Adult Literacy Program

Adult Literacy Program

The Indo-American Center’s (IAC) Adult Literacy Program offers various English language learning opportunities for adults who need to improve their English proficiency.

Daily ESL Classes

The Adult Literacy Program offers four levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, Monday through Saturday from 10am-12pm. We offer smaller group classes on Saturday for students who cannot attend weekday classes, if registration is full, or prefer "extra help." The levels, which range from Beginner to Intermediate, are intended to serve very low-literacy adults who may have little to no education from their home country to those who have advanced degrees from their home country. IAC is the only local organization to offer services to very low-literacy adults and Saturday courses which increases the population IAC serves. Students come to the program to learn English for a variety of reasons, including job acquisition or promotion, pursuit of higher educational opportunities, accent reduction, to help their children with homework, to increase fluency and converse competently with the wider community. They are taught in classes that range in size from 5 to 15 students and, based on their level, receive instruction from ESL teachers or volunteers. ESL instructional staff members come to IAC with years of experience teaching ESL, oftentimes abroad. A Workforce Development class is instructed once a week by the Level 2 ESL teacher. 

Over the last year, several new initiatives have been implemented as IAC strives for continuous improvement. The courses utilize revamped curriculum based upon a multi-level textbook series, closed-enrollment classes with an attendance policy, field trips to educational sites to "explore Chicago", conversation club, workshops to enhance self-care, 1:1 tutoring sessions and a push for afternoon/evening ESL courses.

All students enrolled in daily ESL classes participate in IAC’s CONNECT program, which stands for Creating Options Needed Now Through English and Career Technology. CONNECT was developed with the intention of creating a technologically integrative classroom that helps students gain computer skills necessary for their life in the United States. CONNECT also helps students approach language learning in another context. Once a week, students visit the lab for an hour during class, learning basic computer skills through interactive ESL activities and games.

Afternoon Beginner

Stay tuned for regularly scheduled afternoon Beginner courses. 

Open Tutoring

Students on the waiting list or current students can also participate in open tutoring after 12pm, M-F or Saturday 10am-12pm. Open tutoring allows students to focus on specific problems that they are facing with English, including grammatical structures in a more personalized setting. The idea of matching a student with a volunteer tutor allows more personal learning assistance.

"While You're Waiting" Class

Special Saturday courses, for students on the waiting list, are available to allow these students to practice English in a fun, friendly, low-pressure environment. Saturday courses are instructed by volunteers.


Literacy Classes: Monday through Saturday, 10am-12pm
Anticipated Afternoon Beginner and Level 1 Classes: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 2pm-4pm
Open Tutoring: Monday through Friday, 12pm4pm, Saturday 10am-12pm
Self-care workshops, monthly

All interested clients must register with the Literacy Program Coordinator, Renuka Sharma, at 773.973.4444 ext. 104 or All interested volunteers must register with the Literacy Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Smith, at 773.973.4444 ext. 105 or

Proud sponsors of the Adult Literacy Program include: 

Illinois Secretary of State

Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

Polk Bros. Foundation

Loyola University

Asian Human Services

Moody Bible Institute

Northeastern Illinois University

Depaul University

Northwestern University

The Common Cup

Whole Foods

The Chicago Diner

American Red Cross

Lagunitas Chicago





Client Quote:

Khadijeh Akbari, Level 2 English student

“The Indo-American Center is a very good place. The people, the teachers, the supervisors are kind, very good people.”

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