Teacher Feature


Nicole Lee-Sye

Joplin NALA Read volunteer tutor Nicole Lee-Sye and her student proudly point to Jacie’s High School Equivalency certificate. Not only did Jacie pass the exam, but she did so with honors! Her high score indicates college and career readiness and qualifies her for college scholarships. Jacie continues to meet with her tutor weekly as she prepares to start college next semester.

When asked what motivated her to volunteer at NALA, Nicole said, “I love reading. And I feel very strongly that everyone should have access to education and information.” Nicole’s passion for literacy was evident from the time she first met with her student. Together they identified what material would best meet her student’s needs and what method of instruction would work well for her student’s learning style. We are grateful for our volunteer tutors, like Nicole, who work one-on-one with their students, helping them reach their full potential.


Kathleen Hall

The biggest thing is just to tell you Thank You!

Joplin NALA Read volunteer tutor Kathleen Hall and her student Sherry Smith meet twice a week for one-on-one tutoring. Kathleen has retired as an Adult Education and Literacy instructor, but she has not retired from helping learners reach their full potential! Kathleen goes the extra mile to find just the right resources to help her student with reading, writing and math. Kathleen develops lesson plans to put those skills to work in Sherry’s life.  In addition to working one-on-one with Sherry, Kathleen also teaches a class on Monday evenings - and now Sherry is able to assist Kathleen as a teacher’s aide.

Sherry recently expressed her thanks in a note to her tutor and we think she said it best. “I don’t tell you enough thank you for all you do. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t know how to write these sentences. And I can read these at the store – snacks, chips, gluten-free. Now I can find food. I can tell time, most of it. I could go on and on and on and on, but the biggest thing is just to tell you THANK YOU” 


Janie Lampo

When Janie retired from teaching, she found time to volunteer!

Janie and her student have been meeting twice a week for a year with no plan to stop progress! Her student recently shared, “I’m glad for my tutor and the help I am getting.” Janie has helped her student complete two levels in the Challenger series and together they read current events articles and human interest stories while building skills in reading, comprehension, vocabulary, and more. Janie also works with her student to improve employability skills and recently helped him complete work related forms.

We are grateful to Janie and our pool of volunteer tutors whose acts of kindness give adult learners access to a better life and make a positive impact in our community.


Vicki West-Anderson

Vicki West-Anderson is a volunteer tutor at Joplin NALA Read.

Vicki West-Anderson is a volunteer tutor at Joplin NALA Read.

Vicki West-Anderson joined NALA as a volunteer tutor in May, 2012.  Vicki is a retired Reading Specialist employed by the Webb City School District for 35 years.  Tennis is a passion of hers along with gardening, hiking, bicycling, and recently, golf.

Her first student is a gentleman who’s been trying to improve his reading all his life but never quite had the tools to do so.  Each time when they leave now, he tells me, “She is teaching me the way I need to be taught.  I am making progress.”

In looking at Vicki’s notes on her sessions, I see that she works on basic word parts to help him break words into syllables.  Starting out in Challenger 4, they tried 5 and then 3 until they found the level that was most helpful.  He does reading outside of class and writes on an assigned topic each week.

She likens the reading process to a puzzle in which all the necessary pieces fit together:  phonemic awareness (recognizing the sounds of our language and the letter that represent those sounds), sight words, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.


United Way Worldwide Day of Action Benefits Joplin NALA Read

 The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce has supported the United Way for many years.  “We like to come up with creative ways to support the United Way partner agencies, so this year a shower was just the thing to do!” said Tonya Sprenkle with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.  “It’s not a baby shower or a bridal shower, it is an office shower! NALA is in need of some office supplies, and we just happen to know more than 1000 businesses in the area that might be able to share some unused supplies or purchase new ones for NALA. The work they do at NALA is vital and if we can help them with a simple request like this – then NALA can concentrate on the good work that they do every day.”

 According to Marj Boudreaux, Executive Director of Joplin NALA Read, “Tutoring adults who need to learn to read, teaching English to people from other countries and raising awareness to the value of reading all require more funds than we have from our usual sources.  Knowing our outreach exceeds our resources, yet realizing the literacy needs surrounding us, we look to the community in which we serve to help bridge the gap.”

 We salute JACC for their innovative generosity.  Joplin NALA Read is fortunate to have the support of many individuals, organizations and volunteers, enabling them to provide literacy programs at no charge to adult learners in our community.