English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
A practical, life-skills approach to language acquisition.
The ESOL program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world.
With 250-300 adult students enrolled each year, the ESOL program serves approximately 80% of all Literacy Council students. We currently have students from 21 countries, but most are from Latin America or Ukraine. Their most commonly stated goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects and to help their children in school.
Each student works with a trained volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of up to ten people. The tutor adapts and uses materials suited to each student’s English level, educational background, and learning goals. While all ESOL students come to us to learn the English language, they vary greatly in their reading and writing literacy levels in their native language. Our personalized attention to each student’s unique needs means that we can help across all literacy levels.
In order to make the tutoring sessions as convenient as possible for both students and tutors, we offer a wide variety of meeting places. Most sessions take place at the Literacy Council office in downtown Asheville. Other sessions are held in libraries, churches, schools, businesses, community centers, cafes, and occasionally in students’ or tutors’ homes.
We find that many ESOL students are very proud of their adopted country and delight in every language achievement that takes them one step closer to fully participating in civic, religious, educational, and neighborhood programs. In the words of a couple who immigrated to Asheville from China:
“Ever since we came to Asheville, we fell in love with this place. The people are so enthusiastic, friendly, and sincere. They love the motherland and everyone is working hard. Thanks to the Literacy Council for our teacher, Nancy. She taught very seriously and patiently. Because of the teacher’s help, we can understand some normal English now, can speak simple dialogue, and learned more about the history of the United States. We wish to achieve the desire [to become citizens of the United States] and vote in the next elections!”
For more information, contact our ESOL Program Coordinator.
At the Literacy Council, one size does not fit all.
We meet our students where they are today and tailor our programs to fit individual needs.