Literacy Volunteers - Shenandoah County is currently going through a time of transition. Late last fall, the Board of Directors recommended to the Membership that the organization dissolve at the end of the current fiscal year. The Membership reluctantly agreed and the Board has been working to meet our obligations for the current year.
Recently, an alternative to dissolution was brought to the Board's attention. We beg for your patience as we study this alternative and look at how we can best continue to serve our community with the resources at hand. The Board will meet on Thursday, March 27th to discuss these things and vote on whether to ask the Membership to postpone the dissolution while we explore options to keep the organization going or at least to find a way to spin off our family literacy and citizenship classes.
We have contracted with Yvonne Frazier to act as our Transition Specialist through the end of June. Yvonne will be focusing on managing Reading, Rhyming and Readiness (RRR), which is our family literacy program and helping us meet our grant reporting requirements with United Way (UW) and the Virginia Literacy Foundation (VLF).
Thanks in advance for your patience.
The LV-SC Board of Directors
by Cathy Gilbert
"Who is here today? Who is here today? All our friends are all around, but who is here today?"
Children put their bear nametags on the board and bring their carpets to the circle to show that they are present. When it's time to go home, the children put their carpets and bears away. This helps the children and the parents to see that following a routine makes the transition time easier.
Non-English speaking children and their parents sing together, learning and reinforcing commonly used phrases in English. The focus of Reading, Rhyming and Readiness is Kindergarten readiness, specifically, empowering parents to help their children prepare for Kindergarten. In the bilingual RRR class, mini ESL lessons are interwoven with the Kindergarten skill focus by helping parents and children to increase their English proficiency through key word focus, vocabulary practice and cultural awareness of Kindergarten in the United States. Emmanuel Episcopal church hosts a morning RRR class in English and the afternoon RRR class that is bilingual.
Parents and children learn how to use a lending library in RRR. They also learn the importance of reading at home every day. Parents and children keep a monthly calendar of their reading time, which they bring to class each week. RRR provides small motivational rewards, like stickers, erasers, pretty pencils, etc. for children for every 30 days of reading. After awhile, the rewards are almost an afterthought, parents and children have gotten into the habit of daily reading time at home. The RRR lending library has books in English, Spanish and some bilingual books. The books are kept in a variety of large Rubbermaid bins, which are switched out about once a month.
Another reading activity during class is D.E.A.R. time: Drop Everything And Read. This is a 10 - 15 minute class activity where parents and children can sit and enjoy books related to the theme of the day or the month. During this time, RRR teachers and aides are able to provide non-intrusive support and guidance.
Snack time is for much more than eating! Snack time is also a very good opportunity for parents and children to socialize. Although most of the chatter during snack time is in Spanish, it is great to see parents encouraging each other and speaking with each other's children. Peer modeling can be very helpful for children who need to develop their social skills and parents need encouragement from each other as much as the children do.
Although the class is only 2 hours, once a week, the learning goes on in the home all day everyday! One of the features of RRR is to provide ideas, activities and materials for parents and children to take home to work on specific skills. In my class last week, parents assembled their own game kits to work on at home with their children. The kits included pieces for a Memory Game; colored circles to work on colors; cardstock to make shapes; clothespins and tubs to practice eye-hand coordination and more! The parents were very excited about getting fresh ideas of fun things to do with their children that also help them prepare for Kindergarten.
There is a specific theme, skill focus and letter of the day focus for each RRR class. Parents and children work on these things together during class at learning centers. During our first circle time, the teacher models a typical Kindergarten lesson which includes the calendar, weather, alphabet, counting, skill and letter focus, theme focus and storytime. This modeling serves to provide parents with confidence in knowing how to practice the Kindergarten skills their children need.
When the weather is nice, we have fun playing at the Woodstock Presbyterian Church playground. If the weather isn't so good, we do fun large muscle activities inside, such as the penguin walk, the choo choo train ride, Hoky Poky and musical hearts. Music is an important and fun time for learning too. For many of these activities, the music we listen to is bilingual. This helps parents and children to understand the words and do the activities.
In our second circle time, we gather as friends to choose songs to sing and rhymes to practice. Most of the songs and rhymes are in English. We also listen to our homework assignments and then we all say goodbye.
A major component of Reading, Rhyming and Readiness is parent education. Literacy Volunteers -Shenandoah County partners with Shenandoah County Public Schools to provide the Love and Logic parenting class. A series of classes are held at the Woodstock Presbyterian Church. Parents spend about 15 minutes doing activities with their children, then go next door to take the class while their children have circle time, an art activity and snack time. LV-SC also partners with Healthy Families - Shenandoah to provide mini-classes for parents on topics such as nutrition, ages and stages of development and quality childcare. Shenandoah County Public Library provides theme bags and the Woodstock Library provides English and bilingual materials through its nearby location.
RRR teachers follow-up with families by phone. This personal touch makes a big difference for families who are learning how to acclimate to the U.S. school culture and gives RRR teachers an opportunity to provide additional resources that are specific to each family's needs.
Reading, Rhyming and Readiness is funded by United Way. This wonderful family literacy program has been serving families in Shenandoah County for years and is a great way for parents to help their children get ready for Kindergarten. Parents are the primary teachers of their children and RRR is a support tool to help them with this important job.
Our Halloween Party was a big success! Below, you will see the children listening to a story during our circle time.
Cathy Gilbert and Paula Gould are learning how to "administer" the LV-SC Website Monday evening. Web gurus Tim and Randy Gilbert provided expert training and guidance to the intricacies of Web development.
This will be a place to submit articles for publication and to communicate best practices for tutors and volunteers.
Literacy Volunteers-Shenandoah County (LV-SC) promotes increased literacy skills for Shenandoah County residents by providing free one-on-one and small group tutoring to low-literacy English-speaking adults, to English as a Second Language adults, and to all those participating in our family literacy programs.
We have a very unique way to raise funds that will not cost you any money.
LV-SC is asking all of its members (and friends of Literacy) to make their normal purchases on Amazon from our website.
Amazon has thousands of products (even more than physical stores) and most of them are at the lowest prices you can find anywhere, so you might even be happier buying gifts and other things that you need online this Holiday Season.
All you have to do is click the Amazon Fundraiser button above and follow the directions as you buy what you normally would on Amazon, but in such a way that will help us earn a commission.
THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts.
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We appreciate our collaborating partners who work hard to bring literacy to Shenandoah Valley.
Woodstock Presbyterian Church
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Lord Fairfax Community College
Shenandoah County Public Schools
Shenandoah County Public Library
Northern Shenandoah Valley Adult Education
Office Citizenship and Immigrant Services
Donors Make Literacy Services Possible
Virginia Literacy Foundation
Shenandoah Community Foundation
Edinburg Lions Club
Basye Lions Club
Mt. Jackson-Edinburg Rotary Club
Woodstock Rotary Club
Stonewall Jackson Golf Club
Mt. Jackson Lions Club
Basye Ruritans Club
Employees of George's Chicken, Inc.