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Learn how you can give the best to those who need it most.
We’re excited that you are interested in becoming a tutor with The Literacy Lab. Learn more about our program and commitment requirements by signing up for a live webinar. If you are ready to join the team and make an impact, our application is linked below.
Benefits & Commitments
What We’ll Ask of You
- Commit to 11 or 10 months of service
- Serve 1200 hours
- Serve full-time (40-45 hrs/wk)
- Participate in required trainings
- Engage in your community
How You’ll Grow
- Training, coaching, and experience in effective, research-based literacy strategies
- Gain on-the-ground experience working in high-need communities
- Professional skill-building & networking
- Meet and work with people with a similar drive to close the achievement gap
- Modest living allowance
- Education Award
- Student loan forbearance
- Health insurance
- Childcare assistance
Selection process outline
First, prospective tutors fill out an online application that includes work and education history and a short essay question.
Within 5-7 business days following application submission, qualified applicants will be asked to submit contact information for professional references. References will immediately receive an email requesting that they complete a brief online reference form.
Around the time that references are requested, qualified applicants can expect to receive a follow-up phone call. This 15-20 minute phone conversation allows us to confirm eligibility and answer basic questions.
Applicants who are selected for a final interview will complete a brief mock assessment and mock intervention. Materials will be sent ahead of time and also outlined during the Phone Call.
*Note: We are able to accommodate final interviews both in-person and via Google Meets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to serve?
- be 17 years of age or older
- have a high school diploma or a GED
- be either a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
- served no more than three terms of service with AmeriCorps (no prior AmeriCorps service required)
- submit to and pass mandatory pre-service background checks
- be available to attend entire mandatory pre-service training dates (coinciding with start date)
- speak, hear, read, and write American English fluently
- possess basic computer skills, including the ability to navigate online systems and email
DACA recipients are unfortunately not eligible to apply.
Is there an age limit?
We have tutors of all ages joining us, from recent high school grads to recent retirees. We value the varied experiences that come with our diverse tutor cohort.
Do I need a car?
While traveling by car is the most accessible option for many of our school partners, public transportation is a reliable alternative in some of our regions. If you plan to travel via public transportation, please share this information with program staff.
What would I do as a tutor?
Tutors are placed into a preschool or elementary school and serve in a full-time capacity for one school year. With training and ongoing coaching, our tutors use scripted, data-backed interventions to support students who are reading below grade level.
In addition to tutoring, tutors may get involved with before- or after-school programming at their school site, attend trainings and meetings, and participate in service and professional development opportunities throughout the year.
Is there a uniform?
Yes. We will provide four shirts and a fleece jacket. Tutors are responsible for the rest of their outfit. Most schools require professionals working in building to dress business casual and additional considerations will be shared during training. The Literacy Lab does not have a policy against body modifications (tattoos, piercings, etc.) though some school sites may have a policy in place.
When is training? What is training like?
Our largest training is our annual Summer Institute which typically takes place in August. Dates differ by region and vary from year to year, but accepted tutors will receive updates as training dates are confirmed. We also may hold additional trainings throughout the year in the event that a position opens up after Summer Institute.
During training, tutors will learn about the Reading Corps model we use to deliver scripted interventions to our students. Tutors will have opportunities to practice with each other and receive support from staff. We will also go over Literacy Lab policies and procedures, and we usually find a way to work in some fun team-building activities throughout the day!
How do I apply? Is there a deadline?
Apply on our website at any time. We open our application for the upcoming school year in October and try to have as many positions filled as possible before our Summer Institute, so applying in winter/ spring is strongly encouraged.
We do occasionally have slots open up throughout the school year, so you can still apply if you missed our summer training. Make sure you select the application for the correct school year as we will sometimes have two open at the same time, for the current and upcoming school year.
What does the selection process look like?
Application submission: once an application is submitted, Literacy Lab staff will review it within 5-7 business days.
Phone screen: if we are able to move an applicant forward, we will invite them to schedule a phone call with a staff member. During the 15-20 minute phone call, staff will review the applicant’s knowledge of the program, their motivation for serving, and double-check logistical information the applicant submitted in their application (training dates, stipend amount, etc.).
References: we will invite applicants to submit contact info for two professional references.
Final interview: applicants invited to proceed will complete a final interview in-person or via Google Meets. The interview includes two tasks that simulate what tutoring looks like with students. We generally get back to tutors within 2 weeks of their interview with a final decision regarding their candidacy.
How can I prepare for the phone call and final interview?
Review the portion of your phone call or interview email that walks you through the tasks you should complete in advance. Make sure to read over any documents shared with you via email, particularly those which outline the details of your preferred program (Pre-K or K3). We will ask you what you know about the position and share more information about the expectations of the service term!
We will also cover the commitments and benefits associated with the role during both the phone screen and interview. While you have already committed to these when you filled out the application, feel free to bring any lingering questions you have about any of these pieces. For the final interview, you may find it helpful to think through former professional, academic, or volunteer experiences so that you can answer questions about how you handled particular environments or situations in the past.
Where is The Literacy Lab located?
We currently operate in the following regions and cities/counties:
- Baltimore, MD
- Metro DC: Washington, DC; Alexandria, VA; Montgomery County, MD and Prince George’s County, MD
- Greater Richmond, VA: Henrico, Hopewell and Richmond, VA
- Hampton Roads, VA: Hampton, Newport News and Norfolk VA
- Danville, VA
- Kansas City, MO
- Western Mass: Springfield and Holyoke, MA
Where would I serve? Do I get to choose where I’m placed? How will my school placement be determined?
Tutors apply for and are placed in the region in which they prefer to serve. You may be placed anywhere within that region, though we do take transportation and school/tutor personality into consideration when determining school placements. If you have any particular considerations you would like us to know about (you already have a relationship with a particular school in your region, for example), let us know during the interview!
Is housing or a relocation stipend provided to tutors moving from out of town?
Rather than provide housing for our tutors, we allow them to find a living situation that works best for their needs. We do connect accepted tutors with each other via a closed Facebook group, which many tutors use to connect and find roommates. We also have compiled a list of local housing search engines, which is made accessible to accepted tutors. Finally, tutors receive health insurance and assistance applying for SNAP benefits, which can both help to lower expenses.
We are currently unable to offer monetary support with relocation.
What is the length of the commitment?
Tutors serve 1200 hours across 10 months, or the duration of one school year. Positions opening later in the school year will have shorter commitments.
What are the hours?
Tutors serve for at least 8 hours/day, Monday through Friday. Tutors in all regions serve a total of 1200 hours, around 35-40 hours/week.
Are there any part-time, summer, or volunteer positions available?
Unfortunately, we do not have part-time or summer positions available. We occasionally hire interns in some of our regions. These positions are typically advertised on local nonprofit job boards or Idealist.org.
What are the benefits?
- A modest monthly living allowance, paid in two bi-weekly installments (currently $1400/month in MA, MA and MO; $1600/month in DC and MD)
- Segal Education award upon completion of service is ~$4,000
- Federal student loan forbearance
- Health insurance
- Support applying for SNAP and/or childcare benefits
- Ongoing training, coaching, and support
Is the living allowance negotiable? Are taxes taken out?
Because we are an AmeriCorps organization, our living allowances are predetermined and non-negotiable. We find that about 15%-25% of the living allowance does go towards required state and federal taxes, so applicants are encouraged to keep this amount in mind when considering their budget.
What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps, sometimes known as the domestic Peace Corps, is a national service program that engages more than 80,000 individuals annually in intensive service to address critical community needs throughout the United States. In exchange for their commitment, AmeriCorps members earn a living allowance, federal student loan forbearance during their service, and an education award post-service. Literacy Lab tutors are AmeriCorps members and have access to all of the AmeriCorps benefits and resources during and after their service.
What do tutors do after service with The Literacy Lab?
Our tutors have lots of different professional and personal goals. Therefore, they go on to do lots of exciting things after service with us! About half of our tutors go on to pursue a role in education, many within the same schools or districts in which they served. Others work in the nonprofit sector, join The Literacy Lab staff, start their own businesses, work abroad, etc.