Frequently Asked Question

Q: What is Literacy?
A: Literacy refers to one’s ability to read and write printed materials effectively enough to function in his or her own environment.  Literacy skills are becoming increasingly important for all areas of society such as getting a job or getting a better job and reading medicine labels, or even simple shopping.

Q: What is ESL?
A: The term ESL stands for English as a Second Language. Students who are learning English when their first language is something other than English are often referred to as ESL students or learners. Classes and materials that teach English to foreign language speakers can also be referred to as ESL. Other terms commonly used for this are EFL (English as a Foreign Language) and ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language). Teachers of ESL are often referred to as TESL, TESOL, and TEFOL.

Q: Do I need to speak a second language in order to teach ESL?
A: No. It is possible to teach ESL using all English materials and instruction. In a classroom setting, this is the preferred format. It allows an instructor to accommodate students from all language backgrounds. Tutoring sessions are usually performed in English as well, although translations and translated materials may be used when appropriate.

Q: Who are your tutors?
A: Our tutors are volunteers from the community who give some of their time to meet, help, and teach students who are developing their literacy and/or language skills.  We have had tutors from age 18 to 85 coming from all walks of life – retried teachers, accountants, housewives, military, students – anyone with at least a High School Diploma and a willingness to help others.

Q: How do you prepare incoming tutors?
Volunteers attend four hours of training, spread over two evenings. They learn various methodologies and are introduced to the materials available for tutoring sessions. They can also go Online to the Thinkfinity web site and access additional training courses. They are also invited to observe two or three classes conducted by experienced tutors. Following this initial training, a tutor is paired with a student or students according to scheduling needs, preferences, etc.