Project READ News

Listen to our student stories

Contact Us

Project READ
Decatur Public Library, 2nd Floor
130 N. Franklin Street
Decatur, IL 62523
(217) 423-7323

projectread@richland.edu

Hours:
Monday through Thursday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For Volunteers

The success of our program depends on volunteers. If you would like to become a volunteer, please contact our office at (217) 423-7323 or projectread@richland.edu. We are grateful for your interest.

How can I become a tutor?

  • Orientation: At your group orientation session, you will learn more about our program, our students, and our tutoring methods. This information will help you decide if tutoring at Project READ fits your interests, skills, and schedule.
  • Training: If you decide to become a tutor, you will attend a group training session in a specific subject area. We offer training sessions in reading/phonics and math; you may attend one or both, depending on your interests. The training sessions focus on our curricula and teaching methods. They also provide the opportunity to explore resources you may use with students.
  • Blind date:* Once you are trained, we look for a student who matches your subject area, preferences, and availability. You will meet your student for the first time at an appointment called a blind date. Your student will already have been assessed by staff members and will have begun the tutoring process. During the blind date appointment, you will observe a staff member tutoring your student. Observing a tutoring session allows you to learn about your student’s learning style and educational plan. It also reinforces your understanding of our policies and procedures.
  • Mentoring:* Following the blind date will be a mentoring session. At this appointment you will tutor your student while a staff member sits in to support you. We are there to answer questions, clarify curriculum, explain paperwork, and provide any assistance you need to make the tutoring process successful.
  • Coaching: A staff member will serve as your coach. It is your coach’s responsibility to monitor your student’s progress, testing needs, and goals. Any questions you have about your student or the curriculum can be directed to your coach. We are here to help guide you and your student. For example, you may ask us to re-teach a concept, explain what comes next, clarify curriculum, or find additional resources. Keep your coach informed; tell us about struggles and successes, failures and accomplishments. If your coach is not immediately available, any staff member will gladly assist you.

    * The blind date and mentoring portions of the student/tutor matching process may last for more than one appointment. The timing depends on how quickly you feel comfortable tutoring independently. Our staff members will spend as much time as necessary modeling the process and observing you tutor.

What will my student be like?

Project READ serves adults age 17 or older who are not currently enrolled in high school. Our students have a variety of backgrounds, skills, and goals. A thorough assessment process allows us to learn about our students and match them with appropriate volunteer tutors. We will also ask about your preferences so we can create a successful student/tutor match.

Project READ students are motivated adults who want to improve their futures. Students in our program gain the skills and confidence to succeed in job interviews and training programs, go on to earn a GED or college degree, start their own businesses, volunteer in their children’s schools, and become active and informed members of the community.

What subjects can I tutor?

Since we will train you and provide materials, you do not have to be an expert in the subject you tutor! You may choose to focus on beginning or advanced levels. We tutor students in these areas:

  • phonics (beginning reading)
  • reading comprehension
  • math

Depending on your student’s goals, you may also work on the following:

  • study skills
  • organizational skills
  • test preparation

How much time do I need to commit to tutoring?

Each tutoring session lasts one hour, so we ask our tutors to commit to at least one hour per week. This allows us to create a consistent schedule for you and your student. We encourage tutors to arrive a few minutes early and/or stay a few minutes after each tutoring session to look over materials, make notes, and ask questions.

If you would like to spend more time tutoring, you may meet with the same student more than once a week or you may be matched with more than one student.

If you have an irregular but predictable schedule (e.g., you are available Mondays and Wednesdays one week and Tuesdays and Thursdays the next week), we may be able to find a student who can adapt to your schedule.

Can I become a tutor if I’m not available year-round?

Yes. As long as your schedule is predictable (e.g., you’re only available in the summertime or you always leave town for the winter), we can plan ahead to switch your student to a different tutor when your availability ends. When you’re ready to resume tutoring, we will match you with a new student.

When and where does tutoring take place?

Tutoring takes place in our office on the second floor of the Decatur Public Library. To reach our office you must take the lobby elevator, proceed through the double doors on the second floor, and follow the long hallway.

Tutoring is scheduled during our regular office hours: Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Are tutoring materials provided?

Yes. We provide everything you need to follow your student’s individual learning plan. This includes the basic curriculum, supplementary resources, and supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and folders.

Our literacy specialists are available to answer questions or provide additional materials at any time.

Are there ways to help Project READ other than tutoring?

Yes. Our primary volunteer opportunity is tutoring; however, at times we can use extra help with other aspects of our program. If you have specific skills or talents to offer, please let us know. If you would like to contribute financially, please see our For Donors page.

If you would like us to contact you, please complete our volunteer contact form.