Volunteer Spotlight: Winter Classes Expand to Meet Needs

Volunteer Spotlight: Winter Classes Expand to Meet Needs

When the Literacy Council was founded in 1963 by volunteers from Church Women United, they were inspired to teach seasonal migrant workers to read.  This month’s Volunteer Spotlight features the amazing volunteers of today, sixty years later, who are similarly dedicated to providing Frederick County adults with pathways to essential literacy skills.

The Literacy Council is expanding its Community Class Program to reach more adult learners, and work to overcome barriers that prevent adult learners from accessing literacy programs, such as transportation challenges, child care demands, and changing work schedules.  We are excited to offer a diverse selection of Winter Classes that is the result of advance planning to provide beginning, intermediate, and more advanced level options for adult learners, with a combination of in-person and remote classes. Classes will meet for approximately ten weeks beginning later this month. For details about registering with the Literacy Council as a new or continuing student, contact the office at info@frederickliteracy.org or (301) 600-2066.

Our volunteer instructors are critical!  We invite you to meet our volunteer instructor team!

Catherine, will be teaching Writing 1 & 2, a Writer’s Workshop, and also will facilitate our weekly Student-Led Conversation Class. Pictured is Catherine (photo on left) meeting with some of the Winter Book Club members.  The writing classes review sentence building and vocabulary, and students work on writing different kinds of paragraphs such as an opinion paragraph and a descriptive paragraph.  The Writing Workshop is an advanced course for high-intermediate to advanced students who want to improve their writing.  Students are invited to bring in their work weekly for critiques.  The narrative structure and focus is on nonfiction creative writing, but any work that the students wish to pursue will be encouraged.  Catherine is also the co-editor for Reflections: Voices of English Learners, a literary magazine featuring students’ original stories and has taught over 30 classes for the Literacy Council!

Lynn and John (class pictured on left) and Erin (lower right) are teaching Parent Conversation Classes again at Butterfly Ridge and Waverley Elementary Schools throughout the school year.  FCPS staff help to recruit parents who are then assessed by the Literacy Council to be placed in classes at the right level.  Parents meet at the school for tutoring and classes as part of our Parent Literacy Program.

Classes focus on helping the parents to gain English language proficiency that can specifically help them support their children’s education, including understanding communications sent by the schools.  Thanks to our collaboration with the Judy Center for providing childcare!

Eileen (photo on right) will continue teaching Beginner Reading and Phonics using the Talk of the Block series which focuses on short and long vowels, stories and activities. Eileen has been teaching classes since 2020, and this will be the eighth session she has conducted!

Judy (photo on left) continues teaching an evening Intermediate Conversation class, in addition to her teaching at FCC!  This will be her eighth class conducted at the Literacy Council.  Students will role play everyday situations to strengthen listening, speaking, and conversation skills. Welcome also to Don, a new instructor who will be teaching an Intermediate Conversation daytime class.

Gus (photo on right) will continue teaching a High-Beginner Conversation class twice a week in the Literacy Council’s classroom. These will be his 11th class with the Literacy Council!  Gus specifically requests the opportunity to work with beginner level students who are often very hesitant to take risks practicing speaking, creating a welcoming and supportive environment to help students build their confidence. Victoria will be teaching an early evening Beginner Conversation class at the Literacy Council to meet the needs of students who are working.

Beth (no photo available) will be again teaching a High-Beginner Speaking and Reading class remotely this fall, one of a series of curriculum-based classes.  Students will use the Ventures curriculum, including a student workbook.  In these classes, students will practice different skill areas, including: listening, speaking, and reading. They will practice asking and answering questions about comparing preferences/likes. Grammar may include a review of present, past and future. Students will learn comparisons and the present perfect. They will practice describing problems and solutions and talking about community events.  Sarah (photo on left) will continue teaching Low-Intermediate Listening, Speaking and Reading. Anne (no photo available) will again be teaching Beginner Speaking, Reading and Writing.

We are excited to add Conversation classes at new satellite locations, Walkersville Branch Library, thanks to tutor Brent (no photo available), as the class instructor, and at the Y Arts Center in downtown Frederick taught by volunteer instructor Carolyn (no photo available), newly joining our volunteer  team!

Anna (photo on left) will be teaching an Essential Job Skills class this winter, a popular class she has conducted during previous sessions. Digital Literacy will also be taught this session led by Pat (photo below), the Literacy  Council’s IT volunteer, with donated laptops set up in the Literacy Council’s classroom.

Finding the Right Level: Each new Literacy Council student participates in an intake and assessment appointment facilitated by our staff in order to determine the best placement to meet their needs based on their English language proficiency level for listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing.  If leaners are more advanced, they are referred to Frederick Community College, enabling the Literacy Council to work with adults who are at more beginning levels where they can benefit from the individualized and targeted tutoring and small class sizes. Gaining confidence is a critical element in learning a new language. The Literacy Council provides a supportive and nurturing environment to help these adults on their literacy journey. For general information on classes conducted by the Literacy  Council throughout the year, you can learn more HERE.

Our Tutoring and Community Class Programs are only possible through the generous support of our Volunteer Tutors and Class Instructors!  Consider becoming a Literacy Council Volunteer in 2023!!

Tutor Training Workshops:

We are kicking off our Winter schedule of Volunteer Information Sessions and Tutor Training Workshops. Thanks to our volunteer Tutor Training Team, Tutor Training Workshops are offered throughout the year, together with the  Literacy Council of Washington County. Check them out!  Please help spread the word and share our training flyer with your networks. We are always in need of more tutors and class instructors.

Thank you to our Tutor Training Team (Caroline, Catherine, Sarah, Lynn, Becky, Karen) for preparing new volunteer tutors to work with individuals and small groups in our Tutoring Program!  Congratulations to our recent Tutor Training Graduates!

Workshops provide an introduction to teaching Basic Literacy Students (native English speakers) and English Language learners. Updates are provided about the needs of students on our waiting lists, hands on resources and tips for lesson planning, conversation practice, vocabulary. pronunciation, grammar, reading instruction, writing, the language experience, how to use WhatsApp, and getting started with your student.

The Literacy Council of Frederick County provides adults with pathways to essential literacy skills. Success for the individuals and families we seek to serve rests on a collective community approach that shapes a full path to a thriving life. You can learn more about ways to volunteer on our website. Listen to what our tutors have to say about their work on this short YouTube video