Free Adult Tutoring Services at Learn To Read in St. Augustine (GED, English Classes, Reading, Writing, Math & More)

Angela Moreno, Student Volunteer Coordinator at Learn To Read St. Johns
Angela Moreno, Student Volunteer Coordinator at Learn To Read St. Johns

Angela Moreno just began learning English at Learn To Read two years ago, and now she works as a volunteer student coordinator for the organization. Moreno is just one of the many success stories coming out of the Learn To Read program, which is located on South Dixie Highway in St. Augustine. 

Learn To Read makes a big difference in the students' lives, "because you can communicate with other people," says Moreno, a Colombian native, who is thrilled to no longer need the assistance of her children, when it comes to communication. "The best way to learn English is when you speak with other people in English," Moreno says, and she encourages other people like her to come in and get started. Moreno explains how being able to go to the doctor and going shopping without having to rely on someone else bring a sense of freedom, which makes the students happy. "It is awesome, when you feel comfortable in the place that you've chosen to live," she says. 

Jon Marcus teaching an ESOL class at Learn To Read in St. Augustine Florida
Jon Marcus is teaching an ESOL class at Learn To Read in St. Augustine, Florida.

The Learn To Read office is truly a busy hub of learning, where hope comes to live and flourish. The parking lot is full, as Jon Marcus, a long-time volunteer, teaches one of his ESOL classes (English for speakers of other languages). He teaches two sets of groups, two times a week as well as individual classes. The group classes are informal with a very conversational tone, and students find confidence among other classmates, who are all there with the same hopes of becoming proficient English speakers.

"We do so much more than just teach how to read and write," says Learn To Read President & CEO Joseph Cinney. "We have GED services for people, who did not finish high school and get their diploma. They can always attempt to get their GED. We prepare them for it for free, and we do have a grant that if they're really ready to take the test, we might also be able to pay for the test. We also have English for speakers of other languages both in the group setting and individually, and we have two tutors devoted to United States citizenship services. We also have training and tutoring for people, who need help with their adult literacy. Maybe they didn't get too far in school, and they want to be able to help their children or grandchildren, or maybe they just want to be able to read the bible."

Cinney himself started as a volunteer at Learn To Read. "I was here for eight years as a tutor in the English for speakers of other languages program," he says. "I had come from Miami, so I had seen how it was like for people, who did not speak English ... and having been in a Cuban-American family, I knew what it was like to learn a new language, so that's why I wanted to help."  

Learn To Read CEO and President Joseph Cinney
Learn To Read President & CEO Joseph Cinney

Cinney just recently took over the CEO/President position after long-time CEO and President Ann Breidenstein retired this past summer. The biggest challenges at Learn To Read are "getting the donations, getting the grants and getting the support that we need to keep the place open," Cinney says.  "I would love to be able to get another satellite office in the northern end of St. Johns County, in the Nocatee area or somewhere around there, because we have a lot of people up there, and sometimes transportation is an issue."

When it comes to the challenges of recruiting new students, Cinney explains that "the initial coming in the door is what they're nervous about. They don't know what to expect, they're embarrassed and they're shy, but success stories kind of speak for themselves, so once you have some success with people, who've come through the program and they have word of mouth for everybody else, then it is much easier." 

Cinney points to Moreno as one of those success stories. "She is really good, because when the people come in, they know that they can speak with someone, who understands them in their native language, if they're Spanish speaking, and who actually went through the program and had success."

The Learn To Read volunteers work on several programs outside of the office. One such program is at The Webster School, where they have put together a program in collaboration with Alejandra Irizarry, the Family and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Community Partnership School at Webster. "We have a tutor, Ernie Little, who goes to the Webster School to teach some of the parents ... after they drop the kids off at school," says Cinney, and beginning October 22nd, Jon Marcus and Joe Cinney will be going to Putnam schools to tutor migrant parents as well.

Math is often a challenge for people, when they try to change careers and need to go back to school. "People are afraid of math," says Cinney, and the Learn To Read office can help. They offer help to students in passing vocational exams, including nursing, real estate licensing, welding, medical billing and massage therapy, and they also help students who want to get their two or four-year college degrees.

Staff, volunteers and a student at Learn To Read in St. Augustine Florida
Volunteer Student Coordinator Angela Moreno with CEO/President Joseph Cinney, volunteer Emma Kleist and Monica, who is a student at Learn To Read in St. Augustine. 

Emma Kleist is a senior at Nease High School, who is also in the dual enrollment program at St. Johns River State College. She is considering majoring in education, and she decided to volunteer at Learn To Read to help out in the community. She teaches English to a student, who is at the very beginning stages of learning the language. "I like watching every student's progress," Kleist says. "Before I started tutoring I was in Jon Marcus' class, and seeing the students grow and learn, it was really inspiring."

Learn To Read currently has about 30 tutors, but they are always looking for more volunteers. 
If you are interested in volunteering, Learn To Read is looking for someone who can commit, and who is looking to give back.

Tutoring Services Offered at Learn To Read

(To adults 16 and over)
  • Individual tutoring in math, reading, writing, language arts and comprehension.
  • ESOL classes- English for speakers of other languages - one-on-one and group classes
  • US citizenship test preparation
  • One-on-one high school diploma - GED tutoring
  • One-on-one tutoring for the TABE Test - Test for Adult Basic Education
  • Help to students in passing vocational exams, including nursing, real estate licensing, welding, medical billing and massage therapy.
  • Help to students who want to get their two or four-year college degrees.
  • Help to individuals with reaching personal goals such as getting a drivers license, writing a check, helping children with homework etc.

If you, or someone you know could benefit from the free services that Learn To Read St. Johns offers, or if you would like to volunteer or donate to the cause, visit Learn To Read St. Johns online or at their offices at 70 South Dixie Highway in St. Augustine, which is just north of 207.

You can also call 904-826-0011 for more information or email Learn To Read at

Consider following Learn To Read on Instagram and on Facebook to help spread the word about their mission. 


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