• Academics
  • Communication Skills Department  

    is now part of the Education & Language Acquisition Department

    Communication Skills at LaGuardia Community College prepares you to read and understand college-level material, including the COMPASS/ACT reading test, future coursework at LaGuardia, and classes at four-year schools.

    For more information, please visit the Education and Language Acquisition Department website.

  •  Communication Skills

    All Communication Skills courses have the prefix of CSE.  For full list of courses/open sections visit the LaGuardia Schedule of Classes or contact the chair of department.

    LaGuardia Community College embodies New York City's guarantee that all its citizens have the opportunity to get a college education. LaGuardia, begun with only a handful of students and faculty in 1971, was named for a mayor who cared about all New Yorkers, whatever their station in life. The college is another in a long tradition of original educational experiments in the United States, a world leader in public education.

    To help fulfill the promise of Open Admissions and to serve all New Yorkers, LaGuardia accepted the challenge of teaching language skills, not only to the large numbers of high school graduates who did not possess college-level reading skills, but to a large foreign language population. The Communication Skills courses were created to serve these students and our central goal has always been to prepare students for the challenges of academic reading.

    It should be obvious that reading is fundamental to education; it should also be clear that college students do an enormous amount of reading, and that reading is, for lack of a better word, a "skill" that requires constant reinforcement and refinement. Higher education demands differing levels of reading proficiency. A 50-page paper in graduate school requires reading hundreds of pages of text; a dissertation, thousands of pages. Experienced readers recognize degrees of difficulty and levels of comprehension; they recognize that reading is referential, that reading is always grounded in content. And, despite the wonders of technology, reading is still fundamental, literacy still required.

    The Communication Skills courses are at the heart of LaGuardia's mission - to give New York City's citizens access to higher education. Our mission within the college is to insure that once students have been admitted, they succeed.

    The mission of the Communication Skills courses is to help students acquire the necessary cognitive tools to read, comprehend, and retain the wide variety of college-level materials necessary to succeed in LaGuardia's degree programs, and/or to move on to four-year schools. We are committed to providing students with the background knowledge and critical reading and thinking skills necessary to become an educated person.

    The focus of a CSE course is exposition though we incorporate other forms as well. Our courses prepare students for their introductory courses in the majors. Thus students engage with content, vocabulary, and study skills that they use to read their textbooks, to listen to class lectures, and write class assignments. Our classes consist of lively discussions, arguments, careful listening and thinking.

    Our reading courses are theme-centered. They focus on one or two themes per term; the readings, writing assignments, projects, and research are all related to the topic; students are held responsible for the content of their reading. Class and home assignments are geared to all levels of cognitive activity - starting with simple comprehension and moving up the ladder to sophisticated thinking tasks such as analyzing arguments, synthesizing multiple ideas, and evaluating claims. Theme-centered instruction gives the students a solid background, allowing them to gain in-depth knowledge and a firm grasp of complex topics and arguments. Moreover, we are aware that writing is the other side of reading, and crucial to success in college. Therefore, our students are asked to respond to what they read by writing response papers, summaries, and essays; they use the library; they research their papers.

    Many students' reading competence needs to be reinforced after exiting from compulsory basic skills courses. To prepare truly college-ready readers, we offer students a range of electives that are designed to refine their skills. Our aim is to produce critical, flexible, and fluent readers.

    The CSE courses participate in community projects, high school-college collaborations, learning communities, conferences, scholarly research, grants, and events throughout the college, CUNY and the community. The faculty is innovative and includes nationally recognized experts in the field. If CUNY is the gateway to a wider world for our students, the Communication Skills Program is the threshold.

    The study of foreign languages and literatures has been at the core of liberal arts studies for centuries. Following that tradition, the Modern Languages and Literatures Program emphasizes the development of cross-cultural communication, appreciation of literature, multicultural understanding, and analytic and interpretive capacity. The Modern Languages and Literatures Program offers students the opportunity to study more than a dozen different languages and national literatures (i.e., American Sign Language, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Tibetan, Polish, and Portuguese).

     Reading Lab

    All Reading Courses have the prefix of CSE, CSX, or CSZ. These are basic skills courses.

    For full list of courses/open sections visit the LaGuardia Schedule of Classes or contact the chair of department.

    The Communication Skills Reading Lab is a part of the Communication Skills Reading program offered by the Education and Language Acquisition Department and contributes to students’ progress toward improving their reading skills. The Lab is focused on providing the practical experience to accompany the theoretical information provided by the instructor through lecture and class discussion.

    The Reading Lab is located in room E 114 on the first floor of the E Building.

    Reading Lab Services

    The major function of the Reading Lab is to serve as a part of the 5- hour per week developmental reading course CSE 099.  Placement in this course is based on a student’s score on the entrance exam in reading.  In CSE 099, students are required to attend a regularly scheduled lab session one hour per week during the semester. Tutors conduct the lab session and collaborate with the classroom instructor. The instructor provides the tutor with assignments for each session.

    While the primary focus of the Reading Lab is to act as a part of the reading courses, the lab services students in several other ways through tutoring.


    • Make Up Sessions are available for students who miss a lab for CSE 095, CSE 099 or ESL 097.
    • ACT Review and ACT Reading Techniques (ART) sessions are for additional support in retaking the multiple choice ACT reading exam at the end of the semester.
    • Reading Strategies and Supported Reading Workshop (SRW) sessions are for introducing and supporting various strategies students can use to have better results when they read.
    • Summary Tutoring sessions are for preparing students to demonstrate understanding the texts they read.
    • Vocabulary Tutoring sessions provide students with opportunities to gain experience using vocabulary acquisition strategies in context.
    • Textbook Tutoring sessions are a unique opportunity for students to have support while working through the course texts.
    • Writing Tutoring sessions are an opportunity for CSE students to have support when they revise their summaries or prepare other writing assignments for CSE or CSZ courses only (095, 099, 105, 110, 120, 150.)


    Online Dictionaries


    Joseph Evering

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