Happy New Year’s

Here’s an old song that many sing for New Year’s. It’s called “Auld Lang Syne” – it’s Scottish English for “old long since,” or “long long ago,” “days gone by,” or “old times.”

The song was originally written as a poem by Robert Burns in 1788, and it was later put to music. Here are the lyrics:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Thank You, Tutors!

Ye 1
Left to right: Bin, Hai Ling, Miao Yun, and Ye (tutor)
Left to right: Yan Fen, Allison (tutor), Qiao Ri, Qing, and Kwai Hoi
Shuwan 1
Left to right: Xiao Ying and Shuwan (tutor)
Natalia 1
Left to right: Qian Yun, Bao Juan, Sara, and Natalia (tutor)
Left to right: Junfeng (tutor) and Qing

This semester the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program was lucky enough to have a few students from the Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program at New York University as tutors. They helped some of our beginning students get extra practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing outside of their regular ESOL classes. Thank you so much, Natalia, Allison, Ye, Shuwan, and Junfeng!

Describing a Family Member

Class 1B was recently asked by their teacher to describe one family member. Read one story below, then take the quiz to test your understanding.

Xiu Ying (Lisa) Lin

My Mom

My mother’s name is Li Ru Xin. She was born in Taishan, China. My mom and my dad came to the U.S. in 1994. My dad passed away in 2006.

My mom is short and heavy. She has very short hair, and she still has black hair (she doesn’t dye it). My hair is not like my mom’s. I have a lot of white hair. But my nose is like my mom’s. We have ugly noses.

My mom likes to watch TV, but she can’t read the newspaper because she has poor vision. She likes to cook. When I go to her home, she keeps calling me to eat. She is very hard-working and she doesn’t waste money.

Every morning she goes to the park to exercise. But she fell down and fractured her lower backbone. The doctor told her to have surgery, but she says no because she doesn’t believe in surgery. She just stretches her joints, and now she can walk slowly.

My mom is not fun. In my memory, she did not laugh or smile. I’ve never seen her teeth. She has many wrinkles on her face. She worries too much, always feels sad, always thinks bad things. I always remind her, “Think good things, you’ll feel good.” But it’s very difficult to change her thinking.

She tells me when she was 12 years old, she was a very happy girl. She had a sister and a brother and two parents who loved her so much. In her hometown, her parents had a good business. Her family was rich.

But in the Second World War, the Japanese army entered their town. Her parents and her sister all died. There was only her and her brother. She was 12 years old and her brother was 14 years old. No food, no job, no money. Someone sold my mother to a family in another town to work for them in their home.

She lost a lot of hair and she became thin. Every day she worked a lot: cooking, washing clothes, cleaning the house. At night she cried and cried and cried in her bed. She missed her brother. She wanted to go back to her hometown and bring her brother to her new town. But she was too young and didn’t know how to go back. Later, she heard her brother had starved to death.

Forty years ago, one day we were at home and we heard one man in the street speaking loudly. I saw my mom run out the door and she followed the man to look at his face. I asked my mom, “Do you know him?” My mom said, “I don’t know him. I heard his voice, and it is like my brother’s.” Oh, she still misses her brother.

When she was 65 years old, one day I saw her crying. I asked, “Mom, why are you crying?” She said she missed her mom.

Now my mom is 86 years old. She doesn’t cry anymore. She is trying to relax. She is trying to open her mouth to smile.


Click here to read more.

Idiom of the Week: A Close Call

Meaning: Describing something bad that almost happened.


A car almost hit me while I was riding my bike. It was a close call.

We had a close call the other day – we almost missed our flight because traffic was so bad.

“That was a close call,” he said after the bear walked away.

Pop Quiz:

Which one describes a close call?

A.  You get hit by an air conditioner that fell from a window.

B.  An air conditioner falls from a window three blocks away.

C.  An air conditioner falls from a window and hit the spots where you were standing ten seconds ago.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

Read More »