The Youth Literacy Program has had another successful year!


The Youth Literacy Program has had a successful year! Our volunteer tutors and interns worked with 165 scholars throughout the last year, and we are so grateful for their commitment and support. Some of our tutoring pairs will continue their work throughout the summer, and our interns will provide intensive literacy support for scholars enrolled in our partner summer camps.

Our volunteer tutor, Karen, serves at the Christine W. Avery Learning Center and shared, “This has been one of the most joyful experiences of my life! My student has made tremendous progress since February, and I hope to work with her again next year.”

Laurel is one of our interns at Literacy Together. She works at Youth Transformed for Life, and she had this to say: “Literacy Together has been an incredibly valuable experience for both me and my scholar. One of the biggest obstacles we’ve been working through is a general intimidation of reading big words or books. We use a lot of rhymes, pictures, and hands-on activities to break words down into individual sounds in an engaging and memorable way. This past year, I’ve noticed not just his skills improve, but also his patience, receptiveness, and excitement about reading. At the beginning of the year, my student refused to read words with four letters. Now, he dives into words like “hamburger” with no hesitation! Seeing the progress he’s made in such a short amount of time is so encouraging and really shows the power that a little extra help can have on both a student’s academic performance and perception of reading.” 

The Igniting Superhero Readers Summer Internship starts June 17, and we have already hired 95% of our interns for the program. This summer, we’ll work at the Christine W. Avery Learning Center, Youth Transformed for Life, and the YMCA at Johnston Elementary, serving 60+ students across eight weeks. Interns will undergo training in order to deliver 1:1 instruction to young scholars in need of support with their foundational literacy skills.

Our interns will also receive professional development from community partners, including Misfit AVL, First Bank, UNCA Career Center, United 4 Youth, and more. If you know someone between the ages of 15-23 who would be interested in joining our internship program, please encourage them to complete our application before May 31

The Youth Literacy Program will also welcome and train new volunteers in September for the 24-25 school year. We will predominantly volunteer in the afterschool programs, but there are other options as well. Sign up to volunteer during the next school year!

Learn more about the Youth Literacy Program

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One of our students from Afghanistan and her family were granted asylum!

We’re so happy for them! Her incredible tutor, J.K., and her church organized a celebration party. There was ice cream, lots of yummy food, cake, and friends. However, our student’s favorite part was communicating in English with her new community!

Our student, who we can’t name for security reasons, came to the United States with her husband and two preschool daughters, fleeing her home country and the Taliban during the great international airlift of August 2021. After stops in Qatar, Germany, and New Mexico, the family arrived in Asheville in January 2022. She had no access to formal education in her home country and did not read or write in her native language. She’s been taking English lessons twice a week since May 2022 and can now help her daughter with homework and be herself at parties and events. She enjoys cooking food for her home country, making beautiful embroidered dresses for her daughters, and creating colorful jewelry. She has big dreams about her family’s future, and we’re sure she’ll accomplish them!

Thank you to her tutor for the continuous support! We love it when she comes to the office to tell us about her student’s small and big wins! Our tutors do so much more than teaching English. They’re cheerleaders, advocates, and friends.

Literacy changes lives! Would you like to become a volunteer tutor to support your immigrant neighbors? Learn more about the ESOL Program and how to become a volunteer tutor

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Glory Andrade, one of our Adult Literacy/ESOL students, wrote an article for a national journal!

Glory Andrade, one of our Adult Literacy/ESOL students, wrote an article for a national journal! It’s called The Change Agent. All the articles are by ABE/ASE and ESOL students. Please see p.26-27 for her story. She is a superhero. For real. 

Read the article here!

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Literacy for all! (by our ESOL volunteer tutor J.K.)

J.K. is an ESOL volunteer tutor of a student who immigrated here in January 2022. She sent us this note last week, and we’re sharing it with you with her permission. Thank you, J.K.!
“My student’s oldest girl entered first grade this fall. The school recently reported that she was not doing her homework, which is learning her ABCs and numbers and reading beginning-level books.
At first, the family had the reflexive reaction that her father, who is university-educated in his country of origin, would work with his daughter on her homework. Her mom -my student- had no access to formal education in her home country and did not read or write her native language when she arrived in Asheville. She has been studying English for a year and a half and is now proficient enough in English to help her daughter.
She knows and writes both the upper and lower case alphabet beautifully. She can also write, read, and manipulate numbers into the 100s. She is accomplished in reading and writing the 40 Dolch Pre-K sight words and is working on the 52-word Dolch Kindergarten words. She is a great asset to her daughter, and her status in the family is raised by her role as a teacher.
The “Homework Project” is now a whole family effort! She is a joy to work with. I am so lucky to have her as part of my life!”
Would you like to support an immigrant neighbor who wants to learn English? Sign up for an orientation meeting and learn more about our English for Speakers of Other Languages Program and the other Literacy Together programs. 

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Sergio’s Success Story

Sergio is a local photographer and an ESOL student from Michoacan, Mexico. He came to the US 20 years ago and started taking classes with us in 2018. Sergio considers his one-on-one classes crucial to his success in learning English. Fluency in his adopted country’s language has also improved his business since he can now work with English speakers in addition to the Latino community. Watch this video where he tells his story, and check out his beautiful photography here

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world. ESOL is the largest program at Literacy Together, serving approximately 250 students annually. Our students’ most common goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects, help their children in school, and pass the U.S. Naturalization exam

Each student works with a trained volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of ten people. Tutoring takes place for two hours each week at times and locations that are mutually convenient for students and tutors. Tutors may choose to teach one (1) two-hour session or two (2) one-hour sessions each week and may do so online or in person. Sign up online to volunteer.

The ESOL Program welcomes volunteers from all over the world. We now have tutors in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, the UK, and Germany! Read Barbara’s experience tutoring Maryna remotely, or Cecelia’s work from Germany as an ESOL tutor of six students.

Enjoy more ESOL success stories!

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