WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The ability to read a text message, street sign, or restaurant menu is something many can do with ease, but there are some adults who struggle with sounding out words and reading complete sentences. That's where Literacy Volunteers Waterville Area can help.
The group has been teaching adults to read through free one-on-one tutors since 1973. Each literacy volunteer tutor develops lesson plans to meet student's unique needs and goals in the speaking, listening, reading and writing of English. Mona Gagnon, 54, signed up for the program after a severe reaction to a medication caused her memory loss, taking her ability to read with it.
"It was hard because I didn't even know my alphabet," said Gagnon. "I had to go right at the bottom of everything."
Pride might stop some, but not Gagnon. She wants to learn to read and that drive brought her to Literacy Volunteers tutor, Alan Corson. He has tutored five adults through the program, but none have been as successful as Gagnon during their lessons at the Waterville Public Library.
"They've been going through the motions. It was one of those things, well I ought to learn how to read so I can drive, or I ought to learn how to read so I can do this, but with Mona it's always been I need to learn how to read and I need to do it now," said Corson.
There are currently 11 board members and 35 tutors who work for Literacy Volunteers Waterville Area. They helped around 35 students last year, including Gagnon who in a year and a half has worked up to a fourth grade reading level. Through her weekly lessons with Corson and her husband Howard Gagnon, she has read 20 books and counting.
"That's my goal. I want to go until 12th grade," said Gagnon.
Literacy Volunteers Waterville Area also teaches English as a second language and their family literacy program helps tutor parents of children struggling in school.