The Civics for Immigrants Curriculum

The grant awarded to Literacy Volunteers of Westchester County, Inc. (LVWC) has provided the opportunity to build a comprehensive English Language/Civics Education curriculum. The aim of all materials is to help low-English proficient students develop a foundation of skills that will help them not only master the English Language, but also navigate the society and government of the United States.


In preparation for curriculum development, LVWC conducted surveys of students in English for Speakers of Other Languages classes, asking primarily, "what do you know now that you wish you had known when you first came to the United States"?


Many of the answers were expected -- how cold it is here, how involved American parents are in their children’s education -- but others were quite surprising. Students spoke of being surprised and gratified at the promptness and reliability of police and fire services.


The curriculum development team used this information to inform the development of the subject matter of the curriculum modules.


The pilot session of this project showed dramatic increases in students’ English speaking ability—in some cases 2 or more NRS levels in the 12 week period — and exciting development of civics understanding and citizenship skills in all participants.


Student end-of-class evaluations were also positive.  Students wrote such things as: “I hope that these classes continue.  It really helped us to become self-assured in our jobs, at home, and to help our children do their homework,” “The stories were developed by the students.  I felt important,” The stories make me think more and learn more about writing my own sentences,” “I learned things that I never learned before, very important things about the Community and Government.  Now I understand many things on T.V. better,” “I learned a lot and improved my writing,” “It was great because it gave us the opportunity to use our minds,” “I like the stories in the lessons because it taught us how to act or what to do when we are in those kinds of situations.  Sometimes we don’t know what to do, when things like this happen.”


Curriculum Use Policy


If you plan on using any part of this curriculum, please contact LVWC for written permission. All materials must be used as is, modification is strictly prohibited.

U.S. Civics for Immigrants:

From Native Language to English Literacy

Literacy Volunteers of Westchester County, Inc.

English Language/Civics Education

To effectively participate in education, work, and civic opportunities in this country, immigrants and other limited English proficient persons must not only master English, but be able to understand and navigate governmental, educational, workplace systems and key institutions, such as banking and health care. 


The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002 (P.L. 107-116) reserves funding under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) for "integrated English literacy and civics education services to immigrants and other limited English proficient populations."


Literacy Volunteers of Westchester County, Inc.

P.O. Box 693

Yonkers, NY 10702

To contact us:

Phone: 914-375-7964