Kalavaridhi Dance School at Reading: A Family Affair

February 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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Come watch Sheela Ramanath & the Kalavaridhi Dance School at LCNV's Reading: A Family Affair

Get ready to be awed by the Kalavaridhi Dance School at the sixth annual Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA).  The Kalavaridhi Dance School brings books to life through Bharatanatyam, an Indian classical dance form that dates back to 1000 B.C. RAFA will take place Saturday, March 24, 2012; it will run from  9:30 AM to 2:30 PM at the James Lee Community Center.

After training with Guru Bhanumati for over a decade, Sheela Ramanath moved to the United States and started her own dance school, Kalavaridhi, in 2001. Kalavaridhi is a Sanskrit word, meaning Ocean of Art. Sheela states: Art is like the ocean – boundless, mysterious, and intriguing. A lifetime is hardly sufficient to explore any art form to its fullest. The experience of art is truly humbling; the more you learn, the less you know. In art, the journey is itself the destination. Founding Kalavaridhi was the natural progression of Sheela’s artistic journey.

Sheela builds upon her gurus’ teaching methods, creatively adapting them to each student. Even in grouped settings, she coaches each student individually. Through lecture-demonstrations and illustrated recitals, she strives to mold young artists into versatile dancers. Following the traditional curriculum for Bharatanatyam, Sheela teaches both the theoretical as well as practical aspects at each level. She draws upon real-life comparisons to help communicate depth of feeling. A group of 8 to 9 senior Kalavaridhi students will be performing this March 24, 2012 at Reading: A Family Affair.

The Kalavaridhi Dance School will awe and dazzle you with their dramatic art of story-telling and pure dance movements. Come watch their dramatic hand gestures, and elaborate eye and neck movements.  At they pat their feet,  you’ll enter into a new and enchanted world that only the Kalavaridhi Dance School could create.

Download the Reading: A Family Affair poster! Spread the word this upcoming family event!

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

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Patience & Teaching Go Hand in Hand

February 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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AmeriCorps Instructors Raymond Chow & Jessica Raines with LCNV Students

One of the things that I sometimes struggle with in teaching, and in other areas of my life, is patience. I teach beginning level English classes with a fair number of literacy level students, meaning I have some students that can read and write in their own language but struggle with the Roman alphabet, and some students that are not fully literate in their native language. It can take a long time for these students to master what to me seems like a simple task: writing their name or saying the letters of the alphabet, for examples. Sometimes I am just in awe of how long it can take. I find myself thinking “How can they not get it? It is so easy!” But it is not easy.

I am taking an online course in how to teach literacy level learners. A quote from an article we had to read really stood out to me: “Literacy-level learners may be beginning learners, but they are not beginning thinkers.” This quote really struck a chord with me. I think a lot of people in our society take language for granted. Many people, when they come across someone who is unable to answer a question or express themselves, write them off as unintelligent. I think they fail to recognize how challenging it is to learn and use a language, and they therefore lack compassion when someone struggles with speaking.

It feels better to fully master a task than it does to tangentially cover a great number of items. It’s the age old adage of quality over quantity – and obtaining that quality can require a great investment of time. Learning a new language is an extremely difficult task, as I know from first-hand experience, and our students deserve our patience and compassion as they attempt to learn our language. I think that patience can sometimes be the most important thing when it comes to teaching, and it is important to keep this in mind.

Jessica Raines
AmeriCorps Member
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Chuch, Virginia 22042
(703)237-0866 ext. 118
www.lcnv.org

Award Winning Author, Jacqueline Jules at Reading: A Family Affair

February 23, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Come out to see the award-winning author, Jacqueline Jules at Reading: A Family Affair this March 24, 2012; the event runs from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM at the James Lee Community Center. Jacqueline will be reading from her chapter book series, Zapato Power, which  features Freddie Ramos, a little boy who receives a mysterious package with super-powered purple sneakers. Would you like to have super speed? Or would you rather have super strength or invisibility? And what would you do if you had super-powered purple sneakers and you could run faster than a metro train? Take part in Freddie’s adventure, as he finds a balance between being a superhero and a student in elementary school. Get prepared to sing and have a lively discussion about superpowers.

Jacqueline Jules is the award-winning author of 23 children’s books, including Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off (2010 CYBILS Literary Award, Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Honor Award, ALSC Great Early Elementary Reads), Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation (2010 Library of Virginia Cardozo Award), Benjamin and the Silver Goblet (2010 Sydney Taylor Honor Award), Duck for Turkey Day (TN Volunteer State Award List, Washington State Children’s Choice Book Awards list), and No English (DE Diamonds list, TN Volunteer State Award list). Also a poet, Jacqueline won the Arlington Arts Moving Words Contest, Best Original Poetry Award from the Catholic Press Association, and the SCBWI Magazine Merit Poetry Award. Most of Jacqueline’s books have grown out of her experiences as a teacher and elementary school librarian. Students are her inspiration.

Visit the BECOME A BOOK room at Reading: A Family Affair. Jacqueline Jules will perform at 10:25 AM and 11:30 AM.  Come and take an adventure with Jacqueline and her character, Freddie Ramos. Be prepared to be wowed by Freddie and his super-powered sneakers.

Download the Reading: A Family Affair Poster. Share it with friends and family. Spread the word about this great event.

Are you interested in volunteering at  Reading: A Family Affair? If you are not available on March 24th, the Literacy Council is also looking for people to help out over the next few weeks as we prepare for the big day. If you’re interested, please fill out this form, which expedites the placement process: RAFA Volunteer Form.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 115
www.lcnv.org

Reading as a Family: Read Together, Learn Together

February 22, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Attend LCNV's Reading: A Family Affair on March 24, 2012

Who doesn’t remember the joy of curling up on the lap of a parent or grandparent to listen to a story? Or the trip to the local library for story-time? Or watching the faces of older siblings engrossed in a book and wishing you could be a part of their fascination?  Listening to stories and reading together is one of the simple joys of childhood. The Literacy  Council of Northern Virginia also knows that reading together as a family is a great learning opportunity. Children and their relatives discover different places, cultures, and individuals while reinforcing their literacy. Reading as a family also plays a vital role in a child’s development.

According to the National Center for Family Literacy:

  • Children’s reading scores improve dramatically when their parents are involved in helping them learn to read.
  • Low family income and a mother’s lack of education are the two biggest risk factors that hamper a child’s early learning and development.

Long before children enter school, early experiences with books build a strong foundation for learning. Incorporate reading as a regular activity in your child’s life. Choosing age appropriate books should be a consideration, but reading different texts is also beneficial. Poems, plays, and songs are great examples. Not only are they different forms of expression, but foster discussion. Even if a child doesn’t know how to read, give them the opportunity to engage with a book: let them hold the book; follow your finger as you read the text and then let them repeat it. This helps not only build a child’s experience with books, but makes him/her feel important and part of the activity.

Children become readers when their parents read to them. Reading together as a family is one of the main reasons adults come to the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia to learn. I often hear variations of these inspirations:  “I wanted to be able to read to my granddaughter”;  “Becoming a father was my motivation to learn to read”;  “I want to help my child with her homework.” What could be a better incentive?   Sharing the joy of reading to a child, or listening to them reading their first book is a simple pleasure everyone should experience.

Patricia M. Donnelly
Executive Director
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

Groovy Nate: Musical Inspiration at LCNV’s Reading: A Family Affair

February 21, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Come see Groovy Nate at Reading: A Family Affair

Join Groovy Nate, his guitar, puppet friends, and other creative instruments for a musical adventure!  Groovy Nate will perform at LCNV’s Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA), which will bring books to life through performance art. The RAFA festivities will take place Saturday, March 24, 2012, and run from  9:30 AM to 2:30 PM at the James Lee Community Center.

After watching the Groovy Nate show, Sheryl Leeds, a Supervisor at Arlington Public Schools, stated: Groovy Nate’s show engaged children in an innovative and creative approach that incorporated literacy, music and movement, and had the participants rocking and reading!

Elnathan K. Starnes, known as Groovy Nate, has been a working musician and song-writer in the Washington Metropolitan Area for over thirteen years. Elnathan is a featured guitarist on several CDs and has performed with several Washington DC-based groups. In 1997, he founded the award-winning soul band, Oktbrwrld, with whom he made four CD’s. Elnathan wrote the film score and co-wrote the film short The Water Story, which appeared on BET. Two of his songs are featured in the major motion picture Cougar Club. He is now a member of both the National Capital Puppet Guild and Puppeteers of America.

As Groovy Nate, Elnathan has performed at various venues in the DC/MD/VA area including: The Children’s Inaugural Ball; Source Theater Washington DC; Art on the Avenue, Del Ray,VA; The Children’s Inn, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD; Arlington Title I Mailbox Books Program, Arlington,VA; DC National Association for the Education of Young Children; and Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD.

Nate is a certified Music Together teacher, and teaches Music Together as well as Groovy Nate Music and Movement classes in the Northern Virginia area. Elnathan and his wife, Kisha Kenyatta, along with their two young children, combine talents to create meaningful and educational performance art and edutainment for children and families. They produced the first Groovy Nate CD, Meet Groovy Nate, in 2009.

Groovy Nate will give two performances at LCNV’s Reading: A Family Affair; the first performance begins at 10AM, and the second will take place at 10:45 AM. Adults and children get ready to  explore various musical genres such as Reggae and Hip Hop. Come prepared to laugh and play together, and be inspired to bring music and imagination into your everyday lives.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

Does My Student Have a Learning Disability?

February 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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One of the most common concerns of tutors is that their student has a learning disability.  At the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia we use the term learning difference, because we are not equipped to diagnose nor take financial responsibility for testing that would be required under federal law with the term learning disability.  LCNV accepts students regardless of any kind of disability they may choose to disclose, and tries to meet the needs of all beginning readers and writers. Yet, LCNV does not provide any screening or diagnoses; tutors are not in the position to diagnose or suggest any labels.  Still, if you suspect that your student may be struggling beyond what you would consider typical growing pains, please consider some of these struggles and solutions.

Learning disabilities are multi-dimensional and occur on a continuum, so you may notice varying degrees of certain behaviors in different people – maybe even yourself.  Over the next few weeks, check back in this space for brief descriptions of some typical learning problems and ways to help learners succeed in spite of them.   Attention is necessary for all learning – if we do not attend to something, we send a signal to our brain that it is not important so it does not get stored fully in long-term memory, making it unavailable for future use.  For example, if a student is texting while you are explaining the difference between long and short vowels, this material may sound vaguely familiar to him/ her later on, but it will not be stored sufficiently for him/her to apply the information later.

Students who struggle to attend their tutoring sessions may do the following: make frequent and careless mistakes on schoolwork and on the job; fail to attend to details; appear not to listen when spoken to; have trouble sustaining focus for a long period of time; struggle to follow through on things; approach tasks in a disorganized manner; fall short of organizing their materials; and lose things frequently.

If this sounds like your student, first remember that many factors can interfere with attention including life stressors such as loss of a job or fear of this loss, lack of sleep, inadequate nutrition, etc.; your student does not necessarily have a diagnose-able condition.  However, attention is essential to learning, so if your student struggles with any of the behaviors listed above, you might want to try some of the tips below.

  • Minimize distractions as much as possible – reserve a room in the library rather than work in the open part where there is high traffic; turn off cell phones; clear the table of unnecessary papers; don’t interrupt your student with questions and conversation while they are learning – stay focused yourself!
  • Notice how long a student is able to attend to one task and break instruction into separate, discrete segments – i.e. 15 minutes of phonics practice, 10 minutes of word reading, 15 minutes of passage reading etc.  If possible, schedule tutoring for shorter periods and meet more frequently for regular review.  Review often.
  • Pace yourself and your student – do not be tempted to move too quickly as every learner needs time to digest and master material before they can absorb new materials.  If the material is at the appropriate instructional level, all learning should build in a logical way so that one skill flows into the next.

Molly Chilton
Basic Literacy Tutoring Specialist
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

Barbara Effron at LCNV’s Reading: A Family Affair

February 16, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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Hear Master Storyteller, Barbara Effron, at Reading: A Family Affair

Come and listen to Barbara Effron at LCNV’s 6th Annual Reading: A Family Affair, which takes place Saturday, March 24, 2012; the event runs from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and will be held at the James Lee Community Center.  

A master storyteller, Barbara Effron combines folk, traditional, and modern tales with songs and audience participation. Since 1983, she has entertained children and adults in the Washington Metropolitan Area with enchanting tales and musical stories. Barbara has performed at various venues including the White House, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian, and Busch Gardens.

Attend Reading: A Family Affair and visit the HEAR a Book room where Barbara will capture your  imagination, and take you to far-flung places and fascinating people. Her passion for storytelling will be enhanced with music and audience participation.  So get ready to take a ride to a magical place, as Barbara leads you with the sound of her guitar.

To learn more, visit: Reading: A Family Affair.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 109
www.lcnv.org

Bob Brown Puppets at LCNV’s Reading: A Family Affair

February 14, 2012 at 3:09 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Bob Brown Puppets at LCNV's Reading: A Family Affair

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia will be hosting its 6th Annual Reading: A Family Affair,a FREE event that brings books to life through performance art! RAFA will take place Saturday, March 24, 2012, from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM; it will be held at the James Lee Community Center.

On LITERACY LIVE, LCNV will spotlight storytellers, musicians, dancers, and puppeteers who will be performing at Reading: A Family Affair! Today, we’re spotlighting Bob Brown Puppets.

Bob Brown Puppets consists of dynamic duo, Bob and Judy Brown, who have spearheaded  a major children’s theater company for the past fifty years. These master puppeteers offer the finest in children’s education and entertainment, performing to over 300,000 children a year. Through “marionette magic,” Bob Brown Puppets brings together art, music and story-telling to the delight of children (and grown-ups).

Meet the Second-Hand Stars at RAFA

Come to LCNV’s Reading: A Family Affair and watch Bob Brown Puppets perform with their SECOND-HAND STARS, a vast treasure of stuffed toys transformed into puppets. Bob states: “All these wonderful toys have been simply tossed away. I’m just giving them a chance to be a star – second chance to shine.” Meet the Second-Hand Stars: Snirdley on his souped-up scooter; juggling Marley; Elizabeth the explosive elephant; Gertrude the graceful Goonie-Bird; tap dancing Bingo and Bob; and many more. Bob Brown Puppets and their Second-Hand Stars will give an unforgettable show, one you do not want to miss!

Find out who else will be performing at LCNV’s Reading: A Family Affair:  http://www.lcnv.org/rafa/index.cfm

The Literacy Council is looking for volunteers to help out the day of the event. If you are not available on March 24th, LCNV is also looking for people to help out over the next few weeks as we prepare for the big day. If you’re interested, please fill out this form, which expedites the placement process: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dG1oODVDbmJOekIycE9Hbm9EOVJ1a0E6MA#gid=0

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

Students Helping Students

February 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Students Helping Students: Lesson on Learning Directions & Using a Map

The first week of class is always an exciting and interesting one.  I’m getting to know my students and they’re getting to know each other.  You’ll always have stronger students that seem to “get it” quicker.  But one of the nice things about working with adults and without grades is that people are more willing to work together.  Those that “get it” help those that don’t.

I have two students in one of my evening classes who are recently arrived and have the barest English vocabulary.  When we come to them in group lessons it takes them longer than some of the others.  But there’s no frustration or impatience in my students.  They all know.  They’ve all been there.  Sometimes I have to tamp down the enthusiasm to help, but I’m delighted to know it’s there.  I’m delighted to know none of my students have to feel alone on their educational journey.

To learn more about LCNV’s classroom programs visit: LCNV’s ESOL Learning Centers, and Family Learning Program.

Raymond K. Chow
AmeriCorps Member
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Chuch, Virginia 22042
(703)237-0866 ext. 118
www.lcnv.org

The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Helping Local Nonprofits like LCNV

February 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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The Catalogue for Philanthropy  helps raise funds for “the best small non-profits,” in the Washington, D.C., area. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is featured for the second time in the Catalogue  (2011 – 2012) as “one of the best small charities in the Washington, D.C., region.”

This past February 5, 2012, the Catalogue for Philanthropy was featured in the Washington Post article “Nonprofit’s giving portal aims to drive more donations to charities.” This article by Vanessa Small,  highlights the Catalogue’s new workplace giving portal, which aims to help generate corporate funds while emphasizing year-round giving. The portal also allows donors to control the allocation of their funds. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is excited about the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s new online-giving portal. We hope it’ll generate more support while helping inform the public about the quality of our much needed services.

Take a moment to read this article. Also, visit the Literacy Council’s page at Catalogue for Philanthropy: LCNV at Catalogue for Philanthropy.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
at the James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 111
www.lcnv.org

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