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Learning English at Reston Library - Source Connection news papers

Posted on Mar 06,2019
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English as a Second Language (ESL) students and a volunteer hold a retirement party for Ivanka Atanasova, Library Information Assistant at Reston Regional Library. Atanasova coordinated the ESL Program. Photo contributed

Source Connection news papers

By Mercia Hobson

RESTON - One-to-one English Conversation classes are part of the Learning English programs at the Reston Regional Library. While the free classes provide practice sessions to individuals seeking to learn English as a Second Language (ESL), ultimately the lessons rendered much more and will continue to do so according to Ivanka Atanasova, retired Library Information Assistant at Reston Regional Library who had been charged with coordinating the ESL classes.

According to Ha Hoang, Assistant Branch Manager Reston Regional Library, Atanasova also worked closely with the volunteer ESL instructors. Under her direction, the program grew. "There were a few one-to-one conversational sessions ten years ago," said Atanasova. “I created the first conversational ESL class with a handful of students ...Today the program serves approximately 350 English as a Second Language (ESL) learners each month and has 30 instructors," she said.

What makes the Reston Library program special, Atanasova said, is that in addition to learning English, the ESL classes foster community, integration and professional growth, benefits echoed by the students and their teachers.

"There is no other place like the Reston Library and its ESL program," said ESL student Beatriz Sandoval formerly of Mexico. "I haven't felt that sense of community and integration anywhere else... You also get to know amazing people from all around the world in a respectful and friendly environment."

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