You’re Invited to LCNV’s Holiday Potluck Party!

December 2, 2011 at 11:58 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on You’re Invited to LCNV’s Holiday Potluck Party!
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It’s only been a week since Thanksgiving and at LCNV we are ready for another party.   This is the Holiday Season, and we want to make sure all of our friends and family have a wonderfully happy holiday season.

Please plan on joining us on Tuesday, December 6th at the James Lee Community Center.
Bring your whole family and a favorite dish to share with 6 – 10 people.

The holidays are a time to recognize and remember the generous people who give so much of  their time, talent, and treasure to support the work of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. This season is also a time to thank the hard-working adult learners who help promote the success of the Council through their own achievements.  In addition to our supporters and students, the Literacy Council is grateful to the James Lee Community Center who provides not only LCNV’s office space, but their big gymnasium for our big party.  LCNV has a lot to celebrate and we would love to have you there celebrating with us.  Please come.

When : Tuesday, December 6, 2011 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Where : James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, VA 22042

Patricia M. Donnelly
Executive Director
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866

September Accomplishments in the Family Learning Program

October 19, 2011 at 12:07 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Class, Family Learning, Teaching, Volunteers | Comments Off on September Accomplishments in the Family Learning Program
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September is back-to-school for staff, teachers, volunteers, and the parents in the Family Learning Program.  As a result, the month is a flurry of training, volunteer placement, book ordering, preparation, and more!  It isn’t until about mid-October when the dust begins to settle for Classroom Programs at LCNV.  September is more or less a whirlwind and here are some of the great accomplishments that made it so busy:  

AmeriCorps Training

September, 6-13th

  • New AmeriCorps members Setara, Raymond, Jessica, and Catherine were trained on numerous aspects of the LCNV Classroom Programs. 
  • All four AmeriCorps members are teaching at least one Family Learning class:     

Classroom Teacher Training

September, 17th

  • Volunteer teachers and aides were trained on some of the fundamentals of teaching English to adult learners.

FLP Registrations

September, 19-22nd        

Family Literacy Training

September, 23rd

  •  AmeriCorps members and children’s teachers participated in PACTs, and learned ways to incorporate children’s books into the classroom.

FLP First Day of Class

September, 27-29th

  • Welcome new FLP volunteers! Barbara Glotfelty, Shameika Ingram, Rebecca Thomas, Bernice Golden, Melissa Hunter, and Prachi Chitnis.

Visit our blog, Literacy Live!

-Carisa Coburn Pineda, Family Learning Specialist

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia

2855 Annandale Road

 Falls Church, VA 22042

(703) 237-0866

It Happened Last Night

October 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, ESOL, Family Learning, Tutoring | 1 Comment
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 My level one class in Lorton has settled down after all the enrollment and registration hullaballoo.  It’s clear to me now who are my regular students and it’s clear to them too.  They’re starting to get to know each other.  After class as I was cleaning up I saw about half of my class standing outside our class site.  They were there the entire twenty minutes I was cleaning.  They were talking, laughing.  Sometimes they spoke English, but mostly Spanish.  But I’m not complaining.  It’s English Only only in the class room.  But outside there’s a community forming.  There are bonds being made. 

 -Raymond K. Chow, Americorps Member

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia

2855 Annandale RoadFalls Chuch,

Virginia 22042



September 16, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Posted in ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on Reflections
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On September 6th four twenty-something-year-olds, myself included, began our year of service as AmeriCorps members at LCNV. This first week has involved completing a bunch of paperwork, learning about the programs and structure of the Literacy Council, and beginning to become familiar with all of the resources that will be available to us as classroom ESOL teachers.  It can be a bit overwhelming thinking about all that we are going to have to do over the next year. I know that I am also nervous about starting teaching – standing in front of a large group of individuals and being responsible for what they are learning is quite intimidating, especially since I have limited teaching experience. There is something that has made this experience less intimidating, and that is the people at LCNV.

Meeting the staff has been the highlight of orientation so far. Everyone who I have met is extremely caring and so obviously passionate about the mission of LCNV that you cannot help but be touched by their dedication and enthusiasm. We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Patricia Donnelly, the lively Executive Director, and something she said really struck me.  She was talking about how, with the recession, possible donors concentrate more on donating to causes that help people meet their basic needs (food, shelter) and organizations that focus on education get passed over because people do not view education as a basic need. But it is the most important and basic need! As the old saying goes, “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” Basic literacy and English language skills are important for making friends, taking care of children and obtaining employment in this country (which lets people provide their own food and shelter). If you give someone the right tools, they can change their lives permanently and for the better.

I think the work that is done through the LCNV is so important and this is the very reason why I joined AmeriCorps.  I want to help people improve their lives in a way that is more permanent than donating food or clothing to a drive (which is definitely a worthwhile endeavor, don’t get me wrong). I want to help people obtain jobs, take better care of their children, or even just successfully navigate a grocery store.  Mostly I want to have a meaningful relationship with students who are just as invested in learning as I am in teaching them, and that is what I am looking forward to this year.

Jessica Raines, AmeriCorps

International Literacy Day

September 8, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on International Literacy Day
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Today the world celebrates International Literacy Day. On this day every year, UNESCO encourages us all to stop to recognize the importance of literacy and adult learning.  This year the focus is on the link between literacy education and peace.  Education develops knowledge, critical thinking, thoughtful questioning, dialogue, recognition of different perspectives.

The Director of UNESCO, General Irinia Bokova, sums it up, “The world urgently needs increased political commitment to literacy backed by adequate resources to scale up effective programs. Today I urge governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to make literacy a policy priority, so that every individual can develop their potential, and actively participate in shaping more sustainable, just and peaceful societies,”[i]

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia thinks about adult education and literacy every day.  We believe that adult education changes lives, strengthens the economy, improves children’s performance in school, and creates a strong community.  Literacy is the ticket to a more sustainable future for families and the economy, and yet Virginia ranks 37th nationally in state expenditure for adult education and literacy. Over 129,000 adults living in Northern Virginia are functionally illiterate.

Please join the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia in our mission to create a more literate community.  Please consider volunteering with the Council to teach an adult how to read, write, speak and understand English. Please consider donating to the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia to support our educational programs that will strengthen the Northern Virginia community.  Please celebrate International Literacy Day with us by checking out our web-site and seeing how you can get involved.

Next week we celebrate National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 12 – September 18). The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is running a campaign to recruit a new volunteer during this week.  This could be you! Please join us.

September is Library Sign-Up Month

September 7, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, ESOL, Family Learning, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Comments Off on September is Library Sign-Up Month
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I really enjoyed the message in Molly Chilton’s post about her reflections on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.  I remember reading it as a teenager and feeling frightened.  This triggered some thoughts about where books are housed and access to books.  This lead me to think about libraries and how valuable they are to our community, whether you are an avid reader since early childhood, an adult getting starting on your reading journey.   These thoughts were rather timely because September is National Library Card Sign-up Month.  As we get ready to go back to school with LCNV’s classes, I especially love the American Library Association’s tag line, “September is Library Card Sign-up Month – a time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all.”  Many of our lead teacher and volunteer teachers are probably starting to think about the upcoming semester; a trip to the library and or signing up for a library card might be a worthwhile class activity.  Our students are often surprised that such a resource is free. Thinking back to Fahrenheit 451, I can honestly say we are lucky to not only live in a community where books are not banned or burned.  Libraries are our partners in providing access to books and literacy to the students we serve; many tutor pairs meet to study in libraries, we hold classes at libraries, they welcome our students by sharing their resources, and they provide information about us to potential students. 

-Carisa Coburn Pineda, Family Learning Program Specialist

Fahrenheit 451 and LCNV

August 26, 2011 at 12:27 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Basic Literacy, ESOL, Family Learning, Staff, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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In honor of Ray Bradbury’s 91st birthday this week I decided to reread Fahrenheit 451.  Rereading this book as an adult, I found myself thinking quite a bit about the work we do at LCNV.  Arguably Bradbury’s best known work, Fahrenheit 451 is an eerie novel set in the near future in a society that outlaws books.  Rather than fight fires, Bradbury’s firemen are charged with finding and destroying outlawed books, and all books are outlawed.  Owners of these books are punished severely.


We can thank our lucky stars that Bradbury’s fictional world does not exist in northern Virginia.  People are free to read what they like in books, magazines, newspapers or on the electronic device du jour.  However, this isn’t the case for many people across the globe.  Around the world women are routinely denied access to education and punished for trying to improve their lives and the lives of their families through education.

Lack of education and illiteracy is a problem in our own back yard as well, as evidenced by the many natural-born citizens who contact the literacy council every day.  Regardless of where someone comes from, LCNV tries to help, because without the skills to read the many texts available to us, we are denying access to knowledge, just as though we were burning books.  Bradbury’s hero comes to the realization that destroying knowledge is a terrible mistake and says, “We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy.  Something’s missing.  I looked around.  The only think I positively knew was gone was the books I’d burned in ten or twelve years.  So I thought books might help.”

Many LCNV students have full, happy lives.  Many have exceptionally complicated lives with some of those complications being caused or exacerbated by their limited literacy skills.  It can be overwhelming to try to help someone who is surrounded by difficulties that seem larger than life.  Giving someone the tools they need to become fully literate provides access to the larger world and all of the services to which people are entitled.  Denying access to literacy marginalizes people and limits opportunities to lead a full, productive and happy life.  But, teach someone to read and there’s no telling what might happen.  I have to agree with Bradbury, “books might help.”

Molly Chilton, Tutoring Program Specialist

Welcome Serife!

May 17, 2011 at 3:14 PM | Posted in Class, ESOL, Family Learning, Staff, Teaching, Volunteers | Comments Off on Welcome Serife!
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Many of you may have read Serife Turkol’s recent post about transitioning from a lead teacher to her new position with the Literacy Council as the ESOL Learning Centers Specialist.  We are very happy to welcome her in her new role.  I would like to thank Serife for over four years of excellent teaching with the Family Learning Program, having served as the lead teacher at Herndon Fortnightly and at a former site, McNair Elementary School.   Not only did she serve as a Family Learning lead teacher and ESOL Learning Centers lead teacher, but she also served as a volunteer trainer, test administrator, and in her first role at LCNV in 2006, as a class aide for a workforce literacy class.  During these years Serife has been beloved by her students and has mentored numerous volunteer teachers.  One of the volunteer teachers Serife has worked with over the past few years is Sanem Cardin who has taken on the role as lead teacher of the Herndon Fortnightly site.

-Carisa Pineda, Family Learning Specialist

An Exciting Transition

May 9, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Posted in Class, ESOL, Family Learning, News, Staff, Teaching | Comments Off on An Exciting Transition
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As Learning Centers started to bring its spring term to a close and Family Learning classes went on a Spring Break, I was getting ready for a new transition in my life. Last week I started my new job at the office as an ESOL Learning Centers Specialist, resigning from my lead teacher position with the Council.

 For me, it has always been hard to say “goodbye” to students at the end of sessions. But generally you know you will be there next time teaching again. This one was the hardest of all: I knew I wouldn’t be teaching four nights a week anymore. As we said our goodbyes, I asked my students to continue taking classes and practicing their English daily, and I promised to do my best to help developing programs that address and meet our students’ needs. I also knew that I will never forget what my students have taught me over these years.  

 As I spent my first week learning about my new job, I had great time among very enthusiastic, energetic and dedicated group of people working together to develop and support best educational programs to serve thousands of adults in the area. I have been very excited and proud to join the staff here at the Council. 

 -Serife Turkol, ESOL Learning Centers Specialist

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