Literacy League hosts first training workshop

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Literacy League of Craighead, Poinsett and Greene Counties hosted the first training session in Poinsett County for new tutors at the First Baptist Church in Trumann on Saturday, June 8. The session had eight attendees, with four of them looking to serve at the Poinsett County site in Trumann and share their love of reading with the community. Director of the Literacy League Phyllis Rambin and trainer Sara Tipton conducted the seven-hour session.

Rambin started the day off by telling the students of the immense need for tutors in the Poinsett County area. The county has about a 20 percent illiteracy rate among adults. Rambin expressed her gratitude to the those who attended the event for unselfishly giving their time to help other adults improve their basic reading and math skills.

The Literacy League's goal is to eliminate illiteracy by providing teaching services and supplies free to adults 18 and older. The league is a non-profit organization with the tutors receiving no compensation for their services.

The tutors work one on one with students. The individualized tutoring provides a customized learning process to all participants. Placement tests are taken by the adults at the beginning of the program to further customize the tutors' teaching to their needs.

The potential tutors were given training books to help guide their teaching strategies with their students. Tipton went through the four books that teach the Laubach Method of tutoring, which is developed specifically to aid adults in becoming successful readers. A tutor begins with a very basic approach of teaching a student consonant letters and sounds. Tipton said after working through all of the books, the student should have the ability to read on a fifth grade level.

Along with teaching the Laubach Method of tutoring, Tipton spoke at length about the specific social skills it takes to teach an adult.

"It is important the tutor makes the student feel comfortable, because it can be hard to come forth as an adult who cannot read," said Seth Casey, Poinsett County Literacy League site-supervisor. "It is our job to make sure the students know it is okay, for whatever reason, that they do not know how to read, because they are working toward learning now."

To help aid in understanding the difficulty of not being able to read, Tipton took the tutors at the workshop through a small exercise of reading a paragraph written with Roman letters.

"You can speak this language, you understand it and you know how to communicate with it, but you can't read it," Tipton said. "This is exactly how our students see letters and words."

Many of the tutors said the exercise helped them have even more sympathy and understanding for their potential students.

The Poinsett County and Greene County Literacy League recently opened new sites within their county. Before this year, all three counties were working out of the Jonesboro office. The new locations were made possible by a grant provided by the Arkansas Adult Education Department.

The Literacy League is always looking for volunteers to help contribute to society. For more information on tutoring services or how to become a tutor, contact the Jonesboro Literacy League office at (870) 910-6511, where persons will then be referred to the appropriate site supervisor for Poinsett, Greene, or Craighead County. The Poinsett County office on the Trumann Intermediate School Campus is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

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