A New Year’s Day Celebration

December 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A New Year’s Day Celebration

LCNV’s learners come from over 90 different countries, and bring the holiday traditions of their cultures with them to the United States. In LCNV learner Kim’s 2012 essay, she describes the celebration of the Korean New Year’s Day on January 1 of each year. Kim describes the traditional clothing, gifts, and dancing, as well as games and other traditions. Kim even describes some of the mouthwatering food that is typically served on this holiday! Kim’s essay highlights another side of why English literacy is so important – she can share her culture with English speakers from different backgrounds, while learning more about traditions from around the world.

If you’d like to help beginning-level English learners like Kim in the New Year, please consider donating to LCNV.

“I want to celebrate Korean New Year’s Day. The oriental calendar begins on January 1, that day we celebrate Korean New Year’s Day. This celebration comes from a long history of families meeting together like American families get together at Thanksgiving.

The children wear new Korean traditional dress, they bow to their elders. The adults give some money to the children. They call the money (a New Year’s greeting).

We eat some special traditional food, rice cake soup, many different kinds of vegetables, and a special fish! Normally we don’t eat this kind of food every day. Tastes ummm!

The men play a game called Mah-jong. Young ladies, with braided hair and Korean dress, hold hands and make a big circle and skip around the circle to dance. The name is kang kang-sutlet. It is a really cool dance. Every Korean family is happy with getting together for this celebration.”

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“My Celebration”

December 20, 2017 at 8:11 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “My Celebration”

The holiday season at LCNV is the perfect time to revisit holiday stories that our learners have shared with us over the years. LCNV learner Miriam’s essay about her experience getting familiar with U.S.’ celebratory traditions and her 2011 Christmas experience shows the ways in which family, holidays, and English language can mingle to make for a truly memorable celebration. If you know someone like Miriam who needs beginning-level English classes, share LCNV’s spring schedule with them. The opportunity to learn English could be the best gift you give this holiday season.

“My name is Miriam. I am from Peru. I have lived in the United States 6 years. I want to share with you a few celebrations from my life.

The first celebration I had I remember was when I was already big. It was my first commu­nion. I was 14 years old when I made my first communion. I felt shy because all the people were talking about me. They said I looked like a bride. I didn’t like these comments. Really I didn’t know what to say because I am from a family that is not accustomed to having cel­ebrations. This celebration was okay for me because I could not ask for something that I was not very familiar with.

The second celebration I had was here in the United States. My employers celebrated my birthday. The girls took pictures. They said, ‘Why don’t you smile Miriam?’ I felt very shy because I’m not accustomed to celebrating my birthday and being the center of attention. I wanted the party to finish quickly. But, I was very happy because people who are not my family celebrated my birth­day. At the same time I was sad because I never celebrated my birthday with my family.

But, last year, in 2011, I celebrated, for the first time, a Christmas I had always wished for, on December 25, together, with my family! Everything that I learned in these six long years, of the concept of celebrating, I put into practice with my family who are the most important people in my life. We waited together, for the night in which Jesus was born, with beautiful Christmas carols, and gifts for every one of us. I could feel by observing each and every one of their looks, a great joy of happiness and at the same time a lot of peacefulness that maybe my family had never experienced before. And finally we shared a peaceful dinner. Now for me Christmas means get­ting together peace, love and family. That day was the best celebration that I had ever had. I felt so happy and fortunate that God had given me the best gift that anybody could have given me.

When I looked at the sky and I saw a plane, I said from the bottom of my heart, ‘little airplane, some day you will take me home.’ And my dream that seemed impossible at that moment came true! And I could teach my family everything that I had learned about what a celebration is.

Now I have another dream. I am sure it will be my next celebration, because I am convinced that dreams can become reality. I only have to work hard and strive for my goal, to learn and speak fluent English to open the doors that are now closed to me.

I want a better life, and I don’t want people to abuse people like me that can’t speak English.

That day when I achieve my goal, I will say like they say in the children’s program in English, Dora the Explorer, ‘I DID IT!’”

“I Overcome My Weakness”

December 13, 2017 at 10:09 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I Overcome My Weakness”

LCNV learner Liem was initially shy and nervous about speaking English, and her limited English proficiency made life difficult. She required the help of friends and relatives to complete everyday tasks, and couldn’t understand other English speakers. Even though she had learned some English in high school, Liem needed immersive instruction as an adult. Luckily, Liem enrolled with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. A dedicated student since 2011, Liem now understands English. Irrespective of background or previous education level, all beginning-level adult English language learners are welcome at LCNV. For information about classes beginning in January, click here.

“By learning English, I hope to become a better communicator. With improved English, I can better adjust to this new life in my second country: the United States.

I learned English through my native language during my high school years without practicing with an English teacher. When I came here, I [was] met with many disadvantages in using English. I really didn’t understand the fast speech, the difficult accents or the conversational vocabulary of native English speakers. I was afraid to go out without my relatives. I only smiled to my neighbors when they greeted me. I was at the DMV for the driver’s license exam with a translator. Although I listened to what the cashier said every time I went shopping, I couldn’t understand anything at all. I was very disappointed. I know learning English or any other language takes time and patience. It cannot be rushed. But how could I carry on learning English with the best results?

Since I have worked with my teacher who the Literacy Council presented to me, I am much improved. I overcome my weakness and shyness and follow my volunteer teacher’s instructions. She helps me to correct my mistakes about pronunciation and grammar. We focus on conversation, sentence structures, idioms and cultural references found in actual life.

Gradually, I began to feel more confident than I was before in my communication. Now I love to study English because I can speak to express my thoughts. I am able to understand some simple sentences when people speak. It’s very interesting.

I know I still have to work hard for a long time to continue learning. As I continue to learn, and become a successful communicator, I can live here like the native people. A new life with many good things in the United States will make my dream come true.”

The Power of Literate Communities

December 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Power of Literate Communities

How can language education impact a learner’s community? LCNV learner Juan makes the case for strong, literate communities with his 2016 essay about using English to collaborate, and take ownership and pride in one’s neighborhood. Juan’s words show that literacy education does more than expand a learner’s world; it gives adult learners the ability to make their world a better place.

If you or someone you know needs beginning-level English classes, click here.

“I need [to] speak English to be able to be part of my community, so that everyone is satisfied and happy and will work together to keep it clean.”

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