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FREE WEB SITE LAUNCHED TO HELP IMMIGRANTS LEARN ENGLISH


Thursday, November 20, 2008

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FREE WEB SITE LAUNCHED TO HELP IMMIGRANTS LEARN ENGLISH

USALearns.org Could Help As Many As 11 Million Limited-English Adults

The U.S. Department of Education today launched U.S.A. Learns, a free Web site to help immigrants learn English. The Web site, which is located at file://www.usalearns.org/, provides approximately 11 million adults who have low levels of English proficiency with easily accessible and free English language training.

"America's limited-English adults will now have readily available materials to improve their literacy and help them become more productive workers, better parents, engaged community members and active citizens," said Troy Justesen, assistant secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

Launch of the site completes one of the goals in President Bush’s Aug. 10, 2007, announcement of 26 immigration reforms that his Administration would pursue within existing law -- including the assimilation of new citizens and helping immigrants learn English to expand their opportunities in America. Recognizing that "[k]nowledge of English is the most important component of assimilation" and "an investment in tools to help new Americans learn English will be repaid many times over," the Administration pledged to launch a free, Web-based portal to help immigrants learn English.

U.S.A. Learns offers the following features:

-- An easily accessible Internet learning tool;

-- Simple directions;

-- Free instructional materials developed to teach basic English skills and help adults improve their English proficiency; and

-- Learning modules that can be used outside a traditional classroom

Upon entering the site, users can choose directions in either English or Spanish and then pick which English level they need -- beginner or intermediate. Once in the modules, the instruction is almost exclusively in English. In the beginner course, 20 units are offered in such areas as numbers, the calendar, places to go, families, schools, clothes, money and shopping. For intermediate students, more challenging exercises can help them further their existing English reading and writing skills.

The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy documented that as many as 11 million adults in the U.S. are not literate in English. Currently, local and state providers have the ability to serve only approximately one million of those learners annually, prompting the need for a Web site of this kind to offer to adults seeking easily accessible English literacy training.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education, through its Division of Adult Education and Literacy, oversaw the design of U.S.A. Learns. Core funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The University of Michigan and Sacramento County Office of Education assisted the U.S. Education Department in the development of the U.S.A. Learns Web site. The site uses materials previously developed with public funds.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education plans to invite proposals from outside entities to take over the adult literacy portal in the future.

To view a fact sheet on U.S.A. Learns, visit http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/factsh/usa-learns-fs_0811.pdf