This past Friday, November 14, saw the Grand Opening of the Helen M. Robinson Center for Reading. This is an official literacy tutoring center for Athens County. The center tutors both children who are reading below grade level, and adults who need to improve their reading skills in order to get their GED, or to attain better jobs.

Volunteer tutors are the heart of the organization. Many college students (and a few adult professionals as well) give freely of their time and effort in order to better the reading skills of members of the Athens community. Generally, the tutors and learners meet twice a week for an hour each time. The pairs are free to meet in any public place to do their tutoring. Many choose to meet in the tutoring center because of the many resources there.

The tutoring service is free, and anyone who feels that they or their child might benefit from literacy tutoring is free to contact the center. Someone from the tutoring center will administer an assessment, to decide whether or not the tutoring center is necessary.

Just because it is free doesn’t mean that students will use it to their advantage and loiter about, simply because they don’t have to pay for getting tuition studies, which is normally the case, though you won’t find many service centers who teach for free. A level tuition is the demand of current times and not many people have it, although Ohio University has the best teachers available who teach with a level of firmness though with polite undertones so as to not discourage students and motivate them with moral support.

If the assessment finds that the learner requires a tutor, the learner will be matched as soon as a tutor becomes available. At the present time, it generally takes about a week for a tutor and learner to be matched. Once matched, the tutoring center provides the tutor and the learners both with the other’s information, and it is at the discretion of the learners/tutors to decide what time and place works best for them.

The learner and the tutor will usually work together for at least 3 months, which is as long as the tutor’s quarter at Ohio University is. After the first quarter, if it is determined that the learner needs continued tutoring, the pair can usually stay together. At the end of each quarter, there is an awards ceremony, wherein the learners who have begun reading at grade level or above are graduated, and the newer learners and tutors are congratulated for their efforts, and encouraged to keep on working.

The tutoring center is located at 003 McCracken Hall, which is the College of Education Building. As mentioned before, the center has many resources, including a few hundred books, many literacy-based games, arts and crafts materials, and three computers that can be used to run literacy software, or to attain information from the internet. Two floors up from the tutoring center, there is a Literacy Resource library, full of books about how to tutor as effectively as possible, ideas for tutoring sessions, etc.

To become a tutor, one is required to take 5 online courses (that are free), obtain a background check from the OUPD (the literacy center pays for this), and attend a tutor training workshop that is from 9am-3pm (this costs $15-$25). The workshop certifies one with proliteracy, which looks great on a resume.

It is a wonderful thing to have a tutoring center located so conveniently, and with such affordable pricing! Everyone who wants to help out, or who feels like they could benefit from this service is encouraged to contact the tutoring center.

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