Roswell Literacy Council teaches more than reading

September 8, 2011 • Local News

Vanessa Kahin
Record Staff Writer

This article is one in a series of stories focusing on local agencies which receive support [auth] from the United Way of Chaves County, which is currently conducting its annual fundraising campaign.

The Roswell Literacy Council is about increasing literacy amongst adults, according to Andrae England, director of the Roswell Literacy Council.
The RLC staff help with a variety of learning goals because literacy skills affect a wide variety of subjects.

To ensure the student is receiving a well-rounded approach that covers various forms of learning, and since literacy is a multi-dimensional subject, England said the focus of the RLC is to cover reading, writing, speaking, thinking, understanding and listening.

“The skills they learn in literacy are always related to their stated goals,” England said. These goals can be anything from wanting to help their children with their own school projects, to gaining literacy skills to get a better job, or even to help with applying for citizenship.
“We train our tutors to help our students figure out how they learn,” England said. She said this is ideal because it instills lifelong learning. The student who knows how he learns will be able to self-teach long after their time at the RCL is done.

Stan Nelson, tutor and RLC board president, is excited about the future of new technology and what it means to the ESL student. He estimates that soon, laptops will be rendered obsolete by tablets.

“We’re finding (tablets) are more convenient in a classroom setting,” he said. “Laptops are nice, but they’re bulky.” He is already looking into various ESL applications.

The Roswell Literacy Council also has a modest computer lab with computers equipped with language learning software. With this software, clients can check and practice their own English pronunciation.

When a person comes to the Roswell Literacy Council, he is evaluated to see what his reading level is. England said this is meant to ensure that no one is going over material that is too easy, and that no one is asked to do something that is too overwhelming.

“We help people from all over the world learn English,” she said. However, England said most of the people who need help learning English as a second language are Spanish speakers who come from a number of countries in Latin America.

England said the Roswell Literacy Council is not affiliated with any school; however, some clients may choose to enroll at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and benefit from the services at the RLC.

The Conversation Club was offered at the Roswell Public Library. England said it has ceased because of a lack of interest, but those who are interested can always start the club again.

England said several companies in town send some of their employees to benefit from the services they may get at the Roswell Literacy Council. This is, of course, with the employee’s permission. England said no one should be forced to go to the Roswell Literacy Council as this would defeat motivation.

Others seek the help of the RLC on their own.

“They know that as soon as they gain enough literacy they’ll get a better job,” England said.

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