NJ migrant children face new barrier: school

One at a time, Maria Vasquez’s children crossed the treacherous border into the U.S.

They were fleeing violence and poverty in Guatemala and lured to New Jersey with the prospect of getting reunified with their mother in Union County and start a new life.


Two of Maria’s children crossed the frontier all by themselves, alone, and as unaccompanied minors.

The children got caught by U.S. Border Patrol officers, who sent them on to New Jersey, where they soon encountered a new barrier: sign up for public school!

Maria Vasquez’ children are two of the more than 5000 unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador that were placed with sponsor families in New Jersey by the federal government since end 2013.

An estimated seventy children are staying in various communities in Monmouth County, but the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement is not reporting counties where under fifty migrant children got resettled, such as Ocean County.

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How Creative Is Your Teaching?

Creative Teaching… Does it frequently involve artwork? Does it involve drama? Does it involve music? Does it involve some practical activity? Or does it involve making choices about a tech tool to use? Problem-solving? Open-ended tasks? Self-directed learning? Collaboration? Peer feedback?

I can be creative – I have spent many hours following a knitting or cross-stitch pattern. I have followed dressmaking patterns. I can follow a piece of music when playing my guitar or singing. But I think that is a different sort of creativity to the creativity I use in class.

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More Seniors Need ESL Skills Improvement

Literacy Volunteers East Bay is planning to provide an ESL (English as a Second Language) course starting early January.

Melanie Decker, Director of the Senior Center, made clear that there is growing demand for this kind of service because the non-native speaking part of the population is increasing, and lack of transportation options make ESL lessons in really needed.

Literacy Volunteers East Bay ‘s membership grows every day, says Decker, and over the last two years, we’ve seen an enormous increase in the number of people who have only limited or no command of English, and as they don’t have adequate (if any) transportation options to attend an ESL class, our community’s seniors may feel even more alone and isolated.

LV East Bay is already offering transportation services for all of its members, so participants of the ESL class (spearheaded by social worker Ann Albano) could avail themselves of this. at. The ESL class also comes with instruction in conversational skills, as they form the basis of any language course.

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How Literacy Volunteers Help

Literacy Volunteers are believing that supported and well-trained volunteers can be highly effective teachers of adults.

Literacy Volunteers provides free, individualized student-focused instruction in basic literacy & English language capabilities.

Literacy Volunteers of East Bay (LVEB) includes some 80 volunteers, 1 administrative director, and Board of Directors of 8 members.

LVEB is serving around 80 adult learners every year through the organization’s group class leaders and well-trained tutors. Most students receive tutoring on an individual basis, but the organization also provide group instruction for local organizations or businesses who have a group of people that need their services.

Tutors are required to complete a training program of 15 hours and they continually are supported by a literacy specialist.

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Helping Non-native Students Write English

I myself am a non-native speaker of the English language, so I know from my own experience that writing in a foreign language is often challenging, and this is particularly true when it concerns academic work.

A considerable portion of the available research reports and study material in our study field is providing numerous tips and suggestions on how we can help undergraduate non-native speakers and writers.

Having said that, graduate students somehow seem to be receiving far less attention regarding this subject in the provided literature. Still, non-native graduate students are facing an even greater number of challenges when it comes to writing their academic pieces, and my personal experiences have also made that very clear to me. Time to do some research.

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When A Reader Lacks Fluency

When a child lacks fluency, he/she reads at a pace that is word-by-word, with little attention to phrasing. He/she may also be reading a book that is too difficult, where his/her attention is on decoding and not on comprehension and fluency.


  • Encourage the child to read a book that is easy. An easy book is one with fewer than 5 errors per 100 words.
  • Explain that reading needs to sound like talking.
  • Encourage repeated readings of easy books.
  • Encourage the reader to read to a younger child.
  • Encourage the child to read without pointing.
  • Provide guided practice with a teacher/parent for 5-10 minutes. Choose a reading passage that is easy and be sure both the adult and child can see it. The adult reads it several times to the child, who is following along. Then read it together once or several times, until the child is reading it with expression. Finally, have the child read it alone. Repeat daily for several months.

The Reader Reads Too Fast:

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Reading Fluency

A Fluent Reader:

  • Has automatic word recognition
  • Is able to figure out unknown quickly using context and word patterns
  • Reads with appropriate phrasing and expression

Don’t be fooled, however. Just because a child is a fluent reader, does not mean that the child is comprehending.

However, a child who struggles with fluency will also have difficulty comprehending.

Ways to Build Fluency:

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Literacy New Jersey helps adults become U.S. citizens

In 2016, almost 200 Literacy New Jersey students were granted U.S. citizenship, meaning they can register to vote and do so for the first time, and become more active members of their communities.

Chin Vivian Hsieh is a 53-year-old woman who immigrated to the U.S. six years ago from Taiwan, and among her most challenging experiences here was just walking into a shop and go to the checkout counter.

She was scared, and thought people were saying ‘What’ya doing’, while they actually were saying ‘How’ya doing’. It was, in fact, this small misunderstanding, just one simple word, that made that she didn’t venture out on most days.

Finally, Hsieh joined a Literacy Volunteers group on English conversation and started to work 1-on-1 with a tutor from Literacy New Jersey in Middlesex. It was only then that her life begun to change for the better. In 2015, Chin Vivian Hsieh became a U.S. citizen. She says she now wants to vote for the American presidency, and that she likes the American life, the possibilities, and the freedom.

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Why Sharing Knowledge Empowers You

When you teach, the content of your teaching automatically establishes the standard by which you are judged.

In other words, if you’re gonna talk it you better walk it. But walking the walk often requires making tough decisions, like changing for example…which many aren’t willing to do.

Another reason business folks don’t share information with the world is because they feel it gives them an advantage over the consumer. If they give the info, they lose their advantage. Information is power, and yes, giving the consumer information does empower them.

I initially thought this was a transfer of power from me to them as well. But what I now understand is that both the teacher and the student gain power in this exchange of information and both end up better off.

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How to Help Students Get the GED Diploma

The OMA Program focuses on your career success and it begins with creating a vision and a plan. Our new, innovative and structured approach to career success, life fulfillment, and balance creates measurable benefits for individuals and organizations.

These programs are designed to assist you in answering questions key to your career success and help you if you want to continue your education. They are in line with college requirements and are endorsed by adult education organizations that help people prepare for the GED exam. As you answer these questions, you achieve greater focus toward your future.

This focus creates the roadmap to increased career success, decreased stress and increased balance. We offer programs that meet your needs. From individual coaching to assessments and workshops, all are designed to fit your schedule and achieve ultimate career success.

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