ESL and Adult Literacy

Group ESL classes and personalized one-on-one tutoring are available to anyone in St. Lawrence County at no cost.

Our tutors help adults (and teens ages 14 and up) with:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking in English (ESL)
  • Math skills
  • Test preparation for NYSED High School Equivalency Test (TASC)

Join the Potsdam Public Library’s adult online conversation group.  Experience informal discussions and get a chance to practice speaking and listening skills.  All proficiency levels welcome.  Contact for information.

Conversation Partners

LIFE’s new conversation partner program is perfect for folks who know English but would like some extra speaking and listening practice. Individuals are paired with native English speakers for conversation and friendship.

  • Sessions will be with one person, and there won’t be actual instruction
  • Topics for discussion will be decided by the partners
  • Meetings will be at a time and place chosen by the partners
  • Meetings will be in a public place, not in either person’s home

The program is informal, fun, and free of charge.

*We are also recruiting native English speakers to be conversation partners.  Participants need only be friendly and interested in getting to know someone from another country. The time commitment is small, and times for conversations are entirely up to the two partners.  

lit·er·a·cy  ˈlidərəsē,ˈlitrəsē/

The ability to read and write; Competency or knowledge in a specified area.

Literacy, in both senses, is the core of our business. (Mission: Improve the lives of our users through information, education, and recreation.) Our primary focus is to provide the necessary tools (teachers, materials, equipment, space) for you to pursue any kind of literacy that inspires you, whether it’s gaining competency in resume-writing or gardening, learning a new language, or learning to read. That’s why we’ve created a whole Department dedicated to Literacy. We call it LIFE (Literacy Is For Everyone) because it’s that important.

A Personalized Plan for Learning 

Your one-on-one tutor will customize your learning plan based on your needs. We’ll use an initial test and an interview to find out your current skills and your learning goals.

Success Stories

“This program helped me to learn all the math I needed so that I could pass the TASC test and get my high school diploma – FINALLY! Now I am enrolled in college for the spring semester.” A.S.D. – age 38

“​I have had a few different tutors and each one has helped me improve my speaking and how I understand others.” R.J. – ESL student, Morocco

“​I moved here from another state as a senior in high school and was afraid I would be unable to pass the 5 Common Core Regents Exams that New York State public schools require. After working with the Literacy Program, I was able to set up my own study program and take the TASC test 6 months after my arrival in New York State. I passed it on the first try and am now attending college in Arizona.” O.K. – age 18

“​I am learning to speak English much better even though I took English classes in my home country – I never thought I would leave Spain, so I didn’t think it was necessary to know English!” A.C.S. – ESL student – Occupational Therapist