Flexibility: Medium

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: You can change someone’s life by teaching them how to read!

Amava Take: It’s hard to believe that there are an estimated 32 million adults that can’t read in the United States. Adults across the country need help to gain basic literacy, math, or computer skills so they can succeed in life. If you can spare an hour or two per week, you can teach someone these skills and help them reach their full potential.

From the Front Lines:  

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these jobs?

Anyone with enthusiasm who can make a commitment to teaching someone else.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Don’t be too self-conscious–just assess where someone is and how you can help them gain additional skills.

How long does a typical volunteer work with an individual while they are learning to read?

Typically about six months but it can vary.

From the Trenches:   What’s the most satisfying part of the job?

It is amazing to help someone conquer something that they thought was out of reach.

How would you describe the hard parts?

It can take a few sessions to be able to figure out what the stumbling blocks might be for a particular person.

Would you recommend this position to a friend?

Without question.

Special Requirements:  Enthusiasm to help someone learn how to read is all you need! No special background or education is required. Generally you only need to have a high school diploma and be able to read and write fluently.  Training will be provided. Most programs ask that you are able to commit to 1-2 hours a week at a regular time slot. Some may ask that you are able to commit for at least six months.

Finding a Position: Go to ProLiteracy, a non-profit that works through local libraries to place volunteers.  You can search by zip code for volunteer options in your local area. The Literacy Project has detailed information about what it’s like to teach English to adults and the National Literacy Directory has resources to help get you started. This article details what it’s like to be an adult literacy volunteer.