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Published on 08/23/2022

Literacy Delaware to Participate in Volunteer Literacy Tutor Research Study

Literacy Delaware will be participating in a groundbreaking, multi-state research study collecting perceptions and feedback from adult literacy volunteers.  The organization is participating in a multi-state study to develop and validate a survey questionnaire designed to assess the perceptions of volunteers who provide one-to-one adult literacy instruction.


Robert (Bob) Craig, a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University is conducting his dissertation project on tutor perceptions in volunteer literacy programs. Bob is no stranger to adult literacy programs. In addition to 35 years of experience working for the federal government, Bob has also served as a GED® math instructor and volunteer one-to-one adult basic literacy tutor. Literacy Delaware was invited to participate in this initiative which will garner tutor feedback for program improvement and are excited to be included.


The results of the survey will help inform policy, practice, and procedures, resulting in improvements in the volunteer tutor experience, thus improving learner outcomes. In addition, it will facilitate the identification of “best-practices” in the areas of tutor recruitment, knowledge sharing, and retention for programs across the country. 


Community-based literacy organizations such as Literacy Delaware struggle to gain insights about how well their tutor programs are at recruiting, training, and retaining their volunteer tutors. Currently, most of the existing tools used to assess the perceptions of volunteers are broadly applicable to any organization and are not specifically designed for one-to-one adult literacy tutors.


“It is an honor to be asked to participate in this cutting-edge study”, says Executive Director Cynthia Shermeyer.  “We constantly look for ways to obtain actionable feedback from our tutors about their experience. Volunteers are the heart of Literacy Delaware. Providing them with the tools and support to be successful instructors of paramount importance.”


The number of Delaware adults reading at or below the third grade could fill around 10 University of Delaware football stadiums.  Currently only a very small fraction receives services.