RTL Changes Lives

Read to Learn Program Changes Lives One Student at a Time, Inspires Tutors

Being tutored takes on a different meaning when you’re an adult and enrolled in the Read to Learn (RTL) program of District 214 Community Education. One, you get one-on-one training from a volunteer tutor who will help you improve your reading abilities and basic skills. Two, it’s free. Three, the goal is to improve your quality of life by raising your level of literacy.

story_5_IMG_0425_800District 214 Community Education’s RTL program began in January 1985 with a start-up grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. Since then, over 10,000 adult learners have been tutored and more than 5,500 volunteer tutors have been trained.

Mt. Prospect Public Library is one of the 14 sites of the program and according to Roberta Pennett, site supervisor, RTL is an inspiration for both tutors and their students.

"It is a wonderful program that changes lives," Pennett said. "As tutors, it is nice to have success stories and know that we are helping change people’s lives."
Pennett shares a success story of one of her students who was originally from Mexico. "He came to our Palatine site and I tutored him in preparation for his ‘kitchen certification’ test," she said. "His hard work paid off for he passed his certification after a semester with RTL which allowed him to earn a higher salary and get the promotion at his work."

 Another student, Pennett pointed out, is Joel Parker who is currently being tutored at the Mt. Prospect Public Library site. According to Pennett, Parker is already a success story, a feeling shared by his tutor Joe Maniscalco. "I am glad to be of assistance," Maniscalco said. "It is our duty to volunteer and education is the most important aspect of community life bar none," Maniscalco added.

Joel Parker’s story is that of determination and perseverance. His being legally blind does not stop him from meeting his goals. He is working on his Massage Therapy textbook with the goal of receiving a diploma in Clinical Massage Therapy and a degree in Chinese medicine. Maniscalco tutors him also on decoding, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.

story_5_IMG_0436_800"Joe has helped me complete my homework," Parker said. "He also helps me use the correct vocabulary which allows me to have a better understanding of my work."
Maniscalco commends Pennett for Parker’s success. "She goes beyond her duty and has assiduously made sure that she blows up the text books to help Joel," Maniscalco said. 

Parker recently took a test in his Massage Therapy course and scored in the high 80s. "He is very pleased with, and grateful for, the tutoring provided by this program," Pennett added.

Roberta Pennett, Joe Maniscalco, and the Community Education RTL staff: JoAnn Fletcher, RTL program coordinator, and Laurice Hoffman, Volunteer Services coordinator, are all rooting for Joel Parker who exemplifies how the program can impact a person’s life in the most profound way. The RTL and Community Education staff will make sure Joel Parker achieves his goals!