Welcome to the Literacy
Council of Northern
LCNV * 2855 Annandale Rd * Falls Church, VA 22042 * 703-237-0866 * www.lcnv.org
The mission of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is
to teach adults the basic skills of reading, writing,
speaking, and understanding English in order to
empower them to participate more fully and confidently
in their communities.
The LCNV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves
Fairfax and Arlington Counties, as well as the Cities of
Falls Church and Alexandria.
• 1962: Mid Allen Ries founded the Literacy Council of
Northern Virginia, a volunteer-based initiative, with the
Basic Literacy Tutoring program.
• 1976: LCNV started the ESOL Tutoring program to
respond to the needs of a dramatically increased
• 1993: ESOL Learning Centers established to better meet
the needs of a growing ESOL population.
• 1999: LCNV created the Family Learning Program in
response to student demand for family-oriented
• 2007: Launch of the first annual Reading: A Family
Affair to promote family literacy.
• 2012: Celebrating its 50th year, the LCNV is a professional
non-profit leader in its field, serving over 1,500 learners
each year through its four educational programs.
Mid Allen Ries
Founder of LCNV
Who We Are
Find out more about us on our website under Staff Bios!
In the US, “literacy” refers to an individual’s ability to read, write,
understand, and speak in English at levels necessary to function
at home, on the job, and in society, and to develop one's
knowledge and potential.
The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found:
• 14% of adults demonstrate “Below Basic” levels of prose,
document, and quantitative proficiencies. Adults in this level
range from having no literacy skills to being able to locate the
time and place of a meeting on a form.
• Another 29% of adults demonstrate a “Basic” level of literacy
proficiency. These adults are able to read and understand
simple, short, everyday prose (e.g. a pamphlet).
The study found that 129,000 adults in Northern Virginia lack
basic literacy skills.
Each year, the Literacy Council serves over 1500 adult learners
who represent 89 different countries and 56 different
languages. The majority of our students are between 25 and
44 years old.
Most of our students come to us through word-of-mouth,
while others are referred to us from higher level educational
organizations, whose services do not meet the needs of the
beginning level adult learner.
Upon enrollment, the Council assess students for placement
in the best program and level to suit their needs. They are also
asked to pay a $50 tuition fee, which includes the cost of their
first set of books. Full and partial scholarships are made
available for those who require financial aide through our
Student Scholarship & Advancement Fund.
From the beginning, with its “each one, teach one”
philosophy, the LCNV has placed volunteerism at the
center of its work. Actively involved in implementing
the Council’s 4 educational programs, volunteers work
closely with Literacy Council students, building
relationships and promoting literacy in their
Over 800 volunteers each year participate with the
Council, providing direct educational services to
individuals and groups of students, as well as critical
support to LCNV’s office, events and fundraising
Tutoring Programs provide individualized, goal-oriented
instruction to adult learners.
• Basic Literacy Tutoring
– Serves English speakers whose reading and writing skills
are below the fifth grade level
– Served 237 students in 2011
– Over 76% are native speakers of other languages
• English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
– Serves adults learning to speak, understand, read and
– Served 297 students representing 45 countries in 2011
The Literacy Council trains* volunteers to provide individualized
instruction to adult learners. Trainings are held 4 times a year for
Once trained, tutors enjoy considerable flexibility!
• Tutor-student pairs set their own
schedule to meet for 90 minutes each
week at a convenient, public location.
• Utilize a mix of the resources LCNV
provides and individual ideas to
prepare personalized lessons.
• LCNV tutoring staff, placement
advisors, volunteer networks, and
continuing training opportunities
provide ongoing support.
*A one-time $50 training fee applies.
Classroom Programs provide beginning level ESOL instruction
to groups of learners on a semester basis at a number of
locations throughout the area.
• Learning Centers
– Classes to help students improve their English speaking,
listening, reading, and writing skills.
– Theme-based lessons acquaint students with American culture
and life skills important to the workplace, community, and
– Served 618 students in 2011.
• Family Learning
– Classes to promote learning in the home and parental
involvement in their children's education.
– An environment for families to learn without having to worry
about childcare for their younger ones.
– Served 185 students and 127 children in 2011.
LCNV recruits and trains* volunteer Teachers and Class Aides for
3 Learning Centers sessions and 2 Family Learning sessions each
year. Volunteers choose their preferred program, position, and
location. Trainings are held 3 times a year. See our current class
• Teachers are responsible for
lesson-planning and recordkeeping.
• Class Aides assist the teacher with
instruction and help students with
• Classroom volunteers enjoy a
dynamic and collaborative
*A one-time $50 training fee applies.
Student Assessment Specialists
LCNV also recruits and trains* volunteers to assess students for
placement in our classes and to evaluate progress. Testing
involves interviewing methods developed by the Center for
Applied Linguistics. The Literacy Council hosts a one-day
training to prepare Student Assessment Specialists.
This is a great opportunity for volunteers who are interested in
our educational programs, but have a limited schedule!
• Once trained, volunteers choose
when and where to serve.
• Testing happens 4-8 times throughout
the year at LCNV’s class sites, and
requires volunteers to commit a few
hours a month for one academic year.
*Training is sponsored by the State of Virginia
LCNV hosts a variety of events throughout the year –
with a lot of help from many volunteers!
• Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA) brings books to life for the
broader Northern Virginia Community to enjoy.
• Annual Recognition Event and Holiday Pot-Luck Party joins
students, volunteers and staff together to recognize student
achievements and celebrate our diverse community.
• Other activities include fundraising runs & walks, unique
outreach events, and one-day educational opportunities for our
Interested in our behind the scenes work?
Consider these flexible non-teaching opportunities to
connect with LCNV staff, volunteers, and students:
• Student and Tutor Registrar to assist
enrollment in classes and trainings
• Office assistant to help LCNV with
• Community Liaison to promote LCNV
volunteer and education opportunities
throughout your neighborhood
• Librarian to manage and track LCNV’s
extensive resource collection
What kind of commitment are volunteers asked to make? LCNV’s volunteers are a very
dedicated group of people who are interested in advancing the Council’s mission. Each volunteer
opportunity requires a different level of commitment. For instance, tutors are asked to commit to 9
months of volunteering, while teachers and aides are asked to commit to at least one full class
session (2-4 months). For more details, read about the position on our website, or contact the
Director of Volunteers.
What are the qualifications to be a volunteer? Just as each opportunity requires a different level
of commitment, each position also requires different qualifications. However, all Classroom and
Tutoring Program volunteers must be 18 or over, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, be able
to speak, read, and write English fluently, and be able to provide their own transportation to and
from their volunteer activities.
I don’t have any teaching experience or foreign language skills. Can I still volunteer in LCNV’s
Educational Programs? YES! We will train you to get you started and support you along the way
so that you can help adults in your community gain critical English skills they need to succeed.
Besides continued training, what are the ways the LCNV supports its volunteers? When you
begin volunteering, you will meet your program supervisor and other volunteers who will support
you throughout your experience. They will be your first point of contact to share your successes
and help you along the way. The LCNV also holds various continued training opportunities
throughout the year. These in-services are geared to help volunteers expand their skills and
knowledge around adult English and literacy education. Throughout your volunteer experience,
you will also be invited to participate in various volunteer networks and LCNV events, which
provide opportunities to connect with the broader LCNV family of staff, students, and volunteers.
As a volunteer tutor, teacher, or class aide, I’m giving my time, skills, and energy to the
Literacy Council. Why am I asked to pay a $50 training/materials fee? The Literacy Council
wouldn’t be effective without our volunteers. The Council trains and supports volunteers to
be the English instructors to our students. In doing so, the Council provides our volunteer
instructors with the materials and books they will need to effectively work with their
student(s), along with many other resources and continued training opportunities.
Volunteer LCNV instructors are eligible to take any VALRC class for FREE, have unlimited
access to the Literacy Council’s comprehensive Library of over 4,000 ESOL and Basic
Literacy resources, may participate in any of the LCNV’s other trainings and volunteer
opportunities, and are provided with regular in-service opportunities, hosted by LCNV, our
partners, and other experts, where LCNV instructors can learn more about adult English
education in Northern Virginia and further develop their skills. The one-time $50 fee our
volunteer instructors pay contributes to the costs of all of these training opportunities and
resources that your affiliation with the Council offers.
How do I become a volunteer? Complete LCNV’s Volunteer Application, or contact the
Director of Volunteers with any questions.
Are students charged a fee to enroll with the LCNV? Students pay a $65 registration fee,
which includes their first set of books. Partial and full scholarships are available.
I know someone who I think could benefit from your services. How can they enroll?
Prospective students are invited to call or visit us at our office at: James Lee Community
Center, 2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042; ph: 703-237-0866.
Other ways to Support
Inspired by the LCNV’s mission, but not sure you have
the time to volunteer? Consider making a donation!
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Literacy
Council depends upon financial contributions to
survive. Your tax exempt donation to the Literacy
Council helps to provide quality education for
adults in need, providing them with the skills to
succeed and the hope of a better life.
Thank You for completing the Literacy Council
of Northern Virginia’s Volunteer Orientation!
– Read what others have said about their experiences
with LCNV on our website and blog.
– Complete our Volunteer Application to get involved!
– Contact Ruba Afzal, Director of Volunteers, with any
questions or to discuss your interests:
703-237-0866 ext. 111
We look forward to hearing from you!