Posted on August 16, 2014 at 10:46 pm by Clay Curtin
In early July, Project Read – Menlo Park
, the adult literacy program of the Menlo Park Library, launched an ESL (English as a Second Language) Conversation Club. Every Wednesday afternoon from 5:00-6:00 pm, English Language Learners are invited for an hour to practice and expand their English in a non-classroom environment. ESL learners, whose native language ranges from Farsi to Spanish, Japanese to Russian and beyond, gather in the downstairs meeting room. Volunteer facilitators have led the conversations around topics ranging from summer fun to shopping to the communication styles. Since many of the conversationalists still have family and friends in their native countries they have also learned how to connect with them via Skype. Each evening they tackle one or more of the trickier English idioms such as “to nail something down”, or “to fill someone in” and then work on homonym phrases such as “The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.” Or “The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.”
The group now ranges from 20 to 25 participants per session and as the club becomes better known, that number will expand. Some libraries in our area have longer established ESL conversation clubs that have up to 100 participants per meeting!
The mission of Project Read – Menlo Park
is to enable adults and families to improve their basic literacy skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, in the community, at work, and as lifelong students.