National Volunteer Week: Remote Learning

Patsy working with learner Jianhong

During National Volunteer Week, the Library celebrates its VITAL volunteers for their incredible efforts in support of adult literacy!

Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners (VITAL) provides learning opportunities for adults who want to improve their reading, writing, and English language skills. These learning relationships thrive on connectivity––whether in the Library, a coffee shop, or an adult education classroom, tutors and learners rely on weekly meetings to learn and practice new skills. When the COVID-19 pandemic changed traditional options, VITAL volunteer tutors kicked their creative teaching skills into high gear. Here's what they've been doing with their learners.

Practicing Speaking and Listening Skills

"We had classes over the phone this week. My student has a bit of a hard time understanding others over the phone, so this will be good for her in that regard. We spoke for 35 minutes about general things happening in our lives, and all that's going on in society."––Patsy

"This Friday we will do something a little different––a role play in which my student is in a restaurant and I am her waitress. Her speaking skills are quite good, but she needs more practice and confidence. This will help us not fall into a rut."––Merle

"We met outdoors on a warm day last week. I sat on a stone bench and my student sat on a nearby stone wall, which worked well for conversation."––Sara

Practicing Reading and Writing Skills

"We have begun to have our sessions virtually every day for an hour via WhatsApp video chat. We have continued to work on reading skills, pronunciation, and new vocabulary. I send him news articles or stories online to read and I follow along while he's reading them. This system works well so far and he seems to enjoy it."––Parker

Learning New Technology

"Zoom allows you to divide meeting participants into separate smaller rooms and bring them back to the large group. This gives more opportunities for everyone to practice speaking and the smaller group setting also provides more opportunities for human connection, which has also been very important for a lot of people stuck at home during this time."––Craig