Literacy and Corrections | Littératie et services correctionnels

Correctional volunteer literacy tutors in Ontario | Tuteurs bénévoles en alphabétisation et services correctionnels en Ontario

Wednesday, 06 20th

Last updateMon, 04 Feb 2013 6pm

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Becoming a Volunteer Literacy Tutor in Ontario Corrections

The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is seeking adults interested in becoming volunteer literacy tutors to work with adult inmates and offenders in institutions or under community supervision. As a volunteer literacy tutor you will help individuals improve their reading and math skills. By helping, you will have a positive impact on someone's life!


What is required to become a volunteer literacy tutor?

There are several steps involved in becoming a literacy tutor:

  1. All volunteers with the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services are thoroughly screened and assessed before working with inmates or offenders. Volunteer screening involves completing the following steps:
    • Application form Reference checks including a police check (CPIC)
    • Interview with a ministry volunteer coordinator
    • “Oath of Confidentiality”
    • Attend an orientation and security training session.
  2. Some basic personal characteristics are needed to be a volunteer literacy tutor:
    • Ability to read and write in English
    • Enjoy working with people
    • Being non-judgemental
    • Sense of humour
    • Patience
    • Organized
    • Dependable and consistent.
  3. Complete literacy tutor training either from a community literacy agency or online (see below) and have some understanding about working with correctional clients.

Is training to become a literacy tutor available?

Being a literacy tutor requires specific skills and abilities. It is preferred that you have completed community-based tutor training. This training is available through various organizations and at different times of the year. See the LINKS section for more information about agencies in your area.

If you have not received tutor training from a community-based literacy organization, then you must complete online tutor training before you become a volunteer literacy tutor. The following free online programs have been identified and will give you the information required to become a successful tutor. You will need approximately 20 to 30 hours to complete both courses:

What type of commitment is expected?

For learners to benefit from literacy tutoring, a tutor must commit to work with a learner at least once a week. Any less and the learner’s situation, motivation or interest could change. Individual sessions will likely be no more than an hour; however, you also need to factor preparation time into your commitment.

Schedules are arranged in discussion with the volunteer coordinator and it is up to you to determine your time commitment. However, when you commit to a certain time slot, it is important that you consistently attend. The general expectation is that you will volunteer for at least one year though this will likely not be with the same learner.

What type of support is provided?

A number of tools have been developed to support you:

  • Two online tutor training programs, as noted above, to provide literacy tutor basics
  • Volunteer Literacy Tutor Handbook and the Ministry Volunteer Handbook
  • An assessment tool, a lesson plan and specific literacy resources
  • Additional Tools and Resources section on this website
  • Links to other literacy organizations for referrals
  • A forum on this website where you can seek information and support from others doing similar work
  • Contact with a ministry volunteer coordinator, who oversees all volunteer programming, to provide general support.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer literacy tutor in a corrections environment, contact the volunteer coordinator at a correctional institution or probation & parole office near you.

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