Elizabeth Flynn (HU) and Denise Heikinen (HU) have recently been named directors of the Elaine Bacon Literacy Program. They succeed Andrea Hauge-Bacon, who was director for twenty years.
The Program aims to improve the literacy of international adults including reading, writing and speaking. Participants come from countries such as China, Iran, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Georgia. Free tutoring sessions take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays at the Portage Lake United Church and from 1 to 3 p.m. Fridays in the community room of Daniell Heights.
From 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays students are encouraged to participate in a related organization, International Neighbors. Participants visit local places of interest, take hikes or engage in activities designed to improve vocabulary, fluency or cultural awareness.
Many different instructional techniques are used in the program. Some tutors use a weekly newspaper, News for You, which is directed at students for whom English is not their original language and provides news stories about recent events. Each paper also includes a crossword puzzle, vocabulary and pronunciation. The stories enhance students’ reading abilities, help increase their vocabularies and form the basis for discussions of important national and international occurrences or less
consequential human interest items.
Other class focuses on language structures and conventions, and everyday conversation and the challenges of living in a culture that may be quite unfamiliar. Some students attend all of these classes while others choose those that suit their particular needs or schedules. Students benefit from the tutoring sessions, linguistic and cultural immersion and find that their conversational abilities, as well as reading and writing abilities, improve quite dramatically.
Humanities in Tech Today, April 8, 2019