The Growth Of Awareness Of Adult Illiteracy In Britain
THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF RATHBONE READING CLUBS AND SUMMARY ON THE PROBLEMS OF ADULT LITERACY
It is of interest to note that over the almost four years of the operation of Rathbone Reading Clubs, few of the predicted developments have actually taken place. Any decisions about the future now do not look too far ahead, nor is any attempt made to predict too rigorously, the form future developments will take. The organisation still responds to need when it is manifested going to the locality and dealing with it in the community.
This method has enabled the level of 20 clubs to be reached, with 130 clients and 80 - 100 volunteer tutors.21 The consistent maintenance of the club approach with supervision by professionals and tuition provided by volunteers in an informal setting has been the constant method applied. Another important constant has been the perception of the student’s autonomy in literacy aims although these are subject to enlargement as their horizons widen under the influence of the club.
To maintain the organisational developments, the clubs need to be kept in touch with each other. The supervisors and volunteers can be drawn together at regular intervals to refresh their techniques and to re-create the supervising tutor’s confidence in giving support to the volunteers. At this level - training the trainers - a more systematic approach is beginning. It is becoming more and more obvious that the clubs and the members should be aware that there are many more just like themselves. It is also necessary that the volunteers should be cognisant of the club origins, methods and philosophy,
The supervisors already meet each other regularly and this enables cross-fertilisation of ideas to be effected. The process strengthens each other's abilities and compensates for the inevitable weaknesses.
Little change is envisaged in the central organisation in London and the clubs will open where there is need, providing it is possible to do so without putting undue strain on the interior make-up of the organisation. To this end, an application has been submitted to the I.L.E.A. which has been forwarded for Urban Aid. Pending a decision, I.LE.A. themselves have undertaken to support the Co-ordinator by paying expenses for the current term until September 1978.
An application has also been made to the new Adult Literacy Unit for a new venture in the field of the mentally ill who are further handicapped by being E.S.N or educationally handicapped. This follows the success of the club at Lime Trees Day Centre. It is hoped to be able to recruit suitable volunteers for the very delicate and strenuous task of tutoring this group. Although not all subsequent day clubs have been as successful as Lime-Trees, the Management Group believe the recruitment of the right people can give the success hoped for.
21 See Appendix 2 for details of clubs now operating.
© Amity Reading Clubs and Betty Cooper 1978 to 2002 Page 24 of 51