Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tutoring for Literacy KC

I haven't talked about my volunteer tutoring with Literacy KC for a while, because I had to stop tutoring my first student. He had major problems with showing up for our sessions, and since Lit KC has a really long waiting list of students ALL THE TIME, those who don't show are kicked out.

I had to wait for a couple months for another student, but three weeks ago I heard from Beth, the volunteer coordinator @ Lit KC, and now I am meeting with a 40 year-old African-American woman with a 12 y/o son. She's currently attending classes at Penn Valley, and wants to become a social worker.

It's interesting working with people who are so not literary-minded as I am. I grew up in a house where reading was like breathing: something we all did and didn't consider to be unusual. So being exposed to people who don't do much reading, and definitely don't usually read for pleasure, is an eye-opening experience for me.

I almost couldn't believe when my new student said she had no idea what " " were or what they meant. I mean... that seems like a really basic sort of thing to know, at least to me. It's also interesting to note how vastly different my vocabulary is from the students I've worked with.

The most wonderful thing to me is seeing how reading and working with stories opens someone's mind. Not a lesson goes by without her saying "I didn't know that," to something and making me feel so happy to share all the info in my head that often feels like it's going to waste.

This student is really dedicated to self-improvement and has perfect attendance so far. I'm excited to keep working with her and see how her ability to comprehend what she reads and to express herself in writing grow over the next year!

Related posts:
Volunteering at Literacy KC
International Literacy Day

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Average Jane said...

What a cool thing to volunteer for! Do they train you and provide materials?

May said...

Yes and yes! You have to go through a 3 week training program after an initial introduction session, and you have to agree that you will tutor for at least 1 year. They test the students to see what level they're at and provide a training book, lesson books for you and your student, and a bunch of additional materials like games and books. It's a really great operation! :)

Anonymous said...

She's lucky to have you to work with. Isn't the exchange of learning a wonderful thing?

May said...

It totally is :)

Midori said...

May, what a great post! I stumbled upon this while searching for another page. Would you mind if I shared this with other LKC staff, and perhaps consider submitting this or another short piece for as a Tutor Testimonial on our blog or our e-newsletter? Think about it!

Thanks for all you for your student and the organization!

Midori Carpenter, Marketing Coordinator
Literacy Kansas City