Volunteer Orientations & Training



Unfortunately, we are not accepting new volunteers at this time due to the Coronavirus pandemic. All DLC programs are operating remotely this fall 2020 and we are only working with existing volunteers. This pivot to online, and other forms of distance learning, requires fewer volunteers and also more staff time for curriculum development, training, student support and volunteer management.

In a typical year, about 230 volunteers enable us to serve over 700 adult learners. If you are a prospective volunteer, please join our email list and follow us on social media to learn more about us and our incredible students.


We hope that we can bring new volunteers into our programs in January 2021 if public health conditions are safe for our students, volunteers and staff to meet in person. 

Thank you for your interest!

Volunteer Orientations

We hold Volunteer Orientations in January and again in August. We highly recommend that prospective Adult Literacy and ESOL volunteers attend one Volunteer Orientation to learn about the various volunteer roles available in the coming semester, the expectations for each role, and any related training requirements. 

Volunteer Orientations for the Spring 2020 Semester will be held in early January. The orientations will focus primarily on our Adult Literacy and ESOL Programs, as we need to identify prospective tutors prior to the each program's comprehensive training series, which will take place in late January. Please plan to attend one of the following orientation sessions:

  • 10-11am or 6-7pm on January 7

  • 6-7pm on January 9

  • 6-7pm on January 13

An orientation session may run longer than an hour depending on the number of people attending and the number of questions asked. You will also need to complete one of the following: 1) a 12-hour Adult Literacy tutor training series if you decide to work with a beginner reader in the Adult Literacy program or 2) a 12-hour ESOL tutor training series if you decide to teach or co-teach an ESOL class. Other volunteer and tutor roles do not require a full 12-hour training series - these roles include tutoring a teen or adult GED student, tutoring an adult intermediate-level reader, or serving as a greeter at our reception desk. Learn more about these roles by clicking here.


Tutor training is described below.

To sign up for an orientation, please email us at volunteer@durhamliteracy.org.

The location of all orientations is 1905 Chapel Hill Road. We are located across from the Lakewood Shopping Center. 

​Adult Literacy Tutor Training & ESOL Tutor Training 

​Our Adult Literacy Tutor Training and ESOL Tutor Training are two separate training programs that are offered concurrently in different rooms. 

  • The Adult Literacy Tutor Training is required for prospective volunteers who want to teach an adult how to read and write. The majority of adult learners served in our Adult Literacy program speak English as their first (or only) language. The training will focus primarily on multi-sensory phonics instruction. 

  • The ESOL Tutor Training is required for prospective volunteers who want to teach or co-teach a group English class. The majority of ESOL learners were born in other countries and want to improve their ability to communicate in English. The training will focus on methods for teaching adults to read, write, speak, and listen in English. 


Each training series comprises 12 hours of instruction and hand-on practice designed to provide our tutors with an in-depth understanding of our respective students, the assessments we use with students, the research-based curricula they will use in their lessons, proven techniques for engaging students in active learning, and lesson planning.

We offer this training in August and January. The training takes place over two evenings and a Saturday during the course of a week (e.g., Tuesday evening (6-9pm), Thursday evening (6-9pm), and Saturday (9am-3pm)). All sessions are required. If you can't make one of the sessions, please talk to us before starting the training so that we can determine whether and how to compensate for the missed session. We might have alternative teaching opportunities that are better suited for individuals who cannot attend all three sessions (e.g., working one-on-one with an adult GED student or assisting a lead tutor in a literacy-level ESOL class). 


The training usually takes place in two large classrooms on the second floor of our building. If you have difficulty climbing stairs, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can determine whether alternative arrangements are needed. 

The training for the Spring 2020 Semester will take place on January 21, 23, and 25. The exact times will be provided at the Volunteer Orientations. 

You must sign up to attend all three days of training prior to the first day of training. Please contact us to sign up or to get more information about the orientations and training at volunteer@durhamliteracy.org. Thank you!

​Contact us:​


Phone: (919) 489-8383  


Email: info@durhamliteracy.org​


Location: 1905 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707


Mailing address:  PO Box 52209, Durham, NC 27717


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The Durham Literacy Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Our Federal Tax ID Number is 56-1479534.