How to Recognize a Non-Reader
1. The client or customer might ask you to read documents aloud and offer excuses (forgot my glasses, just had eye surgery, light is bothering eyes). Please read aloud.
2. S/he might ask for help in writing/expressing information or ideas. Please help.
3. S/he might insist on taking documents home even though you would prefer that they be filled out in your office. Please allow this or offer to help on the spot.
4. S/he might tell you directly that s/he reads and/or writes poorly. Ask how you can help.
5. S/he might be overly nervous when documents appear or defer to your education as the reason for needing help. Explain that you’ll read aloud any or all of the information.
6. S/he might ask few or no questions before signing documents. In this case, offer to read the document aloud.
7. S/he might bring a relative who will help. Please allow this.
8. If s/he is an employee who will not accept a promotion or often defers simple questions about written documentation to you or writes poorly, plan to announce to all employees that the BCLP offers free, private and confidential tutoring and is looking for students and tutors. Then explain where you will leave our brochures. Never humiliate someone by speaking to him or her about the suspected problem, especially in front of co-workers, unless the person asks you to.
There might be other signs, but it’s important to be aware that more than one-quarter of our adult population reads poorly.
Please offer the Buffalo Creek Literacy Project’s yellow brochure if the client or customer has made their inability clear. If you only suspect the problem, underline our phone numbers and slip the brochure in with their take-home documents or give the brochure to the person who accompanied the non-reader. If it becomes obvious that you mistakenly thought the person in question couldn’t read, please tell him/her that the BCLP needs tutors who can teach reading and that you gave him/her the brochure in case s/he was interested.
Buffalo Creek Literacy Project serves North Carolina adults 16 and older in Stokes and Eastern Surry counties.