September is National Literacy Month. Used in this context, literacy refers to the ability to read and write. Why does literacy have an entire month devoted to it on the national level? According to dosomething.org (https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-literacy-america) “1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.”
Appreciating the fact that you are able to read, and taking action to help others read is a great way to celebrate National Literacy Month. Right here at IU East, in the Center for Service-Learning (CSL), located in the Campus Library, we have lots of opportunities for you to help. Currently we are in our second year of providing “literacy coaches” to meet specific community needs. Interested in learning more about how YOU can help? Contact Ann in the CSL: email@example.com and read on to find out about your IU East peers and their efforts to improve literacy for local youth.
Frida Hernandez, an Elementary Education major, will be reconnecting with the English language learner (ELL) students she worked with last year at Vaile Elementary, both in class and at the Homework Helpers program. Frida’s first language is Spanish, so she can relate to those students who are learning English as she did. As a successful IU East student, she is an inspiring role model for the young ELL students. Frida explained,”I am Hispanic myself, and I know from experience how it feels not knowing any English and starting at a new school where English is the only language. I moved here when I was 6, and it took me 2 years to learn English. That’s why when I heard about helping Hispanic students, I was willing to volunteer.”
Katelyn Brown, an IU East student with a double major in biology and Spanish, also has volunteered at Vaile and this semester will be working with ELL students at Elizabeth Starr Academy. She shared that “Helping English language learners is a fantastic opportunity to practice Spanish while interacting with children. Being able to communicate with them showed me the importance of being bilingual.” The experience reinforced her plans of continuing to study Spanish and using it to help people in the community, now, and in the future, when she accomplishes her goal of being a dentist.
Jorge Pérez Orduño serves as a Literacy Coach for the ENL students at Richmond High School. He helped students overcome some of the basic obstacles they face every day. Having gone through these experiences earlier on in his life Jorge explained that “I wanted to help to these students going through the unmarked trail that is high school. Starting out it was difficult to talk to them, and there was some resistance on their part, but I think they opened up to me sooner because I was closer to their age and circumstance.”
Whether you speak Spanish and can help ELL students, or want to be a reading tutor for children, or teach reading to adults, we have opportunities for you to share your gift of literacy. Contact the CSL today! firstname.lastname@example.org