Literacy AmeriCorps facing shortage of reading tutors

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Aug 31, 2021 5:05 PM

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Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County volunteer tutor Jennifer Spitznagel helps Ana with her reading skills.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County volunteer tutor Jennifer Spitznagel helps Ana with her reading skills. (Literacy Coalition of PBC / Courtesy)

The Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County is actively recruiting for its Literacy AmeriCorps program that now offers part-time opportunities.

In Palm Beach County, over 22% of the adult population functions at the lowest level of literacy as well as lacks the basic skills needed for today’s society. In addition, almost 40% of children entering the fourth grade are unable to read a grade level, according to the Literacy Coalition.

Literacy AmeriCorps members work to change these statistics, providing 1,700 hours of service in tutoring, mentoring and related literacy services at sites throughout the county.

“We still have openings and I think it speaks to what a lot of businesses and industries are feeling right now, which is a shortage of workers,” Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County CEO Kristin Calder said. “AmeriCorps is no different in that we have open spots. It’s time to start as these members get trained and serve as graduation coaches and reading tutors.”

Full-time members will typically serve 35 to 42 hours per week at a school, youth program, family literacy center, library or community agency mentoring and tutoring adults, parents, children and teenagers. Along with tutoring, full-time members will also attend team meetings, training days and community service projects.

Full-time members will receive health insurance valued at $2,200, $17,200 in living allowance as well as an education award of $6,345 upon completion of the service year.

Part-time members, who can receive $4,441.50 or $3,182.50 in education awards based on their hours of service, should expect to serve at least 20 to 30 hours per week at a Literacy Coalition site.

Individuals serving between 30 to 35 hours per week will receive a stipend of $10,836, while members serving between 20 to 25 will get $7,740. The stipend is paid in equal installments every two weeks for 11 months.

Part-time members can still participate in weekly community service projects. However, attendance is not required.

“Typically, it’s been recent college graduates that have gone through the program but that’s never been exclusively the case,” Calder said. “We’ve had people of all ages over 18 that have participated in the past. One time, we even had a father and a son who did the program together.”

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