Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Bliss Of Being An Adult Literacy Volunteer :: Forbes

The Bliss Of Being An Adult Literacy Volunteer
Forbes: 11.08.2016 by Ronni Gordon, Next Avenue Contributor

Every day while driving to my job at the newspaper where I was a reporter, I passed a billboard with a photo of an elderly man saying how wonderful it was to finally learn to read. It made me want to volunteer for the program where he was a student (or one like it), but I didn’t have the time.

Then I got laid off in my late 50s. I wasn’t happy about it, but the job loss gave me the opportunity to look into this kind of volunteer work  using the skills I had honed as a writer. And it’s something I recommend you consider doing, too.
By the time I was able to start teaching adult literacy, the billboard was gone. But I searched online for “adult literacy programs” and found at least half a dozen in my part of Massachusetts. (You can find these types of programs near you by connecting to America’s Literacy Directory and putting your ZIP code in.)

I chose the The Literacy Project, where free classes range from beginner level to preparation for the high school equivalency test. I’m now going into my third year of tutoring one morning a week, which gives me plenty of time to work on my freelance writing and other activities.

Technically, I’m in what’s now known as the field of Adult Basic Education or ABE. It’s become the umbrella term for adult literacy and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). In the past, it was called English as a Second Language or ESL. The name was changed because many of the students already know more than one language.

Another volunteer and I help the instructor while she teaches reading, writing, math and, to a lesser extent, science and social studies. We either float around and answer questions or sit with students in small groups, sometimes even one-on-one.

Soon after I began volunteering, I learned that I’d get back as much as I gave.  READ MORE @

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