Two Los Angeles Volunteers Earn Global Recognition for Tutoring Work

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America Learns recognizes two volunteers from the Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles for their innovative tutoring strategies.

Every day, countless numbers of incredible volunteer tutors and mentors make meaningful, local impacts throughout Los Angeles. It isn't every day, however, that volunteers' local work makes a global impact. Two volunteers with the Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles are now not only thinking and acting locally, but also impacting adult learners worldwide.

America Learns announced today that strategies created by two Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles volunteers have been named March's America Learns Strategies of the Month. This marks the first time that strategies for adult learners have earned this recognition. It also marks the first time that America Learns decided to honor two strategies in a single month. Throughout March, these strategies will be available not only to the tutors, mentors and student teachers America Learns serves nationwide, but also to the thousands of teachers, tutors, mentors and parents worldwide who subscribe to America Learns' Strategy of the Month newsletter.

The Literacy Network's Volunteer for Literacy Program strengthens and builds the capacity of literacy providers in the Greater Los Angeles community by recruiting and training volunteers to help improve the basic literacy skills of adults within and outside of the workforce. Providers include public schools, libraries, employment centers, and other community-based organizations.

The strategies America Learns is recognizing were created by Maria Barham and Joyce Tamanaha-Ho. Barham's strategy involves helping adults who do not yet speak or read the English language learn how to better recognize and pronounce the letters of the English alphabet while Tamanaha-Ho's strategy helps students better understand American culture and colloquialisms by reading and discussing "Ask Amy" columns together.

Barham was a teacher in Australia before coming to Los Angeles with her husband a couple of years ago. She now tutors adult students learning English as a second language for more than 20 hours a week at Burbank Adult School. "Maria is a fantastic volunteer who pays a lot of attention to detail and cares about the success of the learners," said Robyn Wasserman, Program Coordinator, Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles. "She creates lessons and activities that engage the learners while teaching them life skills."

Tamanaha-Ho works one-on-one with an ESL learner once a week at the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library. A product of California public schools from Kindergarten through graduate school, Tamanaha-Ho says that she makes time to volunteer because it "allows me to continue to give back to my community what so many have given me - an opportunity to be well-educated and civic-minded."

"While we normally recognize just one tutor each month, we couldn't resist celebrating the impact that these two Literacy Network volunteers are making with their learners," said Gary Kosman, Founder and CEO, America Learns. "Given the level of specificity that Maria and Joyce used to describe their strategies, I have no doubt that we'll be receiving e-mails and phone calls from volunteer tutors worldwide over the next few weeks letting us know that they've already replicated Maria and Joyce's successes."

The strategies will be available for the remainder of March at, and will be permanently available to all members of the America Learns Network community.

About the Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles:
The Volunteer for Literacy Program of the Literacy Network builds the capacity of literacy service providers in the Greater Los Angeles community through a coordinated system of volunteer management. The program's corps of literacy tutors currently supports 25 service providers with a total of 40 sites on a weekly basis, providing one-on-one and small group tutoring to adult learners. These volunteers work with adults who seek to obtain the GED, a job, and to improve their ability to read, write, and speak English. Learn more at or by calling Robyn Wasserman at 213-237-3010.

About America Learns, LLC:
Los Angeles-based America Learns is a global educational performance and accountability firm reaching more than 20,000 students worldwide. The company's flagship service, the America Learns Network, helps organizations to simultaneously collect their educators' best practices from the field, share those strategies with educators as soon as they need them, and measure educators' performance. Organizations using its services include universities (e.g., Dwight Hall at Yale, Duke University, UC Berkeley, Georgetown, and the University of Michigan), community-based nonprofits, after-school programs, and school districts (e.g., the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and the Minneapolis Public Schools). The company also creates and publishes high quality, meaningful, stress-free learning resources for children that are steeped in relevant research and practice. Learn more at or by calling 310-689-0542.


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Robyn Wasserman
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