Tags: AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, lesson plans, networking, teaching, teaching strategies, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia will be hosting a Basic Adult Literacy Tutor training, which will be held Saturday, December 3rd and 10th, at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church. The training lasts from 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM and costs $40.
LCNV provides one-to-one free tutoring for adults who speak English, but read and write below a fifth grade level. Training occurs on two consecutive Saturdays where prospective tutors learn the basics of reading and writing instruction, and receive materials to work with adult learners. Tutors are usually matched with a student during the training session. If a tutor is not matched with a student, they will be contacted as soon as an appropriate student becomes available. Participants must attend both sessions of the workshop and complete some pre-study materials in order to be considered for tutoring a student.
Tutors and students meet throughout northern Virginia in any public place. Scheduling is done by students and tutors; pairs are encouraged to meet once or twice a week for approximately an hour and a half. LCNV asks that tutors commit to working with a student for at least nine months. There is a tremendous need for tutors in all areas – please consider joining us!
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, Basic Adult Literacy, community, family, Family Learning, friends, give, giving, students, teaching, teaching strategies, thank you!, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
Since the Spring of 2009, I have been tutoring two Korean adults (a couple, although I tutor them individually). Prior to this, I had no understanding of the sacrifices immigrants make to be in the United States. Tutoring has been a humbling, yet exhilarating and rewarding experience. I have learned so much about life in Korea – the food (and I’ve been the beneficiary of many samples!), housing, holidays, travel, families. It’s so satisfying when I notice progress in any aspect of our studies. I feel so proud of my students. And yet, I ache knowing how hard their struggle is, in large part because they’re not yet fluent. I am humbled by the dedication they bring to learning, especially considering the other pressures they cope with daily: raising two children who are now both teenagers involved in many extra-curricular activities; working or trying to find work; maintaining a sense of home by preparing traditional Korean foods; volunteering through their church to help the homeless; and keeping in touch with family in Korea. It’s almost incomprehensible to me that they not only do all of this, but they feel privileged to be here. They help me keep my life in perspective. It’s so hard for me to capture how I feel about tutoring. It’s one of the best things I have ever done. I am grateful to LCNV for the opportunity to tutor and for the excellent support I have received.
During this time of holiday giving, please continue to support the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia by making a donation or becoming a volunteer. By supporting LCNV you can give the gift of literacy and change an adult’s life.
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, community, family, Family Learning, friends, give, giving, student stories, students, thank you!, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
As I reflect on the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday, I can’t help thinking how nice it is that our culture builds in an opportunity to stop for a day and count our blessings – a chance to say “thank you” for family, friends, food, or whatever we might take for granted during our hectic everyday lives.
At the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia we are reminded every day not to take the simple gift of reading for granted. The Council’s mission is kept front and center by the numerous adults who walk through LCNV’s doors with the desire to become literate. At the same time, the staff and volunteers hear over and over from our grateful learners “Thank you!” On a daily basis, appreciative learners share how their new reading skills or improved language skills have influenced their lives: job advancement, helping children with homework, attending a parent-teacher conference, filling out a job application, or writing a check. The simple things so many of us take for granted are big “thank you’s” from Literacy Council adult learners.
Hacer, a LCNV learner, shares how the Council has helped her: Almost three years ago, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia told me they would help me learn English. I had been in the USA for almost five years. Almost all the time I spoke Turkish. My English was very bad. Herb (my tutor) started tutoring me three times a week. I learned a lot of words and soon I learned about the sentence. A verb has to be in a sentence! Now my husband and two sons are Herb’s friends. Now I feel good when I talk to my son’s teachers. I feel good when I talk to the parents of my sons’ friends. I have learned you have to practice to get better at something.
Shaheena is also an LCNV student whose life has changed because of the gift of literacy: When I came here, I had a problem with speaking. Then I got started on my conversation and ESOL classes. I feel better now. These classes give me confidence to speak. My life has completely changed.
Council volunteer tutors and teachers also are saying “thank you” right back to their learners. The joy of giving back and giving in a way that so clearly, practically, and personally makes a difference in someone’s life is an amazing experience. LCNV has as many success stories from volunteers as we do from learners. Pat, a LCNV tutor, describes how tutoring has changed her life: My relationship with Trang has been wonderful – to be welcomed into someone’s life and to hear the details of that life, which is so different from my own privilege. I think that was the single most important part of our work together – her feeling understood. I think that is true for all of us, but especially so for someone in a new country and learning a new language. I am so grateful that I had the honor to work with her.
Another volunteer, Diana, states: I realize that I have become more appreciative of my own Vietnamese/Chinese culture through my student. I have taken so for granted what life is like here in the States that I forget how different it can be in another part of the world.
So, thank you to all who have made the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia a wonderful opportunity to learn, volunteer, work, and change the community for the better! During this time of holiday giving, please continue to support the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia with your financial contribution and continue to give the gift of reading to adults in our community.
Tags: AmeriCorps, americorps partners, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, friends, professional development, student stories, students, teaching, teaching strategies, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
On Saturday November 5, 2011, LCNV hosted an ESOL Writing In-Service, which was presented by Tanya Conover of Prince William County Public Schools Adult Education Program. In addition to providing participants with valuable tools (a binder full of goodies such as research articles, story examples, and lesson plans), Tanya prompted attendees to reflect upon writing as a tool for students to accomplish their goals. Many LCNV learners aspire to obtain a job, a driver’s license, a G.E.D., or American citizenship. All of these goals require writing skills at some level, such as filling out an application or taking a test. Not only is writing a practical skill in today’s world, but it is also a powerful method of conveying life stories. Many LCNV students have stories that they want to share with their teachers and fellow students. Tanya encouraged in-service participants to get students writing by having them write about their most memorable experiences and publishing their stories in a format, such as a class newspaper.
One student’s school story really struck me. Zarghoona wrote: “I am very sad. I have five children. I can’t read and write to teach my children. When I was little I cried to my mother and father: Why not send me to school? In Afghanistan they killed a girl going to school. She was my friend. One day the plane bombed the school. The car burned. One day I went to school. The Taliban tasered my friend’s face. He came to hit me. I threw my books on the floor. He hit me.”
By sharing her story, Zarghoona practiced valuable writing skills, such as sentence construction and expression of ideas. More importantly, she also shared a very powerful memory that reminds us all about the value of education. Learning should be a very personal and student-centered experience, and writing is an integral part of that.
Tags: Children, family, Family Learning, give, giving, Library, library card, Richard Byrd Library, students, teaching
LCNV’s Family Learning Program at Crestwood Elementary School visits the Richard Byrd Library at least once every semester. This semester’s visit took place a few weeks ago, but as teacher Elizabeth Magee describes, that visit is still “pay[ing] dividends.” Almost all of the adult ESOL students have been back to the Richard Byrd Library since their visit and most have taken their children; several have helped their children obtain their own library cards.
Elizabeth describes one student’s experience during parent-teacher conferences: “One [mother] said with great excitement that she told the teacher that she had taken her Kindergarten son to the library and that he was very proud to have his own library card. She said that the teacher responded with congratulations and said that she was a very good mother to take her child to the library. At this point in telling the story, the student pulled out the child’s library card and passed it around our class, showing all her classmates how cute it was that her son had insisted on signing his own name on the back of the card. It was indeed very cute Kindergarten writing! Obviously this student was delighted with the teacher’s recognition of her good work in bringing her child to the library and with the advice to continue using the library. This was the student’s very first parent-teacher conference. It was a very positive experience made possible partly by our visit to the library.”
To learn more about LCNV’s Family Learning Program, visit: Family Learning.
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, community, Family Learning, friends, give, giving, students, teaching, thank you!, Volunteer, volunteers
Come out for LCNV’s Annual Gift Wrapping! This is a fun opportunity to share why you support the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and help spread the word.
LCNV is currently recruiting volunteers to help with gift wrapping at select Barnes & Noble bookstores in Northern Virginia. Wrap gifts purchased from a B&N bookstore with a friend or relative, and share why you support LCNV with the public. LCNV brochures and a donation jar will be on the gift wrap table to facilitate the discussion.
Shifts are still available at the Tysons, Clarendon, Fairfax (Fair Lakes), and Potomac Yard Barnes and Noble stores. Please sign up for as many as you are able to do! Please keep in mind that all gift wrappers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or another adult relative.
To view the gift wrapping schedule please visit: LCNV Annual Gift Wrap.
To sign-up for a slot, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll check this e-mail account twice a day send you a confirmation as soon as I put you down for a shift. Please understand that shifts could fill up at any time. Since I’ll be updating the document online twice a day, you can see what shifts are available at any given time.
Thanks for your willingness to help the Literacy Council during the holidays!
Ruba M. Afzal
Director of Volunteers
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
at the James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, Basic Adult Literacy, Family Learning, friends, Information Technology, networking, professional development, student stories, students, teaching, technology, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
This recent Saturday I embarked on my first volunteer adventure outside of working with LCNV’s classroom programs. I had been excited about the Basic Computer Skills Workshop upon hearing about it months ago. Immediately, I had thought of my mother. She has been eager to use a computer for years, but never knew where or how to begin. I’d been feeling guilty about not having the time to sit down with her and teach her, but the opportunity presented itself on November 5, 2011.
The workshop was a fun-filled, energy driven experience, which featured representatives from IBM’s Asian Diversity Group. There were so many helpful hands available that each student had their own personal IBM or LCNV tutor. Even as I struggled with teaching my mother, a daunting task, a very helpful IBM volunteer provided assistance.
Now, I am proud to say that my mom is a citizen of the internet. We set her up with an email and Skype account. I saw that other students were joining Facebook and looking for relatives while others were watching YouTube videos and learning about searches. It was a great experience, and I’m so glad my mom and I were part of it!
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, Class Sites, community, friends, give, giving, networking, Volunteer, volunteers
Imagine if you could not read a teacher’s note about your child’s school performance. Picture yourself trying to decipher medicine labels. Envision maneuvering a place as large as Northern Virginia without knowing how to read a bus schedule or Metro map. These simple tasks are immense challenges for someone who is illiterate. Literacy is a survival skill. By empowering individuals with the gift of literacy, LCNV opens pathways that enable them to become more independent, confident, and active in their communities.
Give to the Max Day is a one-day fundraising event that unites local Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC communities to support nonprofits serving the area. LCNV, alongside hundreds of nonprofits, will compete for cash awards and matching grants offered throughout the day. Every donation you make gives the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia a chance to win even more funding.
Please visit http://give2max.razoo.com/story/Lcnv, and consider making a contribution to the LCNV Scholarship and Advancement Fund. Your generous contribution of $50 will directly support an adult learner for a full semester. By donating $150, you will enable a student to attend a full year of classes. A $500 donation will enable a mother and her two children to participate in a 12-week family learning class. Consider donating to the Fund, and support an adult who has come forward to learn.
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, Basic Adult Literacy, community, Family Learning, friends, student stories, students, teaching, teaching strategies, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
I teach a family of students from Vietnam: two grandparents,and their daughter and two-year-old granddaughter. The daughter speaks very good English, but the grandparents speak next to nothing. We started with the alphabet and proceeded to cover that every week. Despite my best efforts, X was impossible for them to pronounce and came out sounding like H.
I arrive an hour early to one of my teaching sites, which is the about the same time five Ethiopian women and the grandfather from the Vietnamese family arrive. Every day I worked with the grandfather on the alphabet until one day the group of women took over. They showed him ways to pronounce the letters and got upset with him when they thought he wasn’t trying hard enough, until one day he finally hit the sound X! All of us were very excited and told him he had it. Yet, the next sound he made was H. At least now we know that he can do it, and we will continue to pester him until he can say X every time!