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USA Learns Citizenship is a course to help nonnative speakers prepare for the naturalization interview, including the N-400 review and the civics, reading, and writing tests. In addition to teaching key vocabulary and concepts, the course includes extensive practice in listening and pronunciation.

Throughout each unit, students are exposed to a variety of videos, listening activities, readings, comprehension exercises, and speaking practice activities. At the end of each lesson, there is a short interview practice with an “officer,” where students can record their own responses to the interview questions.

The course includes four units:

  • Unit 1: Steps to Becoming a U.S. Citizen
  • Unit 2: N-400 Interview Practice
  • Unit 3: Civics, Reading and Writing Practice
  • Unit 4: Your Interview and New Citizenship
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Unit 1: Steps to Becoming a U.S. Citizen

The first unit serves as an introduction to the naturalization application process. The videos and readings in this unit cover

  • reasons to become a U.S. citizen
  • who is eligible to become a U.S. citizen
  • the steps in the application process
  • what the N-400 form is and how to get help completing it
  • “red flag” questions that indicate that an applicant should get legal help
  • the importance of getting qualified legal help and avoiding scams
  • resources for finding qualified legal help

The unit includes several comprehension check activities so that students can demonstrate that they’ve understood the key concepts.

Unit 2: N-400 Interview Practice

Unit 2 prepares students for the N-400 review at the naturalization interview. This is the part of the interview where the USCIS officer is officially evaluating the applicant’s English, so the unit includes extensive practice with key vocabulary, helpful grammar, and listening activities. There are also readings about people with different circumstances to help students understand how they should answer particular questions.

The unit begins with an overview of question words, basic verb tenses, and short answers. This lesson also introduces questions that students can use to ask the USCIS officer to rephrase or clarify a question. Students will continue to practice these questions throughout the unit.

Lessons 3-10 take students through the rest of the N-400 review, with key vocabulary, concepts and structures for the following topics:

  • contact information
  • employment, schools, and travel
  • family relationships
  • civic responsibility
  • memberships and associations
  • illegal activities
  • loyalty and the oath

Throughout these lessons, students are exposed to different ways that officers might pose certain questions. Special attention is paid to words and concepts that often confuse applicants during the naturalization interview. Where appropriate, students are reminded of the “red flag” questions that they need to watch out for.

This unit also provides students with a simple explanation of the Oath of Allegiance and a chance to practice repeating it line by line.

Unit 3: Civics, Reading and Writing Practice

In Unit 3, students learn the information they need to answer the USCIS 100 civics questions. Each unit covers a topic, with key vocabulary, videos, readings and comprehension exercises that help them move beyond simple memorization to a more developed understanding of United States history and government.

The practice for the reading and writing tests is integrated into the civics instruction. At the end of each lesson, students practice answering questions from an “officer,” reading aloud, and writing dictation sentences related to the topic of the lesson.

The topics covered in Unit 3 are:

  • U.S. Geography
  • Early America
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights
  • The 1800s and Civil War
  • Difficult Times and Great Leaders Since 1900
  • Fighting for Equal Rights
  • Our System of Government
  • The Executive Branch
  • The Legislative Branch
  • The Judicial Branch
  • Participating in Your Government
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • American Symbols and Holidays

Unit 4: Your Interview and New Citizenship

Unit 4 prepares students for what to expect the day of the interview. They practice language for going through security, making small talk with the USCIS officer, and following simple commands.

Finally, this unit goes over what happens the day of the naturalization ceremony and provides students with information about what to do once they become U.S. citizens, such as how to register to vote and apply for a passport.

YOUR ROLE

While USA Learns Citizenship is designed primarily for distance learning, it can easily be used in a blended learning or “flipped classroom” situation. Students can use the website to learn the material and then spend time in class clarifying questions and practicing with the teacher and with classmates. There is no way for students to predict exactly which questions their USCIS interviewer will ask, what accent the officer will have or how quickly he or she will speak. The more time students spend getting comfortable with the material, listening to questions and practicing responses, the better their chances of success will be. USA Learns Citizenship can be a valuable tool to help you free up classroom time for this essential practice.