The majority of Oklahoma literacy programs participate in formal tutor training that includes orientation followed by nine hours of tutor strategies and familiarity with a curriculum.
Open Minds, Oklahoma’s tutor training model, was launched in 2003, with funding from Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Trainers from seventeen local programs piloted the new workshop model throughout the state. Since that time, the agenda has evolved to meet the changing needs of Oklahoma literacy programs, volunteer tutors, and the learners they serve.
The flexible model is presented in three 3-hour interactive sessions covering such topics as learner goal setting, using the language experience approach, working in a core literacy or ESL curriculum, incorporating a variety of reading and writing strategies in each lesson, and using real world materials.
Trainers present the information in a variety of formats including demonstration, paired practice and group work, and video.
In addition to basic tutor training, Open Minds trainers provide at least one annual in-service/continuing education opportunity for local tutors. In-service includes such topics as visual stress syndrome, accommodations for characteristics of learning disabilities, and using web based resources.
The continuation of the Open Minds project is possible thanks to Library Services and Technology Act funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and dedicated trainers throughout the state.