The Tacoma Area Literacy Council (TALC), established 41 years ago, provides a unique service to Pierce County‚Äîteaching adults to read and write our national language. This all-volunteer organization has no paid employees, no staff, and no office, but its members make a huge difference in the community by tutoring American and foreign-born adults one-on-one at no cost to the learner.
The students come in all ages from 18 to 90 with a variety of backgrounds. Some have never been to school, while others have successfully graduated from high school and even college without being able to read and write well. Foreign-born students come with the need to learn English to obtain jobs and citizenship. In the last ten years alone, TALC has helped 900 students succeed in their goals through the services of 670 tutors.
To continue to provide this individualized service to our population requires the constant inflow of volunteer tutors. Twice annually TALC trains new tutors at a 15-hour training session conducted by a certified literacy trainer and experienced tutors. The next training session will be held in University Place on September 29, and October 1 and 3. The Monday and Wednesday classes are from 9:30-3:30 P.M. and the Friday class from 9:30-1:30 P.M. For this training, the new tutor incurs a commitment to meet with a student on a weekly basis for at least six months.
Tutoring adults to read and write is one of the most rewarding adventures possible. Ruth Anderson, certified tutor trainer, says: “Adults who have not succeeded in a classroom blossom in a one-to-one relationship. Their confidence improves, and meeting their goals can change their lives. Tutors likewise gain appreciation for the learning difficulties some students face, while teaching English as a second language provides fascinating windows into other cultures.”
Readers interested in sharing their love of the English language and literature are encouraged to call TALC at 253 272.2471 or to visit the website, www.tacomaliteracy.org to register for tutor training. Adults who need help with reading, writing and speaking are also encouraged to use these contacts to locate a tutor.