“Learning English Makes Me Feel Good”

October 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Between July 2016 and the end of June 2017, 84% of LCNV’s learners achieved two or more of the goals they set for themselves at the start of class. These goals could be personal/intangible, or could include increasing community involvement or advancing in employment, just to name a few. The hard work that these learners do to reach these goals can’t be overstated, and the satisfaction they feel when discussing these achievements is immeasurable. In the words of LCNV learner Reena, “Learning English makes me feel good.” Read her 2017 essay below:

“Learning English makes me feel intelligent. Speaking English is important in every country. Speaking English makes me friendly. Learning English solves my problems everywhere. Learning English makes me feel good.”


Community and Confidence

October 4, 2017 at 8:02 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What does “community” mean? For many, it’s a sense of belonging and comfort; a safe place or group in which one is able to both contribute and receive support. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is a community of learners. New English speakers learn to communicate and express their thoughts. Volunteers and teachers learn new ways of teaching and involving beginning-level adult language learners. Everyone benefits from their connections with and among each other – inspiring new cultural understandings and new friendships. For LCNV learner Liliana, community means having the confidence to participate in class, in church, in the market, and in the workplace. Read her 2017 essay, “Learning Gives Me Power”, below.

“Speaking English gives me the power to communicate and interact with other people such as neighbors and new friends. I can go shopping, to the grocery store, bank, restaurants, pharmacy and church. I can get a job or get a better job. I can participate in the community. I feel better and part of society.

It is good learning English because it is the language of the USA, my new home.

Thanks to my teachers, Valerie and Jody, for teaching me with love every day.”

“Even though it’s hard, I would like to con­tinue”

September 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s new semester is upon us! The start of classes brings new and returning faces to our various class locations, and with them, a range of literacy levels and educational backgrounds. While we often recall the success stories of our many learners who have achieved their goals, advanced their careers, or moved on with their education through literacy, it can be easy to forget the tremendous progress these learners make every day – and the effort it takes to get them there. The desire to learn, improve, and achieve a dream is what drives each learner to show up and speak up in class, to complete their homework, or seek out extra help in our supplemental tutoring program. LCNV learner Isata exemplifies this progress through her story of learning, and the challenges of becoming literate. Read her 2015 essay below:

“My name is Isata. I am from Sierra Le­one. I am a mother of five. It is hard to learn when you have kids. I work at Walmart as a sales asso­ciate. They offered me a position as a supervisor but I can’t take it because I need to read and write more.

By learning English I hope to become a bus driver. I just like to work for the County because I think that the County might pay better and have good benefits. To get this job I need to be able to read and write English.

I would like to thank the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. I remember when I started with the Literacy Council. I could not read or write. Today I can read and write and I would like to continue reading, writing and speaking. I’d like to thank my teacher who helped me to read and write. Even though it’s hard, I would like to con­tinue.”

“I have a job to help my family”

September 20, 2017 at 8:37 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For many people, taking on a new job can be intimidating. There are so many things to get used to: new coworkers, new responsibilities, or a quirky printer. Imagine starting a new job and facing all of these things without having the language to communicate effectively. Many of LCNV’s students enter classes hoping to improve their English to advance in their career, or feel more comfortable speaking English in the workplace. LCNV learner Nora describes the value of learning English for the workplace in her 2015 essay.

“I am from Peru. I lived with my family in the capital Lima. I lived with my husband Juan, my three daughters, Jeanette, Connie, and Angie. I worked for 31 years at a school. I taught elementary school, 1st and 2nd grade.
In 2001 my boss said, ‘thank you, no more job for you.’ I took a vacation with my last daughter to Orlando, Florida. I saw the people that had jobs and I thought, in the United States there would be a job for me. So I came back to the U.S. on June 21st, 2001, for a job. I need work to help my daughters study in school and university. I now work at Lincolnia Academy daycare. I worked there for 14 years. I’m responsible for the baby room. Thank you, God, I have a job to help my family. I love the kids and babies.
I’m in English class because I hope to practice English, to speak very well to communicate to other people. In my job, I have to speak to the parents. I teach and read history to the kids. Thank you, Literacy Council, for the teacher helping me learn English.”


“In America You Have the Opportunity to Change Your Life”

September 13, 2017 at 8:05 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LCNV’s curriculum for English language instruction includes a focus on U.S. civics and culture – the opportunities, procedures, and duties of Americans. With learners from 95 different countries, LCNV’s classes touch upon different aspects of life in the U.S. Some learners are first exposed to an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as U.S. residents or citizens in the LCNV classroom.

In 2014, LCNV asked learners to write essays based around the theme “See America Through My Eyes”. Students had spent part of their semester learning what it means to be American, and now had the opportunity to share their experience of America with the world. LCNV learner Tigist writes about her perspective on America, and the opportunity and culture that she holds dear.

“What I want Americans to know about my life is that I am from eastern Africa. Ethiopia is the poorest country in the world. In Ethiopia we don’t have a lot of opportunity. In America there is a lot of opportunity that you will get. In my opinion, I see that in America you have opportunity to change your life. A day in my life in America, I feel so safe. I have freedom and there is peace and democracy. In this case I feel so blessed. My experience in America is everybody is equal, nobody is better than anybody, and democracy. In America you can speak whatever you want. You have freedom to speak or to write your feelings.”

“We Help Each Other”

September 6, 2017 at 10:19 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LCNV’s classes are filled with learners and volunteers of all backgrounds, professions, and interests. With all this diversity, one quality is constant: support. Each person supports the work of others in their class. When a learner is struggling at the whiteboard to write a sentence, other learners provide hints about the correct words. If a learner is tackling a difficult concept, they can get extra help in a small group before or after class. This willingness to help each other and work together to achieve success rings true to LCNV’s core value of collaboration, celebrated by everyone, from our Board of Directors to our students.

“I need the help of others and they are helping me,” writes LCNV learner Nonna. Her 2010 essay highlights the importance of collaboration, and the good things that happen when people work together.

“How do we help each other? When people are working they are already helping others. Some build houses, others live in them. Some work at the factory where they make clothing and shoes, others wear them. People cannot live without each other. They help others after work or when they do not work.

I think that I help others as best as I can. I can tell you how often others helped me. When I got sick, my husband, my children, and my co-workers helped me so that I would get better. The doctors helped me get better. When my husband passed away, I had help from my husband’s co-workers, my children, and from my friends. And when I was alone, my daughter asked me to come live with her so that I can feel better.

Now my children and my grandchildren are helping me. I look at my grandchildren and see that they are happy and I am happy with them. They help me in my life. My children live in the U.S.A. and I live here too. I need to speak English. My teacher, Dianne, is helping me with my English. She is a volunteer. I thank her for caring about me. My neighbors speak with me sometimes. And by this they are helping me. I need the help of others and they are helping me.”

“By Learning English I Have a Dream”

August 30, 2017 at 9:55 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Learning English opens the door to daily conveniences and great aspirations. Many of LCNV’s learners begin classes with a dream of getting a job, becoming entrepreneurs, or participating in politics. Others enter our programs hoping to make day-to-day tasks easier – they dream of riding the bus, going to the doctor, or grocery shopping. These dreams, large and small, are not mutually exclusive. The business owner working towards their goals needs to be able to fill out tax forms in English, and the student learning to order food in English may be inspired to open their own restaurant. LCNV strives to empower English language learners to fulfill their potential and realize their dreams. LCNV learner Xiang’s 2017 essay Learning English Gives Me Power explores the power of English – the importance of every day communication, and how, by learning English, students can change the course of their lives.

“By learning English I can call about health insurance. I can talk to my neighbors. I can go to a restaurant and order food. I can go to auto service and ask questions. Learning English makes me feel better than before. I understand more when American people speak.
By learning English I have a dream. I want to open a different and interesting store. The store will be about Chinese tea: how to make and how to do, the different water and different temperatures, and different teas. [It is all] very interesting.”

“I Hope to Complete College for Art”

August 23, 2017 at 9:24 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As the end of August nears, schools and colleges throughout the country open their doors to a new school year. Here at LCNV, our new semester begins too! Literacy classes at LCNV help beginning-level adult learners reach their educational goals, in learning English and beyond. Many of our learners arrive with very little, if any, formal education. When they graduate from LCNV’s programs, they are lifelong learners eager to continue improving their education and opportunities. Read current LCNV learner Sayeda’s essay from 2015, in which she describes her goals for the future:

“By learning English, I hope to complete college for art or handmade like drawing or crochet and I want to get a job for government.” – Sayeda, LCNV Learner

“My Dream for My Future”

August 16, 2017 at 8:38 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IMG_5208As we gear up for our new school year here at LCNV, it’s important to consider the many different reasons that our learners want to improve their English. So many of our learners study English to support their family, get a new job, or advance their education. One LCNV learner, Margoth, encapsulates her desires perfectly in her 2015 essay, “My Hopes and Dreams.” Read it below and consider what you can do to help more learners like Margoth make steps towards achieving their hopes and dreams!

  1. “My hope is learning English and can talk with other people, not to feel shy or embarrassed.
  2. My dream for my future is: To get my own business. I would like to get the license of the state of VA for childcare and to be a realtor.
  3. Someday I hope to: Travel to my country to see and hug my mom, my sister and my brothers.
  4. My dream is to have a better future for my son and my husband and to help my family in my country, Bolivia.” – Margoth, LCNV Learner

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

August 9, 2017 at 10:11 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy National Book Lovers Day! Here at LCNV, all of us care deeply about books. Our LCNV library is filled with great books for our learners, and there is nothing more exciting than seeing a learner connect with English through the power of written word.

In honor of the occasion, read LCNV learner Tyler’s essay from 2017’s Learning Gives Me Power essay book. His words illustrate the power of books, and how his life – and his community – has changed through English literacy:

“After I learned to read, I enjoyed reading library books and magazines. By reading magazines, I learned about how to fix up an old home.

Learning to read helped me to understand the community. It helped me to understand the homeless. The church asked my Sunday school class to help build some walls at the place where they were building apartments for the homeless.” – Tyler, LCNV Learner

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