Española Resident Named State “Tutor Of The Year” For Adult Literacy

New Mexico Coalition for Literacy Executive Director Heather Heunermund presents Ernest Cata with the state-wide Adult Literacy "Tutor of the Year" award at the annual NMCL conference in Albuquerque. Courtesy image

Española Resident Named State “Tutor Of The Year” For Adult Literacy

The New Mexico Coalition for Literacy recently named Española resident Ernest Cata its state-wide literacy “Tutor of the Year.” Cata, a retired Los Alamos National Laboratory machinist, was trained as a volunteer literacy tutor through the Rio Arriba Adult Literacy Program. For the past two years, he has been working one-to-one with an adult basic literacy student, a 33-year-old man who had virtually no reading skills prior to enrolling with the literacy program.

Tutors go through a free, two-day training provided by the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy; trainings focus either on Basic Literacy or English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring. Basic Literacy students are native English speakers who read at or below 6th grade level. ESL students are new English learners who need help with conversational English as well as reading and writing in English. Tutoring services are provided free of charge to both Basic Literacy and ESL adult learners. The Rio Arriba Adult Literacy Program’s office is located in the Española Public Library; tutor-student pairs can meet in any public place at times convenient for them. To volunteer as a tutor or to refer someone for tutoring, contact RAALP at 505-747-6162, drop by the Española Public Library, or visit  

Close up of the award plate given to RAALP volunteer literacy tutor Ernest Cata. All the award plates were hand-painted by Sherry Aragon, Library Director of the Española Public Library. Courtesy image