The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Helping Local Nonprofits like LCNV

February 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Helping Local Nonprofits like LCNV
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The Catalogue for Philanthropy  helps raise funds for “the best small non-profits,” in the Washington, D.C., area. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is featured for the second time in the Catalogue  (2011 – 2012) as “one of the best small charities in the Washington, D.C., region.”

This past February 5, 2012, the Catalogue for Philanthropy was featured in the Washington Post article “Nonprofit’s giving portal aims to drive more donations to charities.” This article by Vanessa Small,  highlights the Catalogue’s new workplace giving portal, which aims to help generate corporate funds while emphasizing year-round giving. The portal also allows donors to control the allocation of their funds. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is excited about the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s new online-giving portal. We hope it’ll generate more support while helping inform the public about the quality of our much needed services.

Take a moment to read this article. Also, visit the Literacy Council’s page at Catalogue for Philanthropy: LCNV at Catalogue for Philanthropy.

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

LCNV Library Resource Highlight

February 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on LCNV Library Resource Highlight
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Occasionally, students at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia ask about idioms and expressions – What do they mean?  How do I use them correctly?

We use phrasal verbs and collocations so frequently in our daily interactions that we might sometimes forget how strange they must sound to an English language learner.  Can you imagine what a direct translation of “to get on one’s nerves,” “to cut corners,” or even “break the law” must sound like?  With all the nuances in the English language spelling and structure, idioms and expressions add one more layer of confusion for our learners.  We have a great resource in the library to help define these expressions and provide ample practice in using them.

Essential Idioms in English: Phrasal Verbs and Collocations by Robert J. Dixson

From the publisher:

Organized by level for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students, Essential Idioms in English remains the resource of choice for mastering more than 500 common English idioms, phrasal verbs, and collocations. Essential Idioms in English thoroughly defines and illustrates each idiom, then reinforces its meaning and usage with multiple-choice, true-false, fill-in-the-blank, and matching exercises.


• Three new sections on collocations to illustrate the frequency of certain usages.

• An expanded Appendix of Equivalent Idioms that includes Portuguese, French, and Spanish translations.

• Eight-page section on dictionary skills helps students build their knowledge of vocabulary and usage.

Come check out a copy today!  It’s easy to do!  Either stop by our office or call and have the book sent to you through Fairfax County’s Public Library system.

Erin Finn
Director of Classroom Programs
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x113

American Library Association: 2012 Children’s Book Awards

January 30, 2012 at 10:24 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Comments Off on American Library Association: 2012 Children’s Book Awards
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This week the news outlets were all abuzz with Oscar nomination announcements.  However, this is also a big week in the world of children’s book awards as the American Library Association announced its picks for 2012 at their Midwinter Meeting in Dallas.   Here are some of the top awards:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature: “Dead End in Norvelt,” written by Jack Gantos.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children: “A Ball for Daisy,” illustrated and written by Chris Raschka.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults: Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.”

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award: Shane W. Evans, illustrator and author of “Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom,” is the King Illustrator Book winner.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States: “Soldier Bear,” written by Bibi Dumen Tak and translated by Laura Watkinson. “Soldier Bear,” was originally published in Dutch in 2008.

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience: “Diego Rivera: His World and Ours,” written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.

Pura Belpré (Author) Award: “Under the Mesquite,” written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children: “Balloons over Broadway:  The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade,” written by Melissa Sweet.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book: “Tales for Very Picky Eaters,” written and illustrated by Josh Schneider.

All of these titles are new to me, so I look forward to checking some of them out.

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

LCNV has a gift for YOU this holiday season – a 40% state tax credit for donors in Virginia! Make your donation by December 31.

December 20, 2011 at 2:51 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on LCNV has a gift for YOU this holiday season – a 40% state tax credit for donors in Virginia! Make your donation by December 31.
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Maribel came to LCNV because she wanted to get a job, and needed to improve her reading and writing in English. Even though LCNV offers classes and one-to-one tutoring at one of the lowest costs in the region – just $50 – Maribel needed a scholarship. She was then matched with a LCNV-trained volunteer tutor, Philip, and quickly obtained a job as a hospital aide. Now, three years later, Maribel is off and running. She and Philip just ended their match this December, so that Maribel could continue to more intermediate and advanced education with Fairfax County Public Schools Adult and Community Education.

Philip proudly reports: “One of her new tutors [at Fairfax County] is a LPN and teaches nursing, so she is really perfect for taking Maribel to the next level of learning and moving towards her certification as a Lactation Consultant.  Her other tutor is working with her specifically on the NOVA entrance exam.”

This is exactly why LCNV is here: to help members of our community, who have beginning-level literacy and English language skills, reach the next level. Without the support from people like you, Maribel would have been left behind, unable to obtain the skills she needed to enter even the intermediate classes in the public schools’ adult education program.

Two-thirds of LCNV’s learners fall below 150% of the national poverty level ($33,525 for a family of four), and the median household income of learners is $20,000. That is why LCNV is an approved organization under the Virginia Department of Education’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), which only accepts nonprofit organizations that provide education assistance that benefits a majority of learners with incomes at or below 150% of the poverty level.

Under NAP, business and individuals that donate to LCNV may receive tax credits in Virginia equal to 40% of the donation. Individuals or married couples who donate a minimum of $500 in the form of cash or marketable securities (maximum of $50,000) during the tax year will receive a 40% tax credit on their Virginia State Taxes. Businesses that donate a minimum of $1,000 in cash, stock, merchandise, or real estate (maximum of $437,500) during the tax year will also receive a 40% tax credit on their Virginia State Taxes.

LCNV specially applied to be part of this program for the first time, starting on July 1, 2010, as a way to thank its loyal donors. Make your donation online now using our secure processing system or by mailing a check payable to “Literacy Council of Northern Virginia” and this form to 2855 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042. You may also contact me at 703-237-0866 x 109 or for more information.

Suzie Eaton
Senior Director of Development
Literary Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd Falls Church VA 22042
(703) 237-0866

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 | Comments Off on Library Resource Highlight: Vocabulary Teaching Handbook
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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

New Fall Classroom Schedules!

August 8, 2011 at 4:43 PM | Posted in Calendar, Class, Community, Community Partners, ESOL, Family Learning, Media, News, Teaching, Testing, Volunteers | Comments Off on New Fall Classroom Schedules!
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The weather’s starting to change, that means it’s time to get back in the classroom!

I’m happy to report we have confirmed class times and locations with all our classroom community partners and the new schedules are ready for the ESOL Learning Centers and Family Learning Program.  Click the Google Map below to see our classroom locations or where neighboring English Language services are:

Registration will be September 14th through 22nd and we’ll be advertising in the walk-able areas immediately around each class site but we encourage you to help our advertising campaign.  How can you help?  Ask your neighborhood grocer, library, community center or place of worship if you can post a copy of our schedule on their community news or bulletin space.  You can find a link to each schedule here:

FLP Class Schedule_Fall 2011

ESOLC_Master Schedule_Fall 2011

Conversation Classes_Fall 2011

Thank you for all your support!

Erin Finn, Director of Classroom Programs

What’s that Library Thing?

July 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM | Posted in Favorite, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on What’s that Library Thing?
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Just a friendly reminder if you’re seeking library books from the LCNV collection but don’t live within a convenient driving distance, we can still offer books and resources to you!

1.  Library Thing

You can view a listing of everything our library has to offer including tapes and CDs!  Each item is tagged with its call number and a variety of categories that might help you identify other similar resources.  It does not show what books are checked out, but you can call (703-237-0866) or email ( to verify.

2.  Fairfax County Inter-library loan

If you live in FAirfax County, the library system has generously offered to let us send ships from Thomas Jefferson Library to other Fairfax County libraries.  We can send books to you with this system, but you still have to drop them off here at the LCNVoffice for returns.

3. After Hours Drop-box

LCNV’s office hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday when most of the metro area is also busy working or commuting.  However, to make book borrowing easier, you can return or pick up using our drop box outside the office!  Call or email the librarians for instructions!

4. Giveaway materials

Every once and a while, a tutor or teacher cleans out their home libraries and donate to LCNV.  Any redundant material, we leave out for volunteers as a giveaway.  We just got several boxes from a former ESL teacher with great titles like Longman’s Grammar Series Focus on Grammar and Cambridge University’s Clear Speech.  Feel free to stop by and see if there is anything of use for you.

I hope you’ll make use of these wonderful services and give us suggestions of books or services that might inprove our system!

-Katie Beckman, Program Assistant

New Stories of Thanksgiving

November 24, 2010 at 1:50 PM | Posted in Class, Family Learning, Favorite, Lesson Plans, Staff, Teaching, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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Now that Halloween candy and costumes have disappeared from the shelves, ourthoughts turn to the next holiday on the calendar, Thanksgiving. As we plan our holiday meals,decorations, and travel plans, we might also reflect on the many Thanksgiving traditions in ourcommunities and schools. How will we share the diverse stories of Thanksgiving this year?

Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Kathryn Mitter Jacqueline Jules , a local children’s book author, has written awonderful book titled Duck for Turkey Day. She says she was inspired by ESOL students whotold her that on Thanksgiving they ate food from their birth countries rather than the turkey,stuffing and cranberry sauce often associated with the holiday. That reminded her of her ownchildhood, growing up with an immigrant father. “Turkey and pumpkin were American foods that were unfamiliar to my Swiss father,” Jules recalls. “He thought turkey tasted too dry, and we often ate duck on Thanksgiving. This memorymotivated me to write a story about a little girl who is concerned because her family is planninga nontraditional meal for Thanksgiving. Since I had so many students from Vietnam at the time, Idecided to make my main character Vietnamese. My students were thrilled. They gave me advice on names for the characters and other details I used in the story.” “My students at this Fairfax County School came from over sixty different countries. Many of them did not speak English at home. But Thanksgiving is a holiday for Americans of all faithsand births. After all, it recalls the landing of the pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. In many ways, mystudents were pilgrims—people who came to America for religious freedom or to find a betterlife. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the diversity in America and that’s what I set out to do inDuck for Turkey Day.” According to the book’s synopsis, “It’s almost Thanksgiving, and Tuyet is excited about the holiday and the vacation from school. There’s just one problem: her Vietnamese American family is having duck for Thanksgiving dinner — not turkey! Nobody has duck for Thanksgiving– what will her teacher and the other kids think?” The message of this story—that there aremany “right” ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, but they all have family in common—is a fresh, heartwarming take on the Thanksgiving story. Duck for Turkey Day isn’t the only children’s book offering diverse perspectives on the Thanksgiving tradition. Here are a few more to share with family and friends this year:

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

By Chief Jake Swamp, illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr.

Written by a chief of the Mohawk nation and adorned with vibrant acrylic paintings, this story adapts the Iroquois message of thanksgiving for children.



1621, A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill

A great choice for older children (ages 8-12), 1621, A New Look at Thanksgiving was written in collaboration with the living history museum Plimoth Plantation. The book provides the perspectives of both the English colonists and the Wampanoag people and features photos of museum reenactments.

Ankle Soup by Maureen Sullivan, illustrated by Alison Josephs.

Pets enjoy Thanksgiving, too! This delightful picture book gives “a dog’s ankle-high view of Thanksgiving Day in New York City” through the story of Carlos the French Bulldog’s cab ride past the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.


Gracias, The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joe Cowley, illustrated by Joe Cepeda.

Gracias, The Thanksgiving Turkey features colorful oil paintings and tells the story of a Hispanic boy, Miguel, whose father sends him a live turkey to “fatten up” for the holiday. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next!

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