LCNV Spring 2015 Adult English Class Registration Starts Jan. 14

January 13, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Student registration for #LCNV Adult English classes starts Jan. 14 and runs through Jan. 22. Please direct anyone who needs to register for class to our updated Spring 2015 class schedule. http://bit.ly/1dYuer7

The Literacy Council offers two types of classes for adults who want to learn English: ESOL Learning Centers (ESOLC) and the Family Learning Program (FLP).

  • ESOL Learning Centers offer ESOL classes three times a year to students who want to improve their English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Classes teach adults about American culture and life (workplace and finance, health and nutrition, civics and community, etc.).
  • The Family Learning Program provides ESOL classes for parents or caregivers, while their children participate in reading and writing activities, and receive homework help. At least twice a month, the children join the adult class for PACT (Parent and Child Together Time) activities. The class also encourages reading as a family through workshops, book give-a-ways, and fieldtrips.

LCNV also offers a conversation class at the James Lee Community Center. The conversation class is free and provides an opportunity for students to practice their English speaking and listening skills.

Please contact the Literacy Council at (703) 237-0866 for more information.

BECOME A STUDENT
Classes are in the Fall, Spring, and Summer.

  • You must register prior to class.
  • During registration, students pay a $60 registration fee and take an oral placement exam.
  • Partial and full Scholarships are available.
  • You can go to any registration site to sign up for any class.
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LCNV Spring 2014 Adult English Class Registration Starts Jan. 21

January 17, 2014 at 3:13 PM | Posted in Class | Leave a comment
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Student registration for #LCNV Adult English classes  starts Jan. 21 and runs through Jan. 27. Please direct anyone who needs to register for class to our updated Spring 2014 class schedule. http://bit.ly/1dYuer7

The Literacy Council offers two types of classes for adults who want to learn English: ESOL Learning Centers (ESOLC) and the Family Learning Program (FLP).

  • ESOL Learning Centers offer ESOL classes three times a year to students who want to improve their English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Classes teach adults about American culture and life (workplace and finance, health and nutrition, civics and community, etc.).
  • The Family Learning Program provides ESOL classes for parents or caregivers, while their children participate in reading and writing activities, and receive homework help. At least twice a month, the children join the adult class for PACT (Parent and Child Together Time) activities. The class also encourages reading as a family through workshops, book give-a-ways, and fieldtrips.
Some centers offer conversation classes. The conversation classes are free and provide an opportunity for students to practice their English speaking and listening skills. Find a conversation class.

Please contact the Literacy Council at (703) 237-0866 for more information.

BECOME A STUDENT

Classes are in the Fall, Spring, and Summer.
  • You must register prior to class.
  • During registration, students pay a $60 registration fee and take an oral placement exam.
  • Partial and full Scholarships are available.

It’s not too Late to Register for Class!

September 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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DOWNLOAD the Late Registration Flyer

Every LCNV ESOL Learning Centers or Family Learning class turns into its own little community, and every community is like a family.  Lorton Senior Center is one of our healthiest class sites, and I’m certain it’s because of the strong sense of community  among the students.  This past Monday, we had a really great registration, students were lined up outside the door an hour before start time.  Luckily, several of our volunteers arrived a few minutes early to help with forms, testing, and payment.

I believe that sense of community starts with a smile and an inviting gesture to join and share.  One students, who I had taught when I was an AmeriCorps Instructor, arrived at registration with two of her beautiful brown-eyed little boys in tow.  The student’s name is Ceci, and I remember her as the family stone of our class when I taught at Lorton’s former site, Grace Bible Church.  Ceci is an avid smiler, hand-shaker, team-worker, and laugh-sharer.  She constantly stretched her English speaking skills to communicate with classmates from different countries and on many occasions arrived at class with a new student to recruit for classes.

Ceci demonstrates exactly what kind of student our programs work for. Monday was her first time back at class in years, but this is because she took on new opportunities to work, birth a new son, and help her family through some  adjustments.  She still has a complicated life and a limited budget, but we’re still here to help her.  Now, she’s back because she still needs low-level English and LCNV still meets that need.  I know she’ll probably test out of our classes soon and be able to move on to new opportunities, but for now, I’m excited to see her grow and progress and help other students in her class.

You can help us meet the need of other learners and fill all of our other classes, too.  Take a look at our website to share our late-registration information at a grocery store, library, or other community location near you! Late registration will be held at LCNV’s headquarters located in James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042 on Saturday September 29nd  from, 3-6pm.

Katie Beckman
Program Assistant
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 116
kbeckman@lcnv.org
www.lcnv.org

Thank You for Making 50 Years of Success Happen!

August 29, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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See more GOLDEN REUNION pics on LCNV’s Flickr.

* Photos courtesy of Hernan Vargas and Daniel Afzal

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia would like to thank all of the students, volunteers, and supporters who attended LCNV’s Golden Reunion this past Sunday.  Bringing new and old friends together, the Golden Reunion honored the accomplishments of its students and volunteers. The event was truly a success, and included many highlights!

Every year LCNV holds a student essay contest. The Literacy Council received many essays in response to this year’s student essay contest topic: Celebrating Literacy: My Celebrations, Big and Small. Anxiously, LCNV announced the Student Essay Contest Winners which included: Nasr Youssef (1st Place Basic Literacy Tutoring Student Essay); Janice dos Santos (2nd Place Basic Literacy Tutoring Student Essay); Miriam Rosas (1st Place ESOL Tutoring Student Essay); Ann Choi (2nd Place ESOL Tutoring Student Essay); Huiyan Wang (1st Place Classroom Student Essay); and Elsa Ortiz (2nd Place Classroom Student Essay).  We are incredibly proud of all the winners! Many of the winners were surprised to find that LCNV proudly displayed excerpts from their essays throughout the venue. We’d like to once again, congratulate our winners!

The Council also recognized the Bev­erly M. Newport Memorial Fund and the Virginia Literacy Foundation for their exceptional support of our mission. Without the help of organizations such as these, LCNV would not be able to bring much needed services to individuals who need and want to learn how to read, write, speak, and understand English. We are truly thankful to the Bev­erly M. Newport Memorial Fund and the Virginia Literacy Foundation for their continued support.

A special event highlight included LCNV’s “Decades of Success” panel discussion. Moderated by Laurie Hayden, a teacher and tutor, the panel included: Candelario Chavez, Kerrin Epstein, Doris Gone, Maria Henriquez, Sally Jaggar, Bobby Jo Small, and Bob Stump.  Here, students, teachers, and tutors came together to discuss how LCNV has changed their lives; they commented upon the surprises and challenges they faced, as well as the lessons they learned throughout their experience at LCNV.

The Golden Reunion would not have been possible without the help of the Golden Reunion Committee and the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee. The Literacy Council extends a big thank you to the Golden Reunion Committee: Audrey Lipps, Golden Reunion Committee Chair; Doris Addo; Rena Baker ; Fatima El Amrani; Ruth Hansen; Mary Hollingshead ; Sarah (Sally) Jaggar ; Karen Lezny ; Becca Lipps ; Juana Merlo ; Jessica Raines ; Bobby Joe Small; Anne Spear ; Robin Walker ; Ron Wise ; and Michael Wolff. LCNV extends another big thank you to the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee: Jan Auerbach, 50th Anniversary Events Chair; Elsa Angell; Rena Baker; Avis Black; Rebekah Bundang; Mary Hollingshead; Anne Poad; and Jean Sweeney. The Council would also like to thank Delegate Mark Keam  for attending the Golden Reunion, and showing his support.

Once again, the Literacy Council thanks all of the students, volunteers, and supporters who made the Golden Reunion such a successful and memorable event!

Visit LCNV’s Flickr to see more Golden Reunion pics!

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

LCNV’s Golden Reunion is this Sunday!

August 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Please join the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia this Sunday for our

Golden Reunion 

Celebrating 50 years of promoting literacy!

Reconnect with old friends, students, tutors, teachers, and supporters. Hear about the impact the Council has had on the lives of both instructors and learners. Learn how the Council has evolved to support the changing needs of the community. Program begins at 4 PM and will be followed by a reception.

 SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012  │ 4 PM to 7PM

Northern Virginia Community College │ Ernst Community Cultural Center
8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003

Complimentary Program and Reception │ Dress Casual │ Free Parking
RSVP to 703-237-0866 or info@lcnv.org

Visit LCNV’s New Website!

August 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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LCNV’s website is its core communication platform with its students, volunteers, donors, and corporate and community partners. This past fall, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia decided to revamp and redesign its six-year-old website, aiming to improve communi- cations, and reach even more potential students and supporters. This change couldn’t have come at a more pertinent time – LCNV’s 50th Anniversary. Furthermore, this exciting advancement would not have been possible without the Philip L. Graham Fund.

In the spring, the Philip L. Graham Fund generously awarded the Literacy Council with a grant to redesign its old website, as well as to upgrade its 15-year-old phone system .  After nearly six months of working with Balance Interactive, a website development firm, LCNV is happy to announce it launched its new website on July 25, 2012. The new task-based website is user-friendly and easy for any staff member to manage. While promoting LCNV’s mission, this platform aims to raise public support and awareness. In addition, the website will be a resource for the public — a place where current and potential students can find information, and volunteers and Board members have access to resources and educational tools.

The Literacy Council would like to extend a huge thank you to the Philip L. Graham Fund for their continued support. The new website is fabulous and we hope you agree. Please visit www.lcnv.org and let us know what you think at info@lcnv.org.

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

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

Is My Student Dyslexic?

August 1, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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“I think my student has Dyslexia.”  This is one of the most frequently heard comments by new and seasoned tutors alike and deserves some attention to help tutors understand a little bit more about reading difficulties and to clarify the role of the tutor at LCNV.   First, the Literacy Council does not diagnose students with learning disabilities and LCNV tutors should not do so either, regardless of their background outside of their tutoring experience.  Dyslexia is a specific neurological disorder falling into the category of general learning disabilities and the term ‘learning disability’ carries numerous clinical, legal and financial implications that are beyond the scope of the Literacy Council.  A tutor’s role is to meet a student where he or she is in his or her reading and writing, and use the various tools available through the Literacy Council to address specific questions and concerns in order to help a student attain specific literacy-related goals

The term Dyslexia literally means word blindness and it was coined by a German ophthalmologist in the late 19th century.  Today it is generally accepted to refer to a severe impairment in the ability to read, which is generally thought to be due to neurological factors.  Nobody ever knows for certain what causes a person’s difficulty reading and writing, and regardless, reading difficulties are not intractable roadblocks to learning.  Treating difficulties empirically can make a big difference and it is essential that a student’s educational history (i.e. no education in a native language) be considered and kept in the forefront of a tutor’s mind.  Still, many tutors are surprised and frustrated by the types of errors their students make while learning to read and write.  Students may confuse similar-looking letters such as b and d, p and q or u and n.  Students may transpose sequences of letters, reading ‘was’ instead of ‘saw’.  It may seem as if a student is incapable of remembering ‘easy’ sight words such as ‘the’, ‘here’, or ‘of’.  Vowel sounds may seem particularly elusive to the adult learner.  All of these may, in fact, be symptoms of a specific learning disability.  Then again, all of these are almost always behaviors typical of new readers.

A new learner, which characterizes all LCNV students, will make errors and learning to read is no small task.  Below are a few common errors that new readers and writers make, and some tips that can help tutors address them.

  • Keep Errors in Perspective – When students make any word reading errors, note them but try not to worry about them more than necessary.  Reading accurately is important but if a word reading error doesn’t interfere with a student’s comprehension then a student may be making some self-correction internally already.
  • Comprehension Check-Up – We can’t always count on a student’s errors not to interfere with comprehension so it is important to be sure that they understand that they have made an error and to be sure that they can paraphrase or summarize the main points of what they have read.
  • Mnemonics – If a student is having trouble discriminating (visually or auditory) between specific letters and/or sounds, teach some memory tricks such as writing the word ‘bed’ to discriminate between b and d, teaching keywords to help recall the correct sounds, or using pictures to cue the correct sound.
  • Discrimination Activities – Create a stack of index cards with the two sounds that are difficult for your student to distinguish, such as short e and i.  Spend the first five minutes of the lesson reading the words aloud to your student and sorting them into piles.
  • Teach Syllables – Blending individual sounds in words is difficult for almost every beginning reader.  Students need to know individual sounds of words but some people chunk different pieces of information together differently, and for some learners separating words into individual sounds is too many pieces of information to hold in memory at once.  Numerous studies demonstrate that people with reading difficulties have weaker phonemic awareness and phonemic memory than people without reading difficulties.  This means they don’t automatically see or hear similarities and differences between words and sounds so these need to be taught directly; the smaller the unit, the harder it is to discriminate and remember.  Giving a larger chunk or a regularly used analogy can be very helpful.  Be prepared to teach things slowly and be sure to incorporate plenty of practice – a weaker phonemic memory means it is harder for a person with reading difficulties to store phonemic (sound) information so they will need continued, intensive practice.
  • Context – Teach your learner to use context while reading.  Adult learners have many coping skills and context can be a lifeline for such a new reader.  Many new and struggling readers come to see reading as a performance and forget that the goal of reading is understanding text, which requires active engagement with text.  Have your student repeat the word they misread and ask, “Does that make sense?”  Give your student a second chance to reread. It is also helpful if you can record the reader and have him/her listen to his/her own reading.  Students need to learn to monitor their own understanding by continuously asking, “Does that make sense?”
  • Appropriate Reading Level – Any time you notice students making many errors, be sure that the level is appropriate.  If a student is struggling with something, you will often notice that skills you thought were secure are now falling apart in application. This is because the learner is attending to too many things at once.  Try the following: shorten the passage length; give the learner a chance to preview the material before reading; or be sure you are reminding the learner of only one or two things to focus on while they read instead of trying to correct all aspects of reading at once.  If none of these suggestions work, simply find easier material.

The Literacy Council trains volunteers to work with beginning readers and writers.  We define a beginning reader as someone reading below a fifth grade level, or someone who is unable to read and understand an English newspaper independently.  When a student with such limited literacy skills is faced with the task of learning to read, confusion is part of the landscape.  Nobody expects tutors to be reading specialists and the initial training provided to all new tutors should only be considered a jumping off point.  If you are struggling to meet your student’s learning needs, do not suffer in silence – reach out to Placement Advisors, staff, and fellow volunteers.  Each learner presents unique challenges and strengths, and an outside observer can provide surprising insight, advice, and peace of mind.

Molly Chilton
Basic Literacy Tutoring Specialist
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 104
basiclit@lcnv.org
www.lcnv.org

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