Training for seven future adult literacy tutors was held Wednesday, May 8, in the STEPS Inc. administration building.
Mora da Silva, adult education transitions specialist at Southside Virginia Community College, instructed the participants in the complexities and intimacies of tutoring. She was assisted by Joyce Nelson, director of the Charlotte County Adult Learning Center, and Lonnie Calhoun, who has been the lead advocate for reviving adult tutoring efforts in Prince Edward County.
STEPS and the Prince Edward County Literacy Council are looking to reestablish or strengthen local Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, and Family Literacy efforts. A litany of community organizations and groups has gotten behind the endeavor.
Introducing and walking the group through concepts such as different learning methods based on fictional students, da Silva stressed the components of reading instruction, such as word analysis, vocabulary development, and fluency practice. Participants practiced writing what were intended to be effective and fun lesson plans.
“The alphabet is a code and we are trying to teach students how to decode the written word,” she told the group.
Meanwhile, Calhoun reminded them that they are the vanguard of the adult educational efforts.
“Your participation represents our first training class and is essential in providing you with knowledge and understanding of the Adult Learner,” Calhoun said. “In addition, you will gain subject matter knowledge and the teaching techniques to work with your student.”
A pilot tutoring effort will begin in June and the primary effort will commence in late August or September. Organizers have said the pilot will focus on one-on-one and small-group instruction. It will include functional ability such as writing a resume, and doing a mock interview. The Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library will house the tutoring sessions and will also offer computer instruction.
An eventually-to-be-hired director will spread the efforts to other locations across the county.
STEPS has applied for two grants, $15,000 from Dollar General, and $10,000 from Wish You Well to fund the literacy effort. The organization expects to hear sometime this month whether or not they got the Dollar General grant, and in June about the Wish You Well.
In addition, a Facebook page has been set up to advertise literacy council meetings and provide updates on activities and happenings.
Those interested in tutoring can contact Calhoun by cell phone at 804-307-4748 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research has shown prospective learners will come through referrals and not necessarily through advertisements, Calhoun said. Consequently, he asked that supporters “please continue to reach out to your friends, neighbors, and organizational contacts so that we have a pool of potential learners to be tutored.”
The literacy effort’s next meeting will be 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 20, at the STEPS corporate office on Industrial Park Road.
Mora da Silva, adult education transitions specialist at Southside Virginia Community College, instructed the participants in the complexities and intimacies of tutoring during a recent training session for the first group of tutors.