Parents are children’s first and most important teachers. By helping parents expand their literacy and language skills, and their knowledge of child development, we are making sure that children have as strong a start in life as possible. Our classes benefit parents and children in all five boroughs.

English Classes for Parents

We partner with early-childhood education programs across New York City to offer parents of young children free intensive classes leading to a high school equivalency degree (formerly known as the GED) or to greater English language proficiency.

Our English classes help students acquire speaking, listening, reading, writing, and grammar skills. Parents develop the confidence and the competence to use English to navigate the world around them, including subways, banks, and the health care system. At the same time, we emphasize child-development topics and incorporate parenting strategies into the curriculum.

Literacy Partners prioritizes parent education because research shows that parents who can read and write well are best equipped to guide their children’s healthy intellectual development. Boosting parent educational attainment is key to closing the achievement gap among low-income and immigrant children, which starts when young children grow up in homes without books or parental involvement in their education. Keeping all children on track from the earliest ages is a powerful strategy to break the cycle of poverty. Read about one of our students.

For more information, contact or 646-237-0108.

Liz Smith Adult Basic Literacy Program

Our adult literacy program helps absolute beginning readers to dramatically improve their literacy skills, discover the joy of reading, and have a meaningful opportunity to tell their story. This class uses a two-pronged approach, combining highly structured phonics instruction, fine-tuned to the needs of each student, along with a story-telling curriculum that will help students gain fluency first in oral, and eventually written, language.

Leadership for Education and Parenting (LEAP)

LEAP is an innovative program for young adults seeking to achieve their high school equivalency (HSE) degree. LEAP is a seminar series focusing on academic and parenting support, leadership and child development, and building a community for students to mentor and support each other. The goal is not just for students to achieve their degree, but to build life and parenting skills to help their whole family succeed.

English Conversation Classes

doefund2014_04-037Literacy Partners provides English conversation practice groups where immigrant New Yorkers learn about free city resources, build their confidence, and share their personal triumphs and challenges. In two-hour classes, enthusiastic and compassionate facilitators use the Emmy award-winning educational video series We Speak NYC (formerly We Are New York) as a narrative springboard to discuss immigrant-centered scenarios and how to access NYC resources (e.g., paid sick leave, translators for parent-teacher conferences, free and confidential mental health services). Participants work together to practice English, solve problems, and advocate for themselves and their families in an English dominant world.

For more information, contact Adriane at or 646-237-0163.

Learning Together Workshops

Literacy Partners’ Learning Together – Reading with Children – workshops are a safe and supportive environment where parents connect with each other, build the activities and skills they show up with, as well as learn new skills that will help them improve their children’s early literacy, language, and emotional development. Parents get 5 age- and culturally-appropriate books for each of their children. Literacy Partners provides training, materials, support, and children’s books to Head Start, Pre-K, elementary schools, and other community based programs serving parents of young children for a small program fee.

For organizations interested in a program partnership, contact for more information. 

Literacy Partners is grateful for the visionary support of the Dorothy Strelsin Foundation and the establishment of an endowment to support literacy classes.