Reading texts, emails, even this article, comes easily to most of us. Chances are you don’t struggle to understand what someone is saying because you speak English. If you want to make sure the cashier gave the correct change, a little quick math settles the matter. This is literacy and adults with low literacy may grapple with any or all of these activities.
This is why Literacy Volunteers Ontario-Yates (LVOY) provides tutoring to adults throughout our communities. Meet two recent LVOY learners:
Alex and Zhanna immigrated to Geneva, NY, from Ukraine about 18 months ago with their daughter and Alex’s mother. Their hope when coming here was to gain peace and stability for their family. Although they spoke some English, they still experienced a language barrier that created difficulties in their daily lives.
Eager to understand the nuances of the language and this new and different culture, they sought help from LVOY. Alex found the tutoring process both challenging and rewarding. “I faced initial struggles with unfamiliar grammar structures, pronunciation difficulties, and a lack of cultural context.” Zhanna found telephone conversations hard to master, especially with hospitals. “It could be very frustrating,” she says.
They both persevered, motivated by a desire to learn and integrate. “Learning English became an essential step towards integrating into my new surroundings and rebuilding my life,” explains Alex.
Their efforts paid off. Zhanna’s English improved and she is now enrolled at Finger Lakes Community College studying web and mobile development. Alex has received a promotion in his work at a company providing web accessibility solutions.
Both of them enjoyed working with their tutor, Alan. “His patience, encouragement, and dedication were instrumental in my progress,” says Alex. “He not only taught the rules of English but also helped me navigate the complexities of American culture and society.”
“He’s great as a teacher,” adds Zhanna. “We improved our speaking and communication skills. We learned about United States culture and how things work in the local community.”
Alan liked working with them as well. “It was a very positive experience. They held each other accountable, and I believe we got through material faster because they helped each other and because they are very smart and driven!”
Zhanna and Alex encourage other non-English speakers to learn the language. “Go for it” she says. “You need to know the language or you’re dependent on other people.”
Alex offers advice on how to be successful. “Set realistic goals, find a learning method that suits you, and practice regularly. You can do it!”
He goes on to explain why the effort has been worth it. “My pursuit of English is a journey of self-discovery, cultural integration, and personal empowerment.”
The trained volunteer tutors at LVOY work one-on-one with learners to achieve their individual goals. Tutors help learners improve basic English reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension. They help learners master skills to earn a GED, prepare for the US citizenship exam, and more. These accomplishments change lives.
LVOY provides all services at no cost to the learner. We rely on individual donations, corporate support and grants to continue our work.
You can help us write more success stories by making a donation today.
Donate online here
Read more LVOY success stories here