Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, Ceci, Children, Children's Books, Development, english classes, ESOL, Family Learning, friends, it's not too late to register, James Lee Community Center, late registration flyer, late registration schedule, LCNV, lcnv learners, learn english, literacy, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, literacy services, lorton senior center, Loudon Literacy, networking, register for classes, september 29, student stories, students, teaching, Volunteer, volunteers
Every LCNV ESOL Learning Centers or Family Learning class turns into its own little community, and every community is like a family. Lorton Senior Center is one of our healthiest class sites, and I’m certain it’s because of the strong sense of community among the students. This past Monday, we had a really great registration, students were lined up outside the door an hour before start time. Luckily, several of our volunteers arrived a few minutes early to help with forms, testing, and payment.
I believe that sense of community starts with a smile and an inviting gesture to join and share. One students, who I had taught when I was an AmeriCorps Instructor, arrived at registration with two of her beautiful brown-eyed little boys in tow. The student’s name is Ceci, and I remember her as the family stone of our class when I taught at Lorton’s former site, Grace Bible Church. Ceci is an avid smiler, hand-shaker, team-worker, and laugh-sharer. She constantly stretched her English speaking skills to communicate with classmates from different countries and on many occasions arrived at class with a new student to recruit for classes.
Ceci demonstrates exactly what kind of student our programs work for. Monday was her first time back at class in years, but this is because she took on new opportunities to work, birth a new son, and help her family through some adjustments. She still has a complicated life and a limited budget, but we’re still here to help her. Now, she’s back because she still needs low-level English and LCNV still meets that need. I know she’ll probably test out of our classes soon and be able to move on to new opportunities, but for now, I’m excited to see her grow and progress and help other students in her class.
You can help us meet the need of other learners and fill all of our other classes, too. Take a look at our website to share our late-registration information at a grocery store, library, or other community location near you! Late registration will be held at LCNV’s headquarters located in James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042 on Saturday September 29nd from, 3-6pm.
Tags: 50th anniversary, alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, annandale, anne poad, anne spear, announcement, Announcements, annual meeting, audrey lipps, avis black, Basic Adult Literacy, becca lipps, Beverly M. Newport Memorial Fund, bob stump, bobby joe small, candelario chavez, citizenship, Class, community, decades of success, delegate mark keam, Development, doris addo, elsa angell, elsa ortiz, Ernst Community Cultural Center, ESOL, family event, Family Learning, friends, giving, Golden Reunion, jan auerbach, jean sweeney, jeannie baliles, jessica raines, juana merlo, july 1, karen lezny, LCNV, lcnv learners, literacy, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, literacy services, little river turnpike, Loudon Literacy, Mark Keam, mary hollinghead, mary hollingshead, my celebrations: big and small, Nasr Youssef, northern virginia community college, panel discussion, Posted in Teaching, program and reception, rebekah bundang, recognition meeting, rena baker, ruth hansen, sarah jaggar, student essay contest, student essay contest winners, student stories, Sunday, sydney savage, teaching, thank you!, tutoring, virginia literacy foundation, Volunteer, volunteers
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia would like to thank all of the students, volunteers, and supporters who attended LCNV’s Golden Reunion this past Sunday. Bringing new and old friends together, the Golden Reunion honored the accomplishments of its students and volunteers. The event was truly a success, and included many highlights!
Every year LCNV holds a student essay contest. The Literacy Council received many essays in response to this year’s student essay contest topic: Celebrating Literacy: My Celebrations, Big and Small. Anxiously, LCNV announced the Student Essay Contest Winners which included: Nasr Youssef (1st Place Basic Literacy Tutoring Student Essay); Janice dos Santos (2nd Place Basic Literacy Tutoring Student Essay); Miriam Rosas (1st Place ESOL Tutoring Student Essay); Ann Choi (2nd Place ESOL Tutoring Student Essay); Huiyan Wang (1st Place Classroom Student Essay); and Elsa Ortiz (2nd Place Classroom Student Essay). We are incredibly proud of all the winners! Many of the winners were surprised to find that LCNV proudly displayed excerpts from their essays throughout the venue. We’d like to once again, congratulate our winners!
The Council also recognized the Beverly M. Newport Memorial Fund and the Virginia Literacy Foundation for their exceptional support of our mission. Without the help of organizations such as these, LCNV would not be able to bring much needed services to individuals who need and want to learn how to read, write, speak, and understand English. We are truly thankful to the Beverly M. Newport Memorial Fund and the Virginia Literacy Foundation for their continued support.
A special event highlight included LCNV’s “Decades of Success” panel discussion. Moderated by Laurie Hayden, a teacher and tutor, the panel included: Candelario Chavez, Kerrin Epstein, Doris Gone, Maria Henriquez, Sally Jaggar, Bobby Jo Small, and Bob Stump. Here, students, teachers, and tutors came together to discuss how LCNV has changed their lives; they commented upon the surprises and challenges they faced, as well as the lessons they learned throughout their experience at LCNV.
The Golden Reunion would not have been possible without the help of the Golden Reunion Committee and the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee. The Literacy Council extends a big thank you to the Golden Reunion Committee: Audrey Lipps, Golden Reunion Committee Chair; Doris Addo; Rena Baker ; Fatima El Amrani; Ruth Hansen; Mary Hollingshead ; Sarah (Sally) Jaggar ; Karen Lezny ; Becca Lipps ; Juana Merlo ; Jessica Raines ; Bobby Joe Small; Anne Spear ; Robin Walker ; Ron Wise ; and Michael Wolff. LCNV extends another big thank you to the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee: Jan Auerbach, 50th Anniversary Events Chair; Elsa Angell; Rena Baker; Avis Black; Rebekah Bundang; Mary Hollingshead; Anne Poad; and Jean Sweeney. The Council would also like to thank Delegate Mark Keam for attending the Golden Reunion, and showing his support.
Once again, the Literacy Council thanks all of the students, volunteers, and supporters who made the Golden Reunion such a successful and memorable event!
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Announcements, Basic Adult Literacy, Class, community, Development, ESOL, family, Family Learning, friends, James Lee Community Center, LCNV, lcnv learners, literacy, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, Loudon Literacy, office closed, staff retreat, students, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s office will be closed on Thursday, August 16, for a staff retreat. The office will reopen on Friday, August 17, at 9:00 AM.
Don’t forget to join LCNV’s staff, students, and volunteers at the Golden Reunion this August 26, 2012.
Check out LCNV’s new website: www.lcnv.org.
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, auditorily, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, Class, community, confuse similar-looking letters, Development, discriminating (visually or auditory) between specific letters and/or sounds, discriminating between words, Dyslexia, Dyslexic, ESOL, family, LCNV, learning differences, learning disabilities, lesson plans, literacy, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, literacy services, Loudon Literacy, remembering ‘easy’ sight words, roadblocks to learning, student stories, students, teaching, teaching strategies, training, transpose letters, Treating difficulties empirically, tutoring, visually or auditory, Volunteer, volunteers, word blindness, Writing
“I think my student has Dyslexia.” This is one of the most frequently heard comments by new and seasoned tutors alike and deserves some attention to help tutors understand a little bit more about reading difficulties and to clarify the role of the tutor at LCNV. First, the Literacy Council does not diagnose students with learning disabilities and LCNV tutors should not do so either, regardless of their background outside of their tutoring experience. Dyslexia is a specific neurological disorder falling into the category of general learning disabilities and the term ‘learning disability’ carries numerous clinical, legal and financial implications that are beyond the scope of the Literacy Council. A tutor’s role is to meet a student where he or she is in his or her reading and writing, and use the various tools available through the Literacy Council to address specific questions and concerns in order to help a student attain specific literacy-related goals
The term Dyslexia literally means word blindness and it was coined by a German ophthalmologist in the late 19th century. Today it is generally accepted to refer to a severe impairment in the ability to read, which is generally thought to be due to neurological factors. Nobody ever knows for certain what causes a person’s difficulty reading and writing, and regardless, reading difficulties are not intractable roadblocks to learning. Treating difficulties empirically can make a big difference and it is essential that a student’s educational history (i.e. no education in a native language) be considered and kept in the forefront of a tutor’s mind. Still, many tutors are surprised and frustrated by the types of errors their students make while learning to read and write. Students may confuse similar-looking letters such as b and d, p and q or u and n. Students may transpose sequences of letters, reading ‘was’ instead of ‘saw’. It may seem as if a student is incapable of remembering ‘easy’ sight words such as ‘the’, ‘here’, or ‘of’. Vowel sounds may seem particularly elusive to the adult learner. All of these may, in fact, be symptoms of a specific learning disability. Then again, all of these are almost always behaviors typical of new readers.
A new learner, which characterizes all LCNV students, will make errors and learning to read is no small task. Below are a few common errors that new readers and writers make, and some tips that can help tutors address them.
- Keep Errors in Perspective – When students make any word reading errors, note them but try not to worry about them more than necessary. Reading accurately is important but if a word reading error doesn’t interfere with a student’s comprehension then a student may be making some self-correction internally already.
- Comprehension Check-Up – We can’t always count on a student’s errors not to interfere with comprehension so it is important to be sure that they understand that they have made an error and to be sure that they can paraphrase or summarize the main points of what they have read.
- Mnemonics – If a student is having trouble discriminating (visually or auditory) between specific letters and/or sounds, teach some memory tricks such as writing the word ‘bed’ to discriminate between b and d, teaching keywords to help recall the correct sounds, or using pictures to cue the correct sound.
- Discrimination Activities – Create a stack of index cards with the two sounds that are difficult for your student to distinguish, such as short e and i. Spend the first five minutes of the lesson reading the words aloud to your student and sorting them into piles.
- Teach Syllables – Blending individual sounds in words is difficult for almost every beginning reader. Students need to know individual sounds of words but some people chunk different pieces of information together differently, and for some learners separating words into individual sounds is too many pieces of information to hold in memory at once. Numerous studies demonstrate that people with reading difficulties have weaker phonemic awareness and phonemic memory than people without reading difficulties. This means they don’t automatically see or hear similarities and differences between words and sounds so these need to be taught directly; the smaller the unit, the harder it is to discriminate and remember. Giving a larger chunk or a regularly used analogy can be very helpful. Be prepared to teach things slowly and be sure to incorporate plenty of practice – a weaker phonemic memory means it is harder for a person with reading difficulties to store phonemic (sound) information so they will need continued, intensive practice.
- Context – Teach your learner to use context while reading. Adult learners have many coping skills and context can be a lifeline for such a new reader. Many new and struggling readers come to see reading as a performance and forget that the goal of reading is understanding text, which requires active engagement with text. Have your student repeat the word they misread and ask, “Does that make sense?” Give your student a second chance to reread. It is also helpful if you can record the reader and have him/her listen to his/her own reading. Students need to learn to monitor their own understanding by continuously asking, “Does that make sense?”
- Appropriate Reading Level – Any time you notice students making many errors, be sure that the level is appropriate. If a student is struggling with something, you will often notice that skills you thought were secure are now falling apart in application. This is because the learner is attending to too many things at once. Try the following: shorten the passage length; give the learner a chance to preview the material before reading; or be sure you are reminding the learner of only one or two things to focus on while they read instead of trying to correct all aspects of reading at once. If none of these suggestions work, simply find easier material.
The Literacy Council trains volunteers to work with beginning readers and writers. We define a beginning reader as someone reading below a fifth grade level, or someone who is unable to read and understand an English newspaper independently. When a student with such limited literacy skills is faced with the task of learning to read, confusion is part of the landscape. Nobody expects tutors to be reading specialists and the initial training provided to all new tutors should only be considered a jumping off point. If you are struggling to meet your student’s learning needs, do not suffer in silence – reach out to Placement Advisors, staff, and fellow volunteers. Each learner presents unique challenges and strengths, and an outside observer can provide surprising insight, advice, and peace of mind.
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: americorps partners, BeanTree, BeanTree Learning, Children, Children's Books, Class, community, creative campus for children, creative campus for literacy, Development, family, family event, family fun, Family Learning, family literacy, jennifer bower, lcnv learners, literacy, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, Loudon Literacy, love of literacy, oatland plantation, teaching, teaching strategies, thank you!, tracy gilliam
This past spring, Carisa Pineda and Serife Turkol attended the 7th Annual BeanTree Learning Family Picnic at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg. More than 400 new books were donated by families of students attending BeanTree Learning as part of the school’s 4th Annual “Love of Literacy” Campaign to benefit families served by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, and the Loudoun Literacy Council. The 200 books received by the Literacy Council are very high quality titles that included many board books which are often expensive for our program to purchase. The Family Learning Program will give these books away to the families we serve.
This is the second time the Literacy Council has received such a generous donation from BeanTree. Many thanks are due the BeanTree families who provided the books and a special thanks to Jennifer Bower, the owner of BeanTree, as well as Tracy Gilliam for coordinating the donation.
Founded in 2003, BeanTree Learning is a privately owned and operated Creative Campus for Children developed by Jennifer Bower.