Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Arlington Public Library has received a $1000 grant from the Young Adult Services Association of the American Library Association to support a writing program for teens who speak English as a second language. ESL Speaks: Sharing Teen Immigrant Stories will take place over the summer, with sessions starting in June.

Storytelling, whether written or oral, is a cross-cultural tradition that passes down experiences and memories. In ESL Speaks, teens can discuss their stories and express themselves freely in a non-judgmental setting while building confidence in their English language skills, both written and spoken.

The Library will host a five-week series workshop on writing stories and poems in partnership with The Writer’s Garret. Teens will be encouraged to create works highlighting their experiences. The workshops are geared towards teen immigrants but they are open to all interested teens. ESL Speaks meets on Thursday afternoons at 2 to 3 p.m. from June 13 to July 18 at the Downtown Library. All workshops are free and do not require registration. Teens are not required to attend all workshops.  

A final celebration and reading of the participants’ work was scheduled for early August but has been cancelled. Participants will all receive a chapbook of their work to keep and share with family and friends. 

“We hope ESL Speaks will strengthen and expand the impact of the library’s summer learning program towards teens most vulnerable to summer learning loss,” says teen librarian Loretta Zhang.

Each teen writer will receive a book with the group’s writing at the end of the program. The Library will also display copies in the young adult areas at the Downtown Library and Northeast Branch.

Arlington Public Library's ESL Speaks: Sharing Teen Immigrant Stories is supported by a grant from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.  Click here to learn more about ESL Speaks and about all writing programs at the Library.