English Level 1

This class is designed for learners who have little or no ability to read or write in English. Students enrolled in this class usually have had very little or no formal education in their native languages. With respect to listening and speaking, students in this class range from bare beginners with little or no oral fluency to those with very high listening and speaking skills. Letter recognition, letter formation, sound/symbol correspondence, phonics, sight word recognition, oral reading and spelling techniques are used to begin the reading and writing process. When necessary, this class also accommodates more educated academic learners who do not possess adequate listening and speaking skills to succeed in the Level 2 class.

English Level 2

The English Level 2 class is designed for beginning English learners who have mastered some decoding skills and can use phonics to sound out words. Generally learners in this class have learned the alphabet, can distinguish between upper and lower case letters, can write and say very basic personal information, and can read and understand simple sentences. Students at this level can work independently to complete both in-class and assigned homework. Oral communication followed by reading comprehension is stressed. Reading and writing activities are used to reinforce the new language skills. Students at this level are exposed to the basics of English grammar.

English Level 3

This course prepares high beginning English learners to interact more effectively in English. Students develop more vocabulary and reading and critical thinking skills. Grammar is formally introduced, beginning with parts of speech and verb tenses. Oral communication is still a major focus at this level with students sharing more life experiences and expanding their vocabulary.

English Level 4

The Bridge English Level 4 class prepares intermediate English learners for more advanced grammar concepts and to use those concepts in written and oral expression. Readings are more complex, and curriculum is geared toward more individualized, workplace and life needs. Students are more independent in terms of their own learning, and more fluid in their expressions in English.

Reading/Writing 2

The Reading/Writing 2 class is designed for learners who are able to read simple learned sentences and personal information stories, and able to write short sentences related to a topic. Reading comprehension, phonics, spelling patterns, rules of capitalization, and basic parts of are speech are taught directly at this level. Students also write journals on a variety of topics, usually based on a model or highly structured worksheet. Short stories followed by comprehension questions, class discussion, information gap and cloze exercises are used to support this level. Life skills writing tasks, e.g. writing checks and filling out forms may also be included. Instructors may place a stronger emphasis on reading or writing based on the interest and needs of the students enrolled.

Reading/Writing 3

The Reading/Writing 3 class is designed for learners who are able to read and understand paragraphs containing more complex statements, e.g. those containing coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, and who have at least a basic understanding of the parts of speech. Students at this level are able to write paragraphs, notes and informal letters in English. Standard punctuation, spelling and sentence structure are reinforced. Activities used to improve reading and writing skills at this level include reading more complex stories and practice writing formal vs. informal letters, e-mails, and short compositions. Students also develop their ability to edit their own texts through process writing. Instructors may place a stronger emphasis on reading or writing based on the interest and needs of the students enrolled.

Reading/Writing 4

The Reading/Writing 4 class is designed for students who have mastered the skills taught in Reading/Writing 3 and wish to continue to increase their vocabulary knowledge and improve the coherence of their writing. Students write in response to more complex readings, create outlines and write multiple drafts to develop ideas and improve stories.

Speaking and Listening (Levels 1 through 4)

The Speaking and Listening courses are designed to increase students´ abilities and confidence as they interact with English speakers and focus on developing listening comprehension, speaking and pronunciation abilities. Students are placed into the appropriate level class based on their knowledge of English grammar and structure as measured by other classes in our course offerings, registration assessments, and standardized test results.

ESOL classes at Harvard Extension School´s Institute for English Language

Students who want to use English to pursue academic study and who have 6 to 8 hours a week to complete their homework have the option of attending classes at Harvard Extension School´s Institute for English Language. Five levels of integrated skill classes (Levels A to E) and a number of specialized classes are offered. These classes are free when students register through the Bridge Program. For more information, contact Tamara Suttle at 617-496-2216 or For course descriptions or to register for the IEL placement test, go to: