Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley: FAQs

Read. Learn. Grow. Adult literacy tutoring service for the New River Valley area at Virginia Tech

Questions, questions, questions

Q: This all sounds great, but what is the Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley?

A: "LVNRV was established in 1979 to offer free tutoring in basic literacy and conversational English for speakers of other languages. We became accredited with Literacy Volunteers of America in 1982 and we are now an affiliate of ProLiteracy America, an organization formed from the merger of Literacy Volunteers of America and Laubach Literacy in 2003.

We are a volunteer based program and rely on trained volunteers to carry out our mission. Our central office is located in downtown Christiansburg, and we have tutors in Pulaski, Giles, Radford, and Floyd. Our funding is through grants, local governments, direct contributions from community members, fundraising events, and the United Way and United Funds that serve the New River Valley."

Q:  I'm a little confused, are there different types of tutoring? 

A: Yes. LVNRV has two basic programs. 

  1. Basic Literacy:  The Basic Literacy program provides free, confidential, one-on-one tutoring in reading and writing for adults with minimal everyday literacy skills. Basic literacy tutors work with an adult to achieve his or her literacy-related goals such as learning to fill out a job application or write a check; learning to read a story to a child, an employee memo, or a recipe; or learning to read the newspaper or a book for pleasure. Basic literacy learners become more independent with their everyday literacy needs, develop increased employment and career options, and feel more comfortable exploring life long learning opportunities in their lives.
  2. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): The ESOL program provides free, confidential tutoring in English as a second language for adults with limited conversational skills. Tutoring is conducted individually or in small groups. Students in this program may have goals such as learning how to communicate with a child’s teacher or doctor, communicating with a supervisor at work, or using community services such as the post office and doctor’s office. It is not necessary to know a second language to be an ESOL tutor.

Q: Where does tutoring happen? 

A: Right here at Virginia Tech! And there are numerous other locations such as public libraries, churches and offices around the NRV where tutoring can take place.

Q: OK, so you said adults learners, what does that really mean? 

A:  It means anyone over 18 years old. The learners come from a huge variety of background, experiences and cultures and they want to learn English as a second language.

Q: How do the students/learners hear about this program? 

A: Probably the same way you did! Most likely by word-of-mouth, a referral, other programs, or flyers. 

Q: Alright, walk me through this tutoring idea. How does it work? 

A: LVNRV request that you commit to one semester and one to two hours per week of time.  The lessons are based on the immediate and real life goals of the learner. The tutor and learner work together to create goals, lesson plans, evaluate progress and choose the appropriate material. All of this combined promotes the development of independent and continual learning even after tutoring is finished.

Q: I'm a little nervous about this idea, is there any kind of training? 

A: There sure is! There will be a one hour training session at Newman Library. After you register to volunteer you will be contacted with the date, time and room location of the training session.

Q: All of this sounds amazing, how do I get started?

A: Wonderful! You can either email Peter Potter at or contact, (540-382-7262). After you've completed the training, you'll be matched with a learner or small group based on your availability.

*questions and answers came from LVNRV FAQ page