Volunteer Tutors

Explore what being a literacy volunteer is all about.

The Tutor-Learner Team

The tutor-learner relationship is the core of the Literacy program.

Tutoring on a one-to-one basis or in a small group can result in the necessary breakthroughs which open doors for learners. This increases the ability for learners to function more effectively in their daily lives, improve their self-confidence, and achieve their goals.

It is important to remember that literacy services are confidential. Some learners have not told family, friends, or their employer that they struggle with reading and writing.

What do tutors do?

Tutors work either one-to-one (Central and Oak View) or in small groups (Oak View) to help learners meet literacy goals. Weekly sessions are approximately 2 hours per week.

Tutors discuss learner goals and use those goals to plan, choose materials, and structure lessons.

Learner goals could be:

  • learning to read and respond to work emails
  • reading aloud to a child
  • improving writing skills
  • earning their GED or high school diploma
  • ordering confidently at a restaurant
  • getting a new job or returning to higher education
  • communicating with their children’s teachers

Tutoring Philosophy

Tutoring is:

  • student centered – lessons are planned around the goals of learners and relate to their individual needs and interests.
  • goal oriented – learner’s goals inform the content, techniques, and materials used in tutoring sessions.
  • context based – real life materials are used in sessions and could include restaurant menus, children’s homework, school flyers, job applications, newspapers, magazines, job manuals, bills, and more.

Tutor Stories

California Library Literacy Services (CLLS) offers a wealth of information for learners, tutors and programs.

Watch these videos highlighting volunteer experience with library literacy programs:


Answer the following questions and email your answers to us using the form below.

  1. What qualities and strengths do you bring to tutoring? What do you think will be the most challenging for you?
  2. Recall a good learning experience you have had and the instructor who positively influenced you. Reflect on the characteristics of that teacher and make a list of the qualities that made this person an effective teacher.

Step three: About Adult Learners