Finding a Learner
You may already have identified your learner, however most potential learners will go to great lengths to hide their reading problems. Your local church, youth club, job centre, Sure Start or other parent group may be able to suggest adult learners. Confidentiality is vital in this sensitive area. Here are some suggestions for finding a learner in your community:
- Contact your most convenient secondary school, and ask for the deputy head or special needs co-ordinator. Unlike primary schools, they have few volunteers. Offer to come in during the registration period or after school, as it causes the least disruption for the school.
- Contact your local FE college and ask for the special needs department. You might find they bite your hand off as they don't tend to get volunteers.
- Contact your local YMCA.
- Contact your faith community, as members will be aware of people who want to improve reading skills.
- Contact your local centre for people with learning disabilities. They often welcome volunteers.
- Contact your local centre for voluntary services. They will probably know of groups involved in teaching people to read.
- Contact local hostels and homeless charities which sometimes have education programmes.
- Contact your local probation service.
- Contact your local Jobcentre Plus.
In the workplace
If you work in a large or medium sized organisation with employees of every grade, have a look: who is there who never picks up a newspaper in the tea break? Who has "never got their glasses" when there is something to read, and asks someone to read it out for them? Who left school without any GCSE's - but who's always got a contribution to make, a joke to crack, or an unusual approach to suggest? Could they be hiding a serious reading difficulty? Remember, confidentiality is vital.