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The Growth Of Awareness Of Adult Illiteracy In Britain

will once again have nothing.  Rathbone’s expectations of their students, following ten years failure of school and other massive discouragement, is to make perhaps an average of one year’s progress in three chronological years,

If the student come with a reading age of 5 - 7 yearn, it will take several years to reach a standard where he can read the “Daily Mirror” or “The Sun” easily and comfortably.  With such a long-term project it is essential that the student wants to come to the club, and continues to enjoy the experience.

The supervising tutor has plenty of resources behind him if a problem arises that cannot be easily solved.  However, it is most likely that he will be able to handle almost everything, since the initial selection of supervising tutors depends on their skills, expertise and life experience already present.

In the previous chapter 1 have already dealt with the professional qualifications required, An additional bonus is where a teacher has already acquired training, qualification and experience in social work, but this combination is rare.

It is the task of the supervising tutor to decide which particular volunteer will meet the needs of a particular student and just as important which student will most suit a particular volunteer.  The sources of recruitment of volunteers are quite varied.  Many have been enrolled from Philippa Fawcett Teacher Training College by Mrs. Zonena herself.  Other professional sources are social workers, especially pre-qualification speech therapists and similar disciplines.  Others are brought in by supervising tutors themselves from among their circle of friends and acquaintances.  There have been some enquiries stemming from the B.B.C. “On The Move” programmes and enquiries at public libraries.  The sources for volunteers are as numerous and varied as for the students themselves.

For professionals, acting as a volunteer offers certain advantages; not least literacy teaching offers them the opportunity of extending their experience and practice and to pass some of their free time in a pleasant and rewarding way.  It may also offer the chance of another source for a testimonial when seeking employment after completing training.  Even for volunteers who do not have these considerations, the rewards in the work are considerable.

By volunteering they indicate an interest in the problem and will find great satisfaction in even very small successes with their student.  The opportunity to extend the circle of acquaintances and friends to include those not usually within their ken is extremely valuable.  The benefits to the volunteer are substantial, and need to be.  The work can be quite strenuous partly because of the build-up of concentration between volunteer and student.  It is no accident that in most clubs the coffee break comes in the middle of the evening to break that concentration of effort.  Other benefits of the coffee break can be the value of socialising and the opportunity for the dissemination of club news.  A club news-sheet may be in preparation and contributions are sought, or a club may be planning a party or other items may need to be passed on to all the members.

There is a permanent problem of recruitment of volunteers - the ratio is usually four volunteers to five students.  There is no lack of students referrals but the clubs are constantly seeking to attract new volunteers.  A very successful advertisement was placed on the members’ notice board at the National Film Theatre by Mrs, Zonena when at Blackfriars.  It was phrased thus

© Amity Reading Clubs and Betty Cooper 1978 to 2002 Page 20 of 51

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