English as a Second Language (ESL)
RIFLI's curriculum is learner driven. Students are asked about their English needs and are asked to provide as much detail as possible. The Lead Teacher then tailors thematic units to the most requested topics. Reading, writing, speaking and listening skill development are integrated into the theme. ESL techniques and strategies utilized include the Language Experience Approach (LEA), dialogue journals, picture stories and realia to strengthen reading, writing, listening and conversational skills. The thematic units often carry over to the children's class. Flexibility is key within the curricula to meet the changing needs of learners as they understand their practical English needs out in the "Real World".
Beginner learners are introduced to basic vocabulary and survival language. Intermediate learners work on vocabulary development, writing, grammar and continued conversational practice.
Children and Family Programming
Family and group activities foster understanding and sharing of cultures, intergenerational and community learning, build confidence, reinforce learned material, and transfer learning to the home environment. Family lessons include literacy-based activities and experiential learning opportunities such as crafts, field trips and interaction with special guest speakers. Helping parents and children view themselves as partners in learning has served to better equip them to integrate the many aspects of their reality — two languages, two cultures, a past and a future.
Children's teachers guide the children in activities to build a love of reading and lifelong learning. Preschoolers are guided in school readiness skills while school-aged children are involved in activities that support and enrich the school curriculum with the use of children's literature and other literacy-related experiences. Children ages 10 and up are encouraged to assist the younger school-aged children with homework and other activities. Learning through play is also a cornerstone of the children's programming.
Based on learner interest and needs, citizenship preparation classes are offered in Providence and Cranston.
Computers are used as tools for learning English. In addition, learners acquire basic computer knowledge and skills. Instruction includes basic keyboarding, word processing, language practice software, email and Internet use. Adults use their navigational skills to access the Internet for information about their native countries, perform job searches and become familiar with their community.
RIFLI maintains strong community partnerships that are essential for improving the quality of life for students. Teachers and administrative staff work with other literacy programs and social service providers to develop relationships and refer students for special services. Partners include the public school system, Head Start and other Rhode Island adult literacy programs.
As a library collaborative, RIFLI is able to link students to a range of library-sponsored programs and activities including the pre-literacy program, Cradle to Crayons, and other children's programming, book discussion groups, computer classes and a wide variety of cultural activities. The rich resources of the library are at RIFLI student's disposal including magazines and newspapers, reference materials, computers and books.
RIFLI learners also gain skills in how to use the library effectively. Each student applies for and receives a library card. Lessons are given on searching for and locating materials. Families are encouraged to check out books their children are using in class to read together at home.