Learner Stories

Profile: Darryl G.

Darryl came to the program to upgrade for employment purposes. He was unhappy in his current job and knew that to find more fulfilling employment he would need to upgrade his skills. Below, Darryl describes his experience with the program in his own words:

The Literacy Council of Durham Region is very rewarding to me because they have helped me to read and write much better. I entered the program in November and I have no regrets! All of the volunteers took the time to sit with you and make sure you understood what they were teaching you. They have a very unique way of teaching so that at the end of each lesson 99.9% of the time you will have received whatever they are teaching. Thank you to the staff and all the volunteers and keep up the good work!

Profile: Paul B.

Paul is 45 years old and lives in the Uxbridge area. His formal education ended when he was 13 years old and since that time Paul has struggled with his writing skills.

Paul originally contacted the program because he was having difficulty at work and worried that he would lose his job promotion as a supervisor. One of the new requirements for his job is to write emails and reports regularly. Before coming to the Council, Paul coped by phoning his spouse to double-check his spelling over the phone for all his documents. Confidentiality was extremely important for Paul, since he felt his job depended on secrecy. As well, he felt embarrassed that he was unable to help his children with their schoolwork.

Currently, Paul is working towards entering into a high school preparation course and will soon be leaving the Literacy Council having successfully improved his skills to meet his goals!

The following is an actual letter written by Paul, with minimal help with his tutor:


One evening I saw an ad for the Literacy Council of Durham Region. It described a program that offered free and confidential on-on-one tutoring for reading, writing and spelling skills improvement. I had been looking for something like this for a long time.

My job as a warehouse manager increasingly required more literacy skills then I had. I also felt challenged to get my High School diploma by the time my thirteen-year-old daughter got hers. I hoped getting my diploma would make me more confident and independent at work and in my personal life.

Since starting the course I have learned to spell the most commonly used words, learned about spelling rules, syllables, grammar, sentences and many other things. This program will prepare me for the upcoming High School courses that I plan to take. With about forty hours of tutoring behind me I have noticed a great improvement in all my literacy skills and am truly looking forward to the remainder of the course,


A Grateful Student


Profile: Anne S.

Anne was involved with the Council for over a year and was able to show amazing progress. Her tutor helped Anne develop skills on job search and writing for employment purposes which helped Anne find a great job.

Personal problems impacted negatively on Anne’s learning and she was forced to go to a Women’s shelter due to a domestic dispute. Through her work with the Council, she was able to find and access many programs that were able to support her during a difficult period. Fortunately, Anne was able to complete the program and enter a classroom program for literacy students. Eventually, she plans on finishing her high school diploma.


Profile: Sean L.

Sean is a 28-year who lives in the Oshawa area. When he first entered the Council program Sean was unable to read more than some common sight words and was not able to fill out a simple form. This caused many personal difficulties for Sean, which often left him with very low self-confidence. Sean avoided going out and had difficulty with activities such as grocery shopping.

Sean first started working with his tutor approximately a year ago. His goal was to do daily tasks to help in his everyday life. He worked with a tutor to learn to read a menu. After completing many lessons, Sean and his tutor went to a restaurant and Sean ordered from the menu. Sean always ordered a burger and fries because that was all he knew. Now Sean says, “I can go into a restaurant and get anything I want.”

Profile: Michelle C.

Michellle was involved with the Council for approximately 2 years. Michelle wanted to be able to read children’s stories and has met her goal with plenty of hard work and dedication. As well, she practiced and learned the vocabulary to help with passing her driver’s exam for her license. The Council helped Michelle increase her reading and writing skills to help with employment as well as in her daily life. Michelle is now working at a job she loves and feels very happy with her success.

Congratulations to all of our students on their hard work and success!

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