What is CALL?

CALL stands for Community Adult Literacy & Learning. We provide tutor training for people in Powell River, and we match adult tutors with adult learners.

How can CALL help?

If you, or someone you know, needs help with reading, writing, math, computers, or other literacy skills, contact us to ask about the possibilities.

Is there any cost for tutoring?

No. Tutoring services are 100% free, and 100% confidential.  

Who is this tutoring for?

CALL provides literacy tutoring for  people in Powell River who are 18 and older. Learners must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. Although we can never guarantee that we can make a match we will do our very best to help you.

Why do people come for tutoring?

People come to CALL for a number of different reasons. Some people have a specific need - like improving their English skills so that they can get into a course. Some people just decide to improve their skills - because they want to be able to help their kids with their homework, or they want to improve their life in some way. Whatever your reason, pat yourself on the back for taking the first step.

How long do I have to sign up for?

Once we make a match, you can usually have a tutor for as long as you need one. That means, if you have a short-term project you need to work on - like getting your driver's licence - a tutor can work with you for just a few sessions. Or, if you would like help over a longer time period, we can make that happen too. The tutoring is all based on your needs.

Who are the tutors?

All the tutors are volunteers. They are special hard working people who just want to help. They have nearly all completed a 30-hour training course, and they donate their time to help others.

How do I get a tutor?

Once you call us for help, we will talk to you to find out about your literacy strengths and where you need help. Then we can find the right literacy-level learning style and goals. After that we will do our best to match you with a volunteer tutor who is selected just for you.

Can a tutor help me with my reading and writing?

Yes. A tutor will work with you on an individual program that helps you meet your goals. Whether you need help with spelling, understanding what you read, writing emails, or just improving your literacy skills we can help.

I want to improve my math skills. Will CALL help me?

Working with numbers is considered an essential literacy skill. Our tutors are able to help you with basic mathematics, like multiplying, dividing, fractions, decimals. If you need more advanced math help, like trigonometry and advanced algebra, you will probably have to find a paid tutor. Contact us for a list of paid tutors.

Can CALL help me with computers?

Yes, our tutors are trained to help people with all kinds of literacy-related skills - and in today's society, that includes the basic use of a computer.

I am from another country and want to work on my English and pronunciation, can I get help?

Yes, if you are a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, our tutors will do their best to help you as you master English.

Where do I go for tutoring?

One of the first things you and your tutor will do is figure out where you will meet. There are a few options. Some people meet at the CALL tutoring office on Marine Avenue, others meet at a small room in a bookstore. Some of our tutoring pairs who want to work in the evening can meet at the VIU campus in town. The most important things to remember are that the location should be public, and it should be a safe and comfortable atmosphere where you can learn.

I feel my spouse needs to develop better literacy skills, but is afraid to ask for help. What should I do?

It is important to know you are not alone. Many wives and husbands are very concerned about the literacy levels of their partners. You can call the office at 604 413-1021 to discuss the challenges your spouse is facing because of low literacy skills. However, appointments will not be made on behalf of a spouse. Your spouse must phone us to make the appointment his/herself.

I would like to help my children develop their literacy skills – can CALL help me?

CALL is a program for adults only. Although we can’t work directly with your children or teenagers, we can help you develop better literacy skills that you can use to help them at home. If reading to your child or helping with homework is a problem we’ll try to help you.

Is there a waiting list to get a tutor?

Sometimes. Depending on the time of year, sometimes we have more learners than tutors, and sometimes we have more tutors than learners. That means there can be a waiting list.

Isn’t there a tutoring program at Vancouver Island University?

Yes, and basically it is an on-campus program. However, both VIU's tutoring program, and CALL train and work with the same pool of tutors. For more information on that program contact us at call@prepsociety.org.

I would like to volunteer with CALL Powell River – what are my options?

We’d love to have you volunteer with our organization! All CALL and VIU volunteers attend a training program held at VIU.  This program is a requirement for becoming a tutor and is usually held in the spring. Phone or email us and we can tell you about the details.


Check out CALL's new tutor's blog - full on news and resources, and regularly updated

Strengthen your literacy skills: http://www.tv411.org/

Printable resources for Adult Basic Skills

Instructional video for those working with adults at the beginning of literacy learning: Alphabet study video

What you don't know can hurt you: Literacy's impact on workplace health and safety - report from the Conference Board of Canada

Implementing a workplace education program - from ABC Literacy Life Canada


Why does literacy matter?

Higher Literacy Means Better Health

75% of those with high literacy say they are in very good health, compared to only 30% of those with low literacy.

Literacy Promotes Economic Well-Being

People with weaker skills have less secure jobs.

The difference in the average income of Canadians who have low literacy and those who have high literacy is more than $30,000 a year.

Higher Literacy Means Better Participation in Community

Those with high literacy are more likely to vote than those with low literacy. They are also more than twice as likely to participate in community groups.

Better Literacy Means Lower Crime Rates

It has been proven when people are better educated, they are less likely to become involved in crime.

Higher Literacy Means A Technological Advantage

Canadians with stronger literacy are much more likely to use computers regularly.


It is a fact that adults who most need training and skills upgrading often do not get it. And yet people with high literacy skills often take courses to upgrade or improve. Check out the facts:

  • Only 20% of BC adults with low literacy participate in adult education or training in a given year, compared to 75% of those at the highest levels.

  • Only about 1 in 10 BC adults without a high school diploma ever participate in programs to improve their basic skills.

  • A quarter of working Canadians report that there has been jobrelated training they wanted or needed to take, but did not.

All statistics courtesy of Literacy BC's "Literacy in British Columbia" factsheet.

Back to Powell River Literacy Council website