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Elaine Bacon Literacy Project continues to do a world of good

Michigan Technological University already provides English as a Second Language classes for visiting professors and students, but family members do not have the same opportunities. Many countries require foreign language classes as early as elementary school, a step in the right direction if they want to eventually go abroad. Beth Flynn and Denise Heikinen from the Elaine Bacon Literacy Project say there is still a gap from what many know compared to what is necessary to fit in here in the Keweenaw.

Heikinen says those differences become apparent often in funny ways. She talks about doing the Parade of Nations scavenger hunt with a student.

We were at the Hancock Beach looking for a clue. The clue had something to do with what a baseball player does when running towards home plate. I said it’s under a slide. You slide in baseball, so here was a kid’s slide. And she said, “You have to take your own plates from home?”

The organization dates back to the 60’s and originally was devoted to helping teach reading and writing. It shifted its focus decades ago, even calling the Opie and Van Pelt Library on campus its home for a while. Now all classes are done online. Flynn and Heikinen say that allows them to continue to have sessions with students no longer in the area. The program is unique in the country. Very few campuses offer something similar.

Flynn holds reading classes on Sundays and Tuesdays. Heikinen hosts individualized one-on-one sessions throughout the week. To learn more, visit the group’s website. A link is here.

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