A Good Afternoon at Reading: A Family Affair

February 27, 2013 at 5:50 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Rainbow Company

What family reading day would be complete without your children becoming a book?! These artists will engage children in their performances. The Rainbow Company is the Mid-Atlantic’s premiere “Inter-Active Children’s Theatre Company” (IACT™), which has provided a unique experience in children’s theatre and dramatic art enrichment for the past twenty years. The Rainbow Company takes children out of the audience, brings them up on stage (voluntarily), and allows them to participate in a production as performers. They have also won several awards, appeared in the Montgomery Gazette, Washington Post, and local papers throughout Fairfax. This performance is for all ages.

lula w props

Jeanne Wall, a co-founder of the Goodlife Theater, utilizes, puppets, storytelling, music, humor, and audience participation to tell tales from around the world. Jeanne, partnering with her husband, Joe Pipik, has written, directed, and built puppets for performances at the National Theater, Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater, Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts. Jeanne works as a master teaching artist for the Wolf Trap Institute For Early Learning Through The Arts.  This performance is for ages 3 – 8.

Each performance is 45 minutes in length, followed by a 15 minute intermission, during which you and your child can meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, our special guest from WETA Kids! Snacks will also be available for purchase from James Lee Razorbacks Youth Sports.

A suggested donation of $5 at door will benefit LCNV’s Student Scholarship & Advancement Fund. For more information about RAFA, go to http://www.lcnv.org/events/rafa.

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Safeway: Contributing over 20 Years to LCNV Learners

February 25, 2013 at 5:26 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

safewayhighreslogoWhen the Literacy Council devised an incentive program aimed at increasing student attendance, the Safeway Foundation was there to provide the funding necessary to see it through to fruition.  Its support of LCNV’s Student Scholarship and Advancement Fund resulted in students moving through LCNV’s programs more quickly and successfully, ushering students onto higher levels of learning and creating openings for students on waitlists. Their dedication to literacy education is changing lives every day in Northern Virginia.

LCNV is proud to have the Safeway Foundation as part of its Legacy Circle, an esteemed group of donors who have given in excess of $50,000 to support LCNV’s adult learners over the last 10 years. This long-standing partnership began nearly 20 years ago, when Avis Black, now the Real Estate Director for Safeway, joined LCNV as a tutor in 1994.

Avis worked with her learner for many years, ultimately helping her achieve her high school diploma.  Avis also served as a member and the president of LCNV’s Board of Directors from 1994 – 2003. Avis began getting Safeway involved as sponsor of the Literacy Council’s events, such as the Taste for Literacy and Reading: A Family Affair, and even spearheaded an initiative for a workplace literacy class for local Safeway employees.  Most recently, Avis volunteered as the co-chair of LCNV’s 50th anniversary One for the Books gala, and Safeway was the signature sponsor of this once in a lifetime celebration.  Avis continues to serve on LCNV’s Community Advisory Board.

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The Safeway Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life in the communities it serves. By carefully directing its fundraising efforts and the generous contributions of Safeway’s employees and customers, the foundation supports a variety of worthy causes in four key areas: education, health and human services, hunger relief, and programs that serve people with special needs.

On behalf of the students, staff, board, and volunteers of the Literacy Council, I extend our sincerest appreciation to Avis and the entire Safeway team for all that you have done during these last 20 years!

Suzie Eaton, Senior Director of Development
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Speaking in their own words

February 22, 2013 at 5:01 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shaza w Teacher

Students at the Literacy Council come from many different places.  In just my three classes, I have students that represent up to 15 different countries, which range from Sudan to El Salvador to Morocco to Vietnam. At first glance, you may expect our classes to be extremely diverse, which is in fact true. But despite the diversity of our students’ backgrounds and experiences, there are some commonalities that can be found among the student population as well.

Most of our students are new to the country. They commonly feel isolated and don’t know too many people. They all come to class to improve their English skills. Whether it is in writing, listening, pronunciation, or speaking, all of our students strive to advance their English abilities.

Shaza, a student from Sudan, is enrolled in the Family Learning Program.  She is committed to learning and improving her English skills. When asked to write about why she wants to take English class, Shaza writes, “I want to take English class because I want to speak English fluently and help my kids in school, and I want to work.”

Rehab, another student enrolled in the Family Learning Program, excitedly explained to me that she was able to communicate with her child’s teacher the night before. She was insistent on making the point that she was able to do it by herself and without assistance from her friend or husband.  After talking with most of my students, it is clear that most of them want independence in this new country. They want to stop relying on their children or friends to communicate with new people. Like Shaza, a goal for Rehab is to be able to help her children in school and communicate with their teachers.

When asked what skills she wants to improve on, Shaza writes, “I want to learn the accent of the English language, conversation, and writing.”
This is Shaza’s third English class with the Literacy Council, and she is steadily improving her speaking and writing. She is an avid student who has a stellar attendance record and her commitment to learning inspires other students to participate and step out of their comfort zones.

Students_cheering

It’s really neat to work for the Literacy Council and be able to observe students working together towards similar goals and seeing them progress in their abilities.  Although our students come from all over the world, they come to the Literacy Council to improve their English skills and to become active people in the community.

 

Katie Trizna, AmeriCorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Bringing Stories to Life at Reading: A Family Affair

February 20, 2013 at 5:42 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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SING BOOKS FINAL

Rounding out our stellar storytellers at Reading: A Family Affair on March 2, 2013, is Sing Books with Emily, whose mission is to share the wonderful world of singable picture books which combine the magical wonders of music, text, and illustration. Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus has been nominated for a 2010 Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) ”Wammie” in the “Cabaret Artist” category. She premiered her show “Oh, What a Beautiful Day: Sing Books with Emily, the Cabaret” in June 2011. In August of 2011, Emily returned to the Kennedy Center to perform in a Staged Reading of the new musical “Kris Kringle, the Musical” as part of the Page to Stage Festival. Sing Books with Emily is best for ages 4 – 9, and she will perform from 1:00 – 1:45 pm.

OhSusannah-2012

Oh Susannah, singer/songwriter/guitarist Susan McNelis, performs for hundreds of children and parents every week in the Mid-Atlantic region. Her first musical release, Twinkle & Shine, brought her to the attention of the Kennedy Center. Her next CD Sing-Song received a coveted iParenting Media Award. Her latest CD, The Cat Lady Sings, was just nominated for Best Chilren’s Album by the Washington Area Musicians Association. Oh Susannah is best for ages 2 – 6, and she will perform from 11- 11:45 am.

During the 15 minute intermission between each performance, take your child to meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, our special guest from WETA Kids, or enjoy snacks for purchase from James Lee Razorbacks Youth Sports!

A suggested donation of $5 at door will benefit LCNV’s Student Scholarship & Advancement Fund. For more information about RAFA, go to http://www.lcnv.org/events/rafa.

Presidents’ Day Focus on Thomas Jefferson: A Lifelong Learner*

February 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Knowledge indeed is a desirable, a lovely possession.”  – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is a celebrated founding father with a lengthy list of accomplishments.  As a believer in equal rights for all men, he is the author of the Declaration of Independence. Emphasizing his belief in religious freedom for all men, Jefferson wrote the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom during his time as Governor of Virginia. As the third President of the United States, he served two terms, expanded the nation through the Louisiana Purchase, and promoted further exploration and expansion with the Lewis and Clark Expeditions.  Jefferson was 66 years old when he retired to Monticello.

But how does someone like Thomas Jefferson retire?  Answer – he doesn’t.

In the last seventeen years of his life Thomas Jefferson studied, created, and shared his passion for learning with the rest the nation.  An avid reader and book collector, Jefferson donated his vast collection to form what would become the Library of Congress.  At the age of 76, Jefferson embarked on his last great public service, the establishment of the University of Virginia. In addition to these great accomplishments, Jefferson is credited with the invention of the moldboard plow, revolving chair, portable copying press, and a grand clock which still hangs over the main entrance to his beloved Monticello.

This Presidents’ Day we should all reflect on the remarkable life of Thomas Jefferson, not just for his role in the creation of our nation, but for his dedication to education and the accessibility of information so that all may learn.

Rachel Conn Martin, AmeriCorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

* Information for this post is cited from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. website. 

Bringing Stories to Life at Reading: A Family Affair

February 15, 2013 at 5:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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delacre_lulu

Not all performances at Reading: A Family Affair on March 2, 2013, involve the stage. Several local storytellers will dazzle your children – and you! – with tales from around the world.

Lulu Delacre is an award-winning, bilingual author and illustrator of children’s books. She has written and illustrated many children’s books including Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America and Salsa Stories, an IRA Outstanding International Book. The Bossy Gallito and Arrorró mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games were awarded the Pura Belpré Honor Medal for Illustration. Rafi and Rosi, and Rafi and Rosi: Carnival! are selections of the Junior Library Guild. Lulu will perform from 10 – 10:45 am, and her stories are best for children ages 0-5.

jdorfman1

Jane Dorfman tells tales of dutiful daughters and wise women; faithful sons and wicked kings; magic skipping ropes and Irish heroes; the angel Elijah and fools of Chelm; and tricky animals and clever kids. Jane has performed at the Smithsonian Institution; television Channel 32′s holiday storytelling program; Virginia Celtic Festival; Rockville Festival of the Arts; The Elva Van Winkle Memorial Storytelling Festival; and others. She is a repeat teller at the Washington Folk Festival and Voices-in-the-Glen Festival and at The University of Maryland and Catholic University. Jane will perform from 11- 11:45 am.

Zurii Conroy will Perform at Reading: A Family Affair

Zurii Conroy began storytelling professionally in the 6th grade under the name “Princess Zurii.” Although Zurii specializes in African-American folktales, she is able to adapt to other genres within the craft. Zurii has performed at various venues such as birthday parties, schools, colleges, hospitals, churches, libraries, community events, plays, and festivals. Also an actress, Zurii has performed on both the stage and television. Zurii will perform from 12-12:45 pm, and her stories are suitable for all ages.

During the 15 minute intermission between each performance, take your child to meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, our special guest from WETA Kids, or enjoy snacks for purchase from James Lee Razorbacks Youth Sports!

A suggested donation of $5 at door will benefit LCNV’s Student Scholarship & Advancement Fund. For more information about RAFA, go to http://www.lcnv.org/events/rafa.

A Good Afternoon at Reading: A Family Affair

February 13, 2013 at 5:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Kaydee PuppetsLast week LCNV announced its starting line up in the Verizon “See a Book” Theater at Reading: A Family Affair on March 2, 2013. The fun doesn’t stop in the morning. After purchasing a quick lunch from the James Lee Razorbacks Youth Sports during intermission, head back to Verizon’s “See a Book” Theater to be entertained by the Kaydee Puppeteers at 12 noon. Since 1972, the Kaydee Puppeteers have toured the Washington, DC Metropolitian area with a variety of puppet shows. They have appeared at hundreds of nursery and elementary schools, numerous birthday parties, recreation centers, and the following library systems: The Library of Congress, Montgomery, Fairfax, Arlington, Pamunkey, Alexandria, Prince George, Baltimore county and DC libraries. This performance is best for ages 2 – 7.

tombioFollowing the Kaydee Puppeteers at 1 pm, Tom Lilly is a performer combining magic, juggling, and balloonacy with loads of audience participation. Tom began performing in ‘84 and quickly became a regular at area schools, festivals, and malls. Books Are A Blast! is the show he has performed at libraries throughout DelMarVa and Pennsylvania. With Pinky & Floyd, World’s Fastest Bookworms, Uncle Sammy and Lady Liberty, and Beowulf T. Wonderbunny himself in his very own bookmobile, it’s easy to see why one young reader said, “You’re the strangest adult I’ve ever seen!” This performance is for ages 4 and up.

All performances are 45 minutes in length, followed by a 15 minute intermission, during which you and your child can meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, our special guest from WETA Kids!

A suggested donation of $5 at door will benefit LCNV’s Student Scholarship & Advancement Fund. For more information about RAFA, go to http://www.lcnv.org/events/rafa.

Taking LCNV into its next 50 years

February 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IMG_3899It’s been a little over three years that I have been involved with the Literacy Council, and the reason I first came to be a tutor still keeps me interested.  Over the years I have become a tutor trainer and a member of the LCNV Board of Directors as well, and that motivation has only become stronger.  Here’s that core reason that got me to the Literacy Council and keeps me committed to the mission:  Helping people to read English gives our learners the confidence and independence that are key to increasing the quality of life for themselves and their families.  Learning English is the key to success in our great country, no matter how you define success: educating children, finding work, maintaining health.

I have seen the power of learning English skills in my personal experience as a tutor and in the lives we learn about through the writing of LCNV learners.  As a tutor trainer, I am always  so impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the people who come to the training on Saturdays and decide to carve out a place in their lives to help others.

The Board of Directors experience is so interesting to me because I now know more about the big picture of operating the Literacy Council.  The demand for English skills is only increasing and we on the Board are thinking about how LCNV can continue most effectively in the next fifty years.  At the Board of Directors retreat last month we had a stimulating talk about social entrepreneurship from Michael Curtin of DC Central Kitchen. Social entrepreneurship means finding a profit-making enterprise that will support the mission of the nonprofit entity.

Michael has recently taken over the reins at DC Central Kitchen from founder Robert Eggers.  Michael has worked at DC Central Kitchen for years; they serve thousands of meals daily to those in need.  Michael Curtin was instrumental in starting their for-profit arm called Fresh Start Catering. The profits from Fresh Start help the mission of DC Central Kitchen.

The LCNV Board members are now thinking about how LCNV can learn from his experiences and develop a venture that would help finance the Literacy Council’s mission. How can the Literacy Council utilize this concept to support our mission?  We had a creative and far-ranging discussion on that subject, and it is one we are still pursuing.  There are lots of things to think about.  Any ideas?  Let us know!

Anne Spear, LCNV Tutor, Tutor Trainer, and Board of Directors Member
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Verizon’s See a Book Theater at Reading: A Family Affair

February 6, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Groovy Nate

Groovy Nate

LCNV is pleased to announce its starting line up in the Verizon “See a Book” Theater at Reading: A Family Affair on March 2, 2013. Arrive at 9:30 am to enjoy family learning games in LCNV’s “Click a Book” Computer Lab or warm up in the “Read & Write a Book” room by writing and illustrating a story with your child.

At 10 am, head to the “See a Book” Theater to be amazed by Groovy Nate, a children’s performer who blends music, puppetry, movement, and comedy into one groovy experience! His first children’s CD, “Meet Groovy Nate” combines the interactive nature of his performances and classes with songs about sharing; inside beauty; eating healthy foods, and the joy of reading. Groovy Nate is also a member of the National Capital Puppet Guild, Puppeteers of America, and is teaching Music Together and Groovy Nate music classes in the Northern Virginia area. His performance is best for ages 3 – 8.

Sheela Ramanath & the Kalavaridhi Dance School

Sheela Ramanath & the Kalavaridhi Dance School

Following Groovy Nate in the “See a Book” Theater at 11 am, Kalavaridhi will dazzle you with stories told through dance. Sheela Ramanath trained with Guru Bhanumati for over a decade. In 2001 , she moved to the USA and started her own dance school, Kalavaridhi. Following the traditional curriculum for Bharatanatyam, she teaches the theoretical and practical aspects at each level. She also draws upon real-life comparisons to help communicate depth of feeling. She has performed at the National Theatre, International Children’s Festival at Wolftrap, Lorton Arts Workhouse, and elsewhere. This performance is for all ages.

All performances are 45 minutes in length, followed by a 15 minute intermission, during which you and your child can meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, our special guest from WETA Kids!

A suggested donation of $5 at door will benefit LCNV’s Student Scholarship & Advancement Fund. For more information about RAFA, go to http://www.lcnv.org/events/rafa.

American Library Association Announces 2013 Youth and Media Award Winners

February 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IMG_4094The American Library Association has announced its 2013 Youth and Media Award winners.  The most well-known of these awards are the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature and the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.  It is a great honor for the authors and illustrators of these books to be given this distinction and to have the front covers of their books decorated with shiny metallic stickers for children, like my own 2 ½ year old, to identify as “a very good book.”

In addition to these highly recognizable medals, there are a few other notable awards that the ALA gives out each year.  Here are this year’s winners:

The Randolph Caldecott Medal winner for the most distinguished American picture book for children is “This Is Not My Hat,” illustrated and written by Jon Klassen.

The John Newbery Medal winner for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature is “The One and Only Ivan,” written by Katherine Applegate.

The Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults winner is “Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America,” written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

The Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award winner is “I, Too, Am America.”  The Langston Hughes’ classic poem was illustrated by Bryan Collier.

The Michael L. Printz Award winner for excellence in literature written for young adults is “In Darkness,” written by Nick Lake.

The Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.  “Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert,” illustrated by David Diaz, is the winner. The book was written by Gary D. Schmidt.

The Pura Belpré (Author) Award winner is “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book winner is “Up, Tall and High!” written and illustrated by Ethan Long.

More information can be found at http://www.ala.org/news/pr?id=12298.

Carisa Pineda, Family Learning Program Specialist
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

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