Questions & Answers for Students
Applying for a Tutor
What tutoring services does your program offer?
- Our volunteer tutors provide one-to-one tutoring or small group instruction (2-3 students) for adult English language learners (Ells). We also help adult learners whose first language is English to improve their reading skills.
Who can participate?
- Adult English language learners from Newton and surrounding communities are welcome to participate in our program.
How much does it cost?
- All of our ELL & Literacy programs and activities are free.
How does a student apply for a tutor?
- A prospective student just needs to fill out a Student Application online or at the Newton Free Library. Applications are available at the Circulation Desk which is located in the lobby on the first floor.
Is there a waiting period before a student is matched with a tutor?
- Generally students must wait about 6 months before they receive a call to come to the Library so that we can meet them. After that meeting we look for a tutor for the students. We will match you with a tutor as soon as a one is available.
How do you match students with learners?
- Following our meetings with students, the Program Coordinator receives a report that includes a list of students’ schedules. The Program Coordinator takes into consideration your availability, interests, and other general information when matching you with a tutor.
How long do students work with a tutor?
- We ask that students and tutors generally meet at least an hour weekly for nine months. Of course you and your tutor can take vacations!
What time of day do students meet their tutors?
- It depends on your schedule. For example, if you have free time in the morning, you will be placed with a tutor who also has free time in the morning. Students can meet with tutors in the morning, afternoon, evening, or weekends.
Where does the tutoring take place?
- There are two Literacy Rooms on the third floor with sign-up sheets and study rooms on the second and third floors that can be used on a first come, first served basis. The rooms are available for tutors and students to use during regular library hours, but you can meet anywhere that is convenient for you and your tutor. For example, some groups meet in the Library’s cafe, Starbucks, Panera Bread, the Waban Library Center, etc.
Could you describe a typical tutoring session?
- No, all sessions are different because we offer tutoring for adult learners at all levels and with diverse interests and goals. Tutoring sessions focus on the needs, interests, and goals of each individual student. You should let your tutor know why you want to improve your English skills and what you want to work on during tutoring sessions.
Conversation Groups and Classes
Do you offer conversation groups and classes?
- Yes, we offer conversation groups and classes that start each fall, winter, spring, and summer season.
How big are the conversation groups and classes?
- There are generally 10 people that are accepted in each group or class.
What types of classes do you offer?
- Classes cover topics such as Life in the U.S., American Culture and Your Children, Reading Plays Aloud, Preparing for U.S. Citizenship, You and Your Child’s School, Reading and Writing Poetry, Time for Games!, Understanding Idioms, Short Stories, etc.
How much does it cost to take a class?
- There is no cost. All the classes are free.
How do I register for classes?
Can I bring my child to tutoring sessions or classes?
- No, we’re sorry, but we cannot provide childcare.
How many tutors and students are currently in the program?
- At present we have about 375 tutors working with about 500 students.
Does the program sponsor any social events?
- Yes. Twice a year, in June and December, we have potluck suppers. We enjoy delicious international cuisine and fine company. We always have a great time!
How do I contact the coordinator?
- Susan Bécam’s regular schedule is Monday-Friday, 9:00 to 5:30 pm. Her office is Room 3A in the Language and Literacy Center on the third floor. You can leave a message anytime at 617-796-1364 or at NewtonELL@minlib.net and she will respond as promptly as possible.