LCNV: Breaking the Intergenerational Cycle of Illiteracy

March 20, 2012 at 3:00 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Attend Reading: A Family Affair this Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is pleased to be among the eighty reading promotion partners partners in the Center for the Book (http://www.read.gov/cfb/#) at the Library of Congress.  Once a year, in March, the partners come together to share ideas and activities for promoting literacy and reading across the country.  This year’s meeting was held on March 6, 2012, at the Library of Congress.I learned about programs in the Family Reading Partnership, Book It!, American Library Association, Heart of America Foundation, Lubuto Library project,and many others.  I was struck by how many fascinating presentations focused on children.  LCNV was the only organization among over 60 programs representing adult education.

Although LCNV’s mission is adult education, the Literacy Council  provides a Family Learning Program (FLP) as one of its four core educational programs. FLP provides English literacy instruction for children and their immigrant parents in a supportive classroom environment. While kids participate in literacy-related activities and receive homework help, their parents learn English as it  relates to their children’s schools, health, nutrition, and community, empowering parents to be their children’s first teachers.  Literacy programs and activities are essential to a child’s development; they need to be creative, engaging, sustainable, and progressive.  LCNV also hosts its own Reading: A Family Affair, which will take place this Saturday, March 24th, at the James Lee Community Center.

The Literacy Council works to break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy. Research shows that literacy is a family matter and children absorb parents’ values. If they grow up in homes where literacy is not practiced, they believe that it is not important. It is the continued education at home and the modeling of parents reading themselves, or more importantly, reading to children that influences a child’s love of reading.  Adults who strengthen their skills serve as role models for literacy development in their children’s lives. No quantitative measures can replace the realization of hopes and dreams that LCNV’s learners feel from their academic achievements. In just one semester, Lydia, a mother in FLP, improved from a first-grade English skill level to an eighth-grade level, and achieved the goals she set for herself, which were to increase her involvement in her child’s literacy activities and improve her employability skills. In her own words, Lydia talks about how learning English makes a difference in her life and in her son Jerald’s life:

I have a child. He is four years old. When I came here I didn’t understand English. It’s so difficult for me. I felt frustrated but I have one goal: I need to learn English, improve my English, because I have a child and he needs help with homework. Also, I have a dream. It is to speak and read English perfectly to get a better job and good opportunity in my life. It’s never too late to start. I can do it.

Come to Reading: A Family Affair this Saturday, March 24, 2012. *Every child receives a free book

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia will continue to do its part to strengthen both family literacy and adult education.  While our mission is adult education, Reading: A Family Affair is an excellent example of how to showcase literacy activities for children that inspire reading and learning, but are engaging and informative for adults as well.  Please plan on joining us for Reading: A Family Affair on Saturday, March 24, 2012.  Join lcnv in celebrating family literacy.

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

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