Reading skills vital; tutors key to improving literacy

February 19, 2014 

According to studies, approximately one in five adults in Manatee County cannot read at the functional literacy level. Without the ability to read and write English, job opportunities are limited for this population.

The volunteers and staff at Manatee Reads! (formerly the Literacy Council of Manatee County) are working to lower these numbers. Literacy results in a more employable population, a real benefit to our local economy.

As a volunteer tutor, I have experienced the passion of adult learners in their desire to obtain these skills. Although many of the adult students are learning English as a second language, some are native English speakers who never learned to read or write at a basic level.

One of my students dropped out of school as a young teenager, later received an online high school diploma and came to the Literacy Council for help in passing entrance exams to college. She is now attending classes at the State College of Florida.

I am presently tutoring a Guatemalan couple with a young child. They want to be better able to communicate in English with their child's teacher and also be able to assist in his school work.

There is a current need for tutors. At the present time there are 83 active tutors serving 163 adult learners. There is a list of 26 students who are anxiously waiting to be assigned a tutor. Tutors do not need a teaching degree, only a desire to help. Training is provided and support is available from staff and other tutors.

Manatee Reads! needs your help. If you can help someone read, you can change a life. Please contact Manatee Reads! at www.manatee-literacy.org or call 941-746-8197.

Sherry Emigh

Bradenton

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