Above: Tutor Al Odierno and student Marc
Tutor Al Odierno firmly believes that much of the good in this world is done by people who labor quietly in the background. Well, it doesn’t get much quieter than a back table at the county library branch in Edgewater. There, Al and his student Marc meet for two hours each week to work on reading, writing, communication, and organization skills.
Marc, who lives in Davidsonville, works full-time for the Prince George’s County school system in their bus maintenance division. But his true love is centered on his work as a volunteer firefighter at the Woodland Beach firehouse, where he hopes to become an EMT someday. When Marc realized that his literacy skills needed improvement, his captain at the firehouse–who admired Marc’s hard work and positive attitude–recommended that he contact the AACLC.
Once he started working with his tutor Al, it quickly became apparent that Marc had brought his impressive work ethic and good cheer to each tutoring session. “Aside from being a motivated, patient, and dogged learner, Marc also has keen intellectual curiosity,” notes Al. “Each week we read an article or letter-to-the-editor from The Capital, and then talk about it. Once, when we were reading a particularly long article together, we had to stop mid-way to go on to something else. But Marc insisted we return and read the whole thing; he wanted to have a complete understanding of the article. That made my night!”
Marc says he realizes how reading well is not only an important practical skill; it also creates opportunities for “a better life and lifestyle.” He sums up his experience with the AACLC: “It’s definitely been worthwhile. The ‘one-on-one’ teaching approach works very well for me.”
Tutor Al agrees. “I’m a pretty traditional educator in a lot of ways, but it’s become more clear to me than ever before that people learn in different ways. When I was educated, teachers followed a one-size-fits-all approach that didn’t always work so well. Today’s educational system is very aware of learning differences, but cannot realistically address every single one. At the Literacy Council we are able to do just that–and it’s not that complicated. We simply return education to its essence: face-to-face human interaction.”