Tags: AmeriCorps, Basic Adult Literacy, New Staff, students, Volunteer, Writing
In honor of Ray Bradbury’s 91st birthday this week I decided to reread Fahrenheit 451. Rereading this book as an adult, I found myself thinking quite a bit about the work we do at LCNV. Arguably Bradbury’s best known work, Fahrenheit 451 is an eerie novel set in the near future in a society that outlaws books. Rather than fight fires, Bradbury’s firemen are charged with finding and destroying outlawed books, and all books are outlawed. Owners of these books are punished severely.
We can thank our lucky stars that Bradbury’s fictional world does not exist in northern Virginia. People are free to read what they like in books, magazines, newspapers or on the electronic device du jour. However, this isn’t the case for many people across the globe. Around the world women are routinely denied access to education and punished for trying to improve their lives and the lives of their families through education.
Lack of education and illiteracy is a problem in our own back yard as well, as evidenced by the many natural-born citizens who contact the literacy council every day. Regardless of where someone comes from, LCNV tries to help, because without the skills to read the many texts available to us, we are denying access to knowledge, just as though we were burning books. Bradbury’s hero comes to the realization that destroying knowledge is a terrible mistake and says, “We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. I looked around. The only think I positively knew was gone was the books I’d burned in ten or twelve years. So I thought books might help.”
Many LCNV students have full, happy lives. Many have exceptionally complicated lives with some of those complications being caused or exacerbated by their limited literacy skills. It can be overwhelming to try to help someone who is surrounded by difficulties that seem larger than life. Giving someone the tools they need to become fully literate provides access to the larger world and all of the services to which people are entitled. Denying access to literacy marginalizes people and limits opportunities to lead a full, productive and happy life. But, teach someone to read and there’s no telling what might happen. I have to agree with Bradbury, “books might help.”
–Molly Chilton, Tutoring Program Specialist
Tags: ESOL Tutoring, family, giving, student goals, student stories, students, volunteers, Writing
Our tutors are doing great work everyday, working toward their student’s goals. Through quarterly reports and correspondence, sometimes we get to share their joy. Please read below to share tutor, Marla Diamond’s, story about her students Jinsuk and Jongsoo:
“Jinsuk, Jongsoo’s wife, exploded with the news! She was so excited when we spoke she could hardly speak. Yet, she knew she was spoiling Jongsoo’s surprise of telling me first. But who can blame her? This has been a several-year quest. We’re all so proud and thrilled!
Jongsoo Lim, an LCNV student for the past two years, recently got a job as an electrician with Metro. This is an extraordinary accomplishment for him. He was trained as an electrician in Korea, and was able to pass the exam in the U.S. to get licensed as a Master Electrician. Yet he has struggled to find full-time employment, in part because of his limited English comprehension and conversational skills which hampers his success at job interviews. And, he has had difficulty learning electronics which has hindered him in passing exams that some employers, including Metro, require as a prerequisite to employment.
Nonetheless, Jongsoo was not to be deterred. He has spent most of his time since arriving in the U.S. four years ago studying English and trying to learn electronics on his own. All the while applying for whatever jobs he could find to apply his skills as an electrician. But, he also needed to support a family. So, he took part-time jobs (often several at the same time) regardless of whether his skills were required, to earn whatever he could.
In the two years we have studied together, Jongsoo has maintained a sense of humor and optimism that is to be respected and admired. He felt sure that one day his efforts would reward him and he was right! After three prior unsuccessful attempts to pass the exam with Metro, he finally passed. That, however, did not lead to an immediate job offer. He had to pass a practical exam, be interviewed, and fare well through reference checks; all of which generated significant anxiety for him and his family as getting this job was so critical. In the end, Jongsoo succeeded and he began his new job in mid-June.
His job with Metro is important in so many ways. He has a steady income and benefits that none of his part-time positions provided. His confidence in himself has soared. He has opportunities for promotion. Jongsoo is already looking forward to being able to take his family back to Korea next year. This will be their first visit since arriving in the U.S. in 2007. Notwithstanding the sacrifices Jongsoo made to get to this point, he had to endure yet one more during his first week on the job – he missed his son’s graduation from high school. Yet, he remains proud and happy and eager to do well and be an outstanding employee. His American dream fulfilled. “
If you have a student success or challenge to share, please contact our program staff or comment below!
-Marla Diamond, ESLT Tutor
Fall is right around the corner! It’s the perfect time to brush up on some skills or refer a friend to start volunteering and helping our students! If you’d like to sign up, please read below!
ESOL Tutor Training, Saturdays, August 13th, 20th, 27th– 9:30-3:30 each Saturday – This intensive, 3-day workshop trains volunteers to tutor an adult learning to speak, understand, read, and write English. Please click here for more information about the program. Registration is $40. To sign-up for training please email Belle,firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESOL Writing Workshop, Saturday, August 27th-10am-12 noon –Tanya Conover of Prince William County School’s Adult ESOL Program will presenting a workshop on teaching writing to ESOL students! Please click here for more information about the training. Registration is free. To sign-up for training please email Belle,email@example.com
Best Plus Training, Saturday, September 10th 9:00am-4:00pm – Become a Student Assessment Specialist! Our Program Assistant, Katie Beckman will train volunteers to administer the Best Plus Oral Proficiency Test used for our classroom program students. Please click here to learn more about Best Plus. Registration is covered via our partnership with the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center. To sign-up, please use their Electronic Registrar Online system and select Sept. 10 Best Plus in Falls Church, Literacy Council of Northern VA (2011091001).
Best Plus Refresher Training, Tuesday, September 13th 6-9pm – Katie will host a training for current Student Assessment Specialists to brush up their skills and practice testing. To sign-up for training please email Katie, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESOL Classroom Training, Saturday, Sept. 17th 9:30-4:00pm – This one-day session trains volunteers to teach or help as an aide in the ESOL Learning Centers or Family Learning Program. Please e-mail Belle, email@example.com for more information and to sign-up.
BAL Tutor Training, Saturdays, September 24th and October 1st- (9:30-1:30 each Saturday) This 2-day workshop trains volunteers to tutor an adult learning to understand, read, and write English. Please click here for more information about the program. Registration is $40. To sign-up for training email Belle, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
– Katie Beckman, Program Assistant
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, professional development, student stories, volunteers, Writing
Hi, I’m Natalie. I’m the Executive Assistant here at LCNV (I’m the first smile you see at the office or voice you hear onthe phone!) I’ll be managing the blog this fall. How exciting and new to me. Kerrin, our former New Media Manager, is off into the wide world with the rest of our AmeriCorps and I’m taking over until our new Communications Specialist, Ines can weigh in! It’s my first blog and its interesting so far. Normally I hear stories from student intakes and the phone, but now I also have the chance to share mine and the other staff’s experiences with you. I have learned so much these past months since I started last January. What I find amazing is the desire for people from all walks of life to learn english or improve their reading, writing speaking, and listening skills. It takes courage to do this. I can’t wait to hear your comments!
-Natalie Espinoza, Executive Assistant
Tags: Basic Adult Literacy, community, Family Learning, networking, Registration, students, suggestions, Volunteer, volunteers
The weather’s starting to change, that means it’s time to get back in the classroom!
I’m happy to report we have confirmed class times and locations with all our classroom community partners and the new schedules are ready for the ESOL Learning Centers and Family Learning Program. Click the Google Map below to see our classroom locations or where neighboring English Language services are:
Registration will be September 14th through 22nd and we’ll be advertising in the walk-able areas immediately around each class site but we encourage you to help our advertising campaign. How can you help? Ask your neighborhood grocer, library, community center or place of worship if you can post a copy of our schedule on their community news or bulletin space. You can find a link to each schedule here:
Thank you for all your support!
–Erin Finn, Director of Classroom Programs
Tags: best practices, Registration, students, training, volunteers, Writing
Come see the workshop our AmeriCorps loved so much last Spring!
Tanya Conover of Prince William County School’s Adult ESOL Program will presenting a workshop on teaching writing to ESOL students!
Where? James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22046
When? Saturday, August 27th, 10:00 a.m. To 12:00 noon
PWCS teachers and students have developed a curriculum using process writing (a presentation of writing as a step by step journey of internal and external “discovery”). Come learn about their curriculum and text built for use in the classroom at all levels and about how student articles and stories are shared in their own publication Our Voices. (Although this curriculum was designed for use with ESOL learners, it may also be appropriate for low-level students whose first language is English).
Please RSVP by August 24th!
Contact email@example.com or call 703.237.0866
–Katie Beckman, Program Assistant