As I meander the halls of the Center for New Americans, I find a special shelf dedicated to literacy for both our students and their families. Through an outreach program via Siouxland Libraries, we are able to have a mini library at the convenience and delight of our students.
Our mini library allows students to check out books to read not only to themselves but also to their children and grandchildren. Books are in English and multiple target languages such as Spanish, Amharic, Vietnamese, Arabic, etc.
This opportunity gives our students the capability to practice their English skills and also to pass along their culture and language to their children and grandchildren.
Students are always hungry for new reading materials in English, and as such the library has been a great resource for our students, who immediately started taking advantage of this opportunity. One grandmother was super excited to see books in Amharic that she could read to her grandchildren. Another was thrilled to see a book of poems in her language. Others are excited to see word-to-word translations from their language to English. There are a variety of books to appeal to everyone.
The books are rotated through Siouxland Library every 3 months so students are able to find new and exciting things to read at home. Easy access to books helps promote literacy in our adult student population outside of the school setting.
In the spirit of International Literacy Day (September 8) and National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 19 to 25), here are some ideas to keep reading fun for the whole family:
1. Read when traveling
2. Read when on a lunch break
3. Join a tutoring group or an English class or a book club
4. Find fun places to read: coffee shop, park, etc.
5. Read books that fit reading ability level.
6. Read with a friend or a volunteer.
Our students love to work with volunteers in the classroom. Volunteers help foster a love for reading and build relationships with students.
Want to be a classroom volunteer?
Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103