A Good Match

April 6, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Posted in Student Stories, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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Student Laura and tutor Paula

Student Laura and tutor Paula

The first thing I notice about Laura every week is her sparkling eyes and infectious smile. No matter what challenges she has faced since our last meeting, Laura never misses a tutoring lesson. I think of our time together – mostly in the small meeting room at Westover Library in Arlington – as her “clean, well-lighted place,” a place where Laura can sit down, open up her Laubach book and focus on the week’s lesson.

Since we began meeting in 2012, first at a Falls Church library that is temporarily closed for renovation, I have seen Laura gain confidence in herself and an improvement in her reading level. She is currently looking for a second part-time job. The main challenges in finding one are her current job schedule at a major grocery chain and the time she spends caring for her aging father. However, no matter what trials come her way, Laura never gives up. It is a joy to know her and see her every week. Not only is she an eager student, Laura has become my friend.

Written by Paula Cruickshank, LCNV Tutor

For Instructors: Learning English with Technology In-service

January 17, 2014 at 4:30 PM | Posted in Training, Tutoring, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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IMG_5373Do you have questions about using technology with students?  People say you can find anything and everything on the internet, but where do you start? If you feel overwhelmed, take some tips from LCNV instructors, Laurie Hayden and Alexandra Roncal. They will guide you through over a dozen websites and apps to help your students practice English skills. Using free or free versions of resources, they will cover grammar, oral reading, reading comprehension, speaking/pronunciation, and listening skills. Volunteers with basic working knowledge of computers and internet browsing are invited to bring laptops, tablets, or smartphones to practice exploring and bookmarking/downloading these exciting resources.

To whet your appetite and see an example of the fun ways to practice English with your student, check out duolingo.com! This is free!

James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22042

Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 6:30-8:30PM

Tell us if you are coming and if you are bringing a electronic device!

To register contact info@lcnv.org or call 703.237.0866 by January 24, 2014.

Katie Beckman-Gotrich, Programs and Training Administrator
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042

New Year, New Citizens: Helping Adult Learners Achieve

January 16, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Posted in Student Stories, Tutoring, Uncategorized | Comments Off on New Year, New Citizens: Helping Adult Learners Achieve
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Candelario Chavez _Bob Stump

(l to r) Candelario Chavez, student, and Bob Stump, tutor

The Literacy Council is pleased to report that last year thirty students passed the citizenship exam and/or were sworn in as citizens last year. Each naturalized student undoubtedly came away from the ceremony with his or her own memories of the most meaningful part.  For Candelario Chavez, this moment occurred at the end of the ceremony when the song “Proud to Be an American” was played. “It’s a beautiful song, and I never heard it before,” recalled Candelario.  “It stabbed my heart.” Given the amount of material to master, preparing for the citizenship test can be an arduous process for those students who began their tutoring with limited oral English and/or no reading and writing skills.  “It’s  hard work to learn all that,” Bob Stump, Candelario’s tutor reported.  “The tutor has to be very patient, and the student has to work hard.” Our naturalized students generally believe that the rewards  of having become citizens more than compensate for all the effort involved in becoming one.   For Seetha  Perumal, Brenda Franks’s student, becoming a US citizen fulfilled a dream.  “This 4th of July she waved her naturalization ceremony flag and celebrated her first Independence Day,” Brenda reports.  Candelario feels that he now receives more respect from people with whom he comes in contact.  “People give immigrants (who are not citizens) a hard time,” he said.  He is especially looking forward to voting in the next election, as is Maha Emara, Kate Radkowski’s learner. Mickey Sweeney shares that her student, Salwa Sherwany, is “happy and thrilled,” having obtained the goal of citizenship. “It will make life easier for her, especially arranging her trips to Kurdistan to visit family,” Mickey says. She adds “And, being the positive person she is, I think she will be a wonderful US citizen.”

Passing the test can radically change individuals’ sense of themselves.  This was recently the case for one of our tutoring students who had extremely low self esteem because he had been told all his life that he was not smart enough to learn anything.  When he passed the test with no trouble, his confidence and feelings of self-worth soared. Tutors’ admiration for their students’ citizenship achievements shine through their reports. “Faraidoon is a very basic literacy student,” Ed Faggen wrote.  “He exhibited a remarkable memory…He worked diligently, learning to recognize the words for reading and how to write the needed vocabulary…I am very proud of him.” Tutors are often surprised to find how deeply the experience of helping their students achieve this milestone has affected them.  As Kate Radkowski wrote, “After Maha passed her citizenship test, it really allowed me to see the power of an individual helping someone else achieve something so important.”

Interested in helping an adult learner, visit the events page to register for the next tutor training workshop.

Reprint/revision of original article by Elise Bruml, former Director of Tutoring
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042

Tutor Tip: Navigating the Road to Student Success

December 20, 2013 at 6:08 PM | Posted in Basic Literacy, Tutoring | Comments Off on Tutor Tip: Navigating the Road to Student Success
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How much can students progress in the tutoring program?  The answer may lie in what they do at home.

Earlier this month, LCNV offered a three-hour training for a few new volunteers to join our corps of assessment specialists in the literacy program. These individuals perform an important activity for the program—the periodic testing of students to benchmark their progress. The goal is to assess students after every 40 hours of instruction on measures of word recognition and reading comprehension.

So many factors influence the amount a student learns in 40 tutoring hours, but we are convinced that practicing skills during the week is one of them. Adult learners understand the importance of learning to read, but they may believe that tutoring sessions in and of themselves will enable them to meet their goals.  This is not always the case.  The most successful learners routinely practice their skills on their own and complete homework during the week.  Some carve out time at home, others make creative use of minutes spent on public transportation. Tutors who create manageable assignments and convey the importance of doing them can help students join their ranks. 

Practical Application. One assignment that fits neatly into a ten minute time slot consists of studying new sight words and reviewing those already learned. Sight words are those words the learner memorizes so that they can be recognized instantly. Prominent among them are common phonetically irregular words such as the word said. A learner must recognize a word instantly on sight five to ten times for it to be considered a sight word.

The learner (or tutor) prints each prospective sight word on a separate index card, and prepares the reverse side with an illustrative picture and sentence using the word. The learner practices reading a word, using it in a sentence, and then reading the word again. The back of the card serves as both a prompt and a means of checking accuracy.  This technique is modeled by the tutor and practiced until the learner is able to replicate it independently. Tristen Mimiaga, one of our AmeriCorps volunteers, suggests hole-punching small index cards and stringing them together on a metal ring.  “It makes them more portable and easier to pull out of a coat pocket when the student has time,” he said.

It is reasonable to begin by assigning two new words a week as homework and to increase the number of words only when the student shows the capacity to easily master more. To learn more about teaching sight words, view a short video by ProliteracyMedia at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJiIWhqVHgQ.

One way to increase motivation and jump start the homework habit involves having learners set skill-specific goals (such as the number of new sight words they want to learn in a given period of time) and then participate in tracking their own progress via a check list or graph. To learn more about increasing motivation in English language learners, read an article by Donna Moss and Lauren Ross-Feldman at following link: http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/sla.html

Do you have difficulty getting your student to practice skills between lessons? What ideas do you have for motivating students to do homework or creating assignments that can fit into tight schedules?  I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment on this post.

Carole Vinograd Bausell, Ed.D. is an English language and literacy specialist with LCNV.

Carole Holiday Spirit

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

Don’t Miss Volunteer Networking Night!

November 2, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Posted in Volunteers | Comments Off on Don’t Miss Volunteer Networking Night!
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The Literacy Council supports its volunteers with events at the main office. Now,  LCNV would like to try this at a local level and foster volunteer communities.  Come to the Volunteer Networking Night! This event in Alexandria is our pilot attempt to do this. We hope you’ll come and share your experiences, challenges, and successes as a teacher, tutor, or class aide with the Council.

When: Nov. 5, 6:30-8:30 PM
Where: Charles Beatley Library, 5005 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22304

Hope to see you this Monday!

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

Thank You for Making One for the Books a Success!

October 5, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on Thank You for Making One for the Books a Success!
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On October 3, the Northern Virginia community came together to honor LCNV’s 50th year of providing much needed literacy services. The evening was filled with a festive and energizing spirit. LCNV held a raffle  for a week-long stay in St. John, which raised nearly $10,000 to help our students. Steve Beggs was the lucky winner!  Attendees also had the unique opportunity to hear from a LCNV student, Fatima, and learn how literacy has changed her and her children’s lives.

The Literacy Council extends a big thank you to Robert Egger who served as Master of Ceremonies, and José Andrés, David Baldacci, and Ric Edelman for sharing how  literacy has impacted their lives. State Senator Barbara Favola presented a proclamation to LCNV, and Congressman Jim Moran and Delegate Mark Keam shared their support.

Highlighting the partnership between LCNV and Wish You Well Foundation, Baldacci stated: “I would urge all of you to do as much as you can. Quite frankly, there could be no higher purpose in the nation.”

During the event, LCNV announced that an anonymous donor challenged the Council this year to raise gifts from new donors, as well as increased gifts from existing donors. The challenge will match these gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000. Andrés was the first to answer this call for support by making the first contribution to LCNV’s challenge grant. Will you join him in helping LCNV meet this challenge?   

Lastly, thank you to the following individuals who were instrumental in making this event a huge success: Mark Troppe, One for the Books Chair; Jan Auerbach; Avis Black; Cathleen Donnelly; Sally Jaggar; Misty Jones; Sarah Kenney; and Robin Walker.

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

Robert Egger – Oprah Angel – Lends LCNV a Hand

September 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on Robert Egger – Oprah Angel – Lends LCNV a Hand
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On October 3, 2012, non-profit leader Robert Egger will be supporting LCNV at its One for the Books gala. Serving as Master of Ceremonies, Robert will highlight the importance of literacy in all aspects of life. Held at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, One for the Books celebrates LCNV’s 50th year of bringing much needed literacy services to Northern Virginia. Read more to learn about Robert Egger and why he’s received the Oprah ‘Angel’ award.

Robert Egger is the Founder and President of the DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen”, where food donated by hospitality businesses and farms is used to fuel a nationally recognized culinary arts job training program. Since opening in 1989, the Kitchen has produced over 25 million meals and helped 1,000 men and women gain full time employment.

Robert’s book, Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding For All, was published in 2004 by HarperCollins and awarded the 2005 McAdam Prize for “Best Nonprofit Management Book.”

In Washington, Robert is the founding Chair of both the Mayor’s Commission on Nutrition and Street Sense, Washington’s “homeless” newspaper. In addition to this, he was the Co-Convener of the first Nonprofit Congress, held in Washington DC in 2006.

The Non Profit Times list of the “50 Most Powerful and Influential” nonprofit leaders has recognized Robert from 2006-2009. In 2007, he was honored with the 2007 “Lifetime Achievement” by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. In 2004, the James Beard Foundation presented him with the “Humanitarian of the Year” award. Among his numerous recognitions, Robert has been named  a Washingtonian of the Year, Point of Light, and an Oprah Angel.

One for the Books is a unique opportunity to meet and mingle with LCNV supporters like Robert Egger. Celebrity chef José Andrés, best-selling novelist David Baldacci, and top-ranked financial advisor Ric Edelman will also be joining the celebration. Catering will be provided by Fresh Start Catering, and the event menu is inspired by José Andrés.

Purchase your tickets today! Join LCNV, Robert Egger, and fellow supporters on October 3, 2012. Let’s celebrate improving our community through literacy.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, Va 22042
(703)237-0866 │info@lcnv.org │ www.lcnv.org

Meet Ric Edelman at One for the Books

September 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on Meet Ric Edelman at One for the Books
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The One for the Books gala event is just around the corner! On October 3, 2012, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV) will celebrate its 50th year at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Ric Edelman,  top-ranked financial advisor and host of The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman, will be celebrating with us. Celebrity chef José Andrés, best-selling novelist David Baldacci, and non-profit leader Robert Egger will also be joining the celebration and advocating for literacy. Readon to learn more about LCNV’s special guest, Ric Edelman.

Barron’s has three times named Ric Edelman the #1 independent financial advisor in the nation (2009-2010, 2012) and nine times (2004–2012) among America’s 100 top financial advisors.  He is a #1 New York Times best-selling author. With more than 1 million copies collectively in print, his seven books on personal finance have been translated into several languages.

He is the chairman and CEO of Edelman Financial Services, which was named by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held financial planning firm in the country for three years in a row in the late 1990’s.

Ric’s weekly personal finance talk radio show has been on the air for more than 20 years, and is heard in dozens of markets throughout the country, enjoying more than 1 million listeners every week. In 2012, the show was ranked #2 as the most important weekend-only talk-radio show in America by TALKERS magazine. Ric’s television show, The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman, can be seen on more than 200 public television stations across the country and has won 8 Telly Awards.

In 2004, Ric was inducted into the Financial Advisor Hall of Fame by Research magazine. He also taught personal finance at Georgetown University for nine years and publishes an award-winning monthly newsletter.

Come meet and mingle with Ric Edelman and fellow LCNV supporters! Catering will be provided by Fresh Start Catering, and the event menu is inspired by José Andrés, LCNV will also hold a raffle for a week at a beautiful villa – Calypso del Sol – on St. John. To learn more and purchase tickets visit http://www.lcnv.org/events/one-books.

Note: Biographical information for Ric Edelman  first appeared on his website: http://www.ricedelman.com/

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, Va 22042
(703)237-0866 │info@lcnv.org │ www.lcnv.org

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