ProLiteracy Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the National Book Fund
Posted by Jessica Gilmour on January 31, 2020 in categoryStudent Stories categoryAdvocacy

ProLiteracy is proud to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the National Book Fund, a program that provides adult literacy and basic education programs with educational materials to help teach adults to read. For 25 years ProLiteracy has been able to provide programs that couldn’t afford resources for students and instructors with New Readers Press materials to empower learners with what they need to be successful.

Ozark Literacy Council shared the story of how the National Book Fund has benefited its students:

When Xiaoming first came to the U.S., she had a lot of trouble with everyday communication.

“The problem was becoming more and more severe. I felt very nervous because I couldn’t communicate well with others,” Xiaoming said. “And language is almost the only tool for communication.”

Fortunately, she and her husband stumbled upon the Ozark Literacy Council. Xiaoming said she enjoys the ways that learning at Ozark Literacy has expanded her horizons.

 “It’s not an ordinary language school; it’s like a big family,” she said. “I used to just listen to my teachers, my parents, and my bosses. I didn’t care about, ‘is it right? Is it correct?’ But now I think for myself.”

Xiaoming’s Advanced English class often uses Challenger 5 and 6 for practice, and she requests these when she is with her one-on-one tutor. As a result of her quick progress and her fluency in Chinese, Xiaoming was also asked to teach at OLC.

“There are other students from China that study here at OLC who have more trouble with English than I. It’s really difficult for them to live a normal life. When we had class, I would translate everything that the teacher said to them. Some wished to quit the class because they felt it was too difficult for them. Then, Mina [our program director] came to me with a suggestion, ‘Can you teach them and help them?’ I said that I could try,” Xiaoming said.

Xiaoming noticed how much her students were improving with her help and the help of the teaching materials provided to Ozark Literacy through the National Book Fund. With her own students she used Challenger 1, as well as a Chinese/English picture dictionary.

 “Eventually I had five students; I taught them and saw their progress,” Xioming said. “They would say, ‘Today I learned which door is exit and which is entrance;’ ‘Yesterday I found the restroom myself.’ If they don’t know the signs, they don’t know which restroom is for men and women, or even which door is pull or push.”

Xiaoming sees her job as a tutor as a way to give back. “I got a lot of help from others when I came here first and now I want to do something to help others. You learn something, you give that to another student, and you hope to improve their life.”

The 2020 National Book Fund opens February 1, 2020. 


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