Letters to the editor for Saturday, June 27, 2015

ESL program needs tutors

Regarding Tim Holdsworth’s letter, I am in agreement that “we have good teachers, but little parental help.” The problem is due to family members lacking English skills and therefore cannot help their ESL school children.

Children from families who do not speak English face the hurdle of having to learn a new language when they first start school, which places them at a disadvantage they often do not overcome until third grade or beyond. Only 22 percent of elementary school children who have English as their second language are at standard reading and math levels. By middle school, this number drops to 11 percent.

Children can only be helped if parents at home speak English. This is the mission of our program — teaching parents who in turn help their children. Our no-cost-to-student program has more than 200 parents in Carson City on our waiting list. These people want to learn English but cannot go to school. Our success rate shows most of our clients are now helping their children with homework, communicating with teachers and medical personnel without interpreters. Teachers tell us how much smoother their classes are running. Many of these parents have found jobs, advanced in their employment, 185 have become U.S. citizens and some are enrolled in higher education.

Our program’s only challenge is recruiting tutors. We have 42 volunteer tutors and need 50 more. No teaching experience nor foreign language required. Commitment is 1-2 hours per week. Call 775-888-2021 for more information. Training takes one hour at your convenience.

Florence Phillips

Director, ESL In-Home Program of Northern Nevada


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