Adult Literacy

Learning to speak English is a cornerstone of assimilation into life in America, and University Settlement has been at the forefront addressing this need since the early years. Today, the immigrant population served by the Settlement's Adult Literacy program is largely Chinese, reflecting the change in neighborhood demographics on the Lower East Side and throughout the city.  

We understand that it is not enough help new immigrants with only the basics for survival.  In order to be effective, a literacy program must provide more than just English language skills; it must impart the tools needed to build a solid foundation for success.  Every year hundreds of immigrant adults from across New York City come to the Adult Literacy program to acquire the English language and technology skills needed to gain employment, further their education, understand and exercise legal rights and responsibilities, attain U.S. citizenship and otherwise participate in their communities.

The program includes a free 10-month course of study from September through June, along with an advanced creative writing course taught by the head of NYU's Gallatin Writing Program, a Chaucer and idioms class, a movie class, workshops led by the Tenement Museum, and other courses that enable students to build their English proficiency.

Student registration begins in May every year. Students must apply in person, fill out an application form, goals form, and take a short speaking test. Personal documents are not required for registration. Our English classes are not bilingual, and taught only in English. We offer classes in the daytime, evening, and weekend, of all different ESL levels.

University Settlement treats immigrants with respect and supports their goal to succeed in many ways.  Negotiating life in a new language isn't easy. But with decades of experience, University Settlement helps families find their way.

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