Library to host ‘Open Minds’ literacy tutor training

The Bartlesville Public Library Literacy Services will host an Open Minds Training Workshop in September, library officials announced recently. Open Minds is a program aimed at teaching volunteers how to help others improve their literacy skills.

The free training is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. According to BPL Literacy Services Coordinator and Program Director Karen Kerr-McGraw, the program is open to anyone 16 or older.

“Our program provides free reading and literacy instruction to adults 16 and up who wish to improve their basic literacy skills, as well as English as a Second Language and Citizenship classes,” Kerr-McGraw said. “We also serve a limited number of children under the age of 16.”

The training sessions will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. on Sept. 6 and Sept. 13 in the library’s upstairs meeting room A.

“The Open Minds workshop teaches volunteers how to effectively help someone improve their literacy skills,” Kerr-McGraw said. “The training covers a variety of topics including characteristics of adult learning, reading strategies, accommodations, ESL and selecting appropriate curriculum.”

A tutor in an adult literacy program is a volunteer instructor who helps adult learners reach their literacy goals and support them to achieve their goals in a non-judgmental, private, confidential student-centered learning environment. Upon completion of the course, new tutors will be qualified to help learners meet their literacy needs, Kerr-McGraw said.

Tutors and learners will meet for an hour or two each week at the library, where several tutor rooms are available.

“Adequate reading skills are vital in today’s society. Adults with minimal reading abilities often find it difficult to find employment, follow directions on labels and forms, and even read to their children,” Kerr-McGraw said.

According to Kerr-McGraw, an estimated one in five adults in Washington County has below basic literacy skills. The Bartlesville Public Library Literacy program has provided reading instruction to adults in the community for more than nine years.

“One of the reasons for success of the local literacy program is its well trained and dedicated volunteer tutors,” Kerr-McGraw said. “Our tutors are really making a difference in this community.

“Bartlesville Public Library Literacy Service is an important resource for those seeking to improve their literacy skills. Through this free program, adults have learned to read and write, speak English fluently, and have even taken part in Citizenship Classes in order to become naturalized American citizens.”

The literacy program provides free reading instruction and literacy skills and offers English as a Second Language, which is a highly utilized service, Kerr-McGraw said.

“The literacy program depends on caring individuals who are willing to spend time helping others improve their literacy skills,” she said.

The Open Minds orientation and training is free and no special degree or experience is required. To register for the workshop, call BPL Literacy Services at 918-338-4179.