MOVING MOMENT: Two Students, Two Tutors, and One Goal

During the last quarter of 2023, two students were referred to LiteracyCNY by a local agency that offers citizenship classes. Lillian and Margot both needed help with the English Test part of the naturalization exam. This part tests candidates on their reading and writing skills but also their ability to speak and understand English. Both students needed more individualized attention that Literacy CNY could provide with a one-to-one tutor.  

The first student, Lillian, started with her tutor, Lara, in October and quickly got to work. Lillian had already passed the Civics Test and the U.S. naturalization exam does not require test takers to retake satisfied sections. However, Lillian had a rescheduled test date that was shortly after her first test. Lillian’s rescheduled exam date was fast approaching with nine days until the retest. Lillian and Lara spent their time together over Zoom; meeting in person was difficult for Lillian as she takes care of her family. The pair spent about seven hours total in multiple sessions working on her small talk conversation skills. After trial and error, Lillian successfully passed! 

I am very proud of [Lillian] as I know how hard some of those sections were for her.” – From tutor, Lara. 

Lillian was able to pass the section of her naturalization exam after meeting with Lara and felt more confident in her conversational abilities.  

Furthermore, another student was paired with a different tutor the following month in a similar situation. This time, Margot also needed help with the English Test and improving her ability to speak and understand English during the interview. Margot was paired with Christy, one of LiteracyCNY’s tutors, and had a little over a month before her re-scheduled exam. Margot worked with Christy to practice simple conversations and prepare for the small talk that would occur during the interview. 

Christy valued working with Margot as it was a unique challenge yet rewarding experience as a temporary tutor. Christy admired Margot’s ability to master the small nuances of small talk conversation with limited time together.  

“This aspect of English can be particularly elusive for non-native speakers, as it often does not translate directly and requires a deeper understanding of the culture.” commented Christy. 

Even with the added time constraint, both Margot and Christy met the challenge with enthusiasm and commitment to persevere. 

Lillian and Margot worked swiftly with their tutors in sessions that were concentrated on their specific need. Both were able to find success and improve on a goal they brought to LiteracyCNY. 

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