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Humboldt Literacy Project (HLP) connects adults 18+ who wish to improve their reading and writing with adult volunteer tutors for free, confidential, one-on-one English language tutoring.


Becoming a volunteer literacy tutor at Humboldt Literacy Project requires a special kind of person—someone patient, persistent, and a bit creative. No teaching credential or specific background is necessary. Your unique life experiences and your desire to help can make you a valuable English literacy tutor, contributing to someone in your community working towards their goals and enhancing their life.


We work with a diverse group, including those with basic literacy needs, some aiming to improve high school or college-level comprehension and composition, and others focused on learning English as a second language for broader goals.

Most of our tutoring pairs meet for about 60-90 minutes, one or two times per week, at a time and location they have chosen together, studying with materials supplied by HLP. Some of our matches have been working together for several years!


1. To get started, complete our online volunteer tutor application here 

We host orientations for new volunteer tutors every 2-3 months, currently on Zoom, and you will be invited to the next one. Feel free to call or email with any questions.


2. While you're waiting, check out the job description here, and review your rights, and your responsibilities, too. This is supposed to be fun!


3. Within weeks of orientation, most tutors are matched with a learner, receiving personally curated study materials. Together, they establish a one-on-one study schedule and pace. In some cases, circumstances may extend the wait for a match, and we'll communicate accordingly. Remember we are here if you have any questions or need assistance with any aspect of your first or future meetings.


4. The learning process can be slow and challenging, so we ask our tutors to consider their volunteer work at HLP a long term commitment minimum length commitment 6 months. You don’t sign a contract, and you won’t be shamed if your life changes and you have to move on. We appreciate all of your efforts on behalf of HLP!


5. HLP will continue to support you with our Continuing Education series of workshops. We will hold these once per month and kindly ask that you attend 6 workshops for a 12 month period if you are a new tutor and 3 workshops for a 12 month period if you are an existing tutor.

Testimonial from a Learner

"I want to thank the people who put on the Appreciation Night for Tutor and Learners.  I was very impressed with how there were so many people who want to help and take time out of their busy lives to help people make their lives better. I feel like on the news all you see is bad news and it is nice to see small good things happening around us. It is too bad that some people cannot see the day-to-day kindness that goes on in our little town. I feel that Humboldt Literacy Project has many who are volunteering out of the goodness of their hearts. Even though they are busy running their lives, they still want to help. I love seeing people taking care of others and some are super excited to give back to the community.  Thanks again Humboldt Literacy Project for getting tutors and learners together and making it all possible." 

Kanta Dill, Learner since 2013

Kanta Dill and her Tutor Lori WIlliams

If you’re not ready to be a tutor but you like what we do, there are many other ways to support HLP.

  • We are always recruiting experienced educators and performers to lead our Family Literacy Parties and our ESL events. This is paid work. Contact us if you would like to discuss details.

  • We also need donations of items we can sell at our fundraising auctions, and we need businesses (and individuals) to sponsor our events in exchange for copious glory, publicity, and gratitude. 

  • We (gratefully!) decline most donations of used books, because our learners usually need specialized materials. If you have something you really believe will benefit our learners, go ahead and ask, but we could probably make better use of a gift certificate to New Readers Press or one of our many great local bookstores or office supply stores.

  • Of course, it takes board members and community advisors to help us do what we do, so we're always ready to welcome new faces at our monthly board meeting. Contact us if you'd like to talk about it.

Every contribution to the Humboldt Literacy Project, financial or otherwise, directly supports our mission and our clients. We have been a 501(c)(3) nonprofit since 1985, and we exist because of the generous support of individuals, businesses, private foundations, and government grants. Thank you!

This is a free service for the community. Learners never pay for the assistance they receive.

For more information, contact us at, or call (707)445-3655.

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