ROANOKE, Va. – Region 5 Adult Education is celebrating Adult Education and Family Literacy this week across Southwest Virginia by highlighting their free classes.
Joy Truskowski, an ESL Instructor for Region 5 and singer-songwriter, likes to incorporate music into her lessons.
“I am going to teach them really simple songs in English and then do other kinds of movement and singing activities to build community and help connect more. It really does help with their language too,” Truskowski said.
Truskowski was recently awarded an Arts Matter Grant from the City of Roanoke. This grant allows her to travel to all of region 5 classes and lead songs.
“It is very exciting to have the opportunity because I get to combine two of the things, I love the most. Which is singing and teaching English,” said Truskowski.
Region 5 Adult Education offers free English classes and GED classes in Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke counties, as well as the City of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem.
“We start from beginning literacy, meaning you can’t read in your own language, and you can’t read in English and we start you there. Up to advanced ESL meaning you are speaking really well, maybe you need a little work with your reading and writing still,” Lea DeCosta, the Regional Program Manager for Region 5 Adult Education said.
English Language classes focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English. Basic math skills, workforce preparation activities, and community resources are also incorporated into the weekly lessons.
GED Preparation & Adult Basic Education classes provide all types of learners with an opportunity to master basic academic and workplace skills to help an individual’s career path. Students without a high school credential will work toward passing the GED tests, but anyone who wants a basic academic refresher can enroll.
Xian Cao, a student taking ESL classes with Region 5, is from China and moved to the United States seven months ago.
“I love it. It is not only a class. I can practice and learn English. They introduce a lot of American culture to me and the teacher is very helpful in all the aspects of my life,” Cao said.
Truskowski said she loves to help her students because it is very fulfilling and she gets to be a friendly welcoming face.
“We get people from all over the world and it is beautiful when they sit together in my classroom and help each other. To have someone who speaks Arabic help somebody who speaks Spanish to be able to write their date of birth or something like that,” Truskowski said.
You can learn more about the free courses here.