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Archive for November, 2013

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The Loudoun Literacy Council has been selected to be a part of this year’s Loudoun Gifts for Good event. This holiday event will be a part of Leesburg’s First Friday Event on Friday, December 6th from 6PM-9PM at the Carter Braxton Preferred Properties in downtown Leesburg. Loudoun Gifts for Good mission is “To provide our community with a meaningful alternative for year round gift giving – one which celebrates personal charity in support of nonprofits that strengthen our community and promote the common good.”  We are so thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event!

Since 1980, Loudoun Literacy Council has been giving the gift of literacy to members of the community.  We have helped more than 4,000 adults and young people improve their literacy skills through programs supported by the dedication of over 800 trained volunteers.  Your support will help us continue to strengthen our community. You can support Loudoun Literacy by giving a gift of a ‘Baby Book Bundle’ for an at-risk new mother ($10), new books for 5 ‘Birthday Packs’ for children residing in homeless shelters ($25), an entire ESOL class for a Loudoun County adult ($50), supplies for four Head Start students with a school year’s worth of book packs including books for their very own personal library ($100).

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We hope that you share the spirit of the holiday season with Loudoun Literacy’s community. To learn more about “Loudoun’s Gift for Good” head to www.loudoungiftsforgood.org!

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Teaching adult ESOL and GED learners never gets old! There are always new challenges and major accomplishments made both as a teacher and as a student in the classroom. Read below to read more about AmeriCorps members, Carrie and Stephen, experiences in the classroom for LLC’s fall 2013 term:

Carrie’s Reflections: 

I have had the great opportunity to work with many adult ESOL learners in my experience as a teacher, but this year I now have the new opportunity to work with even more learners in an intermediate classroom! This term I taught over 20 learners at Guilford Elementary School and Cascades Library. The eight-week session went by hurriedly, as the learners learned about describing people using descriptive adjectives, identifying places in their community, and setting personal, work, and educational goals. Teaching intermediate level learners allows for instruction to delve a little deeper. Although the learning skill, speaking, was dominant in the classroom, the learning skills, reading and writing, played a large role.

Because intermediate learners know more of the English language, I was able to adapt my lessons to include more writing and reading comprehension activities. For homework each night, I had my students write a journal entry on the writing prompt of the day. The topics for the writing prompts always centered on whatever topic we were discussing that night in class. This activity allowed for learners to develop their writing skills and incorporate different grammar skills learned throughout the class. The journal entries also allowed me and my teacher assistant, Erin, the opportunity to learn a little more about our students. One writing prompt, for example, explored the personal, work, and/or educational goals they had for themselves. It was gratifying looking to see what my students wrote. They had everything from helping their children graduate high school and attend college to starting their own business. It was yet another example of the determination that my students possess.

One of the best moments of my experience teaching this fall was when we went over what some of the students detailed in their journal. The topic was “Why do I want to study English?” This seemingly simple topic transformed into a half hour discussion amongst my students about their goals to better their English skills and some of the struggles and triumphs throughout their English learning journey. It was great to see such dynamism in the classroom as the students were relating to one another while speaking the English language.

Of course the success in the classroom for the fall term was not without the hard work of my teacher assistant, Erin. Erin has the ability to work so well with the students and to form a trusting relationship with them. Her knowledge of the not-so-easy English language is quite impressive. I often had her go over the grammar points during the lesson! It has been my pleasure having her as my aide for the past two class terms and I’m excited for her to be entering the class as a lead instructor for the winter 2014 term!

Teaching intermediate level learners is quite the learning experience for me and it has allowed me to stretch my creativity as an instructor. I’m excited to continue my journey as an intermediate teacher for the winter 2014 term!

Stephen’s Reflections: 

I find it almost hard to believe how much time has passed since the start of the term!  From the beginning, I was primarily focused on my beginner ESL class.  With eight students in attendance most days, it was the largest group of students I had ever worked with at once, and I had never had direct experience working with English learners.  Naturally, I was nervous coming into the class on the first day.  When I considered the way the learners must have been feeling, though, it was easy to realize my concerns were relatively minor.

In class this term, we covered ways to greet people and make introductions, completion of personal information forms, how to tell the time, months and days of the week, money, and asking for directions.  The lesson on classroom instructions was perhaps the most valuable, as it allowed us to move more easily through every later lesson.  It was remarkable to see what a difference it made when instructions such as “open the book to page 10” or “write your name on the paper” started to become clear to the class, and I hope the rest of the material made an equally noticeable difference in their lives outside the classroom.  It has been amazing to see how much progress some of the learners have made over such a short time.

It has also been a challenging and rewarding experience to work on the GED program.  Several of our students have made very impressive gains in math and science ability over the course of the term.  It has really been a joy to get to know the students and hear all their different reasons for wanting to earn their GED’s.  With upcoming changes to the test format designed to emphasize depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills, it has been a challenge to balance preparation for the new material in 2014 with coverage of strategies for the current test format.  Good luck to all of our classroom and tutored students taking the old version of the test for the last time in December!

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