In-person activities are still suspended until further notice. Please read this message from Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts Executive Director Roberta Soolman. Both of LVGW’s offices will remain closed to the public until further notice. When we do reopen, please expect some changes in protocol (such as staggered staff schedules, making appointments to visit the office, and increased cleaning/sanitation of high-touch surfaces), which will help us ensure that our volunteers, students, and staff stay healthy and safe.
We will continue to communicate with you and let you know when we can resume in-person meetings. Thank you for your patience and perseverance with tutoring remotely. Stay well!
- All in-person one-to-one and group tutoring sessions are cancelled until April 9. Tutors, please feel free to use FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, WhatsApp, or simple phone calls and emails to remain in touch with your students. Tutors, please contact your students immediately to let them know of this temporary change. More information about technology resources will be sent next week to tutors.
- All in-person Literacy Academy classes are cancelled for the remainder of the semester. Some classes will be moved online. Lena will be in touch with the teachers on Monday to help plan the remainder of the semester via virtual learning. Students, please stay tuned for more details.
- The Rosetta Stone Open Lab is cancelled for the remainder of the semester.
- The remainder of the March ESOL Tutor Training session is cancelled until further notice. We will try to reschedule the remaining sessions in April or May depending on this evolving situation.
- The March 20th Tutor Workshop is cancelled until further notice.
- The March 29th Good Deeds Day Potluck & Cultural Celebration is cancelled until further notice.
- The April 7th Tutor Orientation is cancelled until further notice.
- Both LVGW offices will be closed through April 9. Administrative staff will be working remotely starting March 16.
- You can still contact us. To reach us by phone, please call 508-754-8056 and the following extensions to leave a voicemail. It will be emailed to us and we will return your call as soon as possible.
- As of right now, the Scrabble event on May 2 is still scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and make a decision closer to that date based on the recommendations of the CDC and state and local health officials. We will send updates as the date approaches.
Give today. Make a contribution of $30, $60, or $120 and receive a thank you gift.
We are deeply saddened by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others before them. We stand with the Black community in mourning. We see you, we hear you, and we are with you. Black lives matter.
We are committed to anti-racist education as a crucial part of our mission. The following is a list of resources that tutors and students can use in their lessons, as many learners have understandably raised questions about recent events.
- Change Agent Issue 42 — Race
- ESL Library Lesson on George Floyd Protests (Tutor Version) (Student Version)
- Letters for Black Lives
- Anti-Racism Resource List
- National Museum of African American History & Culture: Talking About Race
- Talking to Kids about Racism & Justice
We are determined to strengthen our leadership and volunteer recruitment practices to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to ensure that our leadership is more representative of those we serve. Over the coming months, we will engage more with students, tutors, teachers, and other stakeholders to better understand your respective experiences as well as seek ideas and input that will ultimately make us stronger as a community.
Conversations about race can be uncomfortable, and we do not pretend to have all the answers, but we are here to listen, talk, and learn together.
The LVGW Team
Loreta and Crystal have been working together since January 2020 after Crystal completed our 18-hour ESOL tutor training program. Here is what they have to say about their time together:
“I am Loreta. I am from Albania. I have 5 years living here in Worcester. I miss the language but with the help that Crystal teacher is giving me, I am feeling something different. I understand sentences, I know how to read short passages, write a little, describe and more! Crystal is a great teacher. She finds my weakest part and works with me until she is convinced that I have learned it. The teacher gives me the opportunity to give my ideas. Thank you for this great job you are doing with me.” –Loreta
“Loreta and I have been in constant communication with one another during this pandemic. We have been video chatting through WhatsApp as well as texting. I’ve also been creating powerpoint slides as lessons for her. That way she can continue practicing how to read and write on her own and then we discuss and have conversation through video chat to review what she’s learned so far. It’s been an amazing experience. Not only are we tutors helping our students grow and flourish in this country, but we are also giving them a voice. The students need the language in order to survive, communicate, and defend themselves in this country. The only way to do this is to break down these barriers.” –Crystal
“For the first time since I arrived [in the US], I felt part of this community, sharing with people like me,…and that really motivated me to keep growing.” This is how Maya, an English language learner, described her first experience with LVGW’s classes.
Throughout the past few months, we have remained committed to our students, and we have transitioned to distance learning for both classes and tutoring.
We need your help to sustain these vital services.
Hear from volunteers and students, including Maya, about what LVGW means to them:
UPDATE: This event has been cancelled as of 3/12/2020.
Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester is hosting a Cultural Celebration & Potluck Lunch for our students and their families in collaboration with the JCC on Good Deeds Day! Share food and learn about other cultures. We will have conversation activities for students to practice speaking. Please feel free to bring a dish for the potluck lunch! View the flyer here. Sunday, March 29, 2020 LVGW Classroom, 90 Madison St. Room 303A 11:00am-1:00pm
Who we are:
Olivia: I’ve lived in Worcester for about one year. I am from China and I came here for school many years ago. I am thirty years old and I signed up for tutoring to improve my English speaking skills. I have been with my tutor, Joan, for about six months.
Joan: I am a retired lawyer and I became a Literacy Volunteer a few years ago. I wanted to work with people trying to find their place in a new country and community. Because that is a huge challenge, I thought students would be very motivated, positive and interesting individuals. And I was right!
What we have learned from tutoring:
Olivia: As I learned more cultural things and as my English has improved I have more confidence. I’m not afraid to talk with anyone now. I went to yoga class last week and introduced myself to a few people before class. When I went skiing I talked with people next to me in line and on the lift. I think understanding the culture is very important.
Things we have enjoyed doing together:
- Reading aloud and discussing books written for children or young people. These books have easier vocabulary, plot lines, are shorter than adult books and are fun.
- Reading and discussing newspaper articles about China and about American politics. This is difficult but rewarding.
- Finding and discussing unfamiliar vocabulary and idioms as we read and talk together.
- Talking about the similarities and the differences between China and America.
- Sharing some details about our respective cultures.
- Meeting in different places for weekly lessons. This gives us new topics of conversation and the chance for Olivia to practice conversation with other people. We have been to different coffee shops and the Courthouse where Joan used to work. We even spent one lesson talking about the American judicial system.
- Olivia was invited to speak at a Library Foundation event. She practiced her talk several times with Joan as the “audience”. We attended the event and Olivia did exceptionally well!
Both: When we have a conversation and are able to share our experiences in our families, our upbringing, and our different cultures with each other.
Olivia: Knowing I have the support of my tutor makes me happier.
Joan: Getting to know Olivia is a pleasure and having the opportunity to help her grow in her conversation skills and confidence is very rewarding.