Prendergast Library to hold literacy tutor training this month

JAMESTOWN – Pren-dergast Library will host four workshops during March for registered adults who have been approved for training to become a literacy volunteer.

Presenter is Amy Lawrence, associate executive director of Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara Inc.

Topics are Orientation on March 18; Basic Literacy 1 on March 20; Basic Literacy 2 on March 25; and Successful Tutoring on March 27.

For information about these Jamestown workshops, call 366-4438 or email Prospective tutors must submit an application for the trainer to review prior to the first class. Applications are available at

All sessions will meet from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Fireplace Room, except for Basic Literacy 1, which will take place in the Public Computer Center. Those attending are asked to arrive a few minutes early so classes can begin promptly.

The role of a literacy volunteer is one-to-one tutoring with a Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County learner in a public location for at least two hours per week. Volunteers are asked for a commitment of at least one year to ensure consistent instruction for students.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma, attend 12 hours of initial workshop training sessions, be able to commit to at least two hours a week for one year, and be highly proficient in reading, writing, listening and speaking of the English language.

According to Lawrence, one in four adults in Western New York reads below a fifth-grade reading level, and intergenerational illiteracy affecting an entire family or large portions of it is a particular concern.

“Studies have shown that the single greatest predictor of a child’s ability to read is their parents’ ability to read. We break this cycle of illiteracy in Chautauqua County by bringing literacy to children and their parents and grandparents. We achieve this by recruiting and training dedicated volunteers, developing partnerships with other agencies, and adapting programs to address emerging community needs,” she said.

During the initial tutor training, tutors learn more about the program, adult education, teaching strategies, and lesson planning.

“Our program is very different from 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,” the presenter said.

Students include adults who have trouble filling out a job application, reading a newspaper, helping their children with school work, or understanding directions on a prescription label. Others need help with the English language.

Prendergast Library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown.

For information, call 484-7135.