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Californians Who Can't Read: A TIMES PUBLICE SERVICE REPORT : If You've Got It, Give It! : Four Ways to Be a Literacy Volunteer

Californians Who Can't Read: SECOND IN A THREE PART SERIES

September 11, 1988

CALIFORNIA LITERACY INC. California Literacy, associated with Laubach Literacy Action, is a non-profit, staewide organization, the largest volunteer tutoring program in the United States. In operation since 1956, California Literacy is organized through the stae into 250 centers.

California Literacy provides literacy instruction in English for speakers of other languages as well as for English-speaking adults, and conducts tutor training workshops. Instruction is for one-on-one tutoring and for small groups.

In addition to providing instruction, California Literacy provides consultation and training in a variety of settings: from prison and community-based programs to workplace literacy and family literacy.

For more information or for referrals to your local group, call the San Gabriel office at (818) 282-2196.

Literacy Volunteers of America--(LVA-CA) Literacy Volunteers of America/California is part of a national, non-profit organization, Literacy Volunteers Volunteers of America Inc., which is based in Syracuse, New York. While the group has no affiliates in Los Angeles County, it has 19 affiliates throughout the state and many of them are in Orange County. LVA-CA trains tutors to teach basic reading and writing as well as ESL. For more information, call (714) 841-3773.

Los Angeles County Public Library

In order to match students and tutors with literacy programs in Southern California, the Los Angeles County Public Library has set up a toll-free literacy hotline number: (800) 372-6641.

Since the hotline number began operation in October 1987, more than 4,000 calls have been received. Six librarians take calls Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The staff can handle calls in Spanish, Japanese and Chinese as well as English.

According to Josephine Dix, coordinator of the program, staff members work from an agency data base that has information on more than 400 literacy providers in Southern California. She says, "When someone calls us, whether they are students or tutors, we look up their location in the data base and give them the names and phone numbers of the programs in their area."

Since inception of the program, calls have increased every month and they are about evenly divided between those needing help and those wanting to volunteer as tutors. The data base of programs is updated every six months.

Dix says the staff does a lot more than referrals. She says that many of those calling for help need to talk about their reading and writing difficulties and need to be encouraged to join literacy programs. "Our staff is caring and sensitive, and that is very important. We are not just telephone operators, making referrals."

The literacy hotline program has been incorporated into the Community Access Library Line (CALL) which is a multi-lingual information and referral service of the Los Angeles County Public Library. The first year of the hotline program was funded by the California State Library but operations are now solely supported by the County Library.

Los Angeles City Library The Los Angeles Public Library is part of the "California Literacy Campaign," a coalition of more than 60 public libraries in California. The California Literacy Campaign, operating under the California State Library, was started in 1984 to provide free literacy instruction to English-speaking adults.

Both the city and county libraries offer one-on-one tutoring to adults 16 years of age and older. They recruit volunteer tutors who are given 12 hours of literacy training before being assigned to students. All tutor training workshops are free of charge.

The Los Angeles Public Library has 13 Reading Centers in various branch libraries. For more information on becoming a student or tutor, call (213) 750-3573.

Literacy Lines California Literacy Inc. (San Gabriel) (818) 282-2196

Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. (Orange County) (714) 841-3773

Los Angeles City Library (213) 750-3573

Southern California Literacy Hotline (800) 372-6641

Los Angeles Times Reading Lab (213) 237-4738

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