Volunteers for Literacy

International Literacy Day is September 8, 2003, and herewith is PT’s occasional directory of volunteer opportunities in the world of reading and writing. For a relatively comprehensive directory of literacy organizations, searchable by zip code, check out www.literacydirectory.org.

New York Public Library Center for Reading and Writing: Volunteers tutor a small group of Basic Literacy/ESOL students from the literacy program’s waiting list for at least nine months. Time commitment is two hours, two times a week. Call Maura Muller, Volunteer Coordinator, (212) 930-0502. Donations may be made via the library’s website at www.nypl.org.

ProLiteracy Worldwide: Training takes 15-20 hours and tutors meet with students for one and a half to two hours per week. See www.proliteracy.org or call (315) 422-9121. The local NYC branch is Literacy Partners, where tutors work twice weekly with 10-16 students and a co-tutor in a learning center. See www.literacypartners.org or contact Susan McLean at [email protected], or call (212) 725-9200 ext. 120.

Learning Leaders: Recruits, trains, and supports volunteers for one-on-one and small group instructional support to New York City public school students. Check out www.learningleaders.org, email [email protected], or call (212) 213-3370.

International Center: A non-profit, privately funded language center for foreign-born newcomers to NYC. Volunteers teach English and American culture and, in the process, learn about other cultures. See www.intlcenter.org or contact volunteer director Mary Beth Holman at [email protected].

Literacy Assistance Center: A not-for-profit organization that provides essential referral, training, information, and technical assistance services to hundreds of adult and youth literacy programs in New York. Contact Dianne Powell at (212) 803-3335 or [email protected]. The website at www.lacnyc.org includes links to many major literacy organizations.

Reach Out and Read (ROR): A national pediatric early literacy program introducing children as young as six months of age to the world of books through the efforts of pediatricians, educators, and volunteer readers. Call Trish Magee at (212) 242-5339 or email [email protected].

California Literacy: The nation’s oldest and largest statewide adult volunteer literacy organization. Call (800) 894-READ or contact Matthew Scelza, (626) 395-9989 ext. 20 or email [email protected].

Literacy Connections: Volunteer opportunities are posted at www.literacyconnections.com, a portal for reading, teaching and tutoring techniques, ESL literacy, and adult literacy.

International Literacy Day: On September 8, the International Reading Association co-sponsors its annual literacy celebration in Washington, DC. The topic is “Literacy and Gender,” focusing on equal access for girls and boys to knowledge that prepares youth for leadership. The program takes place at the Bangladesh Embassy, 3510 International Drive NW, from 4:00 to 6:30 pm. Contact Jose Palacios at (202) 624-8459 or e-mail [email protected]. For more on the International Reading Association, a professional group active in 99 countries that promotes high levels of literacy, visit www.reading.org.