La alfabetizacion - language of literacy

Jim GrantTutor Carolyn Kellogg works with Loyda Herrera and Josefina Rodriguez on their English skills.

Jim GrantTutor Carolyn Kellogg works with Loyda Herrera and Josefina Rodriguez on their English skills.

Although she has lived in the United States for 15 years, Loyda Herrera hasn't needed to learn English.

"Before, I didn't worry about it," she said in Spanish. "But things have gotten harder now. If you don't speak English, you can't find a job."

So for the past two years, she's dedicated herself to learning the language, studying with the English as a Second Language In-Home Program of Northern Nevada.

The program, run by volunteer Florence Phillips, pairs students with volunteer tutors, often working one-on-one in the student's home.

"More than 30 million adults in the U.S. lack the most basic literacy skills, and 15 percent of Americans without a diploma don't have jobs," Phillips said. "The (program) helps educate adult learners and helps them meet the demands of today's workforce."

The challenge, Phillips said, has been finding enough tutors to work with students. To accommodate the growing need, she has formed small groups of students who work with a single tutor.

"We have a waiting list of over 200 people in our five counties of service - Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon and Washoe - anxiously waiting to learn English," she said.

Carolyn Kellogg moved to Carson City from California in January and was looking for a way to get involved with the community when she read about the ESL In-Home program in the newspaper.

"I thought it was a worthwhile project," she said.

She has been tutoring a group of three students since March, meeting at the United Latino Services building.

"The biggest struggle is to get them to speak English at home," Kellogg said. "And their biggest hurdle is the accent. But it's nice to watch them progress."

One of Kellogg's students, Josefina Rodriguez, takes classes three nights a week at Western Nevada College, as well.

She said she feels obligated to learn the language to provide a better future for her four children.

"If I speak and understand English, all of that is better for me," she said. "I can help my (children) when they have homework or when their teachers call me."

Her children, three of whom were born in the United States, all speak English fluently. For her, it has been more of a challenge, she said.

"It's hard for me because I'm older," she said. "But I don't want to say this. This is an excuse. Everybody can learn English if they want to learn English."


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