Tags: alumni, american dream, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Announcements, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, Class, community, Development, ESOL, family, Family Learning, friends, g, giving, immigration, James Lee Community Center, jessica raines, LCNV, lcnv learners, lesson plans, Library, literacy, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, literacy services, Loudon Literacy, student stories, students, teaching, thank you!, training, transformative year, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
I can’t believe today is my last day of my service year here at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. Overall, I have had much success and feel I have gained much from this experience. I have gained confidence in myself as a teacher and pride in the work I have done. I would really once again like to thank EVERYONE at the Literacy Council for being wonderful people and doing good work. I feel lucky to have been able to work with this organization for a year. As I move forward in my life, or rather South to Richmond, I can take with me all my new skills and experiences and the knowledge that I have spent one year of my life devoted to helping others. Teaching adult ESOL was such a rewarding experience. I can only hope that I find something equally as rewarding in the future. or maybe I’ll just come back some day.
Tags: alumni, american dream, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Announcements, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, Class, community, Development, ESOL, family, Family Learning, friends, give, giving, immigration, James Lee Community Center, jessica raines, LCNV, lcnv learners, lesson plans, Library, literacy, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, literacy services, Loudon Literacy, student stories, students, teaching, thank you!, training, transformative year, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
I am grateful to AmeriCorps and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia for my exciting and rewarding year as an ESL teacher. I have nothing but admiration and respect for the dedication and hard work of both the Literacy Council’s staff, volunteers, and students. I have grown as an educator and as a member of my community through the work I’ve done here.
At the class graduations this summer I told my students that they were my family. Specifically they were all my parents, only 40 years removed. They came to America for the same reasons, the same aspirations – something better for themselves and for their children. My parents were able to own their own house, their own small business, and put two children through college. And I told them this not to brag about my parents’ successes but to confirm theirs. All those great Frank Capra American dreams are possible. I am proud of every one of my students. I only hope they continue to gain knowledge and confidence as they continue to better themselves.
But if they are my parents then I am their son. And in that I have to reflect on the question of whether I have been a good one. I can only say that AmeriCorps has been a reaffirmation that I’m trying. I want to help others. I want to do good and take advantage of all the gifts I’ve been given so that I can give back to others. To that end, when I take my leave of LCNV I will be going back to law school to become a better advocate (in some fashion) of this community.
Everyone at the Literacy Council has been both dedicated and kind. Although I will not be able to teach in the coming year I have every intention of helping LCNV in its mission. I sincerely thank the Literacy Council for helping me be a better person.
Raymond K. Chow
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Chuch, Virginia 22042
(703)237-0866 ext. 118
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Announcements, best practices, Class, community, Development, family, James Lee Community Center, jessica raines, LCNV, lcnv learners, lesson plans, Library, literacy, literacy council of northern virginia, literacy services, Loudon Literacy, student stories, students, teaching, teaching strategies, thank you!, training, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
I came to the Literacy Council with practically no teaching experience. My background is in psychology and political science, but I wanted to try something new. I did not really know what to expect from this upcoming year of teaching, but I knew it would be hard and rewarding.
The first semester, my fellow AmeriCorps members and I hit the ground running. I had to learn to teach through trial and error. Quickly, I discovered that teaching is not an easy task. Often, there are so many available resources that you can feel like you are drowning in textbooks, websites, and advice. Plus, actually being responsible for someone else’s learning felt incredibly overwhelming. Part of me expected teaching to come naturally, but I found myself spending substantial amounts of time lesson planning and feeling incredibly nervous before each class.
Teaching is an art AND science; skill and practice are required if you want to hone your craft. As time went on, I became more comfortable with it. I took advantage of trainings, sifted through resources and articles, and practiced five times a week in front of my own class. Eventually, lesson planning and teaching became easier. I also stopped stressing about being responsible for someone’s education and focused on enjoying my time with my students; as the saying goes “showing up is half the battle.” Students are ecstatic that someone is willing to take time out of her day to show up to class with a smile on her face and talk to them. I really enjoyed conversing with my students, even though it was extremely difficult at times given their limited language skills. While working with my students to accomplish their goals, I learned about their lives and cultures, and this was incredibly rewarding – more rewarding than words can express.
Tags: alexandria branch library, alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, Amharic, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, Ethiopia, ethiopian, family, family fun, Family Learning, James Lee Community Center, LCNV, lcnv learners, lesson plans, Library, Lisbeth Goldberg, literacy, literacy council, Loudon Literacy, northern virginia, one-on-one, student story, student testimonial, students, teaching, teaching strategies, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteer story, volunteer testimonial, volunteers, Writing
By. Lisbeth Goldberg
There was an announcement by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia regarding their next volunteer tutor training for ESOL; it’s a structured training program on three consecutive Saturdays, and they assign you a specific student.
I immediately phoned and signed up because I’d been wasting my Saturdays, and I always liked training classes. The three Saturdays were really excellent, with about 35 people in the class. I was assigned an Ethiopian lady who’d completed eight years of school in her home country. She knew a few English words and some of the letters, but couldn’t write her name in English and could not converse in English.
Yesterday, at 4:00 pm, I met with my student, and two of her daughters at an Alexandria Branch Library. The eldest daughter is a college student. Her sister is a senior in high school, and there is another sister who is a junior in high school. The girls were delightful, with an easy laugh. Mom had a solemn face, and she just looked down and sighed. The girls were doing all the talking.
The Literacy Council sends you off to your first meeting well prepared. There are three flyers on a) what to do in your first session; b ) needs assessment and goal setting, and c) a form to be signed by the student, an agreement to study and practice. The eldest daughter read the student agreement to her mom. When they got to the sentence, “Promise to do my homework,” the girls started giggling and laughing at the idea of Mother doing homework. When the daughters got to the statement, “If the student doesn’t do her homework, the teacher might not teach her anymore,” they couldn’t stop laughing. Mom remained rather somber, sighing, and with no eye contact.
Then we began the lesson introducing ourselves by name. I asked the student how I should pronounce her name, and practiced it several times. She listened and practiced pronouncing my name. We did lots of repeats. Needless to say, Amharic and English have very different sounds to some letters and vowels. When Mom got it right, I gave a big smile and clapped my hands — very good. She clapped back and looked me in the eye, even smiled. I had explained to her, she may be a beginning student, but I was certainly a beginning teacher.
I was about to give her a homework assignment, to practice copying her name in English and then write it next class, but she was a step ahead of me. [She] told her daughter to tell me she would practice for next class, and proudly said my name with a big smile.
After the first meeting, the class is one-on-one. But the eldest daughter said that her mom really needed help, so the three daughters will rotate accompanying Mom to class. I’m extra lucky. I have these beautiful, enthusiastic daughters to work with me and to help their Mother learn English. They each thanked me with a handshake, a smile, and a bow on their way out.
I was on a high; it was the best of times!
Please consider becoming a Volunteer Tutor like Lisbeth. Visit Tutoring or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: 2012, alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, bear books, berenstain, berenstain bears, berenstain series, brother bear, child education, Children, Children's Books, community, doing chores, Family Learning, family of bear books, family reading, February 24, first day of school, good manners, jan berenstain, lcnv learners, Leo Berenstain, Library, literacy, literacy council, Loudon Literacy, mama bear, memorial to Jan, Mike Berenstain, papa bear, RAFA, reading a family affair, reading as a family, ready to learn, sibling rivalry, sister bear, Stan Berenstain, teaching, teaching strategies, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food\, The Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense, The Big Honey Hunt, Theodor Geisel, WETA’s Ready to Learn
The world of children’s literature lost a familiar friend with the passing of Jan Berenstain at age 88 this past February 24, 2012. Jan Berenstain created the series The Berenstain Bears with her husband, Stan Berenstain, who passed away in 2005. The duo authored and illustrated hundreds of books for the series which features a humanlike bear family who experiences the day-to-day joys and challenges of everyday life. After her husband’s passing, Jan’s son collaborated with her to continue writing for the series. The family also wrote a number of parenting books.
Children and parents have avidly supported the Berenstain series for fifty years. The Berenstains credited their first editor, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) with guiding them to success. As with any series, especially such a prolific one, some titles are more popular than others. Most of the stories have teachable moments for both children and parents which strike chords with families. Many of the books have included topics relevant to families with young children such as sibling rivalry, manners, good habits, and much more. In my opinion, the more successful of the storylines show scenarios that families recognize and are peppered with humor, particularly at the expense of Papa Bear. Some titles, as is often the case with stories with a moral to them, can sound a bit didactic. But overall, the familiar illustrations and characters warm the hearts of the child in all of us, young or old.
The Berenstain Bears have been no stranger to LCNV’s Family Learning Program. Some class sites have used the book The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense during the Finance and Employment session. We also have a partnership WETA’s Ready to Learn which presents a workshop for parents on responsible TV viewing and literacy. During one of these presentations a clip from an TV adaptation of The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food was shown. Two students who were from the same state in Mexico were delighted because they remembered watching the show as children in Mexico. They were also surprised to discover that The Berenstain Bears were not Mexican. I believe this says a great deal about their universal appeal.
The Berenstain Bears have a website which also includes a memorial to Jan https://www.berenstainbears.com/parents/index.htm
Tags: a tale, alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, Children, Children's Books, community, family, Family Learning, friends, LCNV, lcnv learners, Library, literacy, literacy council, Loudon Literacy, networking, RAFA, reading a family affair, reading as a family, story weaving, storytelling, student stories, teaching, teaching strategies, the benefits of reading with your child, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, weave a story, weave a tale, weaving a story, Writing, zurii conroy
Zurii Conroy will weave an intricate tale on March 24, 2012, at Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA); the event will be held at the James Lee Community Center. Zurii began her journey into storytelling when she was in the third grade. Exposure to this oral tradition, coupled with encouragement from teachers, peers, and family, enabled Zurii to realize that she possessed a talent, one that needed to be shared. In the sixth grade, she began storytelling professionally under the name “Princess Zurii.”
Zurii shares: “Being one of the few young professional storytellers, I am able to develop a connection with youth in a way that helps them to view storytelling in a modern light. I think that since younger audiences can identify with me, they can envision storytelling as something that they can do, and make it their own. This is especially evident when I share my tale of how I became a storyteller. My family and teachers ensured my exposure to and success with literacy. I enjoy opportunities to do the same with others.”
A proponent of literacy, Zurii has brought the gift of storytelling to people of all ages, performing at various venues such as birthday parties, schools, colleges, hospitals, churches, libraries, community events, plays, and festivals. Also an actress, Zurii has performed on both the stage and television.
At Reading: A Family Affair, Zurii Conroy will perform in the Hear a Book Room at 11:30 AM and 12:15 PM. Come out this March 24, 2012, and celebrate literacy with Zurii Conroy who’ll convince you – You are a storyteller too!
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, Children, Children's Books, community, Delaware Division of the Arts, Fall For The Book, family, family fun, Family Learning, friends, gary lloyd, gift of story, Goundhog Day Festival, LCNV, lcnv learners, lectura: un asunto de familia, Library, literacy, literacy begins at home, literacy council, literacy starts at home, Loudon Literacy, master storyteller, networking, ORACLE Award, potomac celtic, Potomac Celtic Festival, storyteller, student stories, students, Vermont to South Carolina, Volunteer, volunteers
On March 24, 2012, renowned storyteller, Gary Lloyd, will be bringing books alive at Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA), an event hosted by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and held at the James Lee Community Center. Known for his enthusiastic delivery, Gary orchestrates a program of story, voices, movement, and participation that is focused on capturing and keeping audience attention. Come and celebrate the bond between storytelling and reading, as Gary calls on you to use your imagination and travel to faraway places.
A master storyteller, Gary Lloyd, has entertained audiences from Vermont to South Carolina. On a mission to promote literacy, he has visited schools, festivals, libraries, and other venues, bringing a unique blend of fact and fiction to hundreds of thousands of listeners. His performances highlight a variety of topics: Mark Twain; the California Gold Rush; Vikings; polar explorers; survival adventures; and lives of inventors.
Gary Lloyd is a Recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s 2006 ORACLE Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region. In 2008, he was the touring performer for the Delaware Division of the Arts state-wide library summer reading program. Gary has performed at the following venues: Earth Day/Arbor Day ceremony; National Zoo; Potomac Celtic Festival; Washington Folk Festival; Fairfax County Fair; Fall For The Book; the Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival; the Punxsutawney Goundhog Day Festival; and elsewhere. Recently, he completed his first CD, which celebrates the city of Fairfax, Virginia’s Bicentennial
Download the Reading: A Family Affair poster. Spread the word about RAFA.