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A Tutor's Story


Two years ago I decided to become an Adult Literacy Tutor. Just as I completed my training, my student was ready for me. Before I started teaching my student, I did the initial phone interview. My student asked me, “Why do you want to be a Literacy Tutor?” I told him that I had been given a gift and I wanted to share it with others.

My student is an adult male, with some learning disabilities, but eager to reach his full potential. The first year, we worked on writing skills, and each week we wrote a journal entry. Even though writing presented a great challenge, working together, my student and I created a few sentences. By Christmas, I put together a book of the journal entries. When I gave this book to my student, he was a proud as I was. 

In the 2nd year, my student started bringing Poetry Books to class, as I had talked about my interest in poetry. As part of the class, we started reading about various authors and began creating our own poems. My student struggled initially, but soon started writing more poetry, with very little help from me. By Christmas of the 2nd year, I made a book containing the poetry we had written in class, and gave it to my student. He seemed proud that he helped create another book. I have a copy of both books and my student autographed them.

Over the past 2 years, I have watched my student’s confidence blossom. Initially, the disabilities overshadowed the learning process, but as we kept working each week, new possibilities began to take root. Writing the weekly journals and poetry has greatly helped in all areas of literacy, including penmanship, grammar, reading, writing and spelling.

During the first year, I brought quotes to class to encourage my student. This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt sums up our goal, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” It takes a lot of courage for an adult to ask for help. A tutor has to find the key to unlocking the potential for an adult student. 

My student recently wrote about his experience with the Literacy Tutor. “I’ve been involved with the Literacy Council for almost 2 years now, and it’s greatly helped me with reading and spelling. When I first started this program, I was at the 4th Grade Level. Now I am working at the 6th Grade Level and hope to be at the 12th Grade Level in another year from now.” 

Joan Boog, Volunteer Tutor

February 16, 2012 

If you would like to make a difference in someone's life, visit our volunteer page to learn how you, too, can become a tutor.

Ionia County Literacy Council

301 West Main Street

Ionia, MI 48846