CUNY Adult Literacy
"Teaching adult literacy students has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career because the students are extraordinary. My students have taught me as much, maybe more, than I have taught them."
Lisa Simon,
Staff Developer and
GED/BE teacher
"My life surely improved. I am now a registered voter. I learned how to vote for the first time. I learned about the election and how important it is to vote. I took part in the election as a citizen because of what I learned in class."
— Shirley, CUNY BE student, Brooklyn

Types and Levels of Classes
Classes provided by Adult Literacy programs at CUNY's 13 campuses are of three different types:

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
These classes provide English language instruction to students seeking to improve their abilities to speak, understand, read and write the English language. ESOL classes are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Click here to learn more about the kind of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills students have at each level ->>

Basic Education (BE)
These classes provide instruction that enables students to improve their reading, writing and mathematics skills while studying content areas such as science, social studies, and literature. BE classes are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Click here to learn more about the kinds of reading, writing and math skills students have at each level ->>

GED Prep
These classes help students improve their reading, writing and math skills in order to pass the GED test, and in many cases, go on to college.
Click here to learn more about the kinds of reading, writing, and math skills of GED prep students ->>

What to Expect in CUNY Classes
Although different types and levels of classes are offered in CUNY programs, our classes also share certain things in common. Class sizes are limited to fifteen to twenty students, allowing for a small teacher-student ratio. Most classes include access to computer-assisted instruction. In addition, there are similarities in the way students are taught. These similarities include thematic instruction, a hands-on approach to learning, and high expectations for student work.

Thematic Instruction
In CUNY classes, students improve their speaking, reading and writing skills while studying themes or content areas. Themes vary according to the type and level of class. Students in a beginning ESOL class, for example, might focus on the theme of "health", learning the names of the parts of the body and the language for describing illness which will help them when they make visits to a doctor or clinic. Students in an intermediate BE class might study the Bill of Rights. This helps them become more familiar with the way the U.S. government works and also helps prepare them for the GED test.

Hands-on Learning
CUNY teachers believe that people learn best by doing. To enhance their English speaking skills, students in ESOL classes may be asked to interview community members, make class presentations, or take class trips to places like the American Museum of Natural History or the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. Students in BE classes can expect to work on projects related to history or science, read whole books, and write often both in and out of class.

High Expectations for Student Work
Teachers and administrators at CUNY's programs know that in order to meet their goals, students must be active participants in their own learning. That is why we ask students entering our programs to make a serious commitment to their education. All programs have attendance policies. Students are expected to come to class regularly and on time, to participate fully in class activities, and to do all homework assignments.