worked with adults with low reading abilities. There was an orientation the following week at a church nearby, so I signed up online. I sat in the fellowship hall with several other participants. The presentation started with several speakers and a slide show. The staff shared with us the number of city and county residents that had low literacy skills. Hearing this was a total shock to me. I couldn’t believe there were so many people in the area that needed help with reading or could not read well. I left that night with my eyes and heart wide open. I knew this was the organization for me.

Training back then was much different than it is now. First of all, teachers and students worked together for several weeks for “in class training”. Phonics, vocabulary and comprehension were covered. The student that sat beside you for several weeks became your assigned student (they picked you). We were set up as one-to-one pairs and utilized the entire church basement which had a library, computer room, offices and space for the one-to-one pairs to work. You and your student would meet at the church once a week, sign-in and work on their reading goals.

Now READ offers orientation and training classes for our tutors (pre-COVID) and classroom observations. Tutors learn about working with adult students, the four components used for reading, learning strategies and goals. This list goes on and on because learning is a continued process for learner and tutor. The sharing of knowledge goes both ways.

I’ve been a tutor trainer since 2008. The training model has changed quite a bit, but the end result is still the same for our students – “offering support through giving of oneself by practicing patience and being flexible”. If you share these qualities you can become a tutor. It is truly a rewarding experience. I’ve been at this for 14 years.

Leslie, READ Center Teacher and Tutor Trainer