The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world. ESOL is the largest program at Literacy Together, serving approximately 250 students annually. Our students’ most common goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects, help their children in school, and pass the U.S. Naturalization exam

Each student works with a trained volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of ten people. Tutoring takes place for two hours each week at times and locations that are mutually convenient for students and tutors. Tutors may choose to teach one (1) two-hour session or two (2) one-hour sessions each week and may do so online or in person. Sign up online to volunteer.

The ESOL Program welcomes volunteers from all over the world. We now have tutors in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, the UK, and Germany! Read Barbara’s experience tutoring Maryna remotely, or Cecelia’s work from Germany as an ESOL tutor of six students.

Enjoy these ESOL success stories!

Many ESOL students are proud of their adopted country. They delight in every language achievement that takes them 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 Literacy Together (formerly 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!”

Citizenship Preparation

ESOL students with a short-term goal of becoming United States citizens may choose to receive citizenship-specific tutoring and learning materials in the ESOL program. This curriculum focuses on U.S. history and civics, as well as the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation. One hundred percent of students who received citizenship tutoring from Literacy Together and took the U.S. Naturalization Exam have passed it. Please read Mr. Lee’s success story.

These are Olga and Michael. Olga is an ESOL student from Mexico, and Michael is her tutor. Enjoy!

Instructional Tools

Tutors use 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 literacy levels in their native language. Our personalized attention to each student’s unique needs means that we can help across all literacy levels. All instructional materials are research-based and evidence-driven. Tutors often help students practice new language skills in their day-to-day lives.

Becoming a Volunteer Tutor

Should I be a tutor? What’s involved? Email or call (828) 254-3442 x 204. Sing up online to participate in an online volunteer orientation meeting. Here you can see the dates of the upcoming ESOL tutor training.

Referring a Student

Literacy Together maintains a waiting list for ESOL students. Click here to learn more and contact Erin at or 828-254-3442 x201 to refer an adult needing English language tutoring. 

Translate »
Skip to content