about us


Our mission is to assist English speakers to learn to read and to support New Americans to speak and understand English and to thrive in America as residents, parents, employees, and business owners.


Our organization was founded in 1978 in New London and in 1997 merged with the Literacy Volunteers of Norwich. Our service area now encompasses all of New London county and much of eastern Connecticut.

The original mission was to teach basic literacy skills to English-speaking individuals sixteen years of age and older who could not read or write. The significant influx of immigrants to Eastern Connecticut since about 2000 has drastically changed the services LVEC is called on to provide. Today, fewer than 20% of our learners are acquiring basic literacy skills while about 90% are learning English as a second or third language. LVEC's primary goals:

1. Provide tutoring services to adult English speakers who seek to learn to read English.

2. Provide tutoring, computer-assisted learning opportunities, and conversation groups to support New American adults to speak and understand English.

3. Recruit and train volunteer tutors to provide the services necessary for LVEC to accomplish its first two goals.

LVEC collaborates with a number of organizations to assist in meeting our goals. Of particular value to LVEC are its relationships with adult and continuing education programs in the area as well as most community libraries in Southeastern Connecticut.

As our students gain proficiency in speaking, reading and writing in English, they are able to improve their employment, obtain a driver's license, open a bank account, purchase automobiles, purchase a home, and/or participate more fully in the social and political lives of their communities.

LVEC primarily serves New Americans, over the age of sixteen years, seeking employment and an improved lifestyle, and educational opportunities for themselves and their families. Typically, LVEC leaners are committed to doing what it takes to achieve their goals, regardless of the difficulties they make encounter.

The work of LVEC tutors goes beyond teaching English. A bond develops between the tutor and the learners, and the tutor is a resource to the learner in the challenges they face in daily living. LVEC tutors become involved in "life issues" being faced by their students, such as finding employment, opening a bank account, applying for citizenship, and obtaining a driver's license. While learning to speak, read and write English is our main focus, these "life issues" are often as important to LVEC learners as is acquiring new language skills.

Many LVEC learners require basic skills which cannot be learned in a large classroom setting. Therefore they thrive with one-on-one tutoring and/or participation in small "conversation groups."

how we teach

For our ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners, LVEC provides:

- Language-learning Labs equipped with Rosetta Stone language learning software in the LVEC offices in Otis Library, in Norwich.

- Conversation Groups led by professionally trained volunteer tutors. Unlike one-on-one tutoring, learners build skills with fellow learners, bringing different backgrounds, different skill levels, spurring conversation and helping one another learn to better speak and understand the English language. Groups are informal, interactive, and focused on the practical needs of the learners - what the learners must know to thrive in the United States. Conversation Group Schedule

For our Basic Literacy learners, LVEC provides:

- One-on-One Tutoring with specially trained volunteer tutors. These tutors go through several training sessions to learn the most effective ways to teach adult learners how to read and write in English.

LVEC Board of Directors

Jerold A. Sinnamon, President
Linda Bonnell, Secretary
Robert D. Farwell
Janice Knudsen
Edward H. Perl