Hope in the New Year

January 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hope in the New Year

With the start of the New Year and the beginning of spring class registration today, possibility fills the air at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. Every LCNV learner who arrives to sign up for classes brings with them different dreams and aspirations. LCNV learner Hau wrote this 2015 essay sharing his desires for the future. He closes the essay writing that he is “dreaming about a full-time job”. Hau has since become employed full-time, and is continuing to work towards achieving his other dreams!

Help learners like Hau start 2018 on the right foot. Please donate today.

“I hope to get a better job when I have contact with everybody, I hope they understand me. My dream for my future is to retire. I will go to travel once a year to my favorite places. Someday I hope to make a lot of money. I will buy a new house. Since coming to this country I have been dreaming about a full-time job.”


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.”

“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.”

“I’m Glad About Finding the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia – I Found Help!”

November 29, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I’m Glad About Finding the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia – I Found Help!”

LCNV learner Marie had an experience like that of so many other LCNV learners. She struggled with day-to-day tasks due to her lack of English, and would become frustrated that she couldn’t read or write. These difficulties made everyday chores a hassle, and kept Marie from achieving her potential. When Marie enrolled in LCNV’s programs, her confidence grew. She started to engage with others, visit the library, and read for pleasure and knowledge.

Marie’s story is unique, though not uncommon among adult language learners. Each year 1,500 adult learners come to LCNV for help with reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English. Read Marie’s story below, and consider supporting LCNV’s programs for adult English learners here.

“The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia gave me a teacher. Then I had to learn how to read, write, and pronounce different words correctly. When it comes to writing I had to learn the different parts of speech and different kinds of sentences.

I’m learning how to use the library and check out books. The library is a place you can get information on just about anything. I have read some autobiography and some biography. They were mostly about women in the past and the conditions they lived under. In the past I found myself not being able to read and write and express my feelings in writing. These things would get me upset with myself.

Now that my reading has improved it gives me the confidence to take care of my personal business and ask questions. I’m so glad that I found the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and asked for help. This was the most important step that I made to get help.”

LCNV is a Parade Magazine Outstanding Charity

November 24, 2017 at 8:20 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on LCNV is a Parade Magazine Outstanding Charity

We are honored to announce that the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia has been selected as one of Parade magazine’s “Outstanding Charities” for 2017. Thank you for supporting literacy education for adults in Northern Virginia! To read the article, click here.

Families Flourish with Adult Education

November 22, 2017 at 8:41 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Families Flourish with Adult Education

LCNV learner Massuda came to America from Pakistan in 1982 when her children were young. 30 years later she wrote this essay. Her children have grown and achieved great things in the United States, as has Massuda. While learning English can be a significant challenge for those new to the United States, Massuda has now graduated from LCNV’s programs and seen her family grow roots in the community.

In her essay below, Massuda mentions the limited access to education in her home country. Her success and her children’s successes show that in tandem, public education and accessible adult education can help families flourish. As an LCNV learner, Massuda increased her education level, became more involved in community activities, attained a healthier lifestyle, and reached many other personal goals. These key achievements have made Massuda a more involved citizen, able to continue improving her life and the lives of her family members in America. If you would like to help parents like Massuda improve their ability to help their children succeed, support accessible adult education here.

“When we came to the U.S. that was December 15, 1982. I was very happy. My children were young. They’re going to school. I was very joyful. We lived in Pakistan. There was no school. My children were home. Nobody at school. Now all my family finished studying. They have a good life. When they finished high school I had a big party. We were very happy. I have eight children. I had eight parties. My two daughters are working in the laboratory. One of my daughters works in the Pentagon. My son has a business. My young son has a business too.”

Jimmy’s Story

November 15, 2017 at 8:56 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Jimmy’s Story

Although many doors open to language learners when they gain English skills, LCNV’s adult learners aren’t just learning for their own benefit. November is Family Literacy Month, a perfect time to focus on the significance of adult English education for all ages. When adults can read and communicate in English, their children succeed. LCNV learner Jimmy’s 2015 essay exemplifies this perfectly, as he reflects on his new bond with his grandson through reading. Read about his progress below.

“I have hopes and dreams to read to my grandchildren and read out loud in public one day. I have struggled with reading most of my life [but] I am making progress now and I can read short stories to my grandson. In the future I hope to read my birthday card out loud in public and read long storybooks to my grandchildren.”

“My Hopes and Dreams”

November 8, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

LCNV proudly hosts two USCIS Naturalization Ceremonies annually. We are happy to welcome new U.S. citizens and to give our current learners the opportunity to observe the event. For some learners, the ceremony brings back memories of their own experience becoming a citizen, while for others it sparks a desire to pursue citizenship. In his 2015 essay, LCNV learner Maximino writes about his dreams of fatherhood, career advancement, and United States citizenship. Fittingly, Maximino ends his essay with his dream of strengthening his English skills. English literacy is a core component of not only U.S. citizenship, but all of Maximino’s dreams.

“By learning English, I hope to get a better job. My dream for my future is to be a father and to have children. Someday I hope to buy a new car. My dream is to become a citizen of the USA. Another hope I have is to be helpful to people in my community. I want to be a volunteer. Another dream I have is to speak, learn and write English very well.”

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