frequently asked questions

Q: Why is there a need for tutors?

A: Most of the 500,000 immigrants and refugees who enter the U.S. each year are illiterate in their own languages. In addition, as many as 25 million Americans cannot read or write. There are an estimated 25,000 functionally illiterate adults in San Luis Obispo County.

Q: What is the San Luis Obispo County Literacy Council?

A: It is a non-profit volunteer organization affiliated with Laubach Literacy International, providing tutoring in English language skills for adult native English speakers and speakers of other languages. The Council coordinates tutoring at learning centers throughout San Luis Obispo County and provides training workshops for tutors.

Q: What programs are offered In San Luis Obispo County?

A: The San Luis Obispo County Literacy Council offers an ESL (English as a Second Language) program and English Literacy program. The ESL program is geared for persons who understand little or no English and who must be taught to speak, read, and write English. The basic Literacy program serves native speakers of English who have little or no ability to read and write. A variety of techniques and materials are offered to meet these learners’ needs.

Q: Does a tutor need any special background or training?

A: The ability to read and speak English fluently and clearly and a working knowledge of the language are all that is required of volunteers entering the program. Tutor training workshops are provided by the Council before a volunteer is matched with an adult learner.

Q: Should a tutor know a language other than English?

A: Knowledge of a language other than English is not necessary.

Q: What is covered in the workshops?

A: The focus of the training is on how to properly use teaching techniques and materials. Sessions feature practical suggestions and “hands on” practice. To satisfactorily complete the workshops, participants are expected to attend all sessions and complete all assignments.

Q: How are tutoring assignments made?

A: The tutor is matched with a student or a small group of students by a coordinator, taking into account the needs, desires and location of the student/s and the tutor.

Q: Where does tutoring take place?

A: Tutoring is conducted at various San Luis Obispo County learning centers located in churches, adult schools, libraries and other locations.

Q: How often do tutors meet with their students?

A: Tutors usually teach a one and a half hour session twice a week.

Q: Is a tutor expected to teach a certain length of time?

A: Tutors are asked to make a six month commitment.

Q: Who do I contact to volunteer or to get more information?

A: Other volunteer opportunities in addition to tutoring are available. To learn about these or for any information regarding the Council, call the San Luis Obispo Literacy Council at 805-541-4219 or 1 -800-459-4219.