English as a Second Language (ESL)

Imagine living in a foreign country and not being able to read or speak the language. Think about how difficult it would be to perform the everyday tasks most of us take for granted: shopping for groceries, renting an apartment, getting directions, reading a bus schedule, or communicating with doctors, merchants, or teachers. Without good English skills, most immigrants cannot reach their full potential and become active contributors to the community.

Just as in other communities in the United States, the immigrant population in the central Arkansas area has grown rapidly in recent years. Since 1999, Literacy Action’s trained volunteers have taught non-English-speaking adults from all over the world to read and communicate in English. These students come from all walks of life—from professionals with advanced degrees to unskilled workers and stay-at-home mothers.

How the ESL (English as a Second Language) Program Works

After completing an assessment to determine their English level, students are assigned to tutors who can best address the individual student’s needs and objectives. Tutors and students meet for up to three hours a week for one-on-one or small-group sessions. All lessons are conducted in a public location; all services and materials are free of charge.

Tutors are trained by Literacy Action to teach English language learners the skills they need to succeed in our community. Tutors use a wide range of nationally recognized teaching materials, as well as incorporating other materials geared to the student’s particular needs and interests.

Students are retested periodically to assess their progress. At each lesson, the tutor evaluates the student’s small and large steps toward achieving their personal objectives. Tutors are both instructors and cheerleaders, making sure students stay engaged and see the results of their efforts.

Who is Eligible?

Literacy Action of Central Arkansas serves all of Pulaski and the surrounding counties’ residents who are at least 18 years of age and want to improve their English skills. For more information, email laca@www.literacyactionar.org or call the Literacy Action Office at 501-372-7323.