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Posts by Hilary Schenker

11 Free Websites to Practice English at Home

RTlibrary on FlickrAt the New York Public Library's Adult Learning Centers, where adults work on basic English and literacy skills, we're often asked for recommendations of websites for adults to practice English at home. Below you'll find eleven sites, some with a focus on listening, some on vocabulary, others on grammar, and some with a range of activities. Happy learning!

Easy World of English

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Poetry Writing With Adult New Readers, Strategy 1: The List Poem

You have not crossed the bridges I have crossed. You have not listened to the music I have listened to. You have not been in the top of the World Trade Center the way I have been there. You have not seen the waves I have seen. You have not fallen from horses the way I have fallen. You have not felt the guns on your neck the way I have felt them. You have not been in the sea with a big storm in a little boat the way I have been.

—Excerpt from "Don’t Give Me Advice," by Luis Marin, Tompkins Square CRW

This month is

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Read for Your Life: Resources for Teaching Health Literacy to Adults

A woman came into the Library's Center for Reading and Writing, where she was enrolled in a basic literacy class. Visibly shaken, she pulled a staff member aside and confided that she wasn’t sure if she would be able to continue in the class. She had felt some pain in her breast, and her doctor had recommended that she have a mammogram. Not having any idea what a mammogram was, she understood it to mean that she had cancer. The staff member showed her how to find information about

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From Masailand to Tompkins Square Library: A Journey in Literacy

Last year, Victoria joined a basic reading and writing class at Tompkins Square Library's Center for Reading and Writing. She agreed to speak with me about her experience so far and what brought her here.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Kenya, in the Masailand, in a village with 10 huts.

What other languages do you speak besides English?

I speak the Masai language and Swahili, and other tribal languages: Kikuyu, Luo, and Kamba. I came to America in 1986. I speak English every day, but 

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Why We Celebrate: Learning Celebrations at the Centers for Reading and Writing

Learning Celebration at the Seward Park CRW

Twice a year, each of The New York Public Library's eight Centers for Reading and Writing hosts a Learning Celebration for adult literacy students and volunteer tutors. Students read their work aloud, family and friends join in the festivities, and everyone receives a copy of a new journal of student writing. After the reading program, there is a potluck meal and often music or other demonstrations, such as salsa, tai chi, or singing.

As one of the 

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A Learning Celebration! Food for Body and Soul at the Centers for Reading and Writing

Tutors receive certificates for hours of service.“Spring Learning Celebration Tonight!” reads a handmade sign in the Tompkins Square Library’s Center for Reading and Writing. Paper flowers decorate the folding tables, and green and yellow streamers festoon windows and bookshelves. The first student arrives two hours early, toting two huge aluminum trays of macaroni salad. “Can I leave this here for the celebration?” she says, depositing the heavy trays on a table.

Twice a year, each of the eight

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Symphony Space’s All Write! Celebrates the Writing of Adult Literacy Students

Winning student writer takes the mic from host Isaiah ShefferOutside Symphony Space, on the Upper West Side, a line began stretching down the block. There was hand-shaking, back-patting, and fist-bumping as those in line welcomed new arrivals. The crowd, comprised of adult students and their tutors from basic literacy programs throughout the five boroughs, including The New York Public Library's Centers for Reading and Writing, gathered last week for Symphony Space’s annual event,

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Life After English Class: Yoko's Story

Yoko and Jacqueline reading at a Learning CelebrationYoko, a former student from Japan, stopped by the Tompkins Square Library's Center for Reading and Writing to say hello.  I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions.    

How did you find the Center for Reading and Writing?

It was in 2003, November maybe.  I actually visited other libraries and I was looking for a conversation class.  I think I 

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Field Trip! Adult Literacy Students Visit Three Faiths Exhibit

Students outside the Three Faiths exhibitLast week, students from the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the Library's free adult literacy program, took a field trip to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building to see the exhibit, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

As the group trundled up the library 

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Students at Seward Park Adult Literacy Program Discuss Three Faiths Exhibit

Last week, a group of adult students and volunteer tutors at the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the library's free adult literacy program, gathered for an introduction to the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam exhibit at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and to gauge interest in a field trip. 

"Who has been to the 42nd Street Library—the 

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The Shared World: Storylines Project Celebrates Writing of Adult Literacy Students and Author Naomi Shihab Nye

Right to left: Naomi Shihab Nye, Neela Vaswani and Storylines Honorable Mention. Photo courtesy NCV FoundationOn October 26, 2010, adult literacy students and their volunteer tutors from the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island gathered at the Bronx Library Center for the second annual Storylines Project celebration. The Storylines Project brings together adult literacy students from the New York Public Library's Centers for Reading and 

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"Wow, That's Amazing That You Do That!" Volunteering at the Center for Reading and Writing

Tutoring at the Center for Reading and WritingThe Centers for Reading and Writing are recruiting volunteer tutors for our fall class cycle beginning in September, so I've been thinking about what it means to volunteer here in the library's adult literacy program.    

I decided to speak with Gale, who has been volunteering at the Center for Reading and Writing for over twenty years. When I 

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