Mountain Xpress: Groups cooperate to help kids learn to read

X_letters-1100x734
Graphic by Lori Deaton

We at Read to Succeed Asheville and the Literacy Council of Buncombe County welcome an ongoing conversation about the achievement gap. This disturbing and repressive characteristic of school systems is marked by disparity in children’s educational performance based on their socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, native language and other factors. Thank you, [Blair] Fielding, for your voluntarism and your response [“Augustine Project Also Helps Young Readers,” Feb. 1, Xpress] to the Jan. 11 [Xpress] article, “Closing Asheville’s Achievement Gap.”

Our two organizations enjoy a cooperative relationship that continues to grow and evolve. One important element of our partnership is cross-referring students so that children who struggle to read receive the best service possible for their unique needs. The passionate and well-trained volunteer tutors at the Literacy Council’s Augustine Project and R2S fill a critical need within our community. They help students overcome barriers to educational success, building the child’s confidence alongside their reading, writing and spelling skills. These outcomes are truly life-altering.

An important correction: R2S seeks to serve students of color who live in poverty and are on the losing side of the achievement gap. About 60 percent of participants live in Asheville’s subsidized housing, and the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville is a longtime supporter of R2S. Subsidized housing residence is not a requirement for participation in the program.

Both organizations welcome qualified volunteers who wish to train to be tutors. Please contact the Literacy Council at 828-254-3442 and Read to Succeed at 828-747-2277 for more information.

— Ashley Lasher
Director, Literacy Council of Buncombe County

— Pat Bastian
Director, Read To Succeed Asheville

Continue Reading No Comments

A letter to our community — valuing diversity through education

A  Literacy Council student celebrates passing the US Naturalization exam

A  Literacy Council student celebrates passing the US Naturalization exam

To our Buncombe County neighbors,

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County values people of all ages, races, religions, national and ethnic origins, abilities and disabilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Our staff and board are committed to creating opportunities for all people in Buncombe County to receive high-quality educational services. We honor the gifts that our diverse students and volunteers bring to our community.

In the month of November, we received inquiries from 50 people wanting to become volunteer tutors. This is twice the number we would typically receive over the course of a month. This tells us that people in our community honor and value literacy and English language education and want to help our students achieve their goals.

We are grateful to live and work in such a supportive community.

With great respect,
Literacy Council of Buncombe County

Continue Reading No Comments

WLOS Features Citizenship Program

WLOS Screenshot - Naturalization

On July 14, WLOS aired a story on the increased number of people seeking citizenship during this election year. The five-minute segment features a Literacy Council student, volunteer tutor, and our ESOL Director, Erin Sebelius.

The Literacy Council has offered a citizenship preparation option for almost ten years, and our students have a 100% success rate on the U.S. Naturalization Exam. This year, there is renewed motivation in casting one’s vote. “They have to hear your voice and your voice is your vote,” says Noe Herrera, who recently passed the exam.
 
The Literacy Council’s ESOL director, Erin Sebelius, said, “I think people are afraid, I do. … I can’t say how they’re going to vote but they’re Latinos, they’re immigrants, and they want to vote for a reason.”
 
Generally, there are spikes in citizenship applications during any election year. 

Learn More

Watch the video above and click here to read the accompanying article.
Click here to learn about the Literacy Council’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program.
 

Continue Reading No Comments