Literacy Learning During the Pandemic


Nelly Shenk

Skyline Literacy’s Executive Director, Nelly Shenk, estimates out of the 300 students typically served at Skyline, the transition to virtual learning has made 2-3% of these students unable to take part in classes. Pictured here are tutors Dolores Shoup (far right) and Bly Brown (standing) with some Skyline Literacy clients. This picture was taken in 2019.

Sienna Sullivan, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – Skyline Literacy provides need-based instruction for adults in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County in literacy, citizenship courses and career-readiness. Skyline Literacy is currently faced with navigating virtual learning with their students.

“The biggest challenge right now, since all the programs are online, is students who do not have the skills or resources to work with technology,” said Skyline Literacy’s Executive Director Nelly Shenk.

To combat issues of connectivity and accessibility, Skyline is providing devices such as tablets and laptops for students and holding additional orientation sessions to familiarize students with the technology.  

Skyline Literacy offers a wide range of classes such as citizenship preparation, English as a second language and general literacy (including reading, writing, and speaking) oriented for adults reading at or below the 5th-grade level.

“One of the biggest barriers to success is language,” said Shenk. “Without it, we would always feel like we are foreigners.”

Senior sociology major, Emme Mejia, has served as both a volunteer and intern for Skyline Literacy since her freshman year at BC. 

“I think the best part of the job is learning everyone’s background and then helping them move forward in the right direction towards whatever they want to achieve,” said Mejia.

Shenk encourages others to participate in Skyline Literacy’s initiatives to promote community success in communication and life.

“My heart and passion are with Skyline, because I believe in their mission and vision and I think that we make a difference,” said Shenk.

Any students interested in getting involved with Skyline Literacy should visit their volunteer page to learn more about available positions and opportunities.