Adult Literacy-ESOL Program


A Multicultural Classroom

 Each year nearly three thousand students are enrolled, representing more than eighty countries and speaking almost fifty languages. Students come from places as far as Togo and Nepal. Within a single classroom, a teacher may encounter speakers as many as fifteen languages, including Dari from Afghanistan, Telugu and Malayalam from southern India and Amharic from Ethiopia

ESOL Class and Registration Schedule

There are two terms per year, one in the Spring (February to May), and the other in Fall (September to December). Each class runs approximately twelve weeks, with two sessions a week, amounting to twenty four sessions per term.

Flyers for class registration and testing are distributed in July for Fall semester and December for Spring semester and are available in all the Queens Community Libraries. For information on class registrations, please call 718-480-4231/4235


In the classrooms, emphasis is placed on learning how to speak and understand.  Vocabulary and grammar are conveyed through lessons about everyday situations, such as going to the doctor or the supermarket, or renting an apartment.  All students receive a full introduction to the library and its services and are taken on a tour of the library. They register for library cards and are encouraged to return and take advantage of all other library services.

Class Levels

Students can read and write some words, understand frequently used words in context and very simple phrases, survival needs can be communicated simply, has little or no control of grammar. This course is focused on survival skills such as map reading, filling out forms, reading labels on food and medication.

Students can understand simple learned phrases, can express basic survival needs, but are not fluent; has some control of basic grammar. This course is focused on vocabulary building, life skills and oral communication skills.

Class sizes are limited to 30-35. Students who must be turned away are given a library-prepared referral list of other free or low-cost ESOL programs in Queens. This list is updated three times a year via a telephone survey. The programs are listed by neighborhood and include the agency name, telephone number, address and availability of class levels. Students who are not able to register for a class in the library can use the list to find other nearby ESOL programs. ESOL Referral List

ESOL Literacy Classes

Basic ESOL Literacy classes are designed to meet the needs of non- English speakers who have less than four years of schooling in their own language. These students would have difficulty entering the standard beginning level ESOL class because of their lack of basic literacy skills. In these classes they learn the fundamental skills necessary to succeed academically in the standard series of ESOL courses.  These classes are offered at our learning centers.  

Click here to see more information about our Adult Learning Center locations.