Please take a few minutes to watch this two-part interview with Rebecca Massey, the director of the Adult Literacy Program. Thanks to Mike VanGilder of Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC for helping us spread the word about Literacy Together and the Adult Literacy Program.
The Adult Literacy program provides 1-on-1 volunteer tutors for English speakers whose reading, writing, spelling, or math skills are below a basic skills level. This program serves approximately 50 students per year. Students come to Literacy Together because they want to improve job prospects, help their children in school, enroll in a High School Equivalency Program, and better navigate the world around them. Adult Literacy students often have learning disabilities or differences such as dyslexia. Tutors are trained to help students navigate these learning challenges, and we also recognize the unique strategies that students have used to learn and adapt.
Although we serve a wide variety of literacy needs, there are two main tracks in the Adult Literacy program: Basic Skills tutoring and GED preparation (also called High School Equivalency / HSE preparation).
In the Basic Skills track, the program director initially assesses students to determine their reading level, learning barriers, and personal goals. When tutoring begins, students work on the specific reading, writing, and spelling issues that challenge them the most. Tutors complete a training in phonics-based and multisensory literacy instruction. They learn to create individualized Basic Skills lessons using the Orton-Gillingham methodology and use the Wilson Reading System curriculum. Tutors commit to working with their student for a minimum of 1 year. Students set their own tutoring schedule and meet 2-3 hours a week with their tutor. Every Adult Literacy lesson is tailored to the skills, needs, preferences, and goals of the student.
In the GED/HSE track, the program director (or a community partner like AB Tech) initially assesses students to determine their reading level, learning barriers, and personal goals. Students study for one subject test at a time (see the list of GED subjects here). Tutors complete a GED/HSE training and choose the subject(s) they feel most comfortable tutoring. Tutors commit to working with their student for a minimum of 6 months. Students set their own tutoring schedule and meet 2-3 hours a week with their tutor. GED/HSE textbooks are the primary resource in this track, but lessons are also tailored to the student’s skills, needs, preferences, and goals.
While the aim of our work is to meet the educational needs of our Adult Literacy students, we understand that they are also often dealing with logistical and personal obstacles. Their barriers may include lack of transportation and childcare, poverty and unstable housing, a history of addiction, post-incarceration, inadequate medical care, and frequent mental health issues. In the face of these barriers, our students appreciate the structure and regularity of tutoring; at the same time, tutoring requires flexibility, creativity, and the ability to adapt. Learn more about this program here.
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Adult Literacy Program: Congratulations to Bob and Tim!
Congratulations to Bob and Tim! After working very hard for three years with his wonderful tutor, Tim, Bob completed the entire 12-book Wilson Reading System. He came into the program in 2019 struggling with his reading and writing, and he graduated this summer with an understanding of advanced concepts in the English language. That is a huge and rare accomplishment. But even more important, Bob now has the skills and experience to become an Adult Literacy tutor!
Our students know better than anyone else what it takes to do this work and how important it is to have a partner on that journey. Congratulations to Bob and Tim! They have been an amazing team and an inspiration to us all (Read more about how Bob and Tim worked together).
Please watch this video recorded in June 2021, where Bob talks about his experience working with Tim.
The Adult Literacy program teaches reading, writing, spelling, and math to adults who read at or below a basic skills level. This program serves approximately 50 students per year. Students come to Literacy Together because they want to improve job prospects, help their children in school, enroll in a High School Equivalency Program, and better navigate the world around them.
Although English is their native language, Adult Literacy students struggle with recognizing individual sounds, written words, and comprehending a sentence or longer passage. They comprise a diverse group in terms of educational background, socioeconomic status, personal goals, and learning styles. Many are challenged by learning differences such as dyslexia. All Adult Literacy students courageously take the step to give reading another chance. Sign up to volunteer with this program.
Adult Literacy Bible study group
Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2021
Bob’s success story as an Adult Literacy student: “I am going to get this!”
When Bob met Tim, the retired lawyer who would be his new tutor, they connected immediately despite their differences. Bob’s energetic personality complements Tim’s somewhat controlled demeanor. They learn from each other and often surprise each other in their sessions. Bob and Tim would likely never have crossed paths if they had not met at Literacy Together, but this partnership has changed both of their lives and perspectives.
During the pandemic and consequential shutdowns, Tim and Bob both wanted to keep their momentum going. Bob lives in a rural community with no home computer, but they each had a textbook, a phone, and every intention of moving forward, so they made it work. Since he began in 2019, Bob has completed over half of the Wilson Reading System and moved up to the next level in his annual literacy test. He shows no signs of stopping. Tim says, “I think that I have it too easy. Bob may have the best student want-to-learn attitude ever. As I have said before, he exclaims every session about getting a word that he never got before. And as he said last time with a certain fierceness, ‘I am going to get this!'”
Please watch this video to learn more about Bob’s success story as an Adult Literacy student and the work he’s doing with Tim.