Volunteer To Teach Someone To Read

Thank you for your interest in becoming a tutor for the Ruth G. Hardman Adult Literacy Service.  The Library's Adult Literacy Service offers one-on-one tutoring to adults and young adults (16+) who wish to improve their reading and writing skills.  Our tutors come from all walks of life. We see retired teachers, recent college graduates, stay-at-home parents, students, full-time employees, etc. The one thing they have in common is the desire to help someone improve their reading and/or English skills.

You can sign up now for our next tutor training by registering online. For more information call the literacy office at 918.549.7400.

Register Online

Unable to donate your time? Consider making a tax deductible donation.

Prospective Tutor Letter and Registration Form

Tutor Information Sheet


Tutor Requirements

Feeling intimidated? Don't! We frequently have potential tutors ask if we can use people who have never taught before, or people who don't speak Spanish, and the answer is always of course we can! What we need from our tutors is patience, and a willingness to learn alongside your student. In addition to that, we do ask that our tutors fulfill these more specific requirements:

Satisfactorily complete our free 10-hour tutor training.  Tutors are required to complete a core 10-hour training to become certified. This training will help you understand how best to work with your student, and will show you the resources we have available for you and your student to use. See the current workshop schedule for more details.

Commit to tutor for a minimum of one year.  We don't expect you to meet once a week without fail for 52 weeks--life happens, and everybody has things come up.  However, working one-on-one takes trust and understanding, which take time to develop.  For someone learning to read, having to switch tutors often can be discouraging, even overwhelming.  Adult learners need a partner who is willing to stick with them.

Devote 1 or more hours per week to tutoring.  We will match you with a student who can meet at the same general time and place as you, and then allow the two of you to work out the details. Pairs usually meet at a library, but other public places are always an option. Our goal is for you and your student to be comfortable.

Be 18 years or older and a high school graduate or GED recipient.

Read and write at an 8th grade level.

Pass a criminal history background check.

Tutor Training Schedule

2020 Training Schedule


We are working on alternative modes of training and will post these as soon as available. Thank you!

NOTE: You must complete both Class 1 and Class 2 before beginning to tutor.

January 2020

Class 1: Saturday, January 11, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Saturday, January 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Class 1: Tuesday, January 21, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, January 23, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

February 2020 

Class 1: Saturday, February 1, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Saturday, February 8, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Class 1: Tuesday, February 25, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, February 27, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

March 2020

Class 1: Tuesday, March 3, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, March 5, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Class 1: Tuesday, March 24, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, March 26, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

April 2020

Class 1: Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Saturday, April 25, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

June 2020

Class 1: Tuesday, June 23, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, June 25, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

July 2020

Class 1: Saturday, July 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Saturday, July 25, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

August 2020

Class 1: Tuesday, August 25, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, August 27, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

September 2020

Class 1: Saturday, September 19, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Saturday, September 26, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Class 1: Tuesday, September 15, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, September 17, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

October 2020

Class 1: Saturday, October 17, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Saturday, October 24, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

November 2020

Class 1: Tuesday, November 17, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, November 19, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

December 2020

Class 1: Tuesday, December 1, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Class 2: Thursday, December 3, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Tutoring Options

Responding to an unmet community need, the Tulsa City-County Library established its Adult Literacy Service in 1977. Beginning with only a handful of tutors and students, the program has grown and now serves over 200 adult learners each year.

Most tutors meet with students who have contacted us and who are living in the community. These students are managing, but feel the need to improve their reading and/or English skills.

Adult learners seek our services for a variety of reasons. There is no “typical” student, but these descriptions will give you an idea of the types of learners we serve:

Beginning Basic Literacy: Beginning basic literacy students may struggle to read a simple children’s story, understand medicine labels, or fill out a job application. These learners typically need help with beginning phonics, frequently used words, and comprehension skills.

Advanced Basic Literacy: An advanced basic literacy student may read at a 4th - 6th grade level, but struggle to break down longer words and understand longer texts. Spelling and writing are often challenges for these learners as well. Vocabulary development, guided writing, and more complex comprehension strategies are generally the areas of focus for these students. These learners may be working toward obtaining their GED or enrolling in vocational or college courses.

English as a Second Language: These students have either immigrated to this area or are here temporarily before returning to their native countries. They want to speak and understand English with greater confidence and ease. Tutors often focus on conversation for meaning, pronunciation, vocabulary development and writing with ESL learners.

Developmentally Disabled: Some of our students have limited cognitive abilities. These students often have caregivers and caseworkers who can assist with scheduling and transportation. They most often need to work on survival words and life skills.

Adjudicated Juveniles or Adults: We occasionally have students referred to us by their parole officers. These are not hardened criminals, but individuals who, with better literacy skills, might have avoided incarceration.

Physically Handicapped: These are students with various physical challenges such as: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or cystic fibrosis. They are usually wheelchair-bound and have caregivers to accompany them.

Flagged Background Check: For the safety of everyone, all students and tutors are background-checked before they are matched. A student with a flagged background check has some criminal history within the past seven years. The Literacy Office does not receive the details on the incident that led to the background check being flagged. These students will also fall under one of the categories above. 

Please remember that the Adult Literacy Service’s first priority is to find tutors for the students in our program. However, we often train tutors for other organizations with specific populations. We will be happy to give you information about these groups.