Core Courses

The main purpose of this first part of the program is to develop students' fluency in English by taking them from a low level of proficiency to a high level. Core courses focus on the development of grammar, reading, speaking, listening, and writing. All skills are taught in order of difficulty, allowing students to develop the necessary skills in sequence. Click here for complete course descriptions.


These courses are based on the idea that students learn more, remember more, and use language more effectively when they learn grammar in context. Grammar is presented in interesting contexts that are relevant to students’ lives. Additionally, the courses make sure to point out the obvious connections between grammar and writing, demonstrated through writing models and enhanced by editing practice for relevant application of target points. Students gain knowledge in both grammatical structures and a diverse array of topic areas. They learn how to use English grammar structures accurately in both speaking and writing.



In these courses, students are provided with clear explanations and extensive practical activities to help them write sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Each course contains a wide variety of writing models in carefully selected rhetorical styles that provide practice in working with the writing process to develop a final piece of writing. Students perform structured activities that help them to quickly master writing tasks. The courses provide student writing models to help students focus on specific writing skills and multiple rhetorical structures. Students also engage in timed writing activities that prepare them for success on standardized tests like the TOEFL.


Extensive reading

Students engage in independent reading outside of class. The goal is to get students to read as much as possible, for their own pleasure, at a difficulty level at which they can read smoothly and quickly without looking up words or translating to English as they go. In other words, instead of spending a lot of time decoding a tiny part of one book, they read many simpler books that are at or slightly below the level at which they read fluently. This lets them get used to reading more complex sentences with ease, reinforces the words they already know, and helps them learn new words from context.



Reading courses provide the essential reading skills and vocabulary development for maximum academic readiness. The readings tap into students' curiosity about the world, naturally encouraging inquiry and opportunities to synthesize information. They cover a wide range of real-world topics related to travel, natural history, wildlife, food, technology, science, culture, etc. Students learn essential reading skills by performing comprehension activities that cover question types commonly found on standardized tests. A comprehensive, three-part vocabulary development program builds student confidence as they encounter new or unfamiliar words in academic texts.


Speaking and Listening

The purpose of these courses is to help students develop the language skills needed to achieve academic success. Students will develop academic literacy skills by connecting to the real world through content, images, and video from National Geographic Digital Media. In these courses, students learn to become more active and informed listeners in lectures and conversations, as the courses include short controlled passages at the beginning levels and authentic lectures and video segments at the more advanced levels. Communication skills are taught and practiced through realistic contexts that model the academic classroom. Students also learn to participate more confidently in conversations and group discussions and to give both formal and informal presentations by learning presentation skills including organization, preparation, and delivery techniques. Instruction and feedback on pronunciation is also provided.

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