Women2Women - Spring 2018 - 26

Growth2Go

Latina Initiatives

THE IMPORTANCE OF ESL &
TRANSITIONING INTO THE
By Lizette Epps - Senior Corporate Buyer, Carpenter Technology

O

ur community of Berks and the greater Reading area is one
that is rich in cultural diversity. According to the U.S. Census
Bureau, approximately 70 percent of our population is made up of
Hispanics and many whose native language is not English. Language
is a key component of how we as people, friends, neighbors, employers and employees interact with each other. It is a common thread
that ties us to one another and affords us the opportunities to build
relationships, form lasting bonds, and maintain involvement in the
community at large.

In the United States, English is known as the lingua franca, which
is the commonly adopted language in which we do business locally
and globally. While the lingua franca may seem commonplace for
those born and raised in the States, it is not the native tongue for all
across the globe. The expectation that those who migrate to the U.S.
from other countries already knowing the lingua franca is a naive
one. It is important for the community to have resources in place
to help those who migrate learn the native language. Luckily, our
community of Berks has such resources through agencies like the
Literacy Council of Reading-Berks where those interested in learning
English can do so. The Literacy Council holds several English as
Second Language classes throughout the county for residents who
are ready to learn.
While it may be a bit nerve wracking to learn something new,
learning English as a second language is a benefit that opens doors
to new experiences and opportunities. As the language is learned,
new forms of expression through writing, speaking, and reading
become available assets to begin using in everyday life. Areas that
seemed like barriers, such as furthering one's education, finding

26 Women2Women Spring 2018

employment opportunities, or engaging in community events, are
no longer so challenging. ESL students find that they can embrace
the new-found freedom that the language has given them and get
more involved in things that are important to them.

MASANO BRADLEY

ISSUE: 1804
ORG/PUB: Reading Women2Women


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