Last July, three students began a journey toward literacy via Leamos, a computer-based literacy program, at the Pacoima Branch Library. Leamos teaches Spanish speaking adults, who may not have had the opportunity for formative education, to begin working toward competency in reading and writing in their native language. It also equips them with basic computer skills. It can serve as a pre-ESL(English as a Second Language) course as well.
Nine months after beginning their study, two dedicated and hardworking students have stayed the course and continued their journey toward literacy. Ana Teresa Batrez and Silvia Barahona Garcia come to the library each Monday for two hours to reinforce and extend their reading and writing skills. To date, they have succeeded in reading a wide variety of texts including children’s books, newspaper headlines, employment applications, food and prescription labels, crossword puzzle clues, horoscopes, riddles and the reflections of previous students who completed Leamos.
Ana’s goal is to write her life story, a very inspiring one of triumph over adversity, to share with others and to inspire them. Silvia would like to use her literacy skills to advance in the workplace and be recognized for the capable person that she is. Each of them is modeling for their children and/or grandchildren the importance of pursuing a dream and of staying the course. It goes without saying that they have each been a source of inspiration to their teacher as well!
Between classes they not only complete the written homework but also have the option of logging on to Leamos and reviewing or moving ahead in the program. Many times they come back to share independent reading and writing practice that they have done. Their families support them in their quest for literacy and help them with their homework.
Leamos has boosted self-confidence and self-esteem and strengthened their sense of being able to meet challenges and achieve results!
Silvia says, “Leamos has helped me to learn the alphabet, to read syllables and words and to understand what I read. I hope to continue reading and learning”. Of her experience with Leamos, Ana says, “It is a very good course and I wish that it weren’t ending. I would like to continue. I am reading outside of class all of the time”.
—Written by Luisa Latham, adult literacy tutor
On June 3, Ana Teresa Batrez and Silvia Barahona De Garcia both graduated from the Leamos program! Their tutor, Luisa Latham, and Pacoima Branch literacy coordinator Christopher Garcia put together an amazing graduation ceremony just for them and their families, which I was lucky enough to attend.
Of the ceremony, Christopher said, “Today we had a graduation ceremony for our two learners Ana and Silvia, who have completed the Leamos program. These two ladies have spent countless months on improving their Spanish literacy. Today’s ceremony would not have been possible without volunteer Luisa Latham. She really laid out the vision of the ceremony and I just helped put it together. Luisa is a wonderful person and a great tutor to Ana and Silvia. We planned for the ceremony to be short and sweet. Luisa started off the ceremony by sharing a few words about our two graduates. Then, I gave the crowd a short background on what Leamos is and why it is beneficial. Luisa and I displayed some of Ana’s and Silvia’s work on the table so their families can see it. We labeled the table “Step by Step” to show that these ladies have made huge strides in their Spanish literacy. We concluded the ceremony as our two learners read us a short story titled “Qué te gusta más.” The crowd really got a kick out of the story.”
It was truly a special event. I was so honored to share this special day with Ana, Silvia, and their families. I am also profoundly proud of the work Luisa and Christopher put into the ceremony, not to mention the countless hours of work that went into helping Ana and Silvia achieve their dreams. Thank you for all you do! You are both making a real difference in the lives of our learners.