Volunteer Highlight: Adult Literacy

Adult learners embarking on their journey in the Adult Literacy program are presented with a valuable opportunity to improve their language skills, encompassing speaking, reading, and writing, through the establishment of clear roles and objectives. Devoted volunteer tutors provide them with tailored lesson plans and resources to assist them in attaining proficiency in English, covering elements such as punctuation, phonics, grammar, and vocabulary. It is thanks to individuals like you that the Los Angeles Public Library can extend this essential service to Angelenos in need. This month, Joni Ballou, a volunteer in the Adult Literacy Program, generously shares their experience with us.


Hello everyone, my name is Joni Ballou and I serve as an Adult Literacy Program Volunteer for the Los Angeles Public Library at Baldwin Hills Library Branch. My role is all about the adult learner. I am here to support their literacy journey. Since low literacy rates in our region are high, I find deep joy in helping adult learners to get excited about reading and writing.

My journey with the program and the Literacy Coordinator, Lisa Sprinkles, has always allowed me to watch the creative process of the learners. I can honestly say that I have gained a lot from the experience, including making new friends and acquiring effective ways to teach and reinforce grammar and punctuation with my students.

Along the way, I have also learned how to develop lesson plans, incorporate educational games and vision boarding while exploring a range of techniques for teaching grammar to ESL learners, and to examine the power of technology in education and new curricula. All of this helps adult learners become lifelong learners and strive to realize their full potential. I am originally from Florida but have decided to settle down in Los Angeles, California. I have a passion for walking and biking, so next year I plan on joining a biking expedition in Europe.

I have had the greatest time volunteering at the library and am learning my way around the area. Feel free to join me as an adult volunteer tutor at lapl.org.

We are so thankful for volunteers like Joni who help to keep programs like Adult Literacy thriving! Interested in becoming a volunteer? Learn how to get involved here.

Photos courtesy of Joni Ballou © 2023.

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