Warder Literacy Center to offer language learning nights

Adults will soon have the opportunity to practice language learning through conversation, games and music at Warder Literacy Center.

The Talk Time Conversation Classes will offer a place to practice fluency in either English or Spanish while enjoying activities in a comfortable setting.

The new program will be from 7 to 9 p.m. each Friday in February at the center, 137 E. High St. Attending costs $10 per session, and a reservation is required by noon the same day. Students will play games, activities, and music to practice either English or Spanish, alternating between the two languages for an hour at a time. 

David Smiddy, the Center’s executive director, says the class will meet two needs that complement each other.

“For the last five years or more, I have had many people contact the Warder Center to see if we offered Spanish-language instruction,” Smiddy says. “Unfortunately, we didn't. Last summer, several of our (Spanish-speaking) students sought me out with this message: ‘We need more opportunities to practice English.’ … I had an ‘Aha!’ moment: Let's meet both needs in a mutual learning/practice experience that is fun and practical.”

Using games and music doesn’t just make the class enjoyable, Smiddy says, but also helps the students to absorb learning more fully.

“Games, activities and music are very effective ways to learn a language,” he says. “The hardest part of learning a language is practicing it out loud among other people. Adults are notoriously shy and self-conscious. However, give an adult something to do that requires focus and happens to involve dialogue, then voila. This becomes even more effective if the activity is fun and memorable.” 

The program is aimed at teens and adults. The center may add a session in Creole and English, depending on how well the initial English/Spanish program is received.
Smiddy hopes this new offering will get more people to participate in the center’s services and help individuals to succeed.

“In a service like ours, the goal is not money but participation, even though there is a nominal charge. Once people start showing up consistently, we will consider ourselves halfway there,” Smiddy says. “From there we will gauge success by meeting specific goals expressed by the participants. After all, what is the point of learning another language if it does not help you meet your goals?”

The Warder Literacy Center offers services including adult and children’s literacy programs, English classes for speakers of other languages, and instruction to help adults earn their GED.

Get more information about Talk Time and make a reservation by calling the center at (937) 323-8617. Learn more about the center’s programs by visiting their Facebook page or website, clarkcountyliteracy.org.

Read more articles by Steve Schlather.