UA’s LITE trains tutors

Patty Vaughan

The Literacy is the Edge, or LITE, campaign is in full swing this semester, training more than 200 students in tutoring children and adults around West Alabama to read.

Last semester, LITE recruited more than 700 volunteers made up of seniors, teaching assistants, graduate students, law students, nursing students and high school students.

“We had all types of ethnicities, backgrounds and age groups, so that’s really been a positive thing,” said Louise Crow, president of LITE.

By working with Shelton State and some training tutors, LITE was able to help the volunteers in their training.

“Those students are now being placed with adults and school children in the community and providing support to three ESL locations in town,” said Bruce Berger, LITE adviser and chairman of the department of advertising and public relations.

When training those students who wanted to become tutors, LITE members took three days to teach them how to teach reading.

“[We] taught them some basic facts about literacy, training and tutoring properly,” Crow said.

Crow said it took the public relations campaign experience and passion of the students and their adviser working on the project to help LITE take off.

“We knew we had to launch a very successful, not only PR campaign but just social awareness, campaign,” Crow said.

Currently, the recruiting portion of the LITE campaign has ended. The members are now working on scheduling each individual volunteer.

“We’re trying to conveniently schedule [volunteers] with an appropriate tutoring time and their learner,” Crow said. “That’s taken a tremendous amount of coordination on our schedulers. We started the day after the training session finished, and the minute we get everyone placed affectively through their schedules, students will be plugged in to tutor from there.”

Crow said LITE has two built-in goals.

“Literacy is the Edge is not only to highlight how big of an issue illiteracy is and how much it impacts our state, but that one person one hour a week can make a difference, and that’s why our campaign was called the power of one,” Crow said. “We’re all busy. We’re all students who have schedules, but if you dedicate yourself one hour once a week, you will change one life forever.”

Crow also said she hopes the program will continue to build and work for a greater West Alabama community.

Berger said the students have put an incredible amount of effort into the program.

“I can’t thank the UA students enough for their incredible response to this problem,” Berger said. “We have literally been overwhelmed by the response. They will help make a small difference in someone else’s life, and what’s finer than that?”