Literacy Council of Frederick County, MD
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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Literacy Council of Frederick County?
  2. The Literacy Council of Frederick County (LCFC) is a nonprofit, non-sectarian, educational organization of volunteers dedicated to helping fellow adult residents learn to read, write, and speak English.

  3. Why is there a need for an adult literacy organization?
  4. In Frederick County, about 17,000 people, or 13% of the population 25 years and older, have less than a high school education. Many of these can't read, write, and spell at a functional level. In addition, there are at least 3,000 people whose first language is other than English who do not speak English well.

  5. What programs are offered?
  6. We offer Basic reading and writing for adults who speak English but cannot read, write, and spell. We also offer English as a Second Language (ESL) for the foreign born. The first objective of the ESL program is teaching students to speak conversational English, followed by reading and writing.

  7. How do you find your students?
  8. Students find us, many by word-of-mouth. Some are referred by county agencies, churches, employers, friends, or other students. There is always a waiting list.

  9. What determines a student's eligibility for the program?
  10. A desire to learn and time for lessons is all that is required to be a student. Our program is designed for adults, 18 yrs. or older, who read, write, and spell below the 5th grade level. Foreign-born adults who cannot function adequately in English are accepted and now represent about 75% of our students.

  11. Who can become a tutor?
  12. Any literate adult 18 yrs. or older with a desire to help someone can become a tutor.

  13. How can I become a tutor?
  14. You can take our 14-hour tutor training workshop, which will prepare you to tutor in both Basic reading and ESL.

  15. I don't have any teaching experience. Can I be a tutor?
  16. Yes. Our tutoring materials are designed to be used by people with no teaching experience. However, if you do have teaching experience, we can arrange for you to self-train with our workshop DVD if you prefer.

  17. I don't speak another language. Can I teach someone to speak English?
  18. Yes. In fact, it is often better if the tutor doesn't speak the student's native language.

  19. I have a friend or family member I'd like to tutor. Can I take the training?
  20. Yes, you are welcome to take the training and purchase books from us for your own student, even if you or the student is under the age of 18.

  21. How much does tutor training cost?
  22. There is no charge for tutor training. When you begin to tutor, you may either borrow or purchase your teacher's manuals.

  23. How much does tutoring cost the student?
  24. All tutoring is free and confidential. If the student is able, we ask that he/she pay for workbooks.

  25. When and where are training workshops held?
  26. Our tutor training workshops are held at least four times a year, usually on two consecutive Saturdays. At least two of the workshops are held in Frederick at the C. Burr Artz Library, and two are in Hagerstown in conjunction with the Literacy Council of Washington County.

  27. How much time will tutoring take?
  28. Our students learn best if they are tutored twice a week for 1 - 1 1/2 hours each time. Some tutors and students can meet only once per week for 1 - 2 hours. You will probably need an equal amount of time for lesson preparation and travel, for a total volunteer time of 3 - 6 hours per week.

  29. After I become a tutor, what is expected of me?
  30. You will be expected to meet with your student on a regular basis, keep your program coordinator informed of your tutoring activities and any problems, and submit a monthly report of your volunteer hours and your student's progress.

  31. How will I get a student?
  32. Student-Tutor Coordinators match tutors with students according to location, availability, and preferences.

  33. When and where will I meet with my student?
  34. Lessons are held at a time and place mutually convenient for tutor and student. The location should be a public place such as a church or school, the Literacy Council, a library, a fire hall, or the student's place of employment. This policy is designed to protect both tutors and students, especially when tutors and students are of the opposite sex. Tutors and students must neither accept nor provide transportation.

  35. How long does it take for a student to learn?
  36. The length of time varies depending on the student's background, the frequency of lessons and the student's individual goals, but students are often with us for 1 - 3 years. We ask that tutors make a minimum commitment of one year to our program if possible.

  37. Are students ever taught together?
  38. Most of our students are tutored individually, but we also have several group ESL classes.

  39. Will I be totally "on my own" after the workshop is over?
  40. No. Each tutor has contact information for a Student-Tutor Coordinator to report to and consult with. We will keep you updated with newsletters, we have many tutor resources available in our office in the library, and there are regional and national training opportunities. Also, we are an affiliate of the national adult literacy organization ProLiteracy, which provides many online resources.

  41. Since training and tutoring are free, where does the council's financial support come from?
  42. The LCFC is a volunteer organization supported by dues and contributions from members, friends, local businesses, churches, and community organizations.

  43. Besides tutoring, what other volunteer opportunities are available?
  44. We always need staffers for our office. We can also use the help of people who cannot give time on a regular basis for such things as graphic arts, public speaking, fundraising, publicity, newsletter, event planning and preparation, grant writing, website maintenance, computer maintenance and trouble shooting, and service on the board of directors.