Our adult literacy program: Helping learners achieve their goals.
In this free program, we train volunteer literacy tutors to work one-on-one with Basic Literacy learners or English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. Our learners are adult men and women of all ages, nationalities, economic and social backgrounds, living in west suburban Chicago. They’re neighbors all around us, trying to fit in, communicate better, get jobs, or improve their work and family lives.
Our learners: Neighbors ready to succeed.
Our adult learners perform at the lowest levels of English proficiency, often below a sixth grade reading level. Many cannot attend traditional English classes due to their schedule or other personal reasons. We have two main types of learners, Basic Literacy learners and English as a Second Language learners.
Basic Literacy Learners
Tutors assist adult learners who are proficient in English, but may have difficulty identifying letters or words, reading a menu or sign, filling out a job application or doing simple math. Tutors focus their lessons on improving the learner’s reading, writing, spelling and basic math skills, if desired, in order to help the adult learner function more self-sufficiently.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Learners
Tutors help adult learners with limited English skills learn to read, write, speak and understand English, so that they can take a more active role in the society. Learners may or may not be proficient in their native language, but are living in a community in which improving their understanding and usage of English is crucial to their success at home and at work.
Program details: Identifying our learners’ needs and goals.
We begin by using in-depth interviews and extensive learning assessments of each adult learner to determine their learning needs, reading abilities and life goals. The tutor then develops customized lesson plans that are used to guide the instruction. The tutor and learner meet weekly for one to two hours at a mutually agreed upon time and place.
What our learners say about the programs …
My tutor has helped me “to write paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting details, to read and understand checks, bank statements, brochures and announcements, correct pronunciation…” – Sylvia, Elgin
Maria was frustrated. She had an idea on how she could do her job more safely and efficiently, but she was shy about speaking English because it was not her first language and she did not know which words to use. Her tutor helped her increase her vocabulary and her confidence. As a result, Maria was able to express her ideas to the Safety Committee at work. Her ideas were adopted.
Olga’s tutor helped her understand how to use U.S. dollars and coins. Olga soon realized that the diner where she drank coffee every day had been short changing her. The next thing Olga wanted to learn was how to make a complaint.