Montecito Literacy Program Volunteers

As a core educational foundation, reading is an assumed skill, but there are some adults who’ve never mastered the skill. Help has been available for over 20 years in the form of the Adult Literacy Program run by the Santa Barbara County Library. Literacy Program Volunteers have been helping countless people from every developmental level and age range, to learn to read, and read well. The program is currently headed by Beverly Schwartzberg, the Adult Literacy Coordinator.

Bev and five of her fourteen Montecito literacy volunteers met with us recently to discuss the program. Those volunteers were 13-year veteran Joy Winer, 6-year volunteer Nancy Simon, 2-year volunteer Kristy McLoughlin and newbies Ethel Scar and Bonnie R. Corman, PhD. Unable to make the meeting were Jolene DeLisa, Elaine Heavner, Sherry Melchiorre, Gail Harling. The other five volunteers wished to remain anonymous.

Anyone wishing to become a tutor must first enroll in a nine-hour training course and make a six-month commitment to be a tutor in the program. The literacy program is free for students, and each student receives one-on-one tutoring. This aspect of the program was unanimously lauded as the key ingredient for the success of the tutoring, and the key factor that appealed to our Montecito literacy volunteers.

“One-on-one tutoring is personal… it creates a friendship…” said Joy, who had worked for many years in a corporate environment. She stated that the one-on-one focus is important, as for most students, learning in a classroom full of students is difficult.

Ethel is a first generation American. Her parents had to learn English and her grandparents never did, which made communication difficult. Being a literacy volunteer allows her to teach others how to read.

Kristy had been a school psychologist in the Santa Barbara school district for 20 years. Her focus as a tutor is to help parents, so they in turn can help their children with homework and other school related areas. For Beverly, this was the first volunteer job she had taken right out of college, as she could not imagine life without reading.

If you would like to become a tutor, the next tutor training course is Wednesday and Thursday, August 29 and 30, at the Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA.

"Stand Up and Spell!", the program’s second annual Scrabble Challenge, will be held Friday September 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara.

For more information, contact Beverly Schwartzberg 
Phone: (805) 564-5619 or: bschwartzberg@santabarbaraca.gov