Two approaches to family literacy

In Literacy Together’s strategic plan for 2020-2025, one of the new areas we identified for possible expansion of services was family literacy – which can take a variety of forms but has as its core component the involvement of both children and parents in literacy activities.
One way we’ve begun to implement this is through a partnership with the Verner Center for Early Learning, a local Early Head Start and pre-K program that provides both on-site and home-based literacy services to children, many of whose parents are immigrants. We have trained several of their teaching staff as ESOL instructors, and they’re now providing free English classes to parents of the children served by Verner. 

Another novel approach has evolved more organically and consists of Taylor and Becky, two members of one family tutoring three members of another family. This is their family literacy story.

Taylor had just moved back to Buncombe County when he came to one of our online volunteer orientation meetings in December. He had traveled in many Spanish-speaking countries,  he had taught English before, and he had the desire to bring his expertise to our community. After finishing his training he was matched with  Lázaro, “a student who is wonderful, he’s very engaged, he’s very excited to learn.”  

During their first lesson together, Lázaro asked him if he could speak with his wife for a moment, and that’s how Taylor met Gloria, who had been on the ESOL waiting list for some time. Gloria asked Taylor if he’d be willing to teach her. “Absolutely,” was his answer and, since then, he’s been teaching the couple separately, meeting each one of them once a week for two hours.  

Gigi, the daughter of Lázaro and Gloria, is a charismatic fourth-grader who would often join her parents’ classes to help them. Taylor’s mom, Becky, is a Title 1 Reading Teacher at a local elementary school, and she was thrilled when her son asked her if she would be willing to help Gigi with her reading and her English. She meets with Gigi twice a week for 30 minutes.  Watch the video to learn more about how this family is supporting another family and how their connection is blossoming!


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