Literacy DuPage - Growing the community SPARK
Attending a new group or club can be daunting, especially when you go alone.

Having to speak and interact with strangers can feel...uncomfortable, especially when you’re trying out recently learned English-language skills. People courageously often do exactly that, though, when they participate in conversation groups. In fact, in 2019, learners attended 1,023 times one of Literacy DuPage's drop-in conversation groups. For many of these learners, they went to the group alone and without a robust English-speaking foundation! 
At Literacy DuPage, our conversation groups are intended to give adult learners from around the world, practice speaking English in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. We have eight groups that meet regularly throughout DuPage County. You can learn more about the groups, where they meet, and their schedules by visiting . There is no charge to attend, and we do not require a commitment or registration. You only need to show up!
More than a group.

Often conversation groups become more than a place to practice English. Many learners say they feel isolated in the United States, and the groups help them gain confidence and expand their social involvement in the community. 
For some groups, they become a classroom/social club, where neighbors and friends are invited to join. Many friendships have developed from the groups, and support is always shown for new group members.
Topics for discussion vary week to week. Many conversation group leaders say they rarely need to put together a set lesson plan since learners come eager to practice speaking and are so willing to spark their own conversations. For example, recently, one learner wanted suggestions of "small talk" for an upcoming party. The groups can also provide a safe space for heated discussions about civil unrest and politics. One theme across the board is groups have a lot of laughs about American idioms and comparing America to their birth countries. Food also seems to be a discussion that people enjoy. One conversation group leader told me that many of her learners say dishes from their home countries taste different when made in America. 
Many groups take field trips, such as to the library kitchen to bake muffins, visiting ethnic restaurants and American diners, and even trips to the Morton Arboretum, Cantigny, and Chicago!
A beautiful poem by  Tony the Tiger from Taiwan  about a conversation group field trip: 

Memories are made of this
water taxi, city bus and Metra train
one leader, six women and two men
 Ain’t we the world?
Brazil, Cameroon, India, Japan,
 Korea, Taiwan and Spain
Welcoming the newest group.

In January, we welcomed a new West Chicago conversation group, Hablemos! Let's Talk! This unique group is truly a community “hands-on” effort. Gallery 200 provides the space, Literacy DuPage facilitates the discussion, the West Chicago Public Library supplies the resources to help facilitate language learning, the resident leadership team (a group of passionate parents) is the force behind turning the vision into a reality and WeGo Together for Kids brings everyone together. 
You can read more about this exciting and passionate new group in our latest blog post
Literacy DuPage - Growing the community SPARK
Until next time,

Cassandra Shepherd
Marketing Manager
(630) 942-5210
Literacy DuPage | (630) 942-5210 | Email | Website