When Edith first came to the US six years ago, she could hardly speak a word of English. Fast forward to December 2014, and she has just become the Literacy Council’s eighth student this year to pass the US Naturalization Exam and become a citizen – a feat that, sadly, many US-born native English speakers could not manage without some serious studying.
Edith had taken English classes in Mexico, where she attended three years of university, but never got good grades in it, she admits with a shy smile. She didn’t apply herself to mastering English then because she didn’t think she’d ever really need it. Once she was here, however, she realized the obvious need. Within two months of her arrival she was attending a Literacy Council class and working as hard on her English lessons as she did for long hours in the factory where she’d found a job.
The Literacy Council can’t take all the credit for teaching Edith English, though – she also got herself an English-speaking boyfriend, which certainly helped a lot! They used a lot of sign language at first, Edith says, but now it’s all English. They’re happily married now and have a two-year-old daughter. Edith wants to continue improving her English, especially her writing skills, in order to keep up with her daughter and be able to be as involved as possible in her education. “The Literacy Council is a great place,” Edith says. “It’s helped me so much!”
We give special thanks to Edith’s most recent tutor, Ellen Walker, who guided Edith’s studies of US history and government and gave her endless practice with the English vocabulary and conversation skills needed to get through the oral Naturalization interview.