Our Free Classes

We have three free classes every week. You can join one class or more than one. You can start any time. Classes meet every week, all year--fall, winter, spring, and summer.

NOTE:
No class on Saturday, September 2, 2017 (Labor Day Weekend).

No class on Thursday, November 23, 2017 (Thanksgiving Day).
All other classes are currently planned to meet as usual during 2017 and 2018. Changes will be posted here.

Classes meet weekly throughout 2017 and 2018. You can start any time. Join us for any of our Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday classes.

Tuesday evenings 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Sully Library
Thursday evenings 5 p.m.-6:45 p.m. at the Maplewood Library
Saturday mornings 10 a.m.-12 noon at the Maplewood Library

Locations and maps:

Maplewood Library
1111 Dewey Ave., Rochester, NY 14613
Phone: 585-428-8220
MAP

Sully Library
530 Webster Ave., Rochester, NY 14609
Phone: 585-428-8208
MAP

Teachers at the Saturday morning class.
Each class we practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. The class offers whole group and small group lessons. We have fun learning about American culture. Everyone is welcome.

Student FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do I have to register in advance?

No. You can just walk in. The library staff will show you where our class is meeting. Our teachers will welcome you and help you get started.

Is there a fee?

No. There are no fees or charges or costs of any kind for students.

Do I have to pay for a book?

No. There are no books required. Occasional worksheets and materials will be provided for you free of charge. It is a good idea to bring your own notebook and a pencil so you can take notes.

Do I have to attend both the Saturday and Thursday classes? I don't have time to go twice a week.

No, you do not have to attend both classes. You can attend just once a week. Pick the best day for you.

May I attend both or all classes if I want to? I want to practice!

Yes, you can attend all classes. There are different teachers in the Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday classes. The classes offer different topics, depending on attendance.

Do classes meet during the summer?

Yes. All three of our classes continue to meet during the summer.

Is there free parking?

Yes. For the Maplewood Library, there is a small parking lot. There is also free parking on Dewey Ave. and on Augustine St. For the Sully Library, there is lots of parking in the Thomas P. Ryan Community Center parking lot.

Is the library on a bus line?

Yes. The City of Rochester buses stop directly in front of the Maplewood Library on Dewey Ave., next to the Aquinas Institute. See the RGTA website for bus schedules and more information.

What should I do once I get to the library?

Ask a librarian at the front desk where the English class is meeting. The librarian will show you to our classroom.

Is there childcare? I can't attend class because I have to care for my children.

On Saturday mornings, the Maplewood Library has a children's program appropriate for pre-school and school age children. Adults attending our Saturday morning classes with their children should introduce themselves and their children to the library staff at the front desk and may then attend our Saturday morning class while their children attend the library's children's program. Children ages 8-12 may be welcome in class when they show interest in participating and are supervised by their parents. Please discuss this with the teachers.

My mother/sister/friend/spouse can't speak any English. Can I sit next to her or him in class to help?

You are welcome to join us in class to help. However, we think that as soon as you are in the classroom, you will see how welcome and comfortable your friend or relative is. We encourage our students to start speaking on their own without relying the help of children, relatives, or friends. So, yes, feel free to attend as a helper if your family-member or friend would feel most comfortable knowing you are there, particularly the first time. After the first time, you may find you are both comfortable if you step outside the classroom and enjoy the library.

My mother/father/grandparent wants to learn but can't read or write English because the letters/characters are different from our native language--Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, Burmese, Korean, etc. Can you help?

Yes. You or your relative should mention this to one of the teachers after class. The teachers can work on the English alphabet and phonics in class, and may offer workbooks that you can help your relative with at home between classes.

Is there homework?

Usually there is no homework. However, if you want homework assignments, our teachers will work with you.

I'm in high school, and my teachers say I need more work with English as my second language. May I attend your classes?

Yes. High school and even middle school students do well in our program. During the summer months, we often get more high school students and young adults. Sometimes high school students enjoy attending in small groups with friends so that they have others in their peer group.

I'm a grad student. My reading is great, but I need help with pronunciation, idioms, and complex grammar. May I attend your classes?

Yes. Our teachers subdivide the class time by level and are happy to work with advanced students who have specialized goals.

My mother is visiting me for the summer from overseas. She will only be here for two months. May she attend your classes?

Yes. Your family and household visitors from overseas are welcome to attend our classes.

Can I get a private tutor?

We do offer some private tutoring services on a case-by-case basis. Fees and meeting locations have to be arranged between the student and the tutor individually. Please contact us for more information.

Our business has a group of employees who all would like to improve their English. They work during your class hours, though, and cannot attend your classes.

We may be able to arrange weekly group classes at other times. Private tutors are also available. Contact us for more information.

What should I wear?

Dress comfortably. All styles of clothing, including religious attire, are welcome.

Can you help me read my mail or my child's school documents?

Yes. Bring your mail or the paperwork to class and show it to a teacher after class. The teacher will try to help you read and understand it.

Can you help me with my visa?

Unfortunately, no. We are not experts with immigration or visa questions. We can, however, help you read and understand any paperwork you have to fill out.

Can you help me become a U.S. citizen?

Many of our class discussions will introduce you to material that will help you not only with speaking English but also with learning more about U.S. history and culture. If you hope to become a U.S. citizen and are working toward taking the test, please let our teachers know.

Does EAR have a religious affiliation?

No. We are open to all students regardless of background, nationality, or religion. We celebrate America as a melting pot. National or religious identities, customs, and holidays are often great opportunities to practice spoken English, express cultural differences, and share different foods and songs in class. We encourage sharing and speaking confidently about one's own culture while showing respect for others. We help students find the vocabulary they need to describe their cultures, religions, families, and personal values.

Do I need a library card to attend class?

No. However, getting a library card is free and will allow you to borrow books, tapes, and videos from any local library as well as allowing you to use the library's computers. The teachers and library staff at the library can help you get a library card. You will need to bring mail addressed to you at your apartment or home, or something else that shows that your address is in Rochester or the Monroe County area.

What does ESOL mean? What does ESL mean?

ESOL stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages. ESL stands for English as a Second Language. Both acronymns refer to the same thing--teaching English for those who do not speak English as their first or native language.

EAR logo, chive flowerWhat is that red flower in the EAR logo?

The beautiful red flower of the chive plant is the symbol of our program. Chives grow wild and free in Rochester and in many areas of the United States. They are a kind of onion. Every part of the chive plant is edible. Chives are delicious when cut up on salads and vegetables such as potatoes. Their purplish red flower blooms twice every summer, in the spring and in the fall. We periodically give out free chives and chive plants to students in class.


What happens during class?

A typical class has 8-15 students and is led by 2-3 experienced teachers. Most classes emphasize individual speaking skills more than detailed reading or writing skills, but we commonly customize classes on the spot for special student interests and needs.

Every student gets some individual attention at every class. Newcomers are encouraged to speak simple words and simple sentences, and are helped to ask and answer basic questions. Intermediate students work on increasing their vocabulary, pronunciation, basic grammar, and basic reading. Advanced students get specialized help with more challenging vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and reading.

We teach by focusing on daily activities, such as

 
  • groceries, shopping, tools, counting, handling money
  • weather and news
  • talking to your children, their teachers, doctors, and friends
  • exercise, sports, singing, dancing, playing games
  • politics and culture
  • education, jobs, health
  • Classes focus on providing an opportunity for students to improve literacy through topics like weather, shopping, handling money, American culture, international foods and customs, games, singing, current news, holidays, economics, and voting. Each week students are encouraged to speak in English in both the class and in small groups. Looking at maps and the globe to see where students live now and where they came from is a popular activity. Pronunciation, spoken grammar, writing, and reading are addressed in the class and are also individualized. Students are offered guidance for other community resources, as well as some counseling about educational opportunities and places to get an individual tutor.

    Join us at our Maplewood Library or Sully Library classes, or contact us for more information.

    Follow us on Twitter @ESLRochester.