Literacy tutors at San Benito County Free Library change lives
“You Are Giving Your Student A Gift For Life—The Key To Success And Personal Growth,” said Rebecca Salinas, Adult Literacy Tutor for the San Benito County Free Library.
Many of us take our reading skills for granted. We think nothing of reading a menu at a restaurant or reading a bus schedule posted at the bus stop but what if you couldn’t read? How would you use the most basic services such as ordering at a restaurant or using mass transit? According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy completed in 2003, 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a below basic literacy level in 2003. California has approximately 3.4 million adults with below basic literacy skills. In San Benito County 19 percent of adults have below basic literacy levels. The effect on our communities is profound.
Public libraries are committed to literacy and have stepped into bridge the educational gap. For more than 30 years, the San Benito County Free Library’s Adult Literacy Program has been helping community members achieve their literacy goals.
In January 2007, the library received a grant from the California Library Literacy Services (CLLS), a program of the California State Library. The program had been changing lives both for the volunteer tutors and learners since its inception. Rebecca Salinas, a longtime Hollister resident and retired educator, has been a tutor for six years.
“I love to teach and I wanted to experience teaching adults, since I had only taught in the elementary grades,” she said. “I believe education is the key to the door of opportunity and personal growth; therefore, reading is fundamental. I was fortunate that someone helped me get my education. Tutoring is a small way I can help someone as I was helped.”