Literacy Conferences

READ San Diego’s 26th Annual Conference will be held on Saturday June 11, 2016 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.  Conferences offer volunteers, staff, learners and supporters a chance to learn more about literacy, network with colleagues and get inspired!

Helen, one of our literacy staff members here at Literacy Volunteers-HBPL, wrote about a social networking workshop she attended with READ San Diego’s Susan Vega at SCLLN’s Tutor Learner Conference this spring.

My first session was Social Media with Susan Vega. It was a wonderful introduction to the many options social media offers. I typically have shunned social media use mostly because of concern for being online (far too ‘public’ for someone who doesn’t mind keeping her views to herself) and not wanting to spend my free time checking posts or messages every few minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to learn there are much more tools available to make and keep your information private. I learned that you can review the settings for Facebook, as an example, and have postings require approval just like a friend request. And I learned about a great app called ‘Next Door’ that connects you to information in your own community so you are not just informed you are connected. Susan was very knowledgeable and moved easily through the different websites and apps she presented. I left feeling more confident about social media. At least I know how to find information I actually want to know and ways to remain private if I choose to wade further into the waters.

Hope to see you all in San Diego!


Lucio is originally from Mexico.  He only attended a few years of school as a child because he needed to work to help support his family.  When he came to the United States in 1985, he worked long hours and never had time to study English.  Lucio registered with the Oak View Literacy Program in June 2013 and his goal was to learn English to become a citizen.  Although he was able to communicate on a beginning level and read some basic sight words, hr was unable to write at all in English.  Lucio worked with a tutor in 2013 and then had to stop for a time but came back in 2014.  He and his tutor, John, worked diligently on preparing for the citizenship test and in late spring 2015 Lucio passed all parts of the exam… except for the writing. 

After the test, Lucio told me that he knew writing was his weak area and wished he had spent more time practicing this but he had an appointment in September to re-take the writing portion and he focused on that.  His regular tutor was unavailable to work with him in the summer, so we sent an urgent email to our literacy volunteers and several agreed to work with him over the summer on writing.  He met with Coni and Mike each week and practiced diligently at home.  In the fall, when Lucio passed the writing portion, he proudly came to tell literacy staff and his tutors.  On November 20, Lucio went to the Citizenship Ceremony and came to the library directly after it to show us his certificate and to thank his tutors, the literacy program and the library.  Lucio told me that before coming to Oak View Branch he had no idea all the programs and services available in a public library for free.  He was so grateful. 

“This program and the tutors were a big help to me.  They gave so much effort to help me and had so much patience and I was able to become a citizen here.  Many people don’t know what a library offers, that there is so much available so close to us.  Thank you for giving this help.  I feel like I am with family here.  I feel so grateful with the teachers because they were able to teach what I needed.  Without this, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve citizenship.  The teachers made me feel good.” (Translated from Spanish)

Lucio’s wife also told us that the tutors here really motivated and encouraged her husband and because they believed he could pass, he believed it to.


HBPD Citizens Academy

Last fall, several learners signed up for Huntington Beach Police Department’s Citizens Academy and wrote about their experience:

My name is Tomas.  I am very happy for this great experience to know about the job that the police perform.  I can see how little I knew about police work based on what I saw on television shows and movies.  I have learned the big heart that people have who work as police officers.  I want to thank them so much for opening the doors to each of us because we have discovered how the police work and we changed the concepts we had about them.  Today, I notice everything they do and why they do it.  Investigations are very interesting.  They showed us how to get fingerprints, find evidence and the equipment they use, uniforms and camaras they have and their experience on patrols. Everything has been excellent and we’ve learned a lot but most of all that we can all work together to live without fear and in unity for the good of the whole community.

This was my chance!

Martha came into the literacy office this morning excited to tell us great news.  Last week, she heard from a friend that a new restaurant was hiring.  She went to apply and discovered that none of the staff spoke Spanish.  “I filled out the application in English and they called me in for an interview.  I was able to speak with them in English.  They hired me and that day I started working!  I am so happy!

Martha told us how much she appreciates the literacy program and our literacy tutors because she was able to fill out the application and do the interview in English, something she would never have been able to do before.  Her co-workers do not speak Spanish so she will have the opportunity to use English at work and she couldn’t be happier.

Go Literacy and Go Martha!

Barnes and Noble Book Fair

Calling all Book Lovers!

Just a reminder that Literacy Services is having a Book Fair at Barnes & Noble starting today. The Book Fair is both online and in person at the Bella Terra Barnes and Noble store.

snowmanHave a book or other gift you are planning to purchase?  Support literacy when you shop from Friday Dec. 11 through Wednesday, December 16, 2015.

Tell your friends and family, too!  Even if you don’t have a voucher, simply mention Literacy Volunteers-HBPL at the Bella Terra store or online, enter the Book Fair code 11733334 at checkout.

That’s all … and thank you so much for all you do year-round to support Literacy and all our volunteers & learners.


My First Challenge by Elizabeth Perez

The following is the speech that Elizabeth gave at our Wine and Words Event October 23, 2015. 

My name is Elizabeth Perez. I’m from Mexico. I’m married and I have 3 kids. My oldest son is a Dental Assistant, my daughter is in her 3rd semester at Cal State Fullerton, and my baby son is a freshman at Huntington Beach High School.   

                I want to tell you a little bit about my experience at Oak View library. When Mrs. Amy, who is the coordinator of the Family Literacy program chose me, I felt lucky, but I was very afraid of this challenge.  I am very nervous and it is hard standing here in front of everyone.

              First, I want to thank my family, especially my husband for his love and support. I also want to Thank  all the people who are supporting libraries, thanks to Mrs. Amy and my tutor Jeanne for helping me to change my life because years ago I didn’t  know that libraries offered programs like homework club, programs for teens, tutor to teach English and many things.

              I will never forget when my kids were in elementary school I missed a lot of opportunities to speak with the teachers because I didn’t understand English I didn’t know how the high education runs because I studied only ten years in my town. now I know the libraries had all the tools that the people need to improve their education.

              I remember when my first tutor Lani asked me a question in English, I will never forget how afraid I was, I was thinking “Please don’t ask me” but I saw her face! She enjoyed when she looked at my face blushing.

             Since I have been taking English classes and we are in the Stepping-Up program our lives have  changed. I feel sad that I didn’t have this information when my oldest son was in H.S. because I didn’t know how to advise him to take his regular classes or how to enroll him directly into the university. I am  proud of him for accomplishing what he did on his own.

              Now I have the tools to help my other two kids and I can help them to decide what classes they need to take and how they can enroll into the university. It is very sad when people like me move to different country to follow our dreams and speak a different language because you don’t know how to help your kids. This is the reason why the immigrants are looking for programs like family literacy. I once again I want to thank all the volunteers  and everyone involved in this beautiful program. I really like family literacy program. Thank you.