From the LCNV Library: Easy English News

August 6, 2013 at 2:42 PM | Posted in Basic Literacy, Tutoring | Leave a comment
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Easy English News is a monthly newspaper written in simple English and controlled vocabulary for high-beginner and intermediate readers, with special features designed for English language learners who are newcomers to the U.S.

Each issue features…
•    News stories of special interest to newcomers
•    Articles about American events and holidays
•    Civics and citizenship information
•    True stories written by readers
•    Consumer information
•    Health and safety tips
•    “Life in the U.S.A.”
•    A crossword puzzle with answers in the same issue
…and more!

A recent Easy English News issue included national news, articles on summer safety around
water, popular events and national holidays in the summer months, healthy tea drinks, the birth of the United States, a national park feature, and features to help build language skills.

LCNV Volunteer Tutors only:  Check out the latest issues from the LCNV Library for two weeks at a time; earlier issues can be checked out for the standard two-month loan period.

The LCNV Library is open during the Council’s regular office hours Mon. – Fr., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Returns can be made during office hours or after hours to the After-Hours Book Return located just outside the Council’s entrance door inside the James Lee Community Center (open Mon. – Sat., 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., except holidays). Renewals can be made in person, by email (library@lcnv.or) or by phone (703-237-0866).  Questions? Contact library volunteers at the email address above.

Reminder: Do you have LCNV library books that are due? Please return or renew!

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Setara Habib: My AmeriCorps Year

August 10, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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I can’t believe today is my last day of my service year here at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. Overall, I have had much success and feel I have gained much from this experience. I have gained confidence in myself as a teacher and pride in the work I have done. I would really once again like to thank EVERYONE at the Literacy Council for being wonderful people and doing good work. I feel lucky to have been able to work with this organization for a year. As I move forward in my life, or rather South to Richmond, I can take with me all my new skills and experiences and the knowledge that I have spent one year of my life devoted to helping others. Teaching adult ESOL was such a rewarding experience. I can only hope that I find something equally as rewarding in the future. or maybe I’ll just come back some day.

Setara Habib
Americorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, Va 22042
(703)237-0866 ext 112
www.LCNV.org

Raymond Chow: Thoughts and Thanks.

August 7, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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I am grateful to AmeriCorps and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia for my exciting and rewarding year as an ESL teacher.  I have nothing but admiration and respect for the dedication and hard work of both the Literacy Council’s staff, volunteers, and students.  I have grown as an educator and as a member of my community through the work I’ve done here.

At the class graduations this summer I told my students that they were my family.  Specifically they were all my parents, only 40 years removed.  They came to America for the same reasons, the same aspirations – something better for themselves and for their children.  My parents were able to own their own house, their own small business, and put two children through college.  And I told them this not to brag about my parents’ successes but to confirm theirs.   All those great Frank Capra American dreams are possible.  I am proud of every one of my students.  I only hope they continue to gain knowledge and confidence as they continue to better themselves.

But if they are my parents then I am their son.  And in that I have to reflect on the question of whether I have been a good one.  I can only say that AmeriCorps has been a reaffirmation that I’m trying.  I want to help others.  I want to do good and take advantage of all the gifts I’ve been given so that I can give back to others.  To that end, when I take my leave of LCNV I will be going back to law school to become a better advocate (in some fashion) of this community.

Everyone at the Literacy Council has been both dedicated and kind.  Although I will not be able to teach in the coming year I have every intention of helping LCNV in its mission.  I sincerely thank the Literacy Council for helping me be a better person.

Raymond K. Chow
Americorps Member
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Chuch, Virginia 22042
(703)237-0866 ext. 118
www.lcnv.org

Jessica Raines: My AmeriCorps Year

July 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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I came to the Literacy Council with practically no teaching experience. My background is in psychology and political science, but I wanted to try something new. I did not really know what to expect from this upcoming year of teaching, but I knew it would be hard and rewarding.

The first semester, my fellow AmeriCorps members and I hit the ground running. I had to learn to teach through trial and error. Quickly, I discovered that teaching is not an easy task. Often, there are so many available resources that you can feel like you are drowning in textbooks, websites, and advice. Plus, actually being responsible for someone else’s learning felt incredibly overwhelming. Part of me expected teaching to come naturally, but I found myself spending substantial amounts of time lesson planning and feeling incredibly nervous before each class.

Teaching is an art AND science; skill and practice are required if you want to hone your craft. As time went on, I became more comfortable with it.  I took advantage of trainings, sifted through resources and articles, and practiced five times a week in front of my own class. Eventually, lesson planning and teaching became easier.  I also stopped stressing about being responsible for someone’s education and focused on enjoying my time with my students; as the saying goes “showing up is half the battle.” Students are ecstatic that someone is willing to take time out of her day to show up to class with a smile on her face and talk to them. I really enjoyed conversing with my students, even though it was extremely difficult at times given their limited language skills. While working with my students to accomplish their goals,  I learned about their lives and cultures, and this was incredibly rewarding – more rewarding than words can express.

Jessica Raines
AmeriCorps Member
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 104
www.lcnv.org

My First Tutoring Session

May 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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By. Lisbeth Goldberg

There was an announcement by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia regarding their next volunteer tutor training for ESOL; it’s a structured training program on three consecutive Saturdays, and they assign you a specific student.

I immediately phoned and signed up because I’d been wasting my Saturdays, and I always liked training classes. The three Saturdays were really excellent, with about 35 people in the class. I was assigned an Ethiopian lady who’d completed eight years of school in her home country. She knew a few English words and some of the letters, but couldn’t write her name in English and could not converse in English.

Yesterday, at 4:00 pm, I met with my student, and two of her daughters at an Alexandria Branch Library. The eldest daughter is a college student. Her sister is a senior in high school, and there is another sister who is a junior in high school. The girls were delightful, with an easy laugh. Mom had a solemn face, and she just looked down and sighed. The girls were doing all the talking.

The Literacy Council sends you off to your first meeting well prepared.  There are three flyers on a) what to do in your first session; b ) needs assessment and goal setting, and c) a form to be signed by the student, an agreement to study and practice. The eldest daughter read the student agreement to her mom. When they got to the sentence, “Promise to do my homework,” the girls started giggling and laughing at the idea of Mother doing homework.  When the daughters got to the statement, “If the student doesn’t do her homework, the teacher might not teach her anymore,” they couldn’t stop laughing. Mom remained rather somber, sighing, and with no eye contact.

Then we began the lesson introducing ourselves by name. I asked the student how I should pronounce her name, and practiced it several times. She listened and practiced pronouncing my name. We did lots of repeats. Needless to say, Amharic and English have very different sounds to some letters and vowels. When Mom got it right, I gave a big smile and clapped my hands — very good. She clapped back and looked me in the eye, even smiled.  I had explained to her, she may be a beginning student, but I was certainly a beginning teacher.

I was about to give her a homework assignment, to practice copying her name in English and then write it next class, but she was a step ahead of me. [She] told her daughter to tell me she would practice for next class, and proudly said my name with a big smile.

After the first meeting, the class is one-on-one. But the eldest daughter said that her mom really needed help, so the three daughters will rotate accompanying Mom to class. I’m extra lucky. I have these beautiful, enthusiastic daughters to work with me and to help their Mother learn English. They each thanked me with a handshake, a smile, and a bow on their way out.

I was on a high; it was the best of times!

Please consider becoming a Volunteer Tutor like Lisbeth. Visit Tutoring or email volunteers@lcnv.org. 

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

“At 98, Once-Illiterate Lobsterman Is Now An Author”

April 2, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia considers “At 98, Once-Illiterate Lobsterman Is Now An Author,” a must read! Friends at the Ionia County Literacy Council recently shared the article, which was published by the Associated Press at the Hartford Courant.

The article “At 98, Once-Illiterate Lobsterman Is Now An Author,” charters the life of James Arruda Henry, a lobster boat captain who learned how to read in his late 90s. Henry found inspiration in “Life is So Good,” by George Dawson, a slave’s grandson who learned to read at 98 years old. Driven by Dawson’s narrative and supported by his family, Henry labored over words until he could compose whole essays. Now, Henry’s essays have been compiled in the book “In a Fisherman’s Language: An Autobiography,” available as a Kindle Edition.

An excerpt of article written on James Arruda Henry follows:

Henry said he was taken out of school around the third grade to go to work making concrete blocks, baking bread and doing other jobs. He recalls getting a dollar from his father on the Fourth of July.

“I was so happy that I went straight to the ice cream parlor,” he writes in his book. “I got a glass of milk, a piece of apple pie, a dish of ice cream. After I finished eating I had just enough money to buy a small pack of firecrackers. I lit one and they all went off!!”

His granddaughter had read him an excerpt of the book, “Life is So Good” by George Dawson.

“I said if he can do it, I can do it,” Henry said. “That’s when I started to learn…”

Take a moment to read the article “At 98, Once-Illiterate Lobsterman Is Now An Author.”

Consider reading James Arruda Henry’s collection of autobiographical essays:In A Fisherman’s Language: An Autobiography.”

Lastly, consider reading the story that motivated Henry to learn how to read and write at 98:Life is So Good,” by George Dawson.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

NOW THIS! – An On the Spot Performance at RAFA

March 8, 2012 at 3:03 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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NOW THIS! at Reading: A Family Affair

Come and check out NOW THIS! at Reading: A Family Affair. On March 24, 2012 NOW THIS! promises to surprise, awe, and make you laugh with their totally improvised skits!

For over 20 years, NOW THIS! has been delighting audiences of all ages and interests with improvised spoofs of every style, ranging from opera to folk ballads, Shakespeare to Soaps. Every scene, melody, and lyric has been created, on the spot, from audience suggestion. In their interactive musical shows for kids, the NOW THIS! professional cast takes the audience’s ideas and instantly turns them into songs, comic sketches, and musical fairy tales.

The Washington Post states: “ If you can imagine it, NOW THIS! can sing about it.” NOW THIS! has been featured at the following distinguished venues: the Marquee Lounge; Smithsonian; the Kennedy Center; Palm Springs Convention Center; and the Grand Casino Hotel in Biloxi. The diverse troupe of actors/singers/writers has won the DC chapter of the International Special Event Society’s ISES Award for Best Entertainment twice, and the Esprit, the international version of that award.

Come and interact with the NOW THIS! crew. This band of performers will be showcasing their skills at Reading: A Family Affair in the Become a Book room; catch their show at 12:15 PM or 1:00 PM.  Bring your ideas and imaginations for NOW THIS! and get ready for one hilarious ride.

Download the Reading: A Family Affair poster. Spread the word about RAFA.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

The Berenstain Legacy

March 7, 2012 at 1:03 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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(Mel Evans/AP) *Picture Appeared in The Washington Post

The world of children’s literature lost a familiar friend with the passing of Jan Berenstain at age 88 this past February 24, 2012.  Jan Berenstain created the series The Berenstain Bears with her husband, Stan Berenstain, who passed away in 2005.  The duo authored and illustrated hundreds of books for the series which features a humanlike bear family who experiences the day-to-day joys and challenges of everyday life.  After her husband’s passing, Jan’s son collaborated with her to continue writing for the series.  The family also wrote a number of parenting books.

Children and parents have avidly supported the Berenstain series for fifty years.  The Berenstains credited their first editor, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) with guiding them to success.  As with any series, especially such a prolific one, some titles are more popular than others.  Most of the stories have teachable moments for both children and parents which strike chords with families.  Many of the books have included topics relevant to families with young children such as sibling rivalry, manners, good habits, and  much more.  In my opinion, the more successful of the storylines show scenarios that families recognize and are peppered with humor, particularly at the expense of Papa Bear.  Some titles, as is often the case with stories with a moral to them, can sound a bit didactic.  But overall, the familiar illustrations and characters warm the hearts of the child in all of us, young or old.

The Berenstain Bears have been no stranger to LCNV’s Family Learning Program.  Some class sites have used the book The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense during the Finance and Employment session.  We also have a partnership WETA’s Ready to Learn which presents a workshop for parents on responsible TV viewing and literacy.  During one of these presentations a clip from an TV adaptation of The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food was shown. Two students who were from the same state in Mexico were delighted because they remembered watching the show as children in Mexico.  They were also surprised to discover that The Berenstain Bears were not Mexican.  I believe this says a great deal about their universal appeal.

The Berenstain Bears have a website which also includes a memorial to Jan https://www.berenstainbears.com/parents/index.htm

Carisa Coburn Pineda
Family Learning Specialist
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

Zurii Conroy Weaves a Tale at Reading: A Family Affair

March 5, 2012 at 11:04 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Zurii Conroy will Perform at Reading: A Family Affair

Zurii Conroy will weave an intricate tale on March 24, 2012, at Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA); the event will be held at the James Lee Community Center. Zurii began her journey into storytelling when she was in the third grade.  Exposure to this oral tradition, coupled with encouragement from teachers, peers, and family, enabled Zurii to realize that she possessed a talent, one that needed to be shared. In the sixth grade, she began storytelling professionally under the name “Princess Zurii.”

Zurii shares:  “Being one of the few young professional storytellers, I am able to develop a connection with youth in a way that helps them to view storytelling in a modern light.  I think that since younger audiences can identify with me, they can envision storytelling as something that they can do, and make it their own. This is especially evident when I share my tale of how I became a storyteller. My family and teachers ensured my exposure to and success with literacy. I enjoy opportunities to do the same with others.”

A proponent of literacy, Zurii has brought the gift of storytelling to people of all ages, performing 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.

At Reading: A Family Affair, Zurii Conroy will perform in the Hear a Book Room at 11:30 AM and 12:15 PM.  Come out this March 24, 2012, and celebrate literacy with Zurii Conroy who’ll convince you – You are a storyteller too!

Download the Reading: A Family Affair poster. Spread the word about RAFA.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

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