Staff Voices

Making Learning Fun

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By Karina Wegelius, Director of ESL Programs

While visiting one of our Family Literacy classroom in the Centennial School District, I observed two of our instructors, Brigitte and Iryna, conducing an ILA session. ILA stands for ‘Interactive Literacy Activities” and its purpose is to teach parents to support language development in their young children by engaging both in a fun activity.

What a joy it was to see mothers and children having a good time. The book of the day was “The Secret Birthday Message” by Eric Carle. Both instructors developed many hands-on literacy activities to teach “shapes” and “following directions,” based on the book. Learning new words through “story time,” creating a “shapes book” with mom, and having the young children follow directions around the room using fun props made this ILA session a real learning adventure for everyone! At the end of the session, all the children were very excited to take their children’s book home with them to add to their family home library. I was touched by the many moms that thanked Vita for making this program possible.

Research has demonstrated that the literacy level of the mother greatly influences a child’s success in school. Since all the moms in our family literacy program are second language learners of English, it is quite a challenge for them to help their child develop the language skills that are critical for entering pre-school programs. Activities like ILA not only help the children, but their parents as well.

Better Skills, Better Life

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By Linda Wolfson, Executive Director

“Skills transform lives, generate prosperity, and promote social inclusion. Without the right skills, people are kept at the margins of society, technological progress does not translate into economic growth, and enterprises and countries can’t compete in today’s globally connected and increasingly complex world.” SOURCE: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) (2012)

A recent report, Making Skills Everyone’s Business, pointed out that about 24 million adults in the workforce have low literacy skills. We might draw the conclusion that this is a group most likely to be unemployed.  However, it turns out that two-thirds of these workers are employed, albeit in low-skilled jobs.

We consider our programs at Vita to be extremely important in helping these low-skilled workers in Bucks County to upgrade their basic literacy skills, prepare for the GED, or enter postsecondary institutions. This gives them access to better paying jobs, which ensures a better life for them and their families.