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Literacy Volunteers of Laredo

By Jose Luis Quezada and Joanna Amaya
On October 26, 2012

  • Literacy Volunteers of Laredo. Photo courtesy of Literacy Volunteers of Laredo


The Bridge was able to team up with students from Texas A&M International University to attend a tutoring session held by the Literacy Volunteers of Laredo (LVL), a group of volunteer language tutors that teach adult education classes for those wanting to learn English as a second language (ESL) and basic English reading skills. The Bridgesat in during a session taught by Johnny DeLeon, a volunteer who has around 7 years of varied experience in teaching and tutoring.

The class was given an exercise to help them recognize simple words that are used in common day english. DeLeon assured that spelling and grammar are not his utmost concern at this stage of the teaching process, stating, "They're practicing so that they can recognize the words. We're not too much interested right now in the grammar part of it because we want [them] to just recognize the words right now and let them pronounce them." The LVL students were given a few minutes to write sentences using a word bank to complete them, which they then read aloud and were corrected when needed.

The course can run for about 3 years, meeting for one hour a day, twice a week. However, there is not a set end date or time for students. The average student body can consist of 10-15 students at a time. DeLeon stated, "they strive to achieve from one another, it's like classroom dynamics. The more students, or preferably 15 students, would be an ideal group where they can interact with one another and you know you're going to have some success." All of the students in that particular session were Spanish speakers. Some students mentioned that they sought out the class because they simply wanted to learn English. One student was asked why she volunteered and she mentioned that she sees it as a necessary tool in the common workplace and that without it, she feels that getting a job would be difficult.

The Literacy Volunteers of Laredo have a staff of about 10 people, who are on a volunteer basis. The students in attendance are also volunteers; DeLeon says that they have been very appreciative of what the LVL has done for them. DeLeon mentioned, "Since we're volunteers, that is a very satisfying part of it and they are grateful, it's a good feeling when someone comes to you and they learn something."

The Bridge was able to experience how difficult learning English as a person who learning it as a second language. The Literacy Volunteers of Laredo are located at 1 West End Washington at Laredo Community College and can be reached at (956) 724-5207 or

(Jose Quezada and Joanna Amaya may be reached at &

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