Demystifying Becoming a Literacy Tutor


Our Summer 2023 tutoring session will kick off in July and we are expecting a high number of applications from our families.

Our tutor applications for the Summer 2023 session are OPEN until June 21st!

The Summer session runs from July 3rd – August 11th. Tutors and students meet the same day and time each week.

We KNOW what you’re thinking.. ‘there’s no way I can be a tutor’:

  • It would never fit in my schedule
  • I’ve never done it before
  • I don’t know anything about people with Down syndrome
  • It’s the beginning of the year and I don’t have any idea what my plans are
  • I’m sure someone else will do it

We are here to tell you why none of that is true and you CAN be a successful tutor! 

Links to learn more and apply: 

Literacy: Literacy Tutoring Information

Myth: It would never fit in my schedule

Fact: When you apply to tutor you share the days and times that work for you! We then match you with a student who has the same availability.  Of course we understand that a work trip may come up, you have a planned vacation or illness hits, we are flexible! Our goal is to get 8-12 lessons in for each session. You and your student will meet the same day and time each week for your sessions. It’s easy to plan your week with the consistency.

Myth: I’ve never done it before so I shouldn’t even try

Fact: 95% of our tutors have NEVER tutored before! They just had a desire to want to help their community.  We welcome tutors ages 18+ and have had high school seniors, college students, working professionals and retirees who have ALL had incredible tutoring experiences.

Myth: I don’t know anything about people with Down syndrome

Fact: The majority of people that come to volunteer with has never even met someone with Down syndrome before. The training and resources we provide you are robust and easy to understand.

Here’s a summary of what to expect as you train to become a tutor: 

  • Training:
    • You will receive a total of 8 hours of training, PRIOR to starting your tutoring session. We PROMISE you will be prepared before you start.
      • 1 hour= Virtual volunteer orientation that all volunteers participate in via Microsoft Teams
      • 4 hours= self-led training modules via our GiGi’s training website
      • 1.5 hours= a virtual training with our National Office Program directors – all tutors attend
      • 1.5 hours= a virtual or in-person training with local staff and coordinators (depending on if you choose to tutor virtually or in-person) to make sure you know where all your resources are and to answer any additional questions you have
  • On Boarding:
    • You will receive digital volunteer on-boarding forms to sign
    • We will run a background check on you- all volunteers that work with participants are background checked to ensure the safety of our participants. There is no cost to you- you will receive an email and you’ll only need to submit a couple pieces of information. A third party conducts the check and informs us of the results.
  • Curriculum
    • We use a methodology with documented success based on research by professionals in the field.
    • Our program is built based on the ways in which individuals with Down syndrome learn best. 
    • Knowing that our participants vary greatly in their abilities and challenges in comprehensive math and literacy, we combine multiple approaches that utilize multi-sensory teaching.
    • Graduated levels of purposeful progressions lead to an increase of skills and self-confidence.
    • These methods are aligned with topics taught in the classroom, to provide a comprehensive and cohesive program. For those students no longer in school, this is crucial in helping them maintain and build their skills!
  • Technology
    • We utilize Microsoft Teams to collaborate and share resources with tutors
    • Those tutors that tutor virtually hold their weekly tutoring sessions in a private Microsoft Teams channel
    • Progress trackers in Excel are used to help tutors plan the best lesson for their student’s level and to track the progressions that are worked on
      • You do not need to have experience with Excel or teams to be successful. It is very basic usage/data entry

Myth: It’s the beginning of the year and I don’t have any idea what my plans are

Fact: It’s the beginning of the year and you can CHOOSE how you want to spend your time. We hear time and time again how impactful the experience is for both tutors and students. Here is one of our favorite quotes from our last session when the student was asked what his favorite part of tutoring was: “My favorite part of tutoring is YOU” (meaning his tutor).

The pride and excitement our students feel with increasing their skills AND forming true friendships with each other is magical. Having solid one-on-one time each week allows for a special bond to form.

Myth: I’m sure someone else will do it

Fact:  We NEED YOU! We are 99% run and can’t offer our programming without our incredible and dedicated volunteers. We also have returning tutors from session to session!! We love this because it shows they are having a great experience.

THANK YOU for considering taking this leap of faith and trying something new. You will not regret it and will have changed for the better by the end of the session.

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