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Student Frequently Asked Questions

What English classes do you have?
We offer 2 programs of regular classes:

Adult Basic Education (ABE) is for students who are native speakers of English and need to learn or improve their BASIC reading and writing skills. ABE classes are taught one-to-one, i.e., one student per tutor.

English as a Second Language (ESL) is for people who do not speak English as their first language and want to learn or improve their English listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. ESL classes typically have between five or six students per tutor.

Please note that due to the popularity of classes and the length of our waiting list, our ESL classes are only for BEGINNING and INTERMEDIATE students. When you reach an ADVANCED level, you will graduate from our program. Students who have graduated are invited to join the Literacy Advance Alumni or move on to a different program at another organization. We can help you with this transition.

We also have Special Classes that you can attend in addition to your regular class.

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How much do the classes cost?
Our classes are FREE.

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How long are the classes?
Every regular class session is 48 hours in total. Classes meet either:

  • Once a week for three hours, over 16 weeks (a total of 48 hours)
  • Twice a week for two hours per class, over 12 weeks (a total of 48 hours)

Special Class sessions run on their own schedule, which we will inform you about upon registration.

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Who can register for classes? Will you sign for my hours?
You can register for classes if:

  • You are over 18 years of age
  • You have a Houston address and are not a visitor or a tourist
  • You are not on probation for a violent crime

IMPORTANT: If you are on probation for a non-violent crime, you can register for classes but Literacy Advance will NOT sign hours for you.

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How can I register for classes?
To register for classes at Literacy Advance, you must complete a two-hour student orientation session.

  • Orientation sessions at our main campus, Wilcrest, are held at regular times every week but you MUST make an appointment before you come. Orientation sessions at our Bay Area location are more flexible.
  • If you are late to your scheduled orientation, or you leave early, you must reschedule.

Click here for more information about student orientation.

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What happens at student orientation?
You will hear some information about our organization and we will take you on a tour of our office and classrooms.

You will also do a short evaluation so we know the best class for you. Don't worry about this evaluation! It shows how much English you already know and what you need to learn. The evaluation helps us find the right class for you and helps your tutor decide what to teach you.

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What does Literacy Advance do with the information I give at student orientation?
Your information is confidential. All of the information on your registration form is for our records only. We do NOT give information about you to anyone outside of Literacy Advance.

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What happens after student orientation?
You will be placed on a waiting list for class. A member of our staff will call you when a class is available.

Sometimes you will have to wait for several weeks before a class is ready. Our classes are popular and many people want to come!

Please be patient. We will call you when a class is ready.

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How long will I have to wait for a class?
It depends. It might be just a week or two, or it could be longer. The average wait is approximately six to eight weeks.

If you are available at many times during the week, we might be able to find you a class more quickly. Some times are very popular, and those times are very busy. If you can only come to class when we are busy, it will take us longer to place you. When you register at student orientation, please be sure to tell us ALL the time slots you are available to attend class. This will help us find you a class more quickly.

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Can I practice English while I wait for a class to be ready for me?

The computer lab at Literacy Advance Wilcrest (West Houston) is open to ALL registered students, even if they have not started class. There are some great programs on the computers, which can help you with listening, speaking, pronunciation, reading and more. If you don't know much about computers yet, we can help you. Please call to see when you can visit the computer lab at 713-266-8777.

All registered students can sign up for Special Classes. These classes change regularly, so check often!

If you are a registered ESL student and waiting for a class, you can come to While You're Waiting. These classes help you practice listening and speaking English. You don't need to call ahead or attend every class — just come when you can! Once you have been placed in a regular class, however, you cannot attend While You're Waiting any longer, as it is ONLY for students on the waiting list. We will give you the current schedule at student orientation or you can call us to find the latest times at 713-266-8777.

There are also ways you can practice English at home. Click here for some ideas and resources.

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Can I come to more than one class?
We offer ONE (1) regular ESL or ABE class per student. Each student may be registered in ONE regular class (ABE or ESL) only.

However, we have some Special Classes that you can attend in addition to your regular class. Click here for information about Special Classes.

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Can I bring my friend, or someone from my family, to my class?
No. ALL students must attend student orientation prior to attending class. Please do NOT bring your friends or family to your class! Although it's great that they want to attend, they must first complete student orientation and then be placed on the waiting list just like everyone else. If they are just visiting Houston and do not live here, they should NOT come to class or student orientation, as our classes are reserved for people who live in Houston only.

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Do you offer childcare?
Unfortunately, we do not offer childcare. Please do NOT bring your children to class, as only individuals 18 and over can be at our location. If you bring your children, we will ask you to wait outside of the office with them.

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How can the classes be free? Who pays for them?
All our tutors are VOLUNTEERS. They donate their time and they make our classes possible! Please respect them and their time.

We receive funds from private companies, grants and individuals.

We do NOT receive state or federal funding.

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