In novel Maryland program, children help parents learn English

Wendy Samee (left, standing), co-teacher of an English course offered by the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, reviews an exercise with students. Maricela Cabrera (far right, striped sweater), 35, and her daughter Giselle Jimenez (not pictured) are both taking the course, a novel approach to learning that employs children to teach their parents English. ( Zainab Mudallal, CNS)

ZAINAB MUDALLAL, Capital News Service

ASPEN HILL, Md. – Playing the role of the teacher is not a game of dress-up for 10-year-old Giselle Jimenez. Her English is stronger than her mother’s, Maricela Cabrera, 35, who often needs Giselle’s guidance on homework assigned in a family literacy class they are taking together.

Cabrera and Giselle are teaming up to learn English in a course offered by the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, a novel, intergenerational approach to helping adults with low levels of literacy learn English, by making their children the teachers.

U.S. Department of Education estimates show that 11 percent of Maryland adults aged 16 or older lack basic prose literacy skills

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