Volunteer Tutoring Program
Our volunteer tutors help us serve hundreds of students each year. Our tutoring program matches one adult tutor with one adult student. Volunteers may choose to work either with an adult who needs literacy instruction or with non-native adults who want to learn to read and speak English. The different needs and objectives of individual students are carefully matched with the strengths and experience of particular tutors.
Tutor Eligibility Requirements
- Be at least 18 years old and have a minimum education of a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Successfully complete a 4-6 hour tutor training workshop. Tutor training is offered online or in person, usually on the second Saturday of most months. Check our Tutor Training Workshop page for more details.
- Demonstrate the ability to speak, write, and understand English well enough to communicate clearly.
- Agree to tutor an adult learner twice per week, 60-90 minutes per lesson, at times agreed upon with the adult student. Some tutors and students may agree to meet once per week for longer sessions.
- Prepare and plan for each tutoring session in keeping with the learner’s objectives. Most tutors allocate 30-60 minutes per week to prepare for tutoring sessions.
- Agree to tutor a student for at least 6 months. Consistency is important when tutoring new readers or learners of English; Literacy Action’s tutoring opportunities are mid- to long-term volunteer commitments.
- Agree to meet with a student at an approved tutoring site. Literacy Action will help you find an appropriate public tutoring site.
- Agree to supply your own transportation to the tutoring site.
- Agree to accurately complete student progress reports weekly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about our tutoring program? See below for common inquiries, or call the office at 501-372-7323.
You can also fill out our Volunteer Sign Up Online Form here and our staff will get back to you.
How does the program work and what is the commitment?
Eligible volunteers are asked for at least a six-month commitment of three hours per week. Two sessions per week are preferable, but some tutors and students work one day per week for a longer period of time. Tutors need an estimated 30 minutes to one hour per week for lesson preparation. Meeting times and locations are based upon mutual availability and convenience. Students are always tutored in public places such as libraries, churches, coffee shops, etc.
Can I qualify as a tutor if I have never taught school?
Most of our volunteer tutors have never taught school. As long as you read, write, and speak English fluently, you can make a difference in the life of someone struggling with literacy. The program provides all the training and tools that you need to begin teaching, and our dedicated trainers and staff are available for extra support.
What kind of training is available?
Literacy Action provides one training session for both literacy tutors and those who want to work with non-native speakers. Tutor training is currently being done online and takes about 6 hours to complete.
Do I need to know a second language to teach English to a non-native speaker?
You do not need to speak a second language. In fact, our training program assumes that you do not speak a foreign language. Our intensive training session will equip you to begin teaching a non-native adult to speak and read English.
What happens if I need to miss a meeting with my student?
Over the course of a year or two, you and your student will have valid reasons for missing some tutoring sessions. Rescheduling is arranged between the tutor and the student to suit both parties.
What happens if I do not feel the match is working out?
You should talk to the Literacy Action program director, who will discuss your concerns and either resolve them or assign you to another student.
What does it cost to be a literacy tutor?
There is no fee for participating in the program.
What are the benefits of becoming a volunteer tutor?
As a tutor, you are personally addressing the huge issues of illiteracy. Watching your student master new skills is extremely gratifying. In addition, many tutors enjoy building new relationships and learning about other cultures. Tutoring is a rewarding activity at any age.
What are the commitments necessary to become a Literacy Action Tutor?
Before beginning as a Literacy Action tutor, individuals are required to review and sign a Volunteer Tutor Agreement.
This agreement covers the primary tutor responsibilities and commitments. Prospective tutors should review the agreement before registering for a tutor training workshop. Please contact the Literacy Action office if you have questions or need additional information.
If I am unable to tutor at this time, what else can I do to help the program?
There are many other ways to get involved – become a donor, volunteer for an event, or help out in our office. Visit the Other Opportunities section to explore other volunteer possibilities.
How do I get started?
If you are interested in being a tutor and would like more information, or are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities in the Central Arkansas area, please call the office at 501-372-7323 or fill out our Volunteer Sign Up Online Form here and our staff will get back to you.