Literacy Network
701 Dane St.
Madison, WI 53713
Phone 608-244-3911
Email jeff@litnetwork.org
Sun, Apr 30, 2017
For Volunteers

ESL Tutoring: Community Literacy
Basic Literacy Tutoring: SCALE
Group Conversation Volunteers (summer semester)
Data Entry Wizard
Run for Literacy Planning Team Member
Other ideas


"Helping someone learn how to read has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life...This work has helped me be a better human being." - Literacy Network Tutor

Literacy Network is a non-profit organization in Madison, WI, made up of teachers, volunteers, and donors working to improve adult literacy in Dane County. We offer a wide variety of programs to help adults improve their reading, writing and English skills so that they can read to their children or help with homework, fill out a job application, understand a medicine label, or speak with a doctor about a health concern.

Volunteers are essential to our work, whether it's helping with data entry, childcare, or tutoring an adult learner. Each year, hundreds of trained volunteer tutors help more than 1,000 local adults improve their literacy -and you could be one of them!



Page last updated 4/27/2017

Please read through these listings carefully so you understand the position you are applying for. Most positions require a weekly commitment for an entire semester; for one-time or group opportunities, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Our literacy programs serve adults, so we are only able to accept adults (18+) as volunteers. We also require our volunteer tutors to:

  • Be reliable, patient, and kind
  • Speak, read, and write English fluently (all ESL tutoring is done in English.)
  • Have regular access to email and the internet
  • Watch our orientation video and attend training before tutoring
  • Reliably get themselves to their tutoring site *on time* every week
  • Attend their assigned 2-hr tutoring session every week for an entire semester, with no more than two absences (excluding holidays)

Every semester we have over 200 active volunteer tutors who are meeting every week with an adult needing their help. You could be one of them! Our three semesters are:

  • Spring: January-May
  • Summer: May-August
  • Fall: September-December

If you have questions about volunteering or our application process that are not addressed on this page, please contact our Director of Volunteer Services, Ms. Shawn Steen at (608) 244-3911.





ESL Tutoring: Community Literacy

Community Literacy is a semester of weekly group ESL tutoring sessions, during which volunteers tutor one-on-one in a group setting. For the duration of the semester, each tutor works with his/her assigned adult learner on English speaking, reading, and writing skills directly related to their needs. Every week customized lesson plans are provided for each tutor/learner pair by the class Intern, who is also there to support tutors and learners throughout the semester. You can apply for any semester listed below; if a semester is full, you will be added to the wait list:

SPRING 2017
(Jan 23-May 13)
**ALL SESSIONS FULL**

SUMMER 2017
(Jun 5-Aug 26)
Training: (choose one)
5:30-8:00pm Wed 5/31
or 9:00-11:30am Sat 6/3

FALL 2017
(Sep 18-Dec 16)
Training: (choose one)
5:30-8:00pm Wed 9/13
or 9:00-11:30am Sat 9/16

Tutor Requirements

  • You must attend one scheduled Training session at Literacy Network before the semester begins; we do not offer alternative Training dates or one-on one Training.
  • Reliable transportation is required of all tutors. (If you are planning to take a bus to/from your tutoring sessions, please research your route ahead of time to be sure you understand the commute you are committing to.)
  • You must attend EVERY WEEK during the semester; no more than two absences is permitted.

Volunteers tutor during the following sessions (classes); if a session for the semester you're applying is full, you will be added to the waiting list.

  • Monday nights, 6-8pm at Literacy Network (701 Dane Street)
  • Tuesday mornings 10am-12noon at Literacy Network (Focus on Computer Literacy; tutors must be proficient in Microsoft Office)
  • Tuesday nights, 6-8pm at Literacy Network (701 Dane Street)
  • Tuesday nights, 6-8pm at Reach Dane (2096 Red Arrow Trail, Fitchburg)
  • Wednesday mornings, 9-11am at Literacy Network (701 Dane Street)
  • Wednesday nights, 6-8pm at Literacy Network (701 Dane Street)
  • Thursday nights 6-8pm at Literacy Network (701 Dane Street)(Focus on Workplace English; tutor must have bachelor's degree and experience in the workforce)
  • Saturday mornings, 9-11am at Literacy Network (701 Dane Street)

Click here to apply for our ESL Tutoring program.



Basic Literacy Tutoring: SCALE

The Skills in Computers & Literacy for Employment (SCALE) program provides one-to-one tutoring for adults with low literacy skills, using the computer as a learning tool. (This is not an ESL program.) During class, each tutor helps their assigned learner build basic reading, writing, and computer literacy skills. No experience needed; tutor training is provided. Weekly customized lesson plans are provided for each tutor/learner pair by the class Intern.

You can apply for any semester listed below; if a semester is full, you will be added to the wait list:

SPRING 2017 (Jan 23-May 12)
**ALL SESSIONS FULL**

SUMMER 2017 (June 5-Aug 18)
Training: 6-8pm Thu June 1

FALL 2017 (Sep 18-Dec 15)
Training: 6-8pm Thu Sept 14

Tutor Requirements

  • You must attend the scheduled Training session at Literacy Network before the semester begins; if you are unable to attend, please understand we give preference to applicants who are able to attend the scheduled training.
  • Reliable transportation is required of all tutors. (If you are planning to take a bus to/from your tutoring sessions, please research your route ahead of time to be sure you understand the commute you are committing to.)
  • You must attend EVERY WEEK during the semester; no more than two absences is permitted.

Volunteers tutor during the following sessions (classes); if a session for the semester you're applying is full, you will be added to the waiting list.

  • Tuesday nights, 6:00-8:00pm at Hawthorne Library (2707 E. Washington Ave.)
  • Tuesday nights, 6:00-8:00pm at Seven Oaks (1108 Moorland Rd)
  • Wednesday mornings, 10:30am-12:30pm at Goodman South Library (2222 S. Park St.)
  • Thursday nights, 6:00-8:00pm at Literacy Network (701 Dane Street)
  • Thursday nights, 6:00-8:00pm at Meadowridge Library (5726 Raymond Rd)

Click here to apply to tutor in our Basic Literacy tutoring program.



Group Conversation Volunteers (summer semester)

Looking for a fun way to connect with adults from all over the world? Literacy Network is seeking friendly and enthusiastic conversation partners to chat with adult students (we call them learners) in our weekly English Conversation Group!

Conversation group meets Wednesdays 5:00-6:30pm at Literacy Network (701 Dane St). This is a semester commitment; you must be able to attend every week, May 24-Aug 23, with no more than 2 absences.

Your responsibilities:

  • Work with small groups of students (3-4) to lead and facilitate conversations on given topics in English.
  • Help students with vocabulary, pronunciation, word usage, and other mechanics of conversing in English.
  • Assist the conversation group supervisor with other tasks or activities as needed.

Required skills:

  • Fluency in English (all conversation is done in English)
  • Experience working with English language learners
  • Punctual, reliable, and adaptable to different learners' levels and learning/communication skills
  • Positive, friendly attitude
  • Must be attend every Wednesday the entire semester
  • Must attend training our one-hour training before semester starts

This is a English immersion group; volunteers should expect to speak English only. Volunteers must be able to follow instructions from the instructor, who will plan topics and materials for each conversation group. If interested in this volunteer position, click here to complete an application.



Data Entry Wizard

Hurray for data! Sometimes seemingly tedious tasks can have an immeasurable effect on the success of an agency, and this certainly rings true with data entry. By keeping the information in our database current, you will help us improve and expand programs serving low-literate adults!

Requirements: You must have data entry experience and possess patience, great attention to detail, and the ability to work well independently. We ask you commit at least 2 hrs per week for 36 total volunteer hours (minimum). This position needs to take place in our office (701 Dane St; corner of Dane & S. Park) during regular office hours.

If you are interested in this volunteer position, please send an email detailing your experience and qualifications to Ms. Shawn Steen.



Run for Literacy Planning Team Member

We are excited to start planning our annual fall Run for Literacy event, and we're looking for others that are excited as well! The Run is planned for Sunday, September 24 this year, and for the past 25 years this event has helped raise much-needed money to help adults in Dane County who are working to improve their reading, writing, computer, and language skills. Committee members are asked to dedicate 5hr/month now through Sept, and committee work includes coordinating event logistics, marketing, volunteer recruitment, community engagement.

If you are interested in participating in this volunteer committee, please contact Fritz Parker at fritzparker@gmail.com. In your email, please outline your experience planning large events and your area of experience (marketing, event logistics, etc). We're excited to have you join our team!







Group and Event-Based Volunteer Opportunities



Other ideas

We always welcome your group to organize a stand-alone event to support Literacy Network adult learners, and we'd be happy to help develop promotional materials and meet with your group to talk about our work. Here are some event ideas:

  • CHILDREN'S BOOK DRIVE: Organize a children's book drive for our Family Literacy program. By collecting and donating new (or gently used) children's books, you plant the seeds of literacy for low-income families!

  • BOOK DRIVE: We accept gently used books of fiction/non-fiction for our lending library, or to sell for our programs. Please click here for guidelines about the books we accept.

  • DRIVE FOR DRIVES: Adult learners save their resumes and other documents they've created in classes on USB drives. We need about 50-100 every semester.

  • FUNDRAISER: Host a company-wide bake sale or scrabble tournament - something fun to raise money for our programs and spread awareness of adult literacy.
If your group is interested in organizing a stand-alone event or activities, please contact our Director of Volunteer Services, Ms. Shawn Steen at (608) 244-3911 if you have any questions.




We occasionally have other opportunities for groups to assist with events and special projects. If you have a group looking for a project, it must be planned well in advance of your project date(s). If your group is looking for a volunteer opportunity or you would like to be emailed when one pops up, contact Shawn at (608) 244-3911 ext 55 or via shawn@litnetwork.org