SERVICES

Student Services

Welcome to the Virtual Learning Center! 

The Kalamazoo Literacy Council’s (KLC) mission is to make Kalamazoo County a fully literate community because we believe #EveryoneNeedsToRead. That means helping 25,495 adults in our community with basic skills that many of us take for granted, such as reading to our children, filling out a job application, or understanding medical information.

The Kalamazoo Literacy Council is proud to provide a full range of programs and services via online learning. Our volunteers are trained and equipped for one-on-one and small group tutoring with learners. KLC programs and services are designed around our learners’ goals, so in addition to tutoring, we have options for those who desire additional self-paced instruction time. At the KLC, we believe in empowering our learners any time, any where, any way so they can reach their full potential. 

Laptop Loaning Program

We understand that many people may not have access to a reliable device (smartphones, tablets, laptops) or internet service. To help bridge this digital divide, the KLC has established a Laptop Learning Program, to provide laptops and hot spots to learners, at no cost! We are the ONLY literacy organization with this innovative program – and we are dedicated to continue removing barriers so learning never stops. If you know a learner for whom digital access is a barrier, please contact our navigators below. We are here to help! 

Goal: Obtain a GED 
This program is essential for GED-focused learners; it includes the PLATO software which can be accessed from any device with internet capabilities.

KLC program: ExpressWays 2 Success.

Goal: Enhance workforce readiness skills to obtain employment, gain better employment, or advance in a current job. Each weekly session features an interactive presentation focused on applying for jobs, writing effective cover letters and resumes, and interview skills. The next 11-week session begins April 22nd, 2020. 

KLC program: Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (J.O.B.S.). 
Time: Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. 

Goal: Strengthen literacy skills by reading out loud in a group session led by KLC’s book club leader, Sharon Williams. Book club kicks off April 16th, 2020. Contact the KLC to request your free copy via mail. 

KLC program: Book Club: Holes, by Louis Sachar. 
Time: Thursdays, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. 

Cakneeshia Stegall, KLC Adult Learning Services Navigator. To enroll in any programs, click her photo to email her, or call (269) 359-0946.

Goal: English Language Learning 
English as a second language classes focus on reading, writing, listening and speaking skills using competencies for workforce development and life skills. Students are also encouraged to form social bonds by participating in group activities. Each class follows a curriculum based on Step Forward books which conform to the standards of the CASAS standardized tests. 

ESL of SW MI classes:

Goal: Learn or strengthen English reading, writing, spelling, comprehension, and speaking skills

Level 1B High Beginner
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

Level 2 Low Intermediate
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. 

Level 3 High Intermediate
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 

Level 4 Advanced
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  

Goal: Gain United States Citizenship
English learning and civics classes to prepare for the U.S. Citizenship test. 
Wednesdays, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. 

Goal: Enhance workforce readiness skills to obtain employment, gain better employment, or advance in a current job. Each weekly session features an interactive presentation focused on applying for jobs, writing effective cover letters and resumes, and interview skills. The next 11-week session begins April 22nd, 2020. 

Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (J.O.B.S.). 
Time: Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. 

Goal: Advance in higher education
TOEFL®: Preparation for the TOEFL® exam for higher education and academic goal-oriented learners. 
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Goal: Strengthen English language skills 

Conversation class at El Concilo. Class is conducted in Spanish for native Spanish speakers. Students read about and discuss current events and participate in activities to reinforce grammar. 

Wednesdays, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Jacqueline Denoyer, KLC ESL Adult Learning Services Navigator. To enroll in any ESL classes, click her photo to email her, or call (269) 348-0883.

Agency Services

Literacy Advocate Orientations

We offer 90-minute orientations for organizations and businesses to:

  1. Raise awareness about the state of adult illiteracy in Kalamazoo County.
  2. Provide information on how to identify and approach adults who may not know how to read or may read at a low level.
  3. Provide information on how to refer adults to free tutoring services that will improve their literacy skills.
  4. Provide information on how the #EveryoneNeedsToRead Adult Literacy Initiative is reaching the 25,000 struggling adult readers in Kalamazoo County and how to get involved in the effort.

Literacy Advocate Orientations may be scheduled by filling out the contact form or calling the administrative office at (269) 382-0490 ext. 222. The orientations may be customized to be included as professional development or to help organizations improve their “literacy transactions” and become more effective literacy advocates.

Document Review

The KLC partners with organizations and businesses to ensure brochures, pamphlets, forms and other documents are more accessible to readers of all levels. This service entails a full review of the original document with suggestions that bring the reading level to as near 6th grade or below without changing document’s meaning. This service is provided on a sliding scale. Contact the administrative office at (269) 382-0490 ext. 222 for more details.  

Refer A Student

How to approach a potential student

Referring a student to the KLC is simple. If you know someone who needs help with reading, writing or spelling, contact us.

The program staff will schedule an assessment for the prospective student to determine his or her reading level. After the assessment, the student will be matched with a trained tutor who will work one-on-one with the student to improve his/her literacy skills. Sessions will be held in a public place that is convenient for the student.

Qualifications

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be able to speak and understand English
  • Have access to transportation – private or public

Recognizing and Approaching a Non-Reader

Many adult non-readers never reveal their circumstance, even to their immediate family, and hiding the truth becomes an additional burden. They avoid situations that require reading and have developed an arsenal of behaviors that conceal their inability to read.

The non-reader is difficult to identify. The following suggestions may help identify and support the non-reader.

Most non-readers will not tell you that they cannot read or write. Sometimes behaviors are affected by an angry tone to discourage further interaction with you. This is normal defensive behavior. Please remember that all of us want to avoid embarrassing situations.

Here are some common behaviors of non-readers:

  1. Gives excuses for not reading.
    • “I forgot my glasses. Could you read this for me?”
    • “I have bad arthritis in my hand. Could you write this for me?”
    • “I can’t understand this form. Would you explain it to me?”
    • “I don’t have time to do this right now. I’ll take it home and bring it back later.”
  2. Takes a long time or appears confused, angry, or agitated when given something to read or write.
    • “Why do I have to fill this out? I have better things to do.”
    • “I just gave this information. Why do I have to do it again?”
  3. Misses appointments or gets dates and times mixed up.
  4. May sign a form after pretending to read it. Don’t be fooled. Generally, non-readers can sign their name.

If you suspect that someone is having trouble reading, be very sensitive to the person’s self-esteem. With empathy and discretion, your specific approach will differ with each person.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Quietly ask to speak with the person.
  2. Go to a private area.
  3. Using a gentle tone, tell the person that you have noticed difficulties in (specific area).
  4. Ask if that is correct and if the person can identify the problem. It may be that the person simply needs glasses.
  5. Whatever the problem, assure the person that you are there to help.

Tell the person about the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, that our services are free and confidential, and that adult tutors will work with them on a one-on-one basis in public places, such as the library.

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