All Orange Literacy programs are designed to work with the individual needs of adult students. We work at a variety of locations throughout Orange County, including El Centro Hispano, The Robert and Pearl Seymour Center, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Hospitals, Efland-Cheeks Elementary School, New Hope Elementary School, Grady Brown Elementary School, the Orange Correctional Center and in our offices in Carr Mill Mall. Our programs include:

Adult Literacy


Our Adult Basic Ed (ABE)/GED program is designed to help adult learners improve their reading, writing, math and computer skills in order to meet educational, professional or personal goals. Our students include beginning readers learning phonics, intermediate readers improving their fluency and vocabulary, learners preparing for their GED or to enter college, and adults who want to brush up on their math skills for personal reasons.

  • For information on becoming an ABE/GED student, click here.
  • For information on becoming an ABE/GED tutor, click here.

In partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, we operate an onsite GED class for interested employees in UNC’s Facilities Department.

  • For information on joining the UNC-GED class, ask your supervisor.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Our ESOL Program helps adult, non-native speakers who want to improve their comprehension of written and spoken English in order to become more self-sufficient and engaged, better informed and better able to participate in the life of the community.  The ESOL Program offers classes for beginners to advanced students.

  • For information on becoming an ESOL studentclick here.
  • For information on becoming an ESOL tutor, click here.

Family Literacy

In Fall 2011, in partnership with El Centro Hispano, we began piloting the Family Literacy Initiative.  The Initiative is a comprehensive program, designed to help parents improve their English and basic literacy skills, while helping to prepare their young children for school.  The program includes adult ESOL classes, pre-literacy skill building classes for children 0-5 and time for parents and children to practice their skills together.  The Family Literacy Initiative is funded by the Orange County Partnership for Young Children.

  • For information on enrolling in the program, contact Heather Bucurel (hbucurel at or 919-914-6153).


For immigrants and refugees longing to become U.S. citizens, the path can be difficult and confusing. In addition to the legal requirements, anyone who wants to become a citizen is tested on how well they can listen, speak, read and write in English as well as on their knowledge of U.S. history and  civics. It can be daunting.

Citizenship has always been a part of our English classes, but thanks to a new grant from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), we’re able to partnered with Church World Service (CWS) in Durham to offer much, much more. We now offer multiple free classes throughout Orange, Durham and Alamance counties. And CWS provides low cost legal services to our students to help them move from the classroom to the naturalization ceremony.

The classes, including textbooks and other materials, are free. In most locations, classes meet for 12 weeks, twice a week and for 2 hours each class, offering students a total of 48 hours of instruction. At the end of a class session, students are able to answer the 100 USCIS civics questions, understand U.S. history, can answer N-400 application questions, are able to read and write in complete sentences and demonstrate improved speaking, writing, and listening skills.

  • For information on enrolling in the program, contact Elgiva Wood (ewood at or 919-914-6153).

Creative Writing Workshops

I lost some years.  I miss them.
I wish I had them back.

– Anonymous

The Creative Writing Workshops are an outgrowth of our reach into the community. Literacy skills that go unused fade. The Workshops serve to help those in the area homeless shelters keep their minds active in productive ways. Each week volunteers provide one-hour workshops at both the men’s and women’s shelters. The workshops often result in useful discussions-and especially as a reminder that it is important to write about thoughts and to share some of them with others. We often publish writings from our shelter participants in the Council newsletter and on the website.

Sheltered Learning

An outgrowth of the Creative Writing Workshops, Sheltered Learning trains and supports peer-to-peer tutoring in the shelters.  Started in Fall 2011 as a pilot, the program trains shelter residents with good reading and writing skills to tutor those who need help.  The program also features “Visiting Artists” – drawing on local writers, musicians and artists to lead writing workshops.