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Literacy Month showcases Basic Reading Class


Each year, Literacy Month is celebrated during the month of September, and this year is no different. For people who want to improve academically, get a promotion, enroll in a college program, help children with homework, build self-esteem or more fully participate in new industries coming to the area, this is the time to explore Halifax Community College’s (HCC) Literacy Education Program.


Adult Basic Education (ABE) and General Educational Development (GED) are two components that comprise the community college’s Literacy Education Program. Goals include providing convenient and accessible classes, both on and off campus, for adults who need to improve academically and reducing functional illiteracy by providing a core curriculum of reading, writing and math skills.


“Recruitment, retention and reading is what we try to encourage throughout Literacy Month and beyond,” said Literacy Director Tamba Thompson. “We constantly have new students coming into the program and also have numerous students returning. We are trying to encourage our students to concentrate on reading. Of course, reading is fundamental to just about everything.”


This year, HCC is highlighting the Basic Reading Class that is part of ABE and taught by Johnny Tripp. Coming from Tarboro, this is Tripp’s first semester teaching this class. Having worked as a substitute teacher in the Edgecombe County School System for 18 years, Tripp holds a bachelor’s degree from Barton College.


The class’ goal is to cover basic reading. If students can read, they can do math, social studies and anything else that students need help with in order to succeed, explained Tripp. Students work in the computer lab three times a week for practice, keep journals each morning, work on sentence structure, work on vocabulary words and complete projects as a group and individually. Anyone can participate in the free class and work on any subject as needed in order to work toward achieving their goals.


“Some of the students didn’t have too much to say when we started the class,” said Tripp. “Since we started the class and I do some structured teaching, they have opened up and told me things about what they like doing and want to do with their education.”


“Students also enjoy going into the computer lab and getting more experience on the computer in reading and math,” said Tripp.


During the visit, he also pointed out the box of reading books that he keeps on hand for the students. After a book is read, he has the student write a few sentences on what the book is about, which helps them practice their writing skills. The class has also created a literary board in the classroom showing the different things there are to read including labels, recipes, prescriptions and the like. “All of the students participate with each other,” said Tripp.


“This is a good school and he’s a good teacher. He makes sure that we learn,” said student Therry Scott Jr. of Roanoke Rapids about Tripp. “Reading is everything.” Scott explained that he really enjoys the class and always wanted to go to school. “This is one great thing that has happened to me,” said Scott who plans to stay in school for the foreseeable future.


Fellow student Tuniesha Scott of Pleasant Hill agreed. “I felt like it would be a good thing to work on my GED and make myself proud and make my family proud and make everybody else proud,” she said. Scott added that she plans to go into computer technology after completing the GED. “I enjoy Mr. Tripp’s teaching and helping and explaining and going over the work. I would recommend this class to others.”


Kevin Bynum, a student from Roanoke Rapids, said he needed one-on-one help. “I’m coming to further my education and get my GED. …This class has helped me a lot,” he added. After earning the GED credential, Bynum plans to go into the nursing assistant field.


A resident of Roanoke Rapids, student Jack Cunningham lost his job and needed to go back to school. “This has been helpful and I really like the class,” he said. After earning the GED, he plans to enroll in college.


ABE/GED classes are held in the Learning Lab in Building 500 from 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Fridays. Classes are also held in Enfield at Ivory Hill Church and Enfield Learning Center, in Halifax at the Day Reporting Center and Rural Life Center (4H), in Hollister at the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Center and White Rock, in Littleton at the John 3:16 Center, in Scotland Neck at the HCC Learning Center, in Hobgood at Long’s Chapel Church, in Gaston at Cool Spring Baptist Church, and in Tillery at Caledonia Correctional and Tillery Correctional. For a full schedule, visit www.halifaxcc.edu/ContED/ and click on the Continuing Education Fall 2009 Schedule.


Instructor Johnny Tripp, center, works with adult students in the Basic Reading Class that is held in Building 500 on campus Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-2p.m.