English Language Learning (ELL)

The focus of Literacy Services of Wisconsin’s ELL program is to help adult learners from around the world improve their English communication skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

In addition to academic achievement, LSW also assists students in realizing personal goals related to citizenship, employment, education, health, and a variety of other skills necessary to navigate American culture.

We offer a variety of learning methods to meet each student's unique educational goals. Class formats vary among sites, but may include:

  • One-on-One Tutoring: One or more 90-minute session(s) per week, scheduled according to student needs and tutor availability
  • Small Group or Classroom with an instructor
  • Learning Labs: Guided independent study*
  • Drop-In Tutoring*

NEW! We now offer Virtual/Online Instruction to support students at all locations during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, all in-person services and drop-in tutoring are temporarily unavailable.

* Scheduling and availability vary by location

Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced ELL:  

Instruction ranges from basic survival skills and pronunciation through more intermediate and advanced conversation and vocabulary. Sessions may be tailored to address job-related topics or other areas important to students’ daily lives.

Civics for Citizenship

Study the conversation skills and content required to pass the civics portion of the naturalization interview. (LSW cannot assist with applications or legal matters related to citizenship at this time.

To enroll in any of our programs, complete an interest form online or call (414) 344-5878.

Locations & Services


Downtown Center

Downtown Center - 555 N. Plankinton Ave.

Class Formats

  • One-on-One Tutoring
  • Drop-In Conversation Groups

Northwest Side


Silver Spring Neighborhood Center - 5460 N 64th St.

Class Formats

  • One-on-One Tutoring
  • Classroom

South Side

Downtown Center

South Division High School Learning Lab - 1515 W. Lapham Blvd.

Class Formats

  • Classroom


Waukesha Center

Waukesha Center - 831 N. Grand Ave., Second Floor

Class Formats

  • One-on-One Tutoring
  • Small Groups
  • Classroom

Meet ELL student, Edwin.

Edwin enrolled in the ELL program at our downtown location in fall of 2019. He moved to the United States from his home country, Panama, about two years ago to start a new chapter with his wife in Milwaukee. Since he started, Edwin has been one of ELL's most dedicated students, attending small group classes three to four days a week on top of his one-on-one tutoring lessons. He can always be seen taking diligent notes, asking questions, and helping his classmates during activities. He is a friendly face whose sense of humor and warm demeanor make everyone around him feel welcome and at ease. Edwin has stated that his time spent at LSW is making a big difference in his life. He feels more confident in conversations outside of class and at his job, where he works as a barista and regularly has to interact with English speakers. Edwin has a background in photojournalism, and his recent improvement in English came in handy when he was approached by two local publications that were seeking to use his work. Since then, photos of his have been published by many different newspapers and websites around the world!