Center for English Language Acquisition and Culture

Families for Literacy

The Families For Literacy program is a collaboration between Saint Peter’s University’s CELAC Department and two local Jersey City nonprofit groups- Starting Points & New City Kids. The program is centered on aiding non-native English speaking Jersey City residents with K-12 age children to develop career & life skills, improve their confidence and ability when communicating in English, and to promote opportunities for improved childhood literacy development.

Funded by the generous support of the Pascal-Sykes Foundation, the Families For Literacy collaboration is centered on a holistic approach that works towards improved outcomes for families. The CELAC Department’s role in the collaborative is to provide high quality, dynamic, and effective English language instruction tailored to the needs of the students.

In keeping with our student-centered approach, several different classes have been developed to work with students to achieve their language acquisition goals. Textbooks and classroom materials are typically provided free of charge to our students. In keeping with our focus on high-quality instruction, class sizes are kept below 15 students. Our instructional methods are focused on inculcating a sense of ownership and confidence when using the language- the focus is always on learning language that can be used in the community at large.

Classes typically employ a number of approaches, including leveraging the unique affordances provided by mobile-assisted language learning. Our classes typically run twice per week, and are focused on helping students to build proficiency in English to better engage with members of the community, education stakeholders, and potential employers. We also plan to provide short-term, intensive classes focused around subjects of particular interest to students, such as initial literacy development in English, resume creation, and test preparation. Daytime classes feature babysitting services provided by the collaborative, but the involvement of students’ families is stressed in all aspects of the collaboration and our courses.