NEW HAVEN — Mason County now has nine new adult literacy tutors after they completed a two-day training this past weekend.
Jacob’s Well Ministries Inc., located in New Haven, hosted the training and will serve as the contact point for any adult wanting to learn to read or to improve their reading skills, according to Cathy Riggs, a Jacob’s Well board member. Tutoring sessions will be conducted in the Bend Area.
Nearly one-fourth of adults in Mason County have difficulty performing everyday tasks due to poor reading skills, according to information on the West Virginia Department of Education website.
Pam Young, regional assistant with Literacy West Virginia, taught the class. Those completing the volunteer tutor training were Riggs, Amanda Clark, Julia Bancroft, Joy Bentley, Terry Branch, Nora Hoffert, Jackie Blain, Kathy Spradlin and Pastor Neil Cadle.
The reasons the new tutors decided to take the training varied greatly. Spradlin, who resides in Cheshire, Ohio, said she heard about the training at church.
“I felt since I like to read a lot, how could I not help someone else,” she said.
Cadle, who pastors the St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Haven, said he took the training because Jesus commands us to love one another.
“I know being able to read is not only a gift, but a necessity,” he said. “We have talents and need to share them with others. It’s an opportunity to give someone the opportunity they’ve never had in life.”
Riggs said she learned a lot about how to teach others in the class, especially through phonics. She added she learned to read using the “sight word” method rather than phonics, so this teaching technique was new.
Other skills the tutors learned to teach were vocabulary, comprehension and fluency, among others. Information was presented on student confidentiality and sensitivity, as well.
Tutors are now ready to work one-on-one with students. Young said tutors and students usually meet once a week for at least a year. The student is also expected to work at home in between sessions.
Anyone wishing to join the adult reading program can contact Mary Mallette, on-site director at Jacob’s Well, at 304-882-3838, or Riggs at 304-882-3124. Jacob’s Well is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.