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Frequently Asked Questions about Leamos™

1) What is Leamos?

Leamos (Let's Read) is an online Spanish literacy course for Spanish speakers with only two years or less of formal education. It teaches non-literate Spanish speaking adults to read and write Spanish at a basic level. with the help of a tutor. The course is delivered online and the student just uses the mouse to click on answers. The course consists of 43 self-paced instructional lessons divided into nine modules; they take approximately 150 hours to complete. The student listens to audio directions and lessons from a virtual instructor. The student may also benefit from support and encouragement from a tutor.

Leamos is not a Spanish language course. Leamos prepares those who did not attend school as children to learn basic literacy to confidently pursue other educational goals for the first time in their lives, such as to learn English, pass the citizenship exam, etc.

2) How is the course structured?

The Leamos course is set up in nine modules to help students build confidence as they learn syllables from simple two letters (i.e., la, le, or va, ve) to three letters (i.e. cha, and then learn) words that build from previously learned syllables. The vowels are learned in lesson one. Lessons 2 to 30 teach the consonants, syllables, pronouns and basic sentence structures. (Note: With completion of lesson 30, students have learned the full Spanish alphabet, and experience has shown that they have gained basic reading and writing skills). Lessons 31-43 reinforce what was previously learned with practice on more complex sentences. While some words are commonly used in Central America, like “chavalo,” most words are common Spanish words and adult-focused on every day use.

Since Spanish is a phonetic language, students learn to connect syllable sounds to read target words and simple sentences. Students build fluency from the repetitive activities. They gain comprehension from the built-in quizzes in each lesson and at the end of each module. Also, a final quiz is included in both online and paper versions.

3) Does Leamos meet any standards?

The Leamos course curriculum meets key reading and listening California Adult Content Standards. In 2007, a letter was issued by the California Department of Education, approving Leamos as a Pre-ESL course. The Leamos lessons are correlated to CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System), as listed in the course outline.

4) How do you know Leamos works?

The online version of Leamos was designed in 2004, and it was based on the same classroom curriculum used the previous twelve years. There are many testimonials of adults who completed the course and moved on to learn English; successfully studied for their citizenship test; attended computer classes; became able to read to their children or to read the Bible; or get a library card for the first time.

The course was created by Marcos Cajina, who was trained in the Popular Education approach in Nicaragua. He initially created Leamos in the early 1990’s to help garment workers in Los Angeles, California understand their worker rights. The success of his work quickly spread and nearby organizations began to ask for the course to help non-literate Spanish-speakers in their communities.

Leamos has undergone formative and summative evaluations conducted by Associate Professor Concepción Valadez, Ph.D., UCLA Graduate School of Education, and Information Studies.

In California, Leamos has been implemented in a classroom format offered as a Pre-ESL class by the Los Angeles Unified School District, and it has been used with many community-based organizations since 1991. In 2015-17, 18 public libraries conducted it as a pilot to: 1) teach basic Spanish literacy skills to non-literate Spanish speakers, and 2) test the effectiveness of the program as a tool to reach Spanish-speaking non-library users -- their input and experience is reflected in the Toolkit.

5) What is Popular Education?

Popular education is a concept grounded in notions of class, political struggle, and social transformation. The term is a translation from the Spanish educación popular, in which popular means 'of the people'. More specifically, popular refers to the 'popular classes' -- the unemployed, the working class and sometimes the lower middle class. The designation of popular is meant most of all to exclude the upper class and upper middle class.

Popular education is used to classify a wide array of educational endeavors and has been a strong tradition in Latin America since the end of the first half of the 20th century. It stresses a dialectic or dialogical model between educator and student. This model is explored in great detail in the works of one of the foremost popular Brazilian educators, Paulo Freire.

Leamos is partially based on the popular education concept. Each lesson starts with a common word –which Freire referred to as a generative word, having the capacity to lead to new words.

6) Do I need to be a certified teacher to help someone with the course?

No. Anyone who can read and speak Spanish at a high school level can guide someone with accessing and using the course. A detailed tutor’s role guide is available to help the tutor with the process.

7) I want to enroll an adult learner in the Leamos course. What is the process?

To enroll in the course, you will need internet access, headsets of any kind, and a friend or family member to serve as a tutor.

If a site is not available, an individual may use the course at home, either call us at (213) 262-8799 or email leamos@proliteracy.org for more information.

8) How long would it take to complete the course?

The average course completion is 100-150 hours or 3-5 months depending on the student flexibility. The time of completion varies depending on the weekly hours the student dedicates to the course. It is recommended that students dedicate 4-8 hours per week to the course.

9) Is there a cost to access the course and what does it include?

The course is priced as subscriptions per individual use to organizations or for single in-home use.

The course includes six months log-in access, a Leamosworkbook and call support. If it is purchased for in-home use, the tutor is welcome to attend an online Leamos training. Simply email leamos@proliteracy.org to sign-up.

10) Are all ages welcome?

Leamos is an appropriate course for youth and adults, ages 16 and over.

11) Is there a certificate of completion?

Yes! There is a template of the certificate that you award.

12) When did ProLiteracy acquire Leamos?

ProLiteracy, the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the nation, acquired Leamos in late 2017 from Centro Latino in order to scale this effort and improve the quality of life for adults by increasing literacy rates.