Warm, smiling female volunteer greating visitors!

We take pride in our strong volunteer base and acknowledge the vital role volunteers play in our organization.

Our tutors work one on one with adult learners who want to improve their literacy and numeracy skills in order to achieve their goals in work, learning and life.

We ask tutors to commit to providing at least 2 hours weekly, for one year. We recognize that tutors and/or learners may occasionally need to take short breaks to accommodate vacations, work schedules and so forth.

Tutors receive training, resources and ongoing support so that they have the tools to:

  • Use a learner-centred approach to teach adults reading, writing, numeracy and other Essential Skills
  • Employ appropriate teaching strategies and resources for an individual’s learning style
  • Connect skills learned in a tutoring session to tasks in a learner’s work, other learning programs, or life
  • Give a learner feedback about successes, challenges, and next steps

Why volunteer?

Because volunteering provides an opportunity to…

  • Make a big difference in the life of another person, their family and community
  • Meet people and expand your horizons
  • Teach what you know
  • Learn new skills through ongoing training
  • Bolster your resume with tutoring experience

Who are the learners at Action Read?

Learners are a diverse, talented and skilled group of people who want to work on their literacy and numeracy skills. They represent a broad range of ages, abilities, cultural heritages and education levels. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, workers, self-employed, unemployed, volunteers. They are motivated to learn according to their unique goals. Learners work at their own pace with the support of volunteers, staff, and other learners at Action Read.

What kind of time commitment is required of a tutor?

We ask that you make a 12-month commitment from your application date. One year gives the learner an opportunity to make some real progress towards a long term goal. Tutor-learner pairs meet at the Action Read office at least once a week for two hours, day or evening during our opening hours.

I want to volunteer, but sometimes I go on vacations…

This is not a problem. As long as you make arrangements with your learner ahead of time, you can occasionally reschedule or cancel appointments.

What kind of training and support does Action Read offer tutors?

Initial tutor training consists of three parts:

  1. Online Accessibility Training (General Requirements Training and Customer Service).
  2. A three-hour orientation, including some basic facts about literacy, a brief introduction to Action Read, and a question & answer session with a learner and tutor.
  3. A three-hour training in teaching strategies and resources, evaluating learner progress, and an opportunity to practise lesson planning.

We also offer additional numeracy training at least once a year for those interested in tutoring math and number sense.

Ongoing tutor workshops are offered several times a year to develop your skills, learn about resources, share your successful teaching strategies and deepen your understanding of literacy issues.

Staff support to both tutors and learners is ongoing.  We require that pairs meet at Action Read not only to maintain healthy boundaries, but to also provide communication and ongoing support with problem-solving, resources, lesson planning and assessment.   Staff formally meets with pairs every 3 months, however, for many the staff-tutor contact is more regular than this.

Do I have to be a teacher to volunteer as a tutor?


Everyone has something to teach. We will match you with a learner who wants to learn some of the skills you possess. For example, if you are a trades person, we may match you with someone who wants to do an apprenticeship. If you’re a student, we might match you with a learner who wants to finish high school.

We will ask your preferences before matching you with a learner.

Do I have the skills to teach numeracy and mathematics?

A good numeracy tutor can:

  • Teach arithmetic, money math, algebra, geometry, and other skills to prepare for high school credits, college entry, or workplace tasks
  • Break a math problem down into its most basic steps
  • “Scaffold” lessons by building on the learner’s current skills
  • Provide study skills and test taking strategies as well as math facts
  • Support their learner in feeling positive and capable throughout the tutoring experience

If you want to teach both numeracy and literacy skills, or one or the other, please indicate this when you contact the Learner /Tutor Coordinator.

I’m not ready to volunteer as a tutor, but I’d like to do it some day. How can I prepare to tutor?

Many volunteers start on front desk, then move on to tutoring when they have a better understanding of what tutors do.

Front desk volunteers answer phones and greet people as they come in the door, but they also help learners with literacy activities as necessary. There is no strict time commitment to volunteer at front desk, and you get the chance to observe tutor-learner pairs before making a decision to tutor.  After we review your front desk application, we will contact you to set up an orientation and training.

I’m interested in tutoring. What do I do?

  • Contact the Learner/Tutor Coordinator at Action Read. We’ll answer any of your questions and go over the application process in greater detail.
  • Complete and submit a tutor application. This application will give you the opportunity to think about your skills and readiness to tutor, and give us some more information about you and your background.
  • All tutors are required to complete a level 3 police records check. Once we receive your application, we will provide information that will allow you to complete this step at no charge to you.
  • While the application process is underway, you can begin tutor training.

Once all background checks are complete and you have completed tutor training, we will match you with an adult learner based on both of your schedules, the learner’s goals, your skills, and both of your preferences.