ELAA Student Shares Love of Reading


In 1992, Esperanza came to the United States from Colombia, with multiple college degrees–one a master’s degree in Spanish. She taught Spanish classes at Pima Community College while also working in facilities maintenance at both the University of Arizona and El Conquistador. Despite all of her hard work she was disappointed in her English skills and felt like she wasn’t successful.

In 2011 she found Literacy Connects by referral from an English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) student. She wanted to improve her English, but also wanted to attend the computer and math classes.  Her ultimate goal was to “refresh [her] bachelor’s degree in economics from Colombia.”

As a single parent with two children and three jobs, she had started working on her degrees many times, but everyday life always found a way to interrupt. The flexibility and focus on individual student goals at Literacy Connects empowered her to keep going. In 2015 she retired and started teaching English in our English Acquisition for Adults program.

When asked what has been the most significant change for her since coming to Literacy Connects, she says “Mainly making myself more confident. I feel very happy helping other students. Because I have been through these classes I have the capacity to help the other students with what they’re going through.”

“She’s a very good teacher,” says Jennifer Stanowski, Program Director of English Language Acquisition for Adults.

Esperanza’s favorite classes are the English Intensives taught by volunteer Nancy Kwoh. Esperanza participates in the classes, but also helps her fellow classmates. “Nancy’s classes help students improve faster so students are more willing,” says Esperanza.

At Literacy Connects, Esperanza says that “everyone kept telling me it was possible, not one or two, but everyone.”

One of Esperanza’s favorite activities is reading. She said she reads a lot of theology and philosophy, but that her favorite book is The Bible because “it’s a manual for everything.” She says that reading is her passion and that “all the answers are in books, all the answers.”

Below is an essay that Esperanza wrote (and presented) in one of her English Intensive ELAA classes.


Reading is my favorite activity

My favorite activity is reading. My whole life, reading has been my favorite activity. When I was very young, about 5 or 6 years old, I used to get up early in the morning and get the paper before anyone else and hide the section with the comics. I liked the comics because they were a story in four scenes. I also liked that many expressions were new to me. Sometimes only one sentence would easily be half of the story.

Later on when I was able to understand more advanced writing, I liked to read books with a “moral”. Those books taught good life lessons that I could apply as I grew up.

Reading has been my companion all my life, in good and bad times, lighting my path in life.

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