Literacy and Women’s History Month

March 14, 2018 at 9:12 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March is Women’s History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions and progress women have made throughout history and around the world. This month is also a time to celebrate the different ways women are continuing to change their communities and individual lives. LCNV learner Farhat’s essay discusses her desire to be a “completely free woman” after moving to the United States. Though English is a struggle for Farhat, she knows that mastering the language is key to reaching her goal. You can support the many women like Farhat learning English in LCNV’s programs. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution here.

“Hello, my name is Farhat. I am 44 years old. I have 4 children. I am from Pakistan. I made the decision [to come here] for freedom. It was hard getting all the requirements to come to the U.S. but I did it. I have tried English before but given up. Now I want to learn so that I can be a completely free woman. Most of my family is in Pakistan. I do miss my family a lot.

My goal is to learn English completely. English is hard but easy once you learn. I study a lot. It makes it easier to talk to people and that’s why I love it.”


“I’m Learning English to Go to College”

March 7, 2018 at 2:44 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LCNV is the on-ramp for adult education in Northern Virginia. Many learners enroll in LCNV classes with the goal of moving to higher levels of education, or discovering new educational and career opportunities with the support of LCNV’s advising program. For LCNV learner Shaza, education begins with LCNV, but will continue at a college level. Shaza is in LCNV’s Family Learning Program now, and she plans to use the knowledge she gains at LCNV to pursue her college degree. Shaza’s story is a reminder of the importance of accessible education for adults at all levels of learning. If you would like to support accessible adult education in Northern Virginia, click here.

“I’m learning English to go to college. Learning English makes me feel happy. My goal in learning English is to learn more.

I am learning English in order to join the University, study in the college of fine arts and interior design, and to help my children study. Learning English makes me feel happy and relaxed. My goal in learning English is to become a decorative engineer or a plastic artist [and to be] a successful mother. I am proud of my children and my parents and my husband.”

“I am Very Happy to Live Here”

February 28, 2018 at 8:45 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What does it mean to LCNV learners to be an American? For LCNV learner Sharmin, independence, freedom, and equal rights define the American experience. Sharmin emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh, and found all of these values and more in her new home. The many things Sharmin has learned to love in America all play an important role in LCNV’s curriculum, which incorporates American culture and civics with English language instruction for the very beginning-level adult learners.

“My name is Sharmin. I am from Bangladesh. I came to United States 2 years ago. I think America is a very beautiful country. When I came here, I did not know many of the things about the USA. But now I know many things about USA. The traffic of the country is very good. I like it.

The country has many historical places. I like the beaches. I like the countries with all the mules. I think America is a very developed country because of these disciplines. The people of this country maintain their disciplines very strictly.

I think America has taught the people how to become independent. In this country, people have their own freedom. I like the symbol of independence, “Statue of Liberty”. In America, all of the people have equal rights, and I like it very much.

In conclusion, I love my country. But I like America too. I am very happy to live here. One of the main reason I like this country very much because I found my life partner after coming here. We live together happily at last. America is the land of the freedom and love the justice system.”

“I Wanted to Get a Job”

February 21, 2018 at 8:42 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I Wanted to Get a Job”

The hours learners spend studying within LCNV’s walls are often motivated by desires beyond simply attaining English skills. In her 2016 essay, LCNV learner Phuong discusses learning English as a way to advance her career. She explains that when she first came to Northern Virginia, she wanted to study hair styling, but didn’t yet have the language to do so. For Phuong, learning English is a means to reaching her goal. If you would like to ensure that beginning-level English classes remain accessible to students throughout Northern Virginia, please donate here.

“When I first came here, I didn’t talk in sentences. I wanted to listen and talk with people. I wanted to get a job. I wanted to study hair styling.

When I learn English, I improve my listening and speaking because before, I could not understand English to communicate with people. I like to speak and understand English. I am taking a class. I am studying to cut hair for a job.”

“I Can Read Presidential History Books”

February 14, 2018 at 9:22 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I Can Read Presidential History Books”

In anticipation of President’s Day, this week we revisit Alejandrina’s essay from 2014. Alejandrina takes us along her English language learning journey to her newfound connection to history and civic engagement. LCNV’s curriculum contains elements of American customs, holidays, and cultures, all of which can pique the interest of learners and inspire them to explore further. Alejandrina is a perfect example of a learner who has been empowered with English literacy to engage with American history and current affairs!

“My best experiences in America are developing my English skills for a better job and progressing.

English is most important to me as a second language for a successful life now and the future. English is not easy to learn fast, because the pronunciation, reading and writing are difficult.

The first time I took an English class in Northern Virginia community college, the teacher gave us a grammar book, and then she started reading the book. I didn’t understand anything at all. At that moment, I think I was in the moon. I felt so bad. I was in the wrong room. That class was higher level.

I took a basic English class in Thomas Jefferson school in Arlington, where I studied very hard and I learned a lot. I couldn’t continue because I moved to Falls Church.

I found the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, where I took English class many times and I have improved tremendously. Before, I couldn’t read. Now I can read books like presidential history books: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, newspapers, and children’s books. Before, I couldn’t write, but now I can write complaint letters. I love to write letters to the President, Senators, Congress.

Before, I couldn’t speak. Now I can communicate with people.”

“There Are Many Opportunities”

February 7, 2018 at 9:40 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “There Are Many Opportunities”

LCNV’s spring classes are off to a great start, with many new and returning learners joining us to improve their English. Every learner has their own story of why they came to the United States and why they are studying English. Each story is unique and rich in its own way. Maria’s 2014 essay alludes to some of the difficulties new, non-English speaking immigrants face in the United States. However, Maria’s story also points to the possibilities that arise through studying English. All of us at LCNV are proud to become a part of these learners’ stories. You too can become a part of their story when you donate or volunteer with LCNV!

“I am from Mexico. In my country, I worked at my brother’s store and helped at the cash register. I really enjoyed going to the church and also going to the parties. I used go to the town to buy clothes and everything else I needed. My experience in America is difficult because my family lives in another country and I speak very little English. It is very different around here.

But now I have friends in this country and America is a beautiful country. I think there are many opportunities to progress here. I can drive a car and I can study English.”

“I Feel Better”

January 31, 2018 at 8:38 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I Feel Better”

El Mehdi’s 2015 essay reminds us of the many common issues our learners share. This piece in particular emphasizes the vital, sometimes lifesaving significance of knowing English. Health literacy is an important part of managing illnesses and staying healthy, something that El Mehdi knows well. At the end of his essay, El Mehdi mentions his heart condition that requires him to avoid salt. With English, he can clearly communicate this in restaurants, keeping him safe.

“I can talk to my customers. My supervisor used to criticize me because I didn’t speak good English. I wanted to do better. Now, I can talk to my neighbors. I can talk to the nurse in the Doctor’s office. I can explain my situation at work. I feel better. I can go to restaurant and order my food–I have a heart condition, and I need to eat food with no salt.”

“I Would Like to Thank My Teachers”

January 24, 2018 at 8:05 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I Would Like to Thank My Teachers”

About a quarter of LCNV’s learners have had 12 or more years of education prior to enrolling in our programs. These highly educated learners who received all of their schooling in a language other in English face a language barrier that holds them back from contributing to the community and the workforce at their skill level. LCNV learner Wajai studied at a university in Afghanistan. Her move to the United States meant that she had to relearn how to communicate. Wajai describes the value of a shift from Dari to English for everyday communication in her essay below. The immense talent of new immigrants can be unlocked with English.

Does someone you know need English to get ahead? LCNV’s FINAL sign-up opportunity for spring classes is on February 3. Call 703-237-0866 for more information.

“My mother tongue is Dari and I finished school and university in Dari language – back in Afghanistan.

When I moved to America to start living here I encountered problems and changes as a result of not knowing English. I decided that learning English is important so [that] in the future I can help my children, find a good job, and serve my family and community. I would like to thank my teachers for their support.”

“Learning English”

January 17, 2018 at 9:28 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Learning English”

LCNV learner Luc has been a part of our community for 3 semesters, initially studying in a Beginning-level English Class, then moving onto LCNV’s Skills-based Writing Class. Luc’s growing mastery of English is apparent in his 2017 essay, in which he makes the case for the importance of learning English. Luc’s progress is one example of the advancement our learners can make with the right balance of motivation and a strong academic program. If someone you know wants to make progress in learning English, visit for class sign-up times and more information.

“Learning English is very useful for everyone living in America. First, because it is a determining factor of social and professional integration. So our daily activities like get a taxi, drive a car, go shopping, or make an appointment demand the English knowledge. Then, thanks to the English language, people can get a good job and be able to safeguard it. Finally, English can help people to communicate and use the computer better. In conclusion, everyone should learn English.”

English Around the World

January 10, 2018 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on English Around the World

Many of LCNV’s learners take classes to learn, understand and thrive in their new home in the United States. For LCNV learner Jose, English was a means to understand his temporary residence. Jose came to the United States for one year in 2015 for his child’s education, after which he returned to Spain. With his newfound knowledge of English and the experience he had at LCNV, Jose and his family found a wonderful community in the United States. Thanks to LCNV, Jose can now converse in English throughout the world!

“I and my family have come to America so our child could study during a school year in this country. During this time, we are also studying English and meeting new people.

We have been very lucky because all the people we know are helping us a lot and very kindly help make easy what we find difficult.

For this reason, now that the time is coming for us to go back to Spain, a feeling of homesickness is starting to emerge for the U.S. and for the people we have met here.”

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