Sunday, September 18, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Monterey Co CA :: Loudoun Co VA :: Harrison Co WV

How informal English classes help many county residents thrive.
Monterey County Weekly: 9.01.2016 by Marielle Argueza

On the bookshelf of a cramped back room at the Monterey Peace and Justice Center, Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony and Survival stands alongside a well-worn Snow White picture book. Opposite the bookshelf, there is a break room setup on folding coffee tables, complete with a microwave, a bottle of Nestle creamer and Folger’s instant coffee. A constant and loud thud shakes thin walls as it rings out from the judo class next door.

Despite the noise and small space, Rachel Musgrove and Steven Silbert begin pulling chairs into place around a single rectangular table in the center of the room, which is angled toward a white dry-erase board. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s the setting for a free ESL class taught by students of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies TESOL program (teaching English to speakers of other languages).

Tonight, the volunteer teaching duo is Musgrove and Silbert. The students are native Spanish speakers, but unlike a formal classroom that’s divided by grade, age or comprehension, this is a drop-in class, offered to anyone who wants to improve their English skills.

The class begins with a sign-up sheet where students write just their first name. Musgrove and Silbert both watch their students eagerly – it’s a simple enough task, assuming students know the English alphabet and, at a basic level, how to read and write in their native tongue.

After the sign-in comes verbal introductions. Forty-five-year-old Gabriela Garcia begins saying in steady, thoughtful phrases: “My name is Gabriela. I live in Seaside. I like to cook and… ” She pauses, stares at the ceiling for a bit and then the word comes to her, “… exercise.”

Isaac Ruiz, 9, speeds through his introduction: “My name is Isaac and uh – mostly – uh, I like playing trumpet a lot.”

Then it’s 15-year-old Arturo Navarro’s turnREAD MORE @

As Loudoun’s immigrant population grows, so does the need for adult literacy educators
Loudoun Times: 9.02.2016 by Hannah Dellinger


“During the program, we help them study for the citizenship test, which a lot of individuals have questions about,” she said. “We have seen a lot of our learners progress a lot and although it takes a long time to get to a certain point, seeing them reach milestones is a great feeling.”

Being able to communicate with doctors and school teachers and officials is important, and Literacy Volunteers help to make that possible with practice, she said.  READ MORE @

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