Monday, September 30, 2013

Wish List

Office/classroom equipment
¨ Smartboard on stand with laptop + projection equipment
¨ 2 desktop computers with printers (DVD, rewritable CD, use with projection equipment, digital movie + still cameras; software--MSword, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, Adobe pdf maker, DVD/video editing software, Reading Horizons phonics software)
¨ White board—6’ x 4’ white erase board
¨ Floor-to-ceiling bookcases (6’ high with adjustable shelves and enclosed sides + backs)

Marketing materials
¨ brochures—print 1,000 brochures
¨ bookmarks—print 1,000 (for distribution at events)

Teaching equipment/materials
¨ Teaching Adults books (a reference book for tutors)
¨ instructional skill books, manuals, + support materials
¨ literacy software
¨ high interest/low-level books
¨ used computers (in good condition with word processing + wireless internet connection) to be used by adult learners

¨ schedule Literacy Action Center as a speaker at local clubs, organizations, or businesses
¨ donate thank you gifts and incentives for tutors, such as gift certificates for movies, bagels, or chocolates
¨ donate thank you gifts and incentives for learners, such as gift certificates for movies, bagels, or chocolates
¨ prepare + serve lunch for Tutor Training Workshops (+ clean up after lunch)
¨ purchase + serve dinner to 200 people at our annual Recognition Dinner
¨ provide food + space for our June and August fundraisers
¨ donate a gift basket to our June and August fundraisers
¨ bring 5 enthusiastic friends to our June and August fundraisers
¨ write stories for adult learners to practice reading
¨ gift wrap for us for 2 hours at a time in December at a bookstore
¨ coordinate gift wrapping in December at a bookstore

¨ an hour of group reading instruction ($25)
¨ a 2-day Tutor Training Workshop ($100)
¨ a tutor/adult learner partnership ($100-$800)
¨ a table at our annual Recognition Dinner ($200)
¨ a “set of 4 chairs” at our annual fundraisers ($250)
¨ 3 staff at annual national literacy conference ($5000)

¨ volunteers—tutor (3 hours/week) or Board of Trustee member (6 hours/month); Treasurer (8 hours/month)
¨ billboards—signage design + printing plus rental fees for outdoor billboards + outside of buses
¨ posters—design + print (to hang in public spaces)
¨ annual Adult Learner Writings booklet—bookbinding/print 200 books; provide postage for distribution
¨ annual Recognition Dinner program—print 150
¨ newsletters—print 1200 copies quarterly; provide postage for distribution
¨ invitations—print invitations for Recognition Dinner; print invitations for June and August fundraisers; provide postage for distribution
¨ reading materials—print original low-level reading materials for beginning adult readers
¨ PSA—produce 30-second + 15-second video/DVD to show on TV; produce 15-second + 30-second audio for radio
¨ PSA—produce 2-minute CD/DVD to show at work places (to recruit adult learners + volunteers)

¨ learning/teaching supplies: reams of white copy paper; reams of colored paper (especially pink, cherry, green, yellow, canary, gray, cream, goldenrod, buff, blue, turquoise, salmon, peach, or tan); white-erase markers (black, blue, red); spiral notebooks; #2 soft pencils
¨ training supplies: name tags (peel and stick); duo-tang folders (with 3-holes +2 pockets; any color)
¨ address labels: Avery 5160

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Volunteer Opportunities

Literacy Action Center relies heavily on volunteers. 

We'd love your help. If not as a tutor, then perhaps you are interested in one of the tasks listed below. Is there something you could do for us that we didn't mention? Or do you know someone else who would be good at one of these tasks? Please let us know.

  • Weekly:  donors -- create/maintain relationships with donors
  • Monthly: grants -- write/deliver grants; write/send thank you notes; write/send follow-up reports
  • fundraising -- set up other fundraising activities
  • January-August  -- set up and oversee annual August silent auction fundraising event; develop sponsors for annual fundraiser
  • August-December -- set up annual Barnes & Noble gift wrapping event; oversee scheduling & paperwork for gift wrapping event

Literacy Action Center Library:
  • Weekly:  catalogue library materials; call/contact people with overdue materials; check-in returned materials
  • Monthly: check-in new materials
  • March, August, October -- prepare purchasing information; order materials
  • December -- inventory library/sales materials

Office tasks:
  • Daily:   take telephone messages; talk to prospective volunteers, learners, & advocates; call learners/volunteers about attendance, events, etc.
  • Weekly: compile/enter data into databases; analyze data to tell "stories"; complete housekeeping chores
  • Monthly: create/prepare/send mailings; photocopy materials; file paperwork; setup/organize filing system

Public relations/marketing:
  • Weekly: seek out and talk to groups (or schedule executive director to do the talks); contact and establish connections with local media; collect stories from learners about changes in their lives; collect changes to be included in blogs; Send out PSA's about upcoming events; get articles written by reporters from different media outlets
  • Monthly: write/send public service announcements; setup & staff marketing opportunities; create/send monthly email to thank donors
  • Quarterly: produce and distribute posters; write and prepare quarterly newsletter for mailing; staff booths at events (get others to help); create materials for booths/tabling events
  • Annually: produce annual report

Recognition activities:
  • Monthly: write/send birthday cards/notes to volunteers & learners; create, prepare, distribute monthly volunteer thank you gifts
  • January-April: setup annual recognition dinner -- food, place, etc.; oversee annual dinner -- setup, cleanup, dinner crew; oversee production and distribution an annual Adult Learner Writings booklet (at dinner and mailings)

  • Daily: teach an adult to read/write/math; teach a group of adults to read/write/math; teach word processing, internet, typing, and/or email; help learner work through process of writing essays, papers, or letters
  • Weekly: review goal/task logs with learners; track test score changes; create/post tags on charts; frame pictures for hallway progress; re-test learners on TABE (note: must go through official TABE training held in May or June annually)

  • Weekly: Fix/update computers in office and lab; keep this equipment repaired and clean
  • Quarterly: refurbish older/extra computers donated to us to give to learners; deliver these computers to learners' homes (help them set them up)

Tutor Training:
  • Weekly: send out PSA's announcing training; create and check on web sites for volunteering; compile list of people interested in attending training; send out training materials; collect registrations; send emails/mailings, as appropriate; find sponsors for training
  • January, March, May, September, November: photocopy training packets; help set up training; help set up food
  • Become a trainer by taking the lead on several training segments (Note: Trainers must also be tutors. Trainers learn all segments so that they can eventually handle all aspects of training.)
Revised 9/2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Learner Characteristics

     July-December 2012
  • 95% had gross incomes at or below 50% of the median income.
  • 55% had high school diplomas, 9% did not finish elementary school, and the remaining 36% left before graduating.
  • Only 52% reported being in special education.
  • 55% were women.
  • 55% were Caucasian with 17% Hispanic, 17% African American, 6% Asian, 3% Native American, and 2% Pacific Islander.
  • 13% were 18-24 years old, 70% were 25-59 years old, and 10% were 60+ years old.
  • 52% entered with lowest scores below 2nd grade, 30% entered in grade 2-4 range, 15% in grade 4-6 range, and 3% in grade 6-8 range.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Job Description: Literacy Tutor

  • To help an adult to develop and use reading, writing, and math skills to meet self-identified goals

Volunteer Qualifications
  • Mature demeanor (plus over 20 years old or enrolled in college), respectful, empathetic
  • Good reading and writing skills and/or good math skills
  • Sense of humor
  • Dependable, truthful, prompt, organized, realistic expectations
  • Flexible, friendly, patient, optimistic, sensitive, creative
  • Maintain confidentiality about learners' lives and the work you are doing with them
  • Willingness to follow instructions, yet use initiative
  • Ability to make observations, question these observations, seek ways to assist learners based on these observations, engage learners in testing hypotheses to figure out what works best

Commitment/Responsibilities -- Classroom Setting
  • Complete two 3-hour online trainings: Tutor/Volunteer Orientation & Reading Horizons Phonics Workshop. Submit completed forms.
  • Complete two-day Tutor/Volunteer Training Workshop. 
  • Help adult learners accomplish all of their quarterly goals. Figure out best ways to encourage and support adult learners' progress. 
  • Work with either one or several learners (depending on the instructional focus of the group when you arrive) for at least 2-3.5 hours weekly for a minimum of 12 months. (Note1: Minimum of 4 months expected from college students. Note2: Volunteers may take vacations, etc., throughout the year.)
  • Record work done with learners in their work logs at the end of individual work sessions (or before you leave). 
  • Attend all Tutor Talks (in-service training sessions) for ongoing tutor training. (These trainings are held from 10:30-12:30 on Day 2 of each series of Tutor/Volunteer Training Workshops.)
  •    Participate in at least one state-sponsored workshop annually.
  •    Complete other online trainings, as appropriate.

Commitment/Responsibilities -- Library Setting
  • Complete two 3-hour online trainings: Tutor/Volunteer Orientation & Reading Horizons Phonics Workshop. Submit completed forms.
  • Complete two-day Tutor/Volunteer Training Workshop. 
  • Help an adult learner accomplish all of the learner’s quarterly goals. Figure out best ways to encourage and support the adult learner's progress. 
  • Work one-to-one with an individual -- twice weekly for a minimum of 90 minutes each time in a public place, such as a library for a minimum of 12 months. (Note1: These meetings should be separated by at least one day. Note2: During vacations or other short periods when tutors are not available, tutors need to leave learners with appropriate practice activities.)
  • Design each session in advance (about 30-60 minutes/session). Design sessions that stay focused on learner’s goals, needs and interests, use real-world materials; and illustrate the how and why as well as the transfer of knowledge from the tutor to the learner. Include home practice activities to be done between tutoring sessions. Meet with staff quarterly to discuss goal setting and celebrate goal attainment.
  • By the 5th of each month: Submit last month’s—lesson plans, hours (travel, preparation, and tutoring), progress (e.g., title of book read; description of task can now do independently and anecdotes which illustrate changes in the learner), successes, and concerns.
  • Attend all Tutor Talks (in-service training sessions) for ongoing tutor training. (These trainings are held from 10:30-12:30 on Day 2 of each series of Tutor/Volunteer Training Workshops. See blog for specific dates.)
  • Participate in at least one state-sponsored workshop annually.
  • Complete other online trainings, as appropriate.
  • An altered perception of the world
  • Greater understanding and appreciation of different values and lifestyles
  • More skill in (creative) problem-solving
  • An enhanced understanding of the problems of illiteracy
  • Specific methods and strategies for helping an adult make sense of our print-oriented world
  • The joy of watching adults grow, change, and become skilled and passionate learners
  • (Note: Some volunteers -- who have volunteered consistently for two or more years -- may also request letters of recommendation for employment, higher education, etc.)
Literacy Action Center, 3595 S Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah  84115
Phone: 801/265-9081   Web:
Visit our web site. Read our blogs. Join us on Facebook.

                                   We serve English-speaking adults 
                           in Salt Lake County and Davis County, Utah.
 No person shall be denied services because of race, religion, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Welcome to Literacy Action Center, where we teach adults to read.

That’s our elevator speech. In reality, with your help - donors and volunteers - we transform print challenged, English-speaking adults into skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers, writers, mathematicians, and users of technology.

We work with an awesome team of people – the adults we teach, the volunteers who share their time, and the individuals who donate their financial resources! As a new member of our team, you must also be awesome!

Welcome! I look forward to getting to know you.

Deborah Young, Ed.D.
Executive Director
Literacy Action Center

Salt Lake City UT