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Aguilar Center for Reading and Writing Holiday Celebration

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A group of Saturday Literacy students with their tutor, Cynthia (wearing a scarf) and Eric, the son of one of the students.A group of Saturday Literacy students with their tutor, Cynthia (wearing a scarf) and Eric, the son of one of the students.Better than vanilla ice cream! That’s what one student said in her reading at the Aguilar Center for Reading and Writing Learning Celebration on Thursday, December 8th. The student read her story about things she was thankful for—and the Aguilar CRW was right up there, better than vanilla ice cream. Other students shared their emotions about being a single parent and the responsibilities of bringing up a child without any help; about a dream finding $1 million dollars in a Swiss bank account; and even a story about fly fishing!

Tutor Brandon congratulates his student, Sunita, for her hard work this cycle!Tutor Brandon congratulates his student, Sunita, for her hard work this cycle!One student who joined the program in September claiming “I’m very shy” stood before a roomful of other students to share her ideas about the Christmas holidays! Another student, who walked in late carrying his tray of homemade macaroni and cheese to share with others, read his story of being the first NYC gospel singer to appear on the centerfold of New York Soul Magazine. The stories were all developed in the small group meetings which take place twice each week in the basement of the Aguilar Branch Library on 110th St. The small groups of 4-6 students and 2 tutors read and write together twice a week for a total of 4 hours.

On December 8th, the third floor community room was overflowing with students and tutors who gathered together to celebrate the holiday season. They shared a pot luck lunch, they listened to student readings, they viewed a slide show of the Aguilar students and tutors; they honored their tutors for their dedication, their effort and their compassion for teaching; they watched a dance concert by Leanne Schmidt and Company, who worked collaboratively with the students during the Fall in developing dances based on student writing, and they even sang some holiday songs together to celebrate the season! Not a typical day at the center, but surely a fitting one as we celebrate student progress and bid farewell to 2010!

Tutor Steven (left) gets to know Jose, a student, who studies ESOL at the Aguilar CRW.Tutor Steven (left) gets to know Jose, a student, who studies ESOL at the Aguilar CRW.One of the things that we all do best at AG, a tutor wrote, “is to make each student feel better about himself. It's such a positive, empowering atmosphere to learn in!”

If you are interested in volunteering as a literacy tutor at Aguilar and working with the most motivated students you could imagine, contact Elaine_Sohn@nypl.org.

Centralized tutor training begins on January 31.

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