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Partnership plans to expand reading program to adults

September 12, 2003

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Wilson College students have been volunteering as tutors for the children of students in its Women with Children program for three years, but a new partnership with the Franklin County Literacy Council will provide tutors to work with adults in the community.

There are 45 children in the college's program, according to Jessica King, a communications major from Butler, Pa., who has worked in the college's literacy program for three years.

"I have 13 in my part of the program," said Virginia Fishbach, a psychology and sociology major from Gettysburg, Pa. Most of them are under the age of 3 and she works with those children and their mothers with activities such as parent-child story time.

"It's not just a drop-off program," said Fishbach, noting the student mothers work with the children. For a smaller group of students between the ages of 4 and 12, she teaches basic reading skills and assists with homework.

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What students like King and Fishbach are doing with children will soon be expanded to the wider community, according to Barb Noel of the coordinator of literacy programs for the literacy council.

Beginning Monday, the council will provide tutor training in Prentiss Lounge on the college campus. The 2 to 5 p.m. sessions will continue on Sept. 18, 22, 25, 29 and end Friday, Oct. 2.

Classes are open to students and the community, Noel said.

"We probably have 60 tutors right now, but I would love to have 100 because we have students who drop out of the program each year because they get tired of waiting," she said of those wanting to learn reading and writing skills or receive one-on-one training in English as a second language.

Noel said adults as old as 70 have come to the council seeking tutors. There is no upper age limit to become a tutor, either, she said.

"Last year we had a wonderful tutor who was 90 years old," she said.

For more information, or to register for tutor training, call the Franklin County Literacy Council at 267-2212.

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