Mark Your Calendars: LCNV’s 8th Annual Reading: A Family Affair

January 30, 2014 at 1:08 PM | Posted in Family Learning, RAFA | Comments Off on Mark Your Calendars: LCNV’s 8th Annual Reading: A Family Affair
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The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia will host its 8th Annual Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA) on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at the James Lee Community Center. A suggested donation of $5 per family at the door will benefit LCNV’s Student Scholarship Fund.

Come to Reading: A Family Affair, and enjoy a spell-binding day filled with stories,dance, songs, puppets and even a bit of magic as created by nine local performing artists and WETA Kids’ Clifford the Big Red Dog! Download the RAFA Poster, and share it with your friends and colleagues to help spread the word about this great family event!  Volunteers are needed too!  Express your interest and expedite your placement process.

NEW! Pre-register to attend RAFA and you’ll be entered in a raffle for a chance to win a Nook® HD.

Reading: A Family Affair 2014

Reading: A Family Affair 2014


Another Successful Reading: A Family Affair

March 24, 2011 at 2:32 PM | Posted in Community, donations, Donors, ESOL, Family Learning, RAFA, Volunteers | Comments Off on Another Successful Reading: A Family Affair
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“Thank you for the free book and a great morning!,” “Thanks for doing this wonderful program!,” “Clifford gave me a high five!.” These are just a few of the comments heard throughout the James Lee Community Center last Saturday, when 600 children and parents filled the hallways to experience books coming to life at LCNV‘s 5th Annual Reading: A Family Affair.  Thanks to our visitors, donors, staff, and over 50 volunteers, the event was a huge success! Emily Gleichenhaus of “Sing Books with Emily” commented, “As a former event planner, I was impressed with the organization and flow of the event and activities.  And the facility and stations were wonderfully staffed by friendly and helpful volunteers.” Check out Emily’s blog for more on her take of RAFA.

From musicians and dancers to puppeteers and storytellers (and Clifford, of course!), there was something for kids of all ages to enjoy.  New performers at this year’s RAFA included Emily Gleichenhaus of “Sing Books with Emily,” who delighted kids of all ages with her songs based on picture books, and Bob Brown Puppets, whose show “The Reluctant Dragon” was punctuated by audience laughter and applause. LCNV also introduced dance to this year’s event, with the Bolivian dance troupe Fraternidad Cultural Pachamama and senior students from the Kalavaridhi Indian dance school captivating a full house. Storytellers Diane Macklin and authors Lulu Delacre, Mary Quattlebaum, and Tom Angleberger were also big hits, with families with upper-elementary aged children giving especially rave reviews of Tom’s interactive program based on his book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. One parent said, “Tom was the highlight of RAFA for my 8 1/2 year old son and his buddy.  While the whole family enjoyed the Indian dancers and other activities, Tom’s presentation was especially meaningful to my son who was worried there wouldn’t be enough for ‘older kids like him’ to do.” And last but not least, RAFA veterans The Rainbow Entertainment Company got kids moving with their lively reader’s theater.

Reading: A Family Affair was a true community collaboration, and LCNV is grateful for the support and enthusiasm of the James Lee Community Center staff, LCNV volunteers, RAFA performers, our event sponsors and in-kind donors*,  and of course the children and parents who attended the event! We hope to see you next March for the 6th annual Reading: A Family Affair!

*Event Sponsors: Verizon, Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, WETA Kids, Don Beyer Volvo, Target, Dominion, Crystal City-Pentagon Rotary Club; In kind Donors: Congregation of Floris United Methodist Church, Cosi, Day and Night Printing, Inc., Giant, Safeway, Gimme Dem Cupcakes, Harris Teeter, Jason’s Deli.

-Stacy Nall, Development Specialist

Thank you to RAFA Planning Committees

March 9, 2011 at 11:04 AM | Posted in Calendar, Community, donations, RAFA, Volunteers | Comments Off on Thank you to RAFA Planning Committees
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From the first Reading: A Family Affair five years ago, the event has been a true community collaboration, a partnership among the Literacy Council, the James Lee Community Center, the Fairfax and Arlington County Public Libraries, and WETA. And of course, the event wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of our many volunteers in the weeks leading up to and the day of the event. This year’s RAFA is more collaborative than ever thanks to the dedicated work of several volunteer planning committees, who began meeting to plan the event in the fall and have continually impressed us with their outstanding creativity and insight. These committees have played a leading role in the selection of performers; the formation of a public relations strategy, from flyer design to media lists to press releases; solicitation of in-kind donations; and planning for decorations and set up. Thank you to all!

Performers Committee: Rachel Harlan; Julia Zurkovsky; Karen Kostreba

Publicity Committee: Susan Larson (Committee Chair); Misty Jones; Ferne Barrow

Decorations Committee: Kelly Chroninger; Kate Brodeur

In-kind Committee: Rebecca Riddell; Amali Amarasinghe

 -Stacy Nall, Development Specialist

Area Dance Companies to Perform at Reading: A Family Affair

March 7, 2011 at 12:10 PM | Posted in Announcements, Community, RAFA, Volunteers | Comments Off on Area Dance Companies to Perform at Reading: A Family Affair
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For thousands of years, dance has been central to the ceremonies and celebrations of diverse cultures. There are even images of dance on 9,000 year old rock paintings in India! From these ancient Indian dance forms to 21st century hip hop, dancers have used costumes and movement to share the stories of their culture.

March 19th’s Reading: A Family Affair is the first year of the event in which dancers will join vocalists, authors, actors, and puppeteers in bringing stories to life. Recognizing that storytelling extends beyond the written word, the Literacy Council has invited two area dance troupes to perform at Reading: A Family Affair: Fraternidad Cultural Pachamama and the Kalavaridhi Dance School.

Fraternidad Cultural Pachamama, a Bolivian folklore group, was founded in Washington DC in January 2000 and displays colorful Bolivian authentic attire, enthusiastic dancers, exciting music, and a contagious atmosphere. The company has performed many times at the James Lee Community Center, and we are so excited that they have agreed to join our event as well. The performance of Fraternidad Cultural Pachamama at 11:30 am will be followed by the 12:15 pm performance of the Kalavaridhi Dance School. Advanced students from the school will showcase the     storytelling power of dance through the Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam.

We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Fraternidad Cultural Pachamama and the Kalavaridhi Dance School to Reading: A Family Affair on March 19th!

-Stacy Nall, Development Specialist

Volunteer with the Literacy Council!

February 10, 2011 at 4:02 PM | Posted in Basic Literacy, Calendar, ESOL, Family Learning, RAFA, Training, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on Volunteer with the Literacy Council!
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There are so many ways to volunteer at the Literacy Council!

Here are some ways to start this month: Basic Literacy Tutors: Our next tutor training will take place on February 26, March 5, and March 12 from 9:30 am-1:30 pm each day (there is a $40 fee). Volunteer tutors will help other adults improve their reading and writing skills. Hours are flexible, and a 9-month commitment is required.

Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA) event planners/committee members: RAFA is our annual major special event, taking place on Saturday, March 19th this year. It is a fun-filled and free event open to local families in the community, meant to encourage the joys of reading together and bring books to life. I am looking for volunteers to serve on the Decorations/Setup and Day Of Event committees. Much of this can be done on your own time, with the understanding that it will get busier in the weeks leading up to the event.

Library Liaisons: These volunteers bring flyers to their assigned libraries (1-3 each) to help us advertise our workshops, trainings, and other special events. I am looking for people to take over libraries in McLean, Chantilly, and Vienna.

Office Assistants: Curious about how everything works at the LCNV office? Here’s your chance! I am recruiting dedicated volunteers to come in 1-2 times a week for a few hours to help out with administrative tasks, such as data entry, mailing, folding, filing, making phone calls, and many others. We are flexible – even if you don’t like computers, talking on the phone, etc. – that’s okay! Chances are we’ll be able to find something for you to do.

Please let me know if any of these positions appeal to you!

My e-mail is

-Belle Peñaranda, Director of Volunteers

Kids and Books at Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA)

April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Posted in RAFA | Comments Off on Kids and Books at Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA)

Since joining LCNV in 2005, I’ve always worked with programs for adult learners, which I really enjoy. However, it was a special treat for me to work in the “Read & Write a Book” room at our recent RAFA event, where I had the opportunity to directly interact with children and their families.

Many families came to this room in order to take part in the book giveaways.  Each child who attended RAFA received a ticket when their family entered the event.  Once they were in the “Read & Write a Book” room, each child could turn in their ticket and select one free book from the display table to keep.

I found it fascinating to watch how the children selected their books. Some children (especially the younger ones) chose their book very easily. They were quickly attracted by something on the cover (e.g., a picture of something they liked) and did not hesitate to make a decision.

Other children seemed to take their decision very seriously and spent a lot of time studying the selection of books. They considered what they already had at home, evaluated the subject matter of the books on display, and reviewed their options several times before making their selection.

The room also contained areas for children and their families to sit down and read their books, write stories, or draw. Most of the children I saw were younger and thus tended to draw or color. Children had the option of posting their finished work on a special bulletin board or taking it home with them. Some children were quite proud to have their material displayed on the board. Others were very protective of their work, and firmly decided to take their papers home with them, holding them protectively as they left the room.

It was a pleasure to work in the room and see how much the children enjoyed their books, and how families were able to enjoy all the literacy activities together. I like to imagine that someday some of these children could grow up to become LCNV volunteers and help spread the gift of literacy to others.

~ Amy Moy, ESOL Learning Centers Specialist

In-kind and monetary gifts essential to helping LCNV students

April 6, 2010 at 3:25 PM | Posted in Announcements, Community Partners, Development, Donors, News, RAFA, Volunteers | Comments Off on In-kind and monetary gifts essential to helping LCNV students

Earlier this month, I hope you had a chance to visit LCNV during Reading: A Family Affair, otherwise known as RAFA. You can also read about this fun family event here. LCNV keeps this event free and open to the public through the support of our generous sponsors, which include our headlining sponsor, Verizon, and additional support from TD Bank, Target, Rotary Club of Crystal City-Pentagon, Rotary Club of McLean, Virginia Commerce Bank and WETA Kids, who brought everyone’s favorite furry friend, Clifford the Big Red Dog!

The day would also not have been complete without the generous in-kind support that LCNV received. The generous donations of children’s books from Books for America and the employees of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and USA Weekend Magazine allowed LCNV to give a free book to each child in attendance, to ensure that parents have books to read at home with their children. Many local businesses donated snacks and beverages for the families in attendance and our volunteers to enjoy throughout the day:

These generous monetary and in-kind donations are needed to benefit LCNV’s students not only at Reading: A Family Affair, but throughout the entire year. LCNV has worked hard to make it easy for you to contribute to the success of our students. You can make a financial gift of general operating support at any time through Network for Good. Or, if you prefer to determine exactly how your donated dollars are spent, you can directly purchase items that LCNV’s students need – such as books and other supplies – through Just as with your cash contributions, these donated items are fully tax-deductible. LCNV staff regularly update this list with our program’s most urgent and specific needs. We hope you have fun browsing it!

~ Suzie Eaton, Senior Director of Development


March 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM | Posted in RAFA | Comments Off on RAFA!

Last Saturday, our annual fundraising event took place:   Reading a Family Affair, otherwise known as RAFA.  We had some serious competition with the gorgeous weekend weather.  It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the low 70s.  However, for those of us who did show up, we were treated to marvelous entertainment, delicious goodies, and a free book!

My assignment was to seat people in the theater and to introduce the performers before each show.   “The Great Zucchini”, our first act, was very entertaining for children with age-appropriate magic and comedy.  It was thrilling to see kids hopping on one foot, standing up and dancing, and doing everything that he told them not to do.  “Whatever you do, don’t stand on one foot and hop up and down” gave way to peals of laughter and a bobbing audience.

The next act was an international storyteller, Jeanne Wall, of the Good Life Puppet Theater.  Her stories took place on various continents and were accompanied by authentic vocabulary phrases, colorful props, music, and audience participation.  I was entranced by the stories, and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.  The final act, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, encouraged kids to read during their sing-a-long act.  The kids were singing and clapping along to Cathy and Marcy’s banjo and guitar rhythmus.

There were other talented storytellers performing in the classrooms, and a chance for kids to take home a free book.  I saw children pulling on their parents’ arms and racing to get to the next activity, not wanting to miss a thing.  I loved seeing the younger generation so excited about reading.

For those of you who were able to join us on Saturday, I’m sure you experienced a similar rush of excitement.  For all of you who couldn’t make it, now you know what you missed, and there’s always next year!

~Randi Littman, Director of Operations

RAFA is this Saturday, March 20th!

March 19, 2010 at 8:39 AM | Posted in Development, Donors, RAFA | Comments Off on RAFA is this Saturday, March 20th!

Check out the artists who are performing at this huge event!

Verizon’s See a Book Room

The Great Zucchini’s show is full of magic, comedy, and audience interaction.   The Great Zucchini has been performing his magic act for children all over Washington, including the White House, for 12 years.  He even teaches children their own magic trick that they can perform later for their friends.

Good Life Theater: A husband and wife team with over 30 years of experience teaching and entertaining children.  The duo will use puppets to present Going Buggy, a collection of insect tales from African, Mexican, and Native American cultures.

Cathy and Marcy: These talented musicians, who play over a dozen instruments apiece, will be hosting a sing-a-long for children.

Hear a Book Room

Glenna Ohlms: Miss Glenna’s interactive storytelling is sure to keep children engaged and participating.  Glenna’s programs are always interactive and often include songs, instruments from around the world, “scissor and string stories” and puppets, as well as traditional, original and multicultural tales.

Margaret Chatham: A top-notch story teller, Margaret Chatham brings to life many favorite stories so old that they may be new to many people.  Along with stories of Brer Rabbit or things that go “bump” in the night, her repertoire includes folk sing-along songs and stories told with Russian nesting dolls!

Become a Book Room

H-B Woodlawn Theatre Department: Made up of talented actors from grades 8-12, this group will lead an interactive show in which audience members jump in and play characters in well-known stories.  No memorization is required-the scripts are provided!

The Rainbow Entertainment Company Inter-Active Children’s Theatre: Children who wish to step out of the audience and onto the stage are encouraged to do so in a wide variety of fairy tales, folk tales, legends, and lore.  Once in costume, they find themselves contributing significantly to the production and gain a new perspective on the theatrical experience.

Read and Write a Book Room

In this creative, interactive space, families write their own stories and read books together, as well as enjoy time to relax and take a break.  As a gift to all families in attendance, all children will take one free book home with them!

Click a Book Room

The computer lab will become an interactive playroom where parents and children can explore two exciting children’s reading websites: Verizon’s Thinkfinity and WETA’s PBSKIDS.

Friends of LCNV

Children’s book authors will be present to read books, answer question, and even sign books for children.  Local authors planning on attending include Jacqueline Jules, Debbie Levy, Laura Melmed, Susan Stockdale, and Janet Stoeke.

~Erin Andrews, AmeriCorp Instructor

Celebrating Family Literacy

March 2, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Posted in Announcements, Board, Calendar, Community Partners, Development, Donors, ESOL, Family Learning, News, RAFA, Volunteers | Comments Off on Celebrating Family Literacy

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s mission is to educate adults. Many adults are parents, so it follows that the Family Learning Program is a critical component of our service delivery. Currently, we offer six Family Learning classes throughout Fairfax County, including a brand new class at our new satellite location Connections for Hope in Herndon. Our Family Learning serves parents and their grade school children, ages 2-12. The FLP curriculum focuses on the acquisition of life skills key to the success of low-income, disadvantaged, foreign-born parents. The curricular topics are: Civics, Community and Schools; Finances and Employment; and Health and Nutrition. The parents’ children study similar lesson plans and receive homework help in a separate but nearby classroom. Classes are offered at both morning and evening time slots to accommodate families’ complicated schedules. To volunteer or promote our family learning program to a family in need, please call 703-237-0866 or visit our Family Learning Programs website.

LCNV has declared the month of March as our time to promote our Family Learning Program. Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2nd, as is the celebration of National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, an event promoting reading for kids of all ages. The Literacy Council hosts its own celebration of reading on Saturday, March 20th at our Reading: A Family Affair, where we bring books to life through the performing arts, story telling, songs, and technology. Sponsored by Verizon, and hosted in partnership with the James Lee Community Center, Reading: A Family Affair is a free, family, fun-filled event to promote reading and learning activities. I hope you will come join us on March 20th to experience the energy and enthusiasm that grows from reading and learning as a family. For more information visit the Literacy Council’s website.

~Patti Donnelly, Executive Director

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