Becoming a Literacy Volunteer

The first step to becoming a Literacy Volunteer is to understand just what type of volunteer opportunity this is. Our program is very different than other volunteer programs out there. It takes commitment, dedication, communication and consistency. It is not a volunteer opportunity where you show up for a day, do your part, and go home. It is an ongoing commitment that takes time and thought.

Prior to applying to become a Literacy Volunteer please review the requirements of becoming a tutor to ensure this is something you truly are interested in. If these requirements are feasible your next step would be submit a Literacy Volunteer Application. Please make sure this is filled out completely. After the application is reviewed by our staff, you will be notified if you have been accepted as a tutor or not. If accepted your next step will be to begin your tutor training workshops.

Tutor Training Workshops

Training consists of four separate workshops, 3-hours each, for a total of 12 hours of initial training. All workshops are held on Saturday mornings at the Central Library in downtown Buffalo, unless otherwise noted. The workshops consist of the following:

  • Orientation
  • Basic Literacy (BL) 1 or English Language Learners (ELL) 1
  • BL 2 or ELL 2
  • Successful Tutoring

1. Orientation:  The first step to volunteering is attending the first training module, Orientation. During your Orientation module, you will learn about Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara, Inc.  how tutoring works, the differences between Basic Literacy tutoring and English Language Learning tutoring,  and how you will be involved.

2. BL1 and 2/ELL 1 and 2: At the end of Orientation you will be asked to select a program to tutor in, either Basic Literacy (BL) or English Language Learning (ELL). You will then be given a schedule with the dates of the modules you need to take.  For example, if you wish to become a BL tutor, you would take BL 1 and then BL 2. If you wish to become an ELL tutor, you would take ELL 1 and then ELL Your Orientation trainer will give you your Workshop Enrollment Form to fill in with the next dates you wish to attend.

3. Successful Tutoring: Your final required module is Successful Tutoring. During this module, all tutors (BL and ELL) learn about goal setting, lesson planning, available resources and reporting requirements. The schedule of these dates will be given to you at Orientation for you to sign up for along with your BL or ELL modules.

Once your training is completed, a staff member will contact you with your learner’s information. Once you have your learner’s information you will be expected to call the learner, within a reasonable time period, to set up your first meeting and to continue meeting on a consistent basis, at least 2 hours per week, for one year.