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Students tell their own stories

"It's important to me that all of you know how important you really are to us. I search's diligently trying to find help for my husband and I... To the Literacy Advance of Houston team and all of you who have taken part in helping us grow. What does one say when thank you can't begin to express the way we truly feel. Before going to bed at night we read a book any book together, he reads a page and then I read a page what a feeling. I'm not sure if anyone has ever told you the impact you've made on their lives, and how much you are truly appreciated for all you do. I want to take this opportunity to share with you my accomplishments sense starting this program.

"...I have all ways wondered why is it that some people think just because one has this problem you are dumb or stupid. If the truth be told some of us are smarter them some of you in some ways. You may ask me how that could be. Well let me tell you, we have to work twice as hard to make up for our short coming and along the way we pick up bits and pieces that some of you would leave off or take for granted.

"People who are illiterate and people who read slowly are just like people who can’t see. Their ears become their eyes to comprehend all they know. I became a great listener, and things that were being said became part of my intellect. Something happen in my mind and writing became a part of me. It would astonish me what my mind cause me to write, but my mind can’t go back and read it. Many times because I couldn’t go back and read every word I have written, people would say to me you didn’t write that, but if they only knew. Knew what! What I didn’t know myself! My brain causes me to write it, but my brain couldn’t go back and read it. I’m not sure how my brain is working myself, it’s perplexed, compacted, complicated, but yell fragile all at the sometime.

"I’ve been in this program for about 8 month give or take. I have one of the best teachers anyone could ever ask for, she’s giving of her time, caring affect to lend a hand to someone she doesn’t even know, understanding affect to want to help, she lesson to the hurt of so many years of not be able to read well, she fills the hurt and pain I have gone through, for those who have wounded me with their words. Let me tell you how she has unlock the door in my mind. She’s teaching me the basis of reading the parts I missed, how vowel sounds; really sound, as well she’s teaching me how to break words into parts, and sound them out. She said, “I see you are eager to learn” and I am. I try to help her help me I read as much as I can at home and I love to write, she likes to hear my stories. If I miss a class or two the anticipation on our next class gives me an adrenalin rush, thinking I’m almost at my goal. Someday she’ll be a chapter in my book. Yes I want to be a writer of some sort, your see me name in print someday."

~ Cindy, ABE Student

"Before, I didn't know any words in English. Today, I speak some words, can write phrases and can understand some movies and songs. Today, I can also have small conversations with people. I'm improving my English and this makes me very happy. Thank you!"

~ Lidia, ESL Student

"My name is Ngoc and I have been living in the United States for 5 years. I have been attending classes at Literacy Advance Bay Area for more than a year. My first class was Level 1 and then a few months later I got moved up to a different class. I was happy and worried because I have to go to work and I have a baby and I was afraid I couldn't handle everything, but I also wanted to keep improving.

I am happier because Literacy Advance is a nice place to learn your second language. Everyone is very nice and kind hearted. I am happy that I can keep studying and learning more and more. My current teacher Julie is a good teacher, she is elegant, funny, friendly and creative. We always have fun materials, something new to learn, we have a happy class, we learn about grammar, fun games and conversation.

My goal was to speak more English for my citizenship, work etc. I already feel more confident when I am speaking. After a few months I decided to go one more step and to learn about citizenship. I was lucky again and went to Loretta's Citizenship Class. She was very nice and very good and she spent her time to teach me American history and how to answer the citizenship exam questions. I studied at home by listening to the DVD while I was cooking. I also went to Joe's Computer Class and studied on the computer at home.

I was very excited when I passed the citizenship test. I prepared for my citizenship exam very carefully but I was still nervous. I remember how I woke up more than an hour early to review and study while my husband and baby were sleeping.

So finally, I want to say thank you to Literacy Advance and especially to Joe, Julie and Loretta for their valuable time, their smiles, and everything they do for me and the other students. There are still a lot of people that need help to learn English and I hope they will be as lucky as I am."

~ Ngoc, ESL Student

"I used to get up at 4:00 am and go to the office to get on the PC by 6:00 am (I didn't have a PC at home). I didn't have to be at work until 8:15 am, but this would give me two hours on the PC. I would have time to read my books. When i found words I didn't  recognize, I would go to a website where I could enter in words I needed help with. It would tell me how to spell the word, give me a definition, and then how to pronounce the word. This made reading more interesting an I learned a new vocabulary. I'm actually reading books now.

Literacy Advance provided me with a PC to take home, so I had constant access to a computer. I'm amazed at how many times I have reason to use it. And at work, when they send an email to me, I'm able to read it, understand it, and I even have the confidence to reply.

INDEPENDENCE! I used to depend on other folks to help me with various words, subjects, spelling and reading important documents. I also depended on my tutor to telll me where to find English grammar help. Today, I've learned to find that information Online myself. I no longer have to depend on others. I LOVE TO READ NOW! THE PC GIVES ME HOPE! Thank you, Literacy Advance."

~ Julia, ABE Student

"You have helped me a lot, because I understand conversations with my family. Now I can respond to their questions, and have a conversation. Thank you."

~ Susana, ESL Student

"Five years ago, my husband and I came to Literacy Advance asking for English classes. We wanted to communicate with our children's teachers and improve our lives.

After 2 years of hard working, our lives have changed dramatically. My husband is running his own A.C. and maintenance company and I'm an Independent Consultant for Pampered Chef.

Literacy Advance opened its new program called "Students as Tutors" and we were invited to participate. We thought that it was a great opportunity to give back.

Now we've been tutoring for almost three years helping others to reach their goals. We tell our students about our experience, and always encourage them that "they can do it".

We really thank Literacy Advance staff, tutors, and sponsors because of their resources, our lives have been improved, and we're looking to impact our students’ lives as well. "

~ Josefina and Miguel, ESL Students

"I am 51 years old. A survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Relocate from V.A. Hospital of New Orleans, LA to V.A. Hospital of Houston, TX back in 2005. I sign up to learn how to read and write better at the Literacy Advance on Wilcrest St.

While waiting to be assigned to a tutor my medical team inform me that it’s better for me to have surgery. So for medical reasons, I put off learning how to read better. It took 16 months for me to recover from surgery.

In February 2007 I meet Mr. Jack Paige my tutor. My ability to read is improved very well. When I first started studying with Mr. Paige my reading was poor. It’s like going through a tunnel without light. I was fearful, because of the dark, not knowing how to read or write is like living a life without light.

Now I feel better about my ability to read. Still have a long ways to go but with the help of my tutor I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Knowlede is to be divise it! Not hide it! Knowledge is power. Power bring light. "

~ Harrison, ABE Student
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