It is very common for both potential learners and potential volunteers to have questions for us. We've provided answers to the most frequently asked questions below. If any of your questions are not answered here, please call us at (805) 541-4219 or send us an email at info@literacyforlifeslo.org.



  • 1. Why is there a need for tutors?
    Of the 500,000 immigrants and refugees who arrive in the United States each year, most are illiterate in their native language. Additionally, as many as 25 million Americans are unable to read or write. In San Luis Obispo County alone, there are an estimated 25,000 functionally illiterate adults.
  • 2. What is Literacy For Life?
    Literacy For Life is a nonprofit, volunteer organization affiliated with Laubach Literacy International, which provides tutoring in English language skills for adults, be they native English speakers or non-English speakers. The organization facilitates tutoring at Learning Centers throughout San Luis Obispo County, and provides training workshops for tutors.
  • 3. What programs are offered in San Luis Obispo County?
    Literacy For Life offers both an English literacy program as well as an ESL (English as a Second Language) program. The ESL program is designed for those who understand little to no English, and who must be taught to speak, read and write in English. The basic literacy program is intended for native speakers of English who have a diminished capacity to read and/or write. A variety of techniques and materials are used to aid in meeting the needs of these learners.
  • 4. Does a tutor need any special background or training?
    The ability to read and speak English fluently and clearly, as well as a working knowledge of the language, are the only requirements for volunteers entering the program. Tutor training workshops are provided by Learning For Life before a volunteer is matched with an adult learner.
  • 5. Should a tutor know a language other than English?
    Knowledge of a language other than English is not necessary.
  • 6. What is covered in the workshops?
    The training is focused on how to properly administer the teaching techniques using the provided materials. Training sessions consist of practical suggestions as well as “hands on” practice. In order to complete the workshops to satisfaction, participants must attend all sessions and complete all assignments.
  • 7. How are tutoring assignments made?
    A coordinator matches a student or a small group of students with a tutor by taking into account factors such as the needs, desires, and location of the students and the tutors.
  • 8. Where does tutoring take place?
    Tutoring is conducted at various locations around San Luis Obispo County, including churches, adult schools, libraries and more.
  • 9. How often do tutors meet with their students?
    Tutors typically teach a one-and-a-half hour session twice per week.
  • 10. Is a tutor expected to teach a certain length of time?
    Tutors are asked to make a commitment of no less than six months.
  • 11. Who do I contact to volunteer or to get more information?
    Other volunteer opportunities are available in addition to tutoring. To learn more about these, or for any information regarding Literacy For Life, please call (805) 541-4219.