LCNV AmeriCorps teachers volunteer at George Mason University’s Alternative Break Program

December 17, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Community, Teaching | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Recently, LCNV AmeriCorps teachers,  Tristen Mimiaga, Xavier Munoz, and Shani Brown, agreed to voluntarily host a teaching workshop for the Alternative Break Program at George Mason University.  Here is the back-story from new AmeriCorps teacher, Tristen Mimiaga, on how this came to be:

“I was a member of the Alternative Break Program (AB Program) for two years; one year I only served as a member and the following year as a trip leader. The trips within the AB Program are designed and led by students. The theme/focus of the trip vary – not all trips do the same thing. For my trip in particular our focus was, and still is, education. So, I thought of the idea of providing a workshop for them because during both years there was little guidance available on teaching English at the school with whom we were working.  I got in contact with a friend of mine – who happens to be a leader for a trip leaving in January about possibly providing a workshop related to teaching methods/how to teach. So, this is how it came to be.

It ended up being a small workshop with three participants, but they were all very eager to learn and highly engaged.  We spoke about the qualities of good and bad teaching (and how to avoid bad teaching), the importance of modeling, how to use different types of dialogues within the classroom especially with various learning levels, and how catering to different learning styles can motivate students and prevent boredom from the sense of repetition.”

Click here to see more photos from the workshop.

Interested in finding out more, email or call the office at 703-237-0866.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042


Teaching Vocabulary to Low-Level ESOL Learners

January 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

We hope that you found your initial tutor or teacher training workshop to be worthwhile.  We also hope that you view it as only the first step in an ongoing professional development process which will continue throughout your tutoring and that you will take advantage of additional training opportunities, both within and outside of LCNV. These will broaden and further hone your tutoring and teaching skills, enabling you to better serve your student while simultaneously enriching your own volunteer experience. Indeed, volunteers often tell us that they find such subsequent training to be especially valuable  since they are now able to  bring their experiences to bear on what is being presented.

Each year LCNV provides several free in-service training opportunities at the James Lee Community Center. One such workshop is coming up on Saturday, February 9, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. David Red will present “Teaching Vocabulary to Low-Level ESOL Learners” David is the former Coordinator of Fairfax County’s Adult ESOL Program and a former LCNV ESOL trainer. He is currently the Director of Curriculum and Staff Development at the Foreign Service Institute. The workshop will focus on:

  • Emphasizing meaningful communication at low levels of comprehension,

  • Techniques for introducing new vocabulary in a “story” format, and

  • Incorporating the reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in a short lesson.

This in-service is most useful for instructors with students in the ESOL tutoring and classroom programs, but BAL volunteers are, of course, welcome to attend.

To attend this workshop, please register in advance by emailing or calling 703-237-0866.

Elise Bruml
Director of Tutoring Programs
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042

Chef José Andrés Celebrates Literacy with LCNV

April 24, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chef Jose Andrés is featured in Time magazine. Photo by Peter Hapak

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is celebrating its 50th year in a really big way! We’ve planned three events: The Golden Reunion (July 1, 2012); One for the Books (October 3, 2012); and Literacy Means Business (April 2012).

Celebrity Chef José Andrés will be a special guest at our gala event, One for the Books! One for the Books will be hosted at the Masonic Temple in Alexandria. Special guests also include award-winning author David Baldacci, and prominent financier Ric Edelman. Robert Egger, President of D.C. Central Kitchen, will be serving as Master of Ceremonies, highlighting the importance of literacy in all aspects of life.

Recently, Chef Jose Andrés was featured in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the World. In addition to being a phenomenal chef, Andrés is an advocate and fundraiser for D.C. Central Kitchen, whose Fresh Start Catering will be catering One for the Books. Take a moment to read the feature and find out why Andrés is so influential and inspiring.

Mark your Calendars. One for the Books takes place on October 3rd of this year, but LCNV will be hosting its Golden Reunion this July 1st, at the Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale. See old and new LCNV faces. Hear from LCNV volunteers and students, whose stories will inspire you. For more information: 703-237-0866 or

“Lose Yourself in the Service of Others”

January 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Mahatma Gandhi

Join our big family of LCNV Volunteers and get Northern Virginia reading, speaking, and understanding English.

Contact or 703-237-0866 x 111 to attend the next Tutor Training!

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia has hit the ground running this year. We’ve got our ESOL Tutor Training AND Spring Classroom sessions coming up. We need volunteer teachers, class aides, and tutors to help improve the literacy skills of area adults who are eager to learn and become full members of the community.

Our ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) one-on-one Tutoring Program provides individualized, goal-oriented English instruction to LCNV adult learners. We need more volunteer tutors to work with students on a waiting list, who need help with speaking, listening, reading, and writing English.  If you are looking to help somebody individually, as well as have the flexibility of setting your own schedule and volunteering in your own neighborhood, this could be a good fit for you.

Each tutor is trained, matched with a student, and encouraged to meet weekly for an hour and a half at a location convenient to both the volunteer and the learner. The Literacy Council provides intensive tutor training at our Falls Church office prior to starting an assignment (there is a $40 fee to cover the costs of training materials). The next THREE-DAY training will take place in Falls Church on January 21, 28, and February 4 (all Saturdays) at 9:30 am-3:00 pm.  All three days are required.

Our Classroom Programs offer beginning level ESOL classes to adults that focus on helping students improve their English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.  The classes also provide information about American culture and life skills important to the workplace, community, and family.

If you enjoy working with people, learning from others, and are available to give 2-4 hours a week for the next few months, our Classroom Volunteer Opportunities may be a perfect fit! Take a look at the class schedules online: and contact me to sign up!

Absolutely no teaching experience or knowledge of foreign languages is required for any of our volunteer positions!  Contact me to find out more and to get started!

Ruba Marshood Afzal
Director of Volunteers

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
at the James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 111

LCNV Students: Progress in the Making

January 12, 2012 at 2:56 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We in the AmeriCorner have just finished our end of session data entry, meaning that our first semester of teaching is officially over! It was a great semester, and a wonderful learning experience for both students and teachers. I saw four of the students at my class sites receive their graduation certificates; all are planning on registering for the Fairfax County ESOL classes this month. Of course, I am extremely proud of our graduates and students, but I also have to express how impressed I am. Seeing my students work so hard and progress is nothing short of inspiring – regardless of whether this progress was officially measured by a test.

One particular student of mine has left a very special impression on my heart. He recently came to the United States from Guatemala. He arrived at registration barely speaking a word of English, but I worked with him to fill out the form and get him tested. Right away, his enthusiasm for learning English was obvious– he went straight home to get his girlfriend and brought her back to register for class! Every single day he came to class with a smile on his face, ready to learn and with his homework completed, despite working long days doing construction. He also pursued his studies outside of class. He would stay after class to ask questions, and I often saw him peruse the ESOL section of the library. By the end of the semester, we were having full conversations about our favorite songs, movies, TV shows, and things he liked about America! He assured me that he was going to come back to English class during the spring semester! I hope that he, and all my students, return for classes at the end of this month and continue progressing.

Visit English for Speakers of Other Languages Learning Centers, and learn more about LCNV’s classroom program. To view the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s Class Schedules, please visit: Learn – LCNV. If you are interested in teaching or tutoring, please write to

Jessica L Raines
Americorps Member
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22042
703-237-0866 ext. 104

Library Resource Highlight: Vocabulary Teaching Handbook

December 7, 2011 at 2:32 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The scene is familiar.  You are reviewing material from your last class with your student or students.  After spending two full hours last week drilling new vocabulary and using it in as many creative and memory-burning ways you could think of, you mention the words again and all you get are blank faces.  How is it possible that they don’t remember this word?  You were sure they had it by the end of the class meeting.  What happened?

If this has ever happened to you, don’t worry – you aren’t alone!  Thankfully, we have a multitude of wonderful resources in our LCNV library to help you target what the problem might be and great strategies to avoid it happening again in the future.  One of these resources is the Vocabulary Teaching Handbook by Jayme Adelson-Goldstein.  Published in tandem with the Oxford Picture Dictionary series, the Vocabulary Teaching Handbook is a 40 page resource meant for teachers just like you – working with adult ESOL learners.

According to Oxford University Press’ website, the Handbook is:

A self-directed professional development resource which reviews research into vocabulary learning strategies, lesson techniques and activities.”

I highly recommend this resource as a way to get some professional development while at home in your pjs.  Check it out from our library today!

Jayme Adelson-Goldstein
Author of Vocabulary Teaching Handbook
from the Oxford Picture Dictionary Series

Enhancing Student Learning Through Writing Exercises

November 18, 2011 at 1:22 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Saturday November 5, 2011, LCNV hosted an ESOL Writing In-Service, which was presented by Tanya Conover of Prince William County Public Schools Adult Education Program. In addition to providing participants with valuable tools (a binder full of goodies such as research articles, story examples, and lesson plans), Tanya prompted attendees to reflect upon writing as a tool for students to accomplish their goals. Many LCNV learners aspire to obtain a job, a driver’s license, a G.E.D., or American citizenship. All of these goals require writing skills at some level, such as filling out an application or taking a test. Not only is writing a practical skill in today’s world, but it is also a powerful method of conveying life stories. Many LCNV students have stories that they want to share with their teachers and fellow students. Tanya encouraged in-service participants to get students writing by having them write about their most memorable experiences and publishing their stories in a format, such as a class newspaper.

One student’s school story really struck me. Zarghoona wrote:  “I am very sad. I have five children. I can’t read and write to teach my children. When I was little I cried to my mother and father: Why not send me to school? In Afghanistan they killed a girl going to school. She was my friend. One day the plane bombed the school. The car burned. One day I went to school. The Taliban tasered my friend’s face. He came to hit me. I threw my books on the floor. He hit me.”

By sharing her story, Zarghoona practiced valuable writing skills, such as sentence construction and expression of ideas. More importantly, she also shared a very powerful memory that reminds us all about the value of education. Learning should be a very personal and student-centered experience, and writing is an integral part of that.

Jessica Raines
AmeriCorps Instructor
Literary Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd Falls Church VA 22042
(703) 237-0866

LCNV & IBM Partner to Host Basic Computer Skills Workshop

November 11, 2011 at 12:39 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This recent Saturday I embarked on my first volunteer adventure outside of working with LCNV’s classroom programs. I had been excited about the Basic Computer Skills Workshop upon hearing about it months ago. Immediately, I had thought of my mother. She has been eager to use a computer for years, but never knew where or how to begin. I’d been feeling guilty about not having the time to sit down with her and teach her, but  the opportunity presented itself on  November 5, 2011.

The workshop was a fun-filled, energy driven experience, which featured representatives from IBM’s Asian Diversity Group. There were so many helpful hands available that each student had their own personal IBM or LCNV tutor. Even as I struggled with teaching my mother, a daunting task, a very helpful IBM volunteer provided assistance.

Now, I am proud to say that my mom is a citizen of the internet. We set her up with an email and Skype account. I saw that other students were joining Facebook and looking for relatives while others were watching YouTube videos and learning about searches. It was a great experience, and I’m so glad my mom and I were part of it!

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

LCNV ESOL Writing In-Service & Basic Computer Skills Workshop

October 31, 2011 at 4:05 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Class, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On November 5, 2011, the Literacy Council will be hosting an ESOL Writing In-Service, and a Basic Computer Skills Workshop for Students; both opportunities are free.

ESOL Writing In-Service: The PWCS Adult Education ESOL Program has developed curricula for integrating reading and writing instruction with literacy level through advanced students.  Learn about these excellent resources for use in the classroom at all levels. Understand how students’ own writing can be used as authentic text for learning.  Although this curricula was designed for use with ESOL learners, it is also appropriate for students whose first language is English.

Date: November 5, 2011 
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
Contact: or call 703.237.0866

Basic Computer Skills Workshop for Students: Learn how to use a mouse or a keyboard. Find out how to search for information on the internet or use e-mail. Learn how to talk long distance with Skype. Volunteers will be here to help you learn basic computer skills. Your friends and adult family members also can attend the workshop and improve their computer skills.

Date: November 5, 2011
Time: 12:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Location:  Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
Contact: or call 703.237.0866

Come out and take advantage of these free learning opportunities!

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

I am learning how to blog!

August 12, 2011 at 4:51 PM | Posted in Staff | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

Hi, I’m Natalie. I’m the Executive Assistant here at LCNV (I’m the first smile you see at the office or voice you hear onthe phone!)  I’ll be managing the blog this fall. How exciting and new to me. Kerrin, our former New Media Manager, is off into the wide world with the rest of our AmeriCorps and I’m taking over until our new Communications Specialist, Ines can weigh in!  It’s my first blog and its interesting so far. Normally I hear stories from student intakes and the phone, but now  I also have the chance to share mine and the other staff’s experiences with you.  I have learned so much these past months since I started last January.  What I find amazing is the desire for people from all walks of life to learn english or improve their reading, writing speaking, and listening  skills. It takes courage to do this. I can’t wait to hear your comments!

-Natalie Espinoza, Executive Assistant

Next Page »

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.